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Signs of Concern

What to Look For:  

Personality Changes

  • Direct statements indicating distress
  • Constant sadness or tearfulness
  • Constant anxiety or irritability
  • Unprovoked anger or hostility
  • Expressions of hopelessness or worthlessness

Behavioral Changes

  • Deterioration in quality of work
  • A negative change in performance
  • Repeated absences from important activities
  • Continual seeking of special accommodations
  • Repeated trouble getting along with others

Physical Changes

  • Deterioration in physical appearance
  • Visible weight changes
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Sleeping much more or much less
  • Coming to work bleary-eyed or smelling of alcohol
  • Needle marks or bandages

Workplace Changes

  • Patient or staff complaints
  • Unusual pattern of prescribing of drugs
  • Inappropriate orders
  • Personal administration of drugs to patients
  • Unreachable when on call

Other Factors to Consider

  • Personal losses (e.g., divorce, deaths)
  • Decreased self-care (e.g., discontinuing exercise)
  • Expression of concern noted by peers
  • A hunch or gut-level feeling on your part that something is wrong
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