Many working professionals struggle with alcoholism and drug addiction, including healthcare professionals. One common barrier that keeps professionals from seeking treatment is the fear of losing their careers. However, entering treatment is the only way to save both their health and career.
The Use of Substances to Cope With Work-Related Stress
Very few people are immune to work-related stress. Common sources of stress include long working hours, commuting, over-competition, unreasonable employers, and challenging co-worker relationships. Without intentionally practicing self-care and having access to a workplace wellness program, work-related stress can build up.
Among working professionals, stress often goes unnoticed. People get used to their working environment even when stress levels are high. But over time, they may develop chronic depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. These conditions increase the risk of substance use tendencies. In the field of healthcare, when faced with the high accessibility of drugs, healthcare professionals may be tempted to self-medicate and misuse medications.
Having substance use problems while working can tip one’s life off balance. Some common behavioral patterns include absenteeism, low productivity, low employee morale, and social avoidance. In some high-stress sectors such as banking, systemic cocaine use has become the norm to work the grueling long hours. Young professionals jeopardize their long-term health for their short-term work.
The Prevalence of Workplace Addiction Denialism
Like mental health illnesses, substance addiction has been widely stigmatized. For this reason, many working professionals prefer to hide their problems due to fear that employers or co-workers may falsely judge them. In actuality, employer-sponsored programs can support them in treatment, from start to finish.
Based on laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employees with substance addiction cannot be discriminated against in the workplace. You can even file a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if you are ever penalized for attending treatment. There is also the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which allows qualifying individuals to take 12 unpaid workweeks to pursue treatment. Your employer is required to keep the reason for your leave confidential.
Untreated Addiction Can Destroy Your Career
While it may seem better to hide your addiction and pretend like nothing is wrong with your health and emotional stability, the truth is bound to come out. If you are honest about the need for treatment, get treated, and return to work more focused, you are more likely to keep your job.
Addiction is a serious disease that damages the brain and other major organs. The worst impact substance use can have on your future is to destroy your health. You also would not want to commit any crime under the influence of drugs or alcohol. All drug and alcohol-related charges will show up on background checks whenever you seek new employment paths. Getting treatment for your addiction is the best way out.
Choosing the Right Treatment Program
When you decide to begin treatment, understand that there are many options, including outpatient options that offer flexible scheduling for working clients. This option allows a certain degree of treatment privacy because you will still be showing up at work. If you need to enter into residential rehab, you then need to talk with your employer about how to make those accommodations.
Many recovery-supportive employers offer employee assistance programs that refer you to trusted health providers. You can also decide whether you need to use an FMLA-protected leave. While you do not have to share every detail about the treatment with your employer, being honest about the next steps can help build trust and accountability.
It is also important to prepare for your absence and communicate with colleagues. You can state the reason as medical leave and share work responsibilities with others. If someone continues to press you on the matter, it is perfectly appropriate to say that you do not feel comfortable talking about it.
Avoiding Workplace Stressors in Recovery
If you are going through treatment while holding a job, it is important to identify the common sources of stress at work. You can begin with detox and then work with a therapist who guides you through coping with work-related stress. You might be advised to reduce work hours, decline a heavier workload, or make other helpful adjustments. Treatment centers that advocate for holistic care can help you make the transition.
A key strategy is to build more healthy boundaries and self-care practices during work hours. Learn to reserve more self-care breaks during the day. Try to carve out time for practicing mindfulness meditation whenever you feel overwhelmed or stressed. Be a wellness advocate at work. Stress management and time management can help you become more focused while still having time for self-care.
Have you been struggling with work-related stress? Lack of relief from chronic stress may lead to substance use and addiction. If this is the case for you, it is time to work with recovery experts who can help you detox and manage workplace stress. A holistic approach can help you recover with sustainability. At Capo Canyon Recovery, near Mission Viejo, CA, we take pride in our holistic path, which is incremental to a sustainable, long-term recovery. We focus on each stage of recovery, both in terms of physical health and mental health. Our inpatient residential care and outpatient, long-term care programs offer unmatched benefits. We provide excess comfort with an in-house chef, luxurious beds, and an onsite organic garden during your sobriety journey. With Capo Canyon Recovery, you can rely on us to help you achieve long-term sobriety. Call us at (800) 804-8714.