Despite what you might think, going to rehab doesn’t mean you have to quit your job. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 76 percent of people living with an addiction are also employed. Unfortunately, many people avoid getting the help they need because they fear doing so could cost them their job or hurt their careers. Luckily, that doesn’t have to be true. In fact, by avoiding addiction treatment, you can harm your job, health, relationships, mental stability, and more. The good news is there are several ways you can now seek and receive addiction treatment without sacrificing your career.
How Addiction Can Affect Job Performance
Misusing drugs and alcohol may not affect job performance at first, but as time passes and addiction develops, most people become unable to do their work. Their ability to focus diminishes and their performance starts to decline. In addition, being addicted to drugs and alcohol can cause individuals to:
- Show up late to work. Using drugs and excessively drinking alcohol the night before can cause individuals to show up to work late. Heavy alcohol use can lead to severe hangovers. Stimulant drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and amphetamines can keep individuals from getting much-needed sleep. Benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, Lunesta, Ambien, and Sonata can cause individuals to oversleep. In addition to affecting individuals’ work performance, showing up to work and meetings late can negatively affect their reputation in the workplace.
- Consistently miss days of work. After addicted individuals have been confronted about showing up late to work, they may choose to miss work instead. Individuals might also find themselves missing days of work when they haven’t fully recovered from a hangover or “come down” from a drug. Missing days of work can also happen when an individual’s tolerance to their substance of choice increases. When this happens, they’ll need more of the substance to obtain the desired effects and may experience symptoms of withdrawal if they don’t, which can make going into work feel overwhelming.
- Sacrifice their integrity. To obtain their next high, many individuals clock in and out of work early. Some people might even steal money from their coworkers or employers or use drugs or alcohol while at work. More often than not, these small sacrifices of integrity often lead to bigger lies that can cause individuals to lose their job.
- Lose the belief systems and values that made them a great employee. Addiction changes people. One of the main ways individuals become less like themselves is that their values, beliefs, and morals change. As the core values that make individuals great employees change, so does their work ethic.
Signs It’s Time To Get Help
Many people grappling with addiction try to hide their substance use from coworkers and employers, but there are some signs they may display that often indicate addiction.
Some common signs of addiction in the workplace can include:
- Avoiding coworkers and friends
- Becoming easily irritated and blaming others for personal mistakes
- A decline in personal appearance or hygiene
- Taking time off for vague illnesses or family problems
- Complaints of failing relationships at home
- Openly talking about money problems
The good news is that there are several ways individuals can go to rehab and still keep their job.
How To Keep Your Job As You Seek and Receive Addiction Treatment
If you or someone you love needs to seek treatment while maintaining their job, there’s hope. There are several federal laws and workplace policies in place to protect people who want to recover from addiction challenges and stay employed. In addition, there are rehabilitation programs that allow individuals to live at home and continue to work while receiving addiction treatment. Here’s how you can seek treatment and keep your job.
Use Your Company’s EAP Program
Many companies have employee assistance programs (EAP) to help workers with personal or work-related challenges. The challenges can include substance abuse, mental health troubles, and family difficulties. When you use an EAP, you will be connected with trusted providers that can help you begin the addiction recovery process. You can also receive free counseling through your company’s employee assistance program. Once your free sessions end, ask your EAP counselor about local addiction treatment programs that are flexible enough to allow you to work.
Check Your Health Insurance Policy
You can also seek addiction treatment by contacting your health insurance provider and finding out what types of addiction treatment are covered in your plan as well as which rehabilitation facilities are in your network. Once you have this information you can choose to either take a leave of absence from work (thanks to federal laws in place to protect you) or look into outpatient addiction treatment that enables you to work and attend treatment at the same time.
Take A Leave Of Absence From Work Through FMLA
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows full-time employees to take 12 weeks of medical leave each year. In order to take advantage of this law, your employer must have 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the organization’s worksite. In addition, you must have been an employee of the company for at least a year and have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours the year before you take the leave. Even though FMLA leave is unpaid, your employer can provide you with paid leave if they choose to do so. If they choose not to pay you, you can apply for disability benefits.
Know Your Rights Under The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
When you enter a rehab program, the ADA protects you from losing your job for any reason related to addiction or addiction treatment. If your employer violates the law and fires you, you can file a discrimination charge against them. The Americans with Disabilities Act applies to all state and local government employers and private companies with 15 or more employees.
Consider Outpatient Addiction Treatment
You can also consider outpatient addiction treatment programs. If you choose to enroll in an outpatient program, you can continue to live at home and work while receiving treatment. Most outpatient programs are ideal for people with mild addiction challenges. But many rehab facilities also offer intensive outpatient programs (IOP) that can help you recover from moderate to severe substance use challenges, too. Counseling, support group meetings, medication if appropriate, and random drug tests are all key aspects of outpatient treatment. Other benefits of outpatient treatment include:
- Getting help from close family members and friends
- Building a sober community with others in recovery areas
If you decide to enroll in an outpatient program, ask your boss about reasonable accommodations. The most common accommodations include:
- A modified work schedule so you can attend treatment sessions and peer support meetings
- A leave of absence to receive treatment
Here at Meta Addiction Treatment, we offer 3 different types of outpatient treatment programs.
Helping You Get The Treatment You Need Without Sacrificing Your Job
Having a job doesn’t mean you have to avoid addiction treatment. You can take advantage of your company’s EAP, take a leave of absence, apply for disability, take advantage of federal policies, or enroll in an outpatient program. We can help you get the help you need without sacrificing your job. So contact us today if you or a loved one need help seeking addiction treatment.