The Effects Addiction Treatment Could Have on Employment

People often shy away from seeking treatment for drug or alcohol abuse out of fear that it would damage their job search prospects and impact future employment opportunities. But not getting substance abuse treatment can be even more detrimental to you in the long run. Research has shown that individuals who received help were far more likely to remain employed or obtain a better position than those without any assistance.

If you or someone close to you is worried that entering a treatment program could negatively impact their employment status, know that the decision to get help is safeguarded by various laws and acts. This will not only benefit your future career prospects through sobriety but also drastically improve your overall quality of life.


Taking the First Steps and Talking to Your Employer About Rehab

As you may be aware, substance abuse disorder can have detrimental effects on your job performance. Perhaps you’ve been neglecting certain tasks, absent from shifts often, or unable to concentrate. When it’s time to inform your employer, it’s important to help them understand your choice to seek help and the steps you intend to take toward recovery. Reassure them of your dedication and commitment to not only becoming a better employee but also to a successful post-rehab future.

  • Demonstrate to your employer that you are open and willing to receive help. Being truthful, direct, and transparent will provide them the information they need to support you through this journey.
  • Ensure that all of your tasks are completed, and your responsibilities are taken care of. See to it that any unresolved issues have been addressed and arrange for your colleagues or supervisor to take on the workload in case something needs attention while you’re away.
  • Let your colleagues know you are taking a temporary break. If bringing up the fact that you may be going to rehab makes you uncomfortable, just explain that it is time for a pause in your career. You have the right to keep details of addiction treatment confidential.


Policies In Place That Protect You in Your Workplace.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is in place to safeguard people in recovery from addiction discrimination in the workplace. This means that employers may not terminate your employment based on your decision to receive treatment for substance abuse. If you believe that you’ve been unfairly treated after deciding to seek help, then a charge of discrimination can be filed against your employer through the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

If you meet the requirements, the Family and Medical Leave Act enables employees to take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid but job-guaranteed leave in a single year for specified medical or family reasons. Additionally, this covers access to treatment at rehabilitation centers related to drug or alcohol use. Your employer is obligated by law to keep confidential any information they receive concerning your addiction or rehab treatments.


Financing Addiction Treatment

To ensure the best possible access to treatment for substance abuse, you should investigate whether your employer offers an employee assistance program. In addition, reach out to your health insurance provider to see what type of coverage is available and make sure that medical necessity can be demonstrated. With these steps taken care of, it will provide greater peace of mind knowing that proper help is within easy reach.


Criteria For Proving Your Need for Medical Treatment

  • You have been diagnosed with a substance use disorder included in the DSM-5 criteria.
  • Your history reveals patterns of serious addiction and substance abuse, which have had detrimental consequences on your personal relationships, educational attainment, or job performance.
  • Despite the repeated attempts of professionals to help you in the past three months, you remain unable to stay sober.
  • You find yourself in an unviable living environment that doesn’t give you access to the necessary rehabilitation treatments and alternative living solutions which are clinically appropriate.
  • Evidence suggests that you will be unlikely to make progress if treated at a low intensity of care.
  • You are facing serious, imminent physical harm as a result of substance abuse, such as medical and physical instability, that would prevent you from attaining treatment in less intensive settings
  • Based on your current diagnosis, residential treatment is the ideal path forward, and there is no need to detox in a hospital setting. In addition, you do not have any major co-occurring mental health conditions that should be considered.
  • You possess the mental strength necessary to benefit from rehabilitation.
  • Your commitment to managing symptoms and changing behaviors is demonstrated by your attendance of treatment sessions, completion of therapeutic tasks, adherence to a medication regimen, or any other directives provided in treatment.
  • You have the power to grow your abilities and nurture effective habits that can help you manage your symptoms or make meaningful changes.


If medical coverage appears to fall short of covering your treatment expenses, there is an abundance of options for people who need additional help. Most therapy centers can arrange a convenient payment plan or locate other means to enable you to finance the cost.


Returning to Your Job

People with extensive 12 Step experience generally suggest that individuals in early recovery don’t make any drastic changes within the first year, including job changes and major relationship decisions. What’s the reason for a waiting period of one year? During your recovery process, you’re bound to go through many major alterations and adjustments in life. Though they tend to be beneficial, even the most advantageous changes come with some degree of anxiety.

You’ll likely learn more about yourself than ever before during this time. Delving into therapy will offer insight into emotions that were once numbed by substance abuse and enable you to heal from any trauma and confront old beliefs you might have had. All these activities contribute to essential growth, which may not have been possible while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

In a period of drastic transformation, it’s natural to want to make a number of changes in your life. This could even be true for your career. What used to be engaging might no longer seem suitable or enjoyable now, and the pressure from work becomes unbearable without self-medication. Addicts have a tendency to be extreme in their behavior, with hot and cold moments and varying levels of energy from day to day, even while they are sober. This extremity can often cause them to make impulsive decisions, including switching careers abruptly.

While you go through lifestyle changes, it’s sensible to have something consistent and familiar that serves as your safe haven. Although the job may not be thrilling, if you’re good at what it requires, then there is no need to change jobs immediately. The fact that everything else in your life is changing should provide more than enough incentive for staying on track in recovery, and potentially adding additional stress or uncertainty won’t help progress any further.

With all these reasons, it’s obvious why staying in your current job is so crucial. Before making the decision to switch jobs, take some time to reflect. Wait at least a year and consult your sponsor, therapist, peers in recovery, and people you trust who can provide helpful advice. Reflecting on this change will be crucial for your progress as part of living soberly in recovery.


Finding A New Job After Rehab

If you’re among the countless people who have finished an inpatient program at a drug abuse treatment center, chances are that securing employment is one of your main objectives. You aren’t alone on this journey back into the job market. It can be daunting for someone transitioning out of rehabilitation to find employment, and it’s natural to think there will be roadblocks along the way. Confronting the reality of having a gap in your employment history due to receiving addiction treatment, feeling apprehensive about disclosing past substance use issues, and being concerned you might experience discrimination from employers are all reasonable concerns that may be on your mind.

Despite the challenges of recovery, many individuals have gone on to lead prosperous lives and work in careers they love post-rehabilitation. Moreover, these days there are a number of employers who are open to hiring those with prior alcohol or drug issues.

Don’t let your recovery hinder you from reaching your goals. You can achieve success in both sobriety and your career if you remain proactive and prioritize self-care. With a commitment to these goals, your dream job is well within reach.


Getting The Help You Need

If you’re hesitant to go to rehab out of fear that everything will be gone when you come back, know that there are steps in place for a successful experience both during and after. Even though the process can seem intimidating, taking the correct measures ensures your life is better than it was before entering rehab.

Keep in mind that by seeking help, you are not only more likely to retain your current job or find a better one, but you also return to work happier and healthier with a greater sense of wellness and satisfaction.


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The Union Workforce Initiative is for educational, training, and awareness purposes only. This is not an Employee Assistance Program. We help build awareness within the workforces of employer/employee assistance professionals, substance abuse professionals, nurses, doctors, and other educational professionals.