Life often takes unexpected turns for the worse. When unplanned events like disasters or financial setbacks take place, individuals tend to increase their consumption of alcohol, prescription medications, or even illegal drugs. This poses a risk to business owners if one of their employees undergoes such challenges.
Drug usage after a traumatic incident can be a serious problem, especially if an individual has had a past or current substance abuse issues. These individuals often pose a risk to the workplace, thus a random drug test program, made possible through an occupational health company, should be established.
A Recognized Link
A number of studies have confirmed the link between substance abuse and emotional distress caused by traumatic events. One particular study, published in 2002, found that smoking, alcohol consumption, and marijuana use increased among the residents of Manhattan, New York just a few months after the 9/11 attacks. Furthermore, individuals who increased the amount of cigarettes and marijuana smoked were found to have the biggest likelihood to experience post-traumatic stress disorder.
What causes such phenomenon to occur? According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, this is due to the fact that disasters and traumatic events frequently happen with little warning, creating chaos for families and their communities. Individuals affected by these events feel sadness, grief and anger, and need to find an outlet to help them cope.
Paving the Way for Recovery
As an employer, it’s important that workers experiencing life challenges have quick access to resources and treatment. Such treatment for an individual’s behavioral health must be readily accessible to help them quickly begin the recovery process.
First, you can encourage your workers to call SAMHSA’s free and confidential Disaster Distress Helpline, which offers crisis counseling all day and all year. It’s also recommended that you become aware of the 12 warning signs of distress among employees, including lack of sleep, stomach aches or headaches, anger, overwhelming sadness, constant worrying, the need to become busy, lack of energy, changes in eating habits, difficulty connecting with others, helplessness for ever feeling happy again, and rejecting help from other people.
You can be made aware of instances of substance abuse among your employees by working with an occupational healthcare company, like U.S. HealthWorks Medical Group. With their help, you can also ensure that these workers find immediate treatment for their substance problems. Helping these individuals on their way to recovery can get back on their feet in no time.
Watching Out for Signs of Trouble, Occupational Health & Safety
Warning Signs and Risk Factors for Emotional Distress, SAMSHA