How to Help a Co-Worker with Addiction
Fire fighting is difficult work. After years on the job, some have found healthy ways to handle the stress of the job, while others have not. If you suspect someone you work with is struggling with addiction, there are ways you can help. By staying mindful of the warning signs of addiction, reaching out, and encouraging them to seek professional help, you can connect your co-worker to the care they deserve without jeopardizing the work they love.
Watch Out for Warning Signs
Addiction manifests in many ways. Some signs and symptoms are subtle, while others are more noticeable. Any of the following may be signs of a substance use disorder:
- Increased irritability
- Frequent tardiness to shifts
- Shirking responsibility around the firehouse
- Withdrawing from fellow fire fighters
- Excessive drinking
- Missing work events
- Problems at home
- Extreme weight loss or weight gain
These signs could all indicate problems with excessive substance abuse or withdrawal. If you observe one or more of these signs in a co-worker, it might be time to have an open and honest conversation with them, or to reach out to a professional.