Work and Addiction: Admitting You Need Help

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Who Is Affected By Addiction?

Addiction is indiscriminate. It doesn’t just affect those who are already down on their luck. Many people who struggle with a substance use disorder are employed. (1) Today, work and addiction affect many people. But because addiction is often perceived negatively, such people may find it difficult to initiate their recovery in rehab. They may fear that letting their employer know they have an addiction could cause them to lose their job or negatively affect their future within the company.

There are several factors to consider when it comes to seeking time off to get treatment for substance abuse. Your addiction may already be interfering with your performance at work. Maybe you are taking sick leave too often, or you may be struggling to cope with your workload. If you do not rectify that problem, you are putting your employment at risk.

Even if you are still performing well at work, unless you get treatment for your addiction your illness is eventually going to affect your performance. There is also a strong likelihood that your employer is already aware that you are experiencing a problem. They might not suspect addiction, but hopefully your employer will be supportive if you ask for time off.

Why Rehab Is Important

Addiction is a type of illness that affects mental processes. (2) Many people who have an addiction have a genuine desire to get better, and many go through agony trying to come off drugs or alcohol. People may make several attempts to quit taking alcohol or other addictive substances with varying levels of success.

During rehab, people with addiction will meet others who are struggling with the same illness. Therapy programs help people with addiction to gain a much deeper understanding of their illness. Programs teach people how to cope with the urges to use drugs or alcohol. They also make it clear to people that relapse is not the same as failure.

How Employers Are Likely to React

It is up to each person how they will respond to a request from an employee for time off to attend rehab. Because addiction is such a widespread illness, there is a good chance that your employer will have had direct or indirect experience of dealing with addiction. There may even be other people working with you who have been through rehab.

The majority of employers are likely to respond positively. When you explain to your employer that you believe your performance at work will be much better if you receive treatment, your employer will recognize your desire to be a better employee. Furthermore, if you are willing to take time off as an unpaid employee—you may have a legal right to do this—your employer is likely to respond positively.

The Bottom Line

You know you need to take action to deal with your illness. Even if you risk losing your job, keep your own health in mind. If you do not take steps to deal with your illness, you risk losing your job anyway. Be proactive and seek treatment now.

References:

  1. http://www.sapaa.com/mpage/wp_stats_workplace
  2. http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/drug-abuse-addiction