While American workplaces have been affected by employee drug misuse and abuse for decades, prescription drugs have been playing a larger and larger role in workplace-related substance abuse referrals over the past five to ten years.
It’s important to understand how controlled substances that have legitimate medical purposes are misused and how to tell the difference between employee use and misuse. Understanding Adderall in the workplace is especially important because of its use as a performance enhancing drug by some professionals.
Adderall and Attention Deficit Problems
Plenty of adults legitimately need access to Adderall and other stimulant medications to control symptoms related to attention deficit disorders. For these employees, lack of access to the medication can be the difference between being able to function on a daily basis and losing the organizational control and focus necessary to be a good employee. The key to recognizing workplace Adderall abuse is knowing the difference between legitimate use and misuse. Legitimate Adderall use has a few key characteristics:
- The employee has a single prescription from a single source
- Dosage is consistent and controlled, with changes made only under a doctor’s supervision
- Adderall use does not involve crash and recovery periods due to amphetamine fatigue
- Employee moods and performance is controlled through use, as opposed to becoming less controlled
Understanding Stimulant Abuse Symptoms
Employees who misuse this substance commonly experience sleep problems and escalating anxiety, but they also exhibit several other symptoms that can be visible to others. Visible signs of Adderall abuse include:
- Stimulant use escalates as pressures mount
- The employee needs extended recovery time to mitigate the effects of the drug
- Dosage is uncontrolled and unsupervised by doctors
- Moods might be erratic and include paranoia, aggression, mania, or panic
- Problems with personal organization or hygiene
- Disordered speech
Supporting Employees Seeking Recovery
Like many prescription drugs, totally excluding Adderall in the workplace is not possible, and it shouldn’t be necessary, given the vast number of people helped by the drug. At the same time, though, its availability makes Adderall a substance with a high potential for abuse. If you want to help minimize Adderall abuse in your workplace, it’s important to offer your employees real recovery resources and to encourage staff members to utilize those resources when they need help.
Make sure your workplace drug policy emphasizes the dangers of prescription drug misuse, including workplace Adderall abuse. Most professionals who use stimulants as performance enhancing drugs do so because of perceived pressures. These pressures can often be reduced by offering your employees resources that mitigate workplace stress.
For more information about how you can provide employee support programs that diminish the misuse of Adderall and other stimulants in the workplace, contact Mazzitti and Sullivan EAP.