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Can Working Professionals Attend Addiction Treatment?

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Can Working Professionals Attend Addiction Treatment?

Written by Genesis Recovery

When you decide to attend addiction treatment for substance abuse challenges, there are many details you need to think about. One of your main concerns may be whether or not you can attend drug rehab and keep your job. After all, most people can’t simply leave their job for several weeks at a time. Yet an estimated 75% of people struggling with addiction challenges have jobs and need to pay bills, support their families, and grow their professional careers. Maintaining that daily structure and financial stability can be hard to do when you need to add addiction treatment to your list of obligations.

You might also fear that getting treatment for substance use problems may hurt your career or get you fired. Luckily, there are laws in place that can protect you from workplace discrimination and from being fired for addiction challenges. Even though it may seem daunting, working professionals can work and attend drug rehab. Inpatient treatment, which requires you to stay onsite at the treatment facility, isn’t the only option for addiction treatment. For many people, outpatient treatment can be just as effective as inpatient treatment while allowing you to maintain your day-to-day routine, including your career.

What is Outpatient Treatment?

Most addiction treatment programs fall into one of two categories: inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation. Inpatient treatment, which is a type of residential treatment that requires you to temporarily “pause" your work and family commitments, is more widely known. Outpatient treatment is a part-time program that allows you to recover while you go to work or school during the day. Generally, behavioral health experts recommend outpatient treatment programs for people with mild addiction challenges. But many rehab facilities offer intensive outpatient programs that can help treat working professionals with moderate substance use challenges. Counseling, support group meetings, medication as needed, and random drug tests are all key aspects of outpatient treatment.

Benefits of Outpatient Rehab For Professionals

One of the greatest benefits of outpatient treatment is the flexibility these programs offer. When you’re enrolled in an outpatient program, you don’t have to worry about taking a leave of absence from work or school. But flexibility isn’t the only benefit an outpatient program has to offer. Other advantages of outpatient addiction treatment can include:

  • Affordable costs. Outpatient treatment costs are typically less than inpatient programs because you don’t have to pay for living expenses. However, most insurance providers will cover at least a portion of the cost of both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs.
  • Getting help from close family members and friends. Outpatient programs allow you to live at home so you can get support from close family members and friends at all stages of your treatment program and recovery journey.
  • Privacy and connections. Going away for weeks for addiction treatment can be isolating, especially if you have close connections to coworkers, neighbors, and friends. Outpatient treatment can help you get the support you need while maintaining your privacy and social connections.
  • Building a sober community with others in recovery areas. A successful recovery journey requires a lot of support. You need to develop relationships with people that fully understand what you’re going through, that support you, and that will hold you accountable. In an outpatient program, you can do that from day one of treatment. You don’t have to wait until you leave treatment to start building a supportive sober community in the area where you live and work.

Can You Attend Inpatient Treatment While Working?

working professional struggling with drug addiction

If medical professionals don’t believe outpatient treatment will work for your specific addiction challenges, you can attend inpatient treatment and take a leave of absence from your job. You can do so through accrued time off from your job, or you can take advantage of two legislative acts created to help you get the treatment you need without losing your job. The two acts that make it possible for you to enroll in treatment and keep your job are 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 fires you, you can file a discrimination charge against your employer. The Americans with Disabilities Act applies to all state and local government employers and private companies with 15 or more employees.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA allows qualified full-time (not part-time or contract) employees to take 12 weeks of medical leave for substance use disorders each year. To qualify for FMLA, your employer must have 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the worksite. Also, you must have worked at that company for a minimum of 1 year and have worked 1,250 hours the year before you take leave. The leave provided by FMLA is generally unpaid, but your employer can provide you with paid leave if they choose to. It may be a good idea to talk to your supervisor personally about your addiction challenges if you plan on asking for paid leave. If your employer refuses to offer you paid leave under the FMLA, you can apply for disability benefits until you complete treatment and return to work.
  • Disability. Applying for disability can be a tricky, complicated, and confusing process. Here’s what you need to know. In order to qualify for disability payments, you have to show that you don’t make more than $1,000 per month. You’ll also need to show your disability will last for longer than a year and that your health issues impact your ability to work. If you match both of those criteria and you’re able to undertake a verification process, you should have no problem qualifying for and receiving disability payments.

Your employer cannot discriminate against you for taking FMLA leave, but if they have a substance abuse policy in place and it includes a provision about enrolling in treatment, they can terminate your employment. So do your research and read through your employee handbook and HR policies before you talk to your employer.

How to Talk to Your Employer About Going to Rehab

Talking to your employer about taking time off for addiction treatment may make you feel nervous and embarrassed, but you need to be upfront and honest. If you don’t get the treatment you need, your performance at work may decline and you may get fired or suspended. Your physical, mental, emotional, and social wellbeing will continue to decline, as well, if you don’t get the help you need. When you talk to your employer:

  • Be honest. Don’t minimize your addiction challenges, but don’t exaggerate them, either.
  • Be humble. Express how much you value your job and work.
  • Be detailed. Tell them about your treatment plan including how long you’ll be gone and when they can expect you to return to work.
  • Be thorough when you talk about returning to work. Share with them the ways you believe addiction treatment will help improve your work ethic and add value to their company upon your return.

Let Us Help You Get The Treatment You Need

Thinking about addiction treatment and how you’re going to keep your job can be exhausting and overwhelming. But you don’t have to explore your options alone. At Genesis Recovery, we can help you navigate your options. Even though we’re a residential program, we partner with several different outpatient programs and can help connect you with a comprehensive outpatient program that will fit your needs.

If you’re interested in residential treatment, we’re happy to help answer your questions about the services and programs we provide, as well as ADA, FMLA, and disability requirements. We can also talk to you about cost, verify your insurance, and come up with a payment plan that makes you comfortable.

At Genesis Recovery, you can begin again. Let us help you get there. Contact us today at 619-797-7319 if you or a loved one are struggling with addiction challenges.

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