When entering treatment for a drug use disorder, it’s inevitable that you’ll have to tell your boss or professors. What should you say to them and when?
It’s estimated that more than 20 millions Americans are living with a drug use disorder. Most of these people are nothing like the stereotypical portrayal of a person with an addiction that you might see on television. Instead, they are ordinary people who are trying their best to maintain normalcy while battling a drug use disorder behind the scenes. (1)
A drug use disorder doesn’t just develop overnight. Instead, there is a fairly predictable series of actions and behaviors that lead to the point when someone realizes that what started as occasional use is now having a significant impact on the rest of their life, including his or her professional or collegiate career.
When individuals reach the point where they’re ready to get help in treating their drug misuse disorder or addiction, they often wonder who they should tell. Treatment may involve taking time away from work or school, which means you’ll have to tell them something, but should you fully disclose your disorder to those who are in a position of authority at work or school?
Drug Treatment and Employment or School – Will Admitting to a Drug Use Problem Affect Your Career?
Many people who are suffering silently with addiction are afraid to seek help because they’re unsure of how drug treatment and employment are handled together. For instance, someone may be fearful that he or she will lose their job or face future workplace discrimination. Likewise, a student may feel that while they need help, they’re at a point in the term where breaking away, while not having it affect their grade, is impossible.
The first thing you need to know is that everything you are working so hard for right now can easily slip out of your grasp if you don’t receive treatment when you need it. Stress from work or school can mount up, making the problem worse and eventually revealing itself in your performance.
The fact is, depending on the situation, you may have more protection than you realize thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the Act, persons with addiction or substance use disorder are considered protected from being fired – if they fall within certain guidelines. The ADA only protects individuals who have developed an addiction to alcohol or other substance, as long as that substance is not illegal. For instance, an person seeking treatment for alcohol addiction would be protected under the Act, while someone who was seeking treatment for heroin addiction would not be offered the same protections. (2)
Seeking Drug Treatment While Employed
Before you talk to your employer about your drug use disorder and your plans for treatment, it’s wise to prepare yourself for the conversation first. A good starting place is learning more about your company’s policy and making sure you’re well versed in it before approaching your boss or Human Resources (HR). Someone who is being treated for addiction might be covered under the ADA, but if admitting to a substance use disorder means you’ll also be confessing to violating company policy, it is still possible that there will be ramifications.
You should also be prepared to talk to HR. Employers are expected to protect sensitive details about their employee’s health, but depending on the relationship with your employer, you may be more comfortable discussing the situation with HR.
Whether you’re approaching your boss or a professor, this is never an easy conversation. Honesty is the best policy but remember to keep the details simple. For your own protection, you’ll want to avoid turning your disclosure into a therapy session. Instead, take steps to inform them of the issue, state that you’ll be receiving treatment, how long you plan to be away and if appropriate, discuss the plan for reintegration when you return.
Addiction Recovery in Fort Washington
As difficult as it is, there are certain individuals in your professional or academic life that will need to be informed before you receive treatment. When seeking addiction recovery in Fort Washington, it’s important to feel proud and confident about your decision to seek help for your drug use disorder. The right treatment center can help you deal with the emotions that you’ll feel and help you to hold your head high when you return to work or school. Trust that no matter how difficult it is to have this conversation, that you’ll return as a more capable, healthy member of your work or school environment.
Life of Purpose Treatment
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