For any business owner or CEO who looks upon their employees as valuable assets and who genuinely wishes to support them whenever the need arises, one scenario which can occur is that one of those valued employees admits that they are suffering from drug addiction and require entering a program that will include a drug rehab program.

Unfortunately, some employers will see this as a line being crossed and that the individual is no longer wanted. However, many others will take a more sympathetic view and wish to support it the individual. These different reactions will occur for a variety of reasons such as the nature of the business, the business owner’s own views on drug-taking, and their knowledge or lack of knowledge of what drug addiction is.

The latter of those reasons often means the reaction to being told one of their employees is addicted to drugs, comes not from any bias or prejudices, but from them not knowing nor having no understanding of what addiction is and what it means either to the individual addict, or to those around them, including their work colleagues and managers.

To address this we thought it would be worthwhile if we provided those employers who wish to know more about addiction some basic insights as to why it occurs and why the finger of blame should not always be pointed towards the individual addict. As such we hope that this greater knowledge will make you a better, and more understanding employer.

What Is Addiction?

Addiction is the physical and psychological need to use, take, or do something to a level where it becomes harmful to the individual physically, psychologically, or both. The addiction itself can be to anything, although the ones that are the most widespread and gain the most publicity include addiction to:

Illegal Drugs
Prescribed Medication
Alcohol
Solvents
Gambling
Tobacco
Pornography
Self-Harm
Sex
Foods
Work
Internet
Gaming

As an employer, you might be interested to see work on that list, but work addiction exists and is evidenced by someone working excessive hours and thinking of nothing else except their work to the exclusion of everything else. In truth those some behaviours of thinking of nothing else and focusing on the source of their addiction is common in all addictions as any ex-drug user or reformed alcohol will attest to.

The Root Causes Of Addiction

With addiction, the actual focus of that addiction is not really important, other than the fact that some, such as drugs tobacco, and alcohol will induce a physical addiction, as well as a psychological addiction. With these, the user enjoys the feeling that these create in the body, although these are primarily chemically induced feelings.

With other addictions, such as gambling or internet use, the ‘good’ feeling is purely phycological in nature as obviously there are no substances being introduced to the body whilst these activities are taking place. Nevertheless, to the addict, regardless of whether the high comes from physical substances or an activity, it matters not to them, and as each high is experienced, the addiction to what is creating it, grows more and more.

It has been suggested that addictions can be genetic, and the likelihood of the child of addictive parent becoming addicted to something is higher. Addiction can also arise from the individual trying to block out a bad experience or something which is causing them distress. This is often cited when statistics show someone in poverty or who has had an abusive childhood is more likely to be an addict.