Recovering from addiction is a process that takes time. Depending on the severity of the addiction, it may require more than several weeks to completely cure yourself. Unlike the common stereotype, many people living with addiction also have families, homes, and jobs that they keep up with. According to statistics, 76% of people with addictions hold jobs.
Many people who have addictions do not seek professional help because of the fear of workplace discrimination or losing their position. Instead, many may try to cover up their symptoms with medication. The best thing that one can do in this situation is to go and seek help from a rehab center.
Can I Work While Treating Addiction?
You can safely choose to use the services of a drug rehab, and maintain your normal job and daily life at the same time. There are laws that protect people with addictions from discrimination or getting fired. With that question out of the way, it is even recommended to treat addictions as it will open the room up for better job positions and career advancement.
Laws Regarding Work and Addiction Treatment
People who suffer from addictions are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Both of these ensure that people with addiction do not lose the job that sustains them. When you choose to enter a rehabilitation program, you cannot be fired even if you do not go to work. If you are by any chance fired, you can file a charge against your employer. This applies to any employer with more than 15 workers.
The qualified for addiction therapy employee can use 12 weeks of medical leave for treatment each year. This is a non-paid leave unless the employer decides to pay. In this case, you can apply for disability benefits until treatment is over and then go back to work. Only employees who make less than the average of $1,000 per month have the right to use disability benefits.
Other than that, employers are required to remain confidential on your case. This will ensure that your workplace reputation is intact.
Addiction therapy is divided into two categories. There are inpatient and outpatient rehab options. Outpatient rehab is one where you can maintain your life and work schedule while still receiving treatment at certain hours of the day when you are free from other responsibilities.
The time required to visit for outpatient treatment is usually 10 to 12 hours per week. The sessions usually include education on the topic of drug abuse, counseling, and helping addicts cope without abusive substances. This treatment is most suitable if you have a mild addiction problem and can still perform relatively well in your daily activities.
The first step of any rehabilitation is the detox program. This is the point of treatment in which the person manages to go through the initial withdrawal symptoms. For outpatient rehab patients, this usually requires a week. During this period, the patient must complete physical and mental check-ups with the rehabilitation facility doctors. Medication may be prescribed to help ease symptoms of withdrawal.
Talk to Your Employer
The best piece of advice for you concerning your job is to notify your employer about the ongoing therapy. Even if you can squeeze in your work hours between outpatient sessions, the withdrawal symptoms may show up during work and lower your performance. If your employer knows about your rehabilitation program, they will not dismiss you from your job because of lower work performance. Since you are protected by law, no one except you and the employer will know about your ongoing treatment.
Your Job After Treatment
Once you complete rehabilitation, you may have to complete a Return-to-Work Agreement (RTWA). This is a document with all the employer’s expectations after your rehab. This is used in cases when the employer approached the employee for failure to perform work responsibilities. After treatment, the requirements to return to the previous work position include:
- Abstinence from all alcohol/drugs except ones with medical prescriptions.
- A time period of regular drug tests.
- Complience with addiction treatment recommendations.
- Agreement of monitored complience by the comapany including updates from medical doctors.
- Paying for the monitoring and treatment unless covered by insurance.
- Agreement to discipline for company violations.
The best thing that you can do to improve your career is to seek out therapy and begin treatment straight away. There is nothing to worry about, and there are laws that protect your professional life when under treatment. Take your life into your own hands. Call us today — we are here to help.