Addiction: Life in a Bottle
Whether it’s alcohol, tobacco, or drugs, addiction’s grasp can be hard to shake -- but it’s possible, and it’s worth it.
This disregard for responsibility can be expensive for society. According to
a study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in 1995 alone,
alcohol and drug abuse cost the economy an estimated $276.3 billion in
decreased productivity, increased accidents, absenteeism, job turnover, and
That figure could arguably swell once the cost for pain and suffering and
other compulsive behaviors are factored in.
According to a review of studies by the Illinois Institute for Addiction
Recovery, up to 3% of the U.S. population is addicted to gambling, up to 3%
with food, up to 8% with spending, and 5% to sex.
Some symptoms of addiction include:
- A greater sense of isolation
- Diminished social interaction
- Reduced attention to personal hygiene
- More legal difficulties
- Change in eating and sleeping patterns
- Increased irritability
- Reluctance to change the compulsive behavior
In the workplace, the symptoms clearly manifest themselves. The U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services reports that employees with substance
abuse, when compared with non-addicted colleagues, were found more often to be
late, be absent, use sick benefits, file for worker's compensation, and be
involved in accidents.
For people who think they might have a problem with addiction, Brown
recommends the following first steps of action:
- Check in with your company's Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
- Visit your primary health care provider for a screening and/or referral to
- Keep in mind that there are many resources for help with addiction,
including mental health professionals, social workers, doctors specializing in
addiction medicine, and private and not-for-profit programs.
- Remember how you got involved in the addiction in the first place, and try
to avoid places, things, and people associated with it.
- If your job involves the activity that got you addicted in the first place,
explore workplace alternatives.
- Take things one day at a time.