Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol and Substance Abuse in Executives and Professionals
Appears intoxicated or hung over
Deterioration of physical appearance and grooming
Unpredictability, strange behavior, inappropriate behavior
Withdrawal from responsibility
General changes in overall attitude
Overwhelmed easily, unable to manage emotions, emotional outbursts, overreacts
Aggressiveness or becomes withdrawn
Forgetfulness, poor concentration, short attention span, “blank spots” in memory
Loses sense of humor, misinterprets situations, loses sense of perspective
Becomes suspicious and distrustful
Loses touch with reality at times
Loss of intellectual sharpness, creativity, business acumen
Becomes indecisive, confused
Change in weight
Frequent medical visits
Frequent absence and inability to account for whereabouts during work day, misses deadlines, appointments
Legal, family, social, medical problems
Needs a drink to relieve stress
Quickly drinks or gulps down several drinks to “loosen up”
Availability and consumption of alcohol becomes the focus of social or professional activities.
Individual becomes erratic, temperamental, irritable, difficult to get along with
Quality of work deteriorates
Quality of presentations deteriorates
Poor business judgment
Trouble making decisions
Misses work on Mondays and Fridays
Frequent medical leaves of several days duration
Missing during the middle of the workday
Odor of alcohol when around individual, especially on breath
Shakiness, trembling hands in the morning
Frequent trips to hospitals, medical providers
Increase or decrease in weight
Changes in skin appearance, including flushed skin on nose and cheeks
Repeated injuries, bruises, cuts & scrapes, limping
Repeated complaints of fatigue, lack of energy, inability to concentrate, headache
General “run down” appearance
Stimulants (cocaine, methamphetamine and others):
Dry mouth and nose, bad breath, frequent lip licking, teeth grinding, body tremors.
Excessive activity, difficulty sitting still, lack of interest in food or sleep.
Irritable, argumentative, nervous, extreme moodiness.
Talkative, excited speech and incessant talking but conversation often lack continuity; changes subjects rapidly. “Grabs spotlight” during presentations, meetings
Runny nose, cold or chronic sinus infections, nose bleeds.
Use or possession of paraphernalia including small spoons, razor blades, mirror, little bottles of white powder and plastic, glass or metal straws.
Euphoria, expansive mood
Chronic financial difficulties in spite of more than adequate compensation
Progressively aggressive or violent behavior, unusual temper tantrums
Increased physical or sexual activity
False sense of confidence and power
Purposeless, repetitious behavior
Compulsive cleaning, grooming, sorting, disassembling
Depressants (barbiturates, tranquilizers):
Symptoms of alcohol intoxication with no alcohol odor on breath (slurred speech, stumbling gait, droopy eyes, etc).
Lack of facial expression or animation
Opiates (painkillers, heroin, morphine):
Euphoria, tranquility, apathy, and impaired judgment. (Although the initial effects are generally calming or dulling, psychomotor agitation and aggressiveness can occur).
Excessively active, frantic or lethargic, drowsy, nods off during meetings
Very pale and sweaty or extremely thirsty
Small, “pin prick” pupils
Frequent itching and scratching
Red and raw nostrils (sign of sniffing)
Wears long sleeves even when inappropriate (sign of injecting)