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How Professionals Succeed While Getting Addiction Treatment

Patty Bell Nov 4, 2019
You might be surprised at how many of your coworkers are either struggling with a substance use disorder or are currently in treatment for one. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 10% of the full-time workforce is dealing with a drug or alcohol problem.
SAMHSA further points out that more males use drugs and alcohol than females, and the young adult demographic has the highest substance abuse rates.
Therefore, professions that are skewed young and male will have a higher concentration of workers with substance use disorders.
The mistake that many working professionals make is to believe that their career would be jeopardized should they seek out treatment for their substance abuse.

They may worry about their reputation being tarnished, as a stigma still exists regarding the need for addiction treatment.
They may balk at the cost of rehab or simply feel they don’t really need it. A sense of pride may convince them it is a sign of weakness to have to get treatment for a drug or alcohol problem.

All of these presuppositions can easily be countered with truth and reality.

Federal Law

The federal laws, the Family and Medical Leave of Absence Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, protect individuals from losing their jobs if they should need to take a leave to go to rehab.
The law prohibits employers from discriminating against any employee who requests a medical leave of absence to pursue treatment for addiction, mental health disorders, or dual diagnosis.


When it comes to protecting one’s privacy before, during, and following a stint in rehab, there are iron-clad laws on the books.
Dating back to the 1970s, the Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Act and the Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Act were issued, and then revised in 1987.
These laws ensure that the medical records kept at an addiction treatment center are prohibited from being released without the patient’s consent.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) further protects patient privacy.

Insurance Coverage

Two important federal mandates passed in the past decade have opened up insurance coverage, in various scope, for substance use disorder, mental health disorder, and dual diagnosis treatment.
These laws are the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 and the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

In addition to more insurance coverage available now for treatment, there are also in-house financing options offered at rehabs to help with the out of pocket expenses.

Getting Real

Pridefulness and ego is a significant barrier to getting the treatment needed to slay an addiction before it has the opportunity to slay the individual.
Stubbornly resisting getting the treatment that could save your career, your marriage, and your life is short-sighted and self-delusional.

Addiction only escalates, and as it does the consequences compound.

How to Succeed At Your Career While Getting Treatment

When people think of rehab they immediately assume it entails 60-90 days in an inpatient program, necessitating an extensive leave of absence that could torpedo one’s career.
But inpatient treatment, while needed for treating more severe addictions, is not the only available option.

It is possible to continue to be a productive professional on the job while simultaneously receiving addiction treatment.
For mild to moderate substance use disorders, the outpatient rehab is a valuable treatment option.

Outpatient rehabs offer several levels of intensity, from as few as four hours per week to 30 hours per week.
While the road to reaching recovery goals will vary depending on the severity of the addiction, or whether there is a co-occurring mental health disorder (dual diagnosis), there is enough flexibility in the outpatient treatment option to make this a desirable consideration for a busy professional.

Using Outpatient Treatment Services While Working

The beauty of selecting outpatient treatment for rehab is the flexibility is offers, allowing the individual to basically put together a plan that will allow them to continue engaging in work and remain in their own home outside of treatment and work hours. There are many options available to accommodate this plan.
Detox. If detox is indicated as a necessary first step to starting treatment, this can be managed in a couple of different ways.

For a more serious addiction, an inpatient medical detox would require a short leave of absence.
The medical detox provides a continually supervised setting with ongoing medical support throughout the detox and withdrawal process.

For a mild or emerging addiction, detox can be managed through a private physician who will prescribe the pertinent medications to help ease symptoms.
Outpatient Rehab. Once detox is completed, the individual will participate in a weekly schedule of therapies and classes.
These include:
  • Recovery group meetings
  • Classes that teach about how addiction develops
  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Relapse prevention strategies
  • Medication-assisted treatment, if applicable
Sober Living. Sober living is an excellent option to combine with outpatient rehab.

It is difficult to navigate the various triggers during the early stages of recovery, so staying in a sober environment for a couple of months helps reinforce sobriety before returning home.
Executive Inpatient Rehab.

For individuals with a more entrenched addiction, the inpatient rehab option is appropriate.
This option will require a leave of absence, however, by enrolling in an executive treatment program there are accommodations made that help the professional remain engaged in business activities while in treatment.
The executive rehab is a more intensive, comprehensive approach to addiction treatment that involves a full schedule of daily therapies and activities.

These programs are upscale with luxury rehab accommodations and access to electronic devices for work-related activities.
There are many opportunities for a busy professional to continue to succeed at their job while undergoing treatment for a drug or alcohol use disorder.

Once on the road to recovery, think of how much more effective and productive—and successful—you will be.