On 8th of March (Tuesday) SPOC conducted an online seminar for employers on how to deal with when our employee or colleague has an alcohol or other substances abuse.

Moderator and lecturer was Dr. Yuri Katsarov – clinical psychologist and expert in project LIKE – Life Investment is the Key to Employment.

Ten people attended the seminar, representatives of management or human resources departments of various companies and organizations.

In a situation of pandemic, stress, anxiety and constant change, it is sometimes possible to have destructive ways to deal with bad situations. The increase in stressors affects our mental functioning and the most common mental disorders are the so-called anxiety – depressive disorders (about 8% of people in the world). Many are affected by the use of alcohol, psychoactive substances and over-the-counter medications. A study (2020) by Rogers Shepard and other psychologists shows that the pandemic is associated with a significant increase in psychiatric illness (depression, anxiety, substance use). Anxiety and fear levels are highest among users during a pandemic. Everyone has a different overload threshold, which can lead to burnout or the use of substances that seem to help them get out of stress in everyday life. This “pseudo-helping” carries many risks because it can lead to abuse. The criteria are different for women and men. For men, a drink and a half – over 150 ml., daily use. When it comes to  women – about ¼ lower, is considered problematic use. With daily abuse a person develops tolerance and in order to achieve the effect of relaxation the amount must be increased. If the use is in the workplace, the use of a psychoactive substance has already become uncontrolled. In such cases, seeking psychological support is very useful. It is good to have a conversation between the colleague that uses substances and a person who is close to him/her at work, who is not critical, but rather understanding, warm, supportive, to direct to the relevant professional help. It is possible, due to the use of alcohol or substances, to face an aggression from this person. Most often, aggressive behavior in the workplace is characterized by an increase in tone. It is important to react calmly to aggression, because the situation may escalate. If we use a line like “You don’t have to raise your voice, we’re talking calmly right now. Our goal is to do our job and we just want to help you “, can prevent the increase of aggression from the user. When the problems have not reached the difficult stages of the disease, intervention is needed.