Substance Treatment: How To Help A Colleague Struggling with Substance Abuse

Supporting a colleague in need of substance treatment can be challenging, but your compassion and proactive steps can make a significant difference in their recovery journey. Whether you are a co-worker, a team leader, or a manager, your support can help guide them toward effective treatment. Read on to learn how you can assist colleagues in these situations 

Spotting The Signs Of Those In Need Of Substance Treatment

Before approaching a colleague, it's important to be aware of potential signs of substance abuse. These can include:

  • Changes in behaviour: This can include, but are not limited to, increased absences at work, missed deadlines, decreased focus, mood swings and irritability.
  • Physical changes: Bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, changes in appetite or sleep patterns.
  • Work performance: More mistakes, difficulty completing tasks, safety concerns.

It's crucial to remember that these signs don't always equate to substance abuse but may warrant concern.

Approaching Your Colleague With Compassion

If you suspect a colleague needs substance treatment, consider having a private and compassionate conversation with them. Choose a calm and quiet moment, and express your concern in a non-judgmental way, focusing on their well-being and your desire to help.

Here are some tips for approaching the conversation:

  • Use 'I' statements: "I've noticed you seem stressed lately. Is everything alright?"
  • Focus on their behaviour: "You've missed a few deadlines recently. Is there anything I can do to help?"
  • Offer support: "I'm here for you if you need someone to talk to."

Helping Your Colleagues Find Substance Treatment

Substance abuse is treatable, and there are many resources available to access support. Here are some ways you can help your colleague find the right treatment:

Share resources: Make them aware of organisations such as SMART Recovery Australia. 

At SMART Recovery Australia, we provide a supportive and confidential environment for individuals seeking to overcome substance abuse. 

Our approach is based on mutual support and empowers individuals to manage their own recovery.

We offer free peer-led recovery groups, guided by a trained facilitator for any type of addictive behaviour including alcohol, drugs, gambling, food etc. 

If you are interested in seeking support for a colleague, please head to our website to find out more about our recovery meetings.

Corporate Webinars to Support Your Workplace

As well as recovery meetings, we also offer corporate webinars to help companies create a supportive environment for employees struggling with substance abuse.

These webinars can equip managers and colleagues with the knowledge and tools to offer effective support and direct employees towards appropriate resources.

Recognising the signs of substance abuse in a colleague can be a daunting task, but offering support can make a world of difference. Remember, they're not alone. By starting a conversation, and encouraging them to seek professional help, you can empower them on their path to recovery. 

For more information or access to resources, please head to our website.

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