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What is Asking for Time Off Work for Treatment?

Asking for time off work for treatment can be a scary thing for most.

It is hard enough admitting to yourself that you have a problem and need help.

Now you have to go to your employer to tell them you have an addiction and need help.

It is vital that you remember that you need help. This is the only way you can get healthy.

Do not worry about what they might say or how they will react.

Know that you are doing this for your health and well-being.

Understanding Addiction

Research from a 2013 study indicates that 75% of adults with a substance use disorder are in the workforce.

Considering that roughly 23.5 million individuals in America struggle with a substance use disorder, many Americans are impacted by drugs and alcohol at work.

While stereotypes may suggest that these are lower paid, service employees, this is not necessarily the case.

Evidence suggests that middle-class workers consume more alcohol than other groups within the workforce. Occupations such as police officers, firefighters, lawyers, and medical staff are disproportionately at a higher risk for addiction.

However, studies also show that less than 11% of those struggling with addiction get the help they need. With so many people coping with addiction and maintaining employment, it is common to worry that they will lose their jobs if they seek treatment.

Understanding your rights and resources will help you know how to pursue your recovery journey and experience a healthier future.
In 2018, 67,367 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, while alcohol is known to kill roughly 88,000 people every year.

What Are My Rights with Seeking Addiction Treatment?

Before you assume that you cannot pursue recovery while working, there are some considerations to keep in mind to help you request the assistance you need.

First, there are legal protections in place for employees who seek substance abuse recovery. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) outlines substance abuse addiction as a disability and prevents discrimination against those seeking treatment or a history of substance abuse.

Second, The Family and Medical Leave Act is a law that provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected, benefits-eligible leave per year. However, depending on your employer’s size, how long you have worked there, and other considerations, your employer may not necessarily be required to extend this time.

Either way, it is a valuable resource to understand since many larger employers do extend this benefit.
But these are not necessarily your only options. It is increasingly common for employers to offer programs to assist their employees in seeking recovery.

Studies show that individuals with substance use issues miss 50% more workdays than their peers. Additionally, excessive alcohol use is estimated to have cost the U.S. economy $249 billion in 2010 — roughly 74% of which resulted from reduced productivity on the job.

Mental Illness and Addiction Treatment

You must keep in mind that addiction is a mental illness, and in many cases, triggered by other underlying mental health concerns.

It is essential because it may be tempting to believe that you can quit your substance use addiction “cold turkey” or that you don’t need to seek recovery. But opting to manage your addiction alone or use only self-help resources, driven by the belief that you “don’t have time” or out of fear of speaking to a human resources staff member about addiction treatment, is dangerously short-sighted.

Your recovery needs are real, and the risks of untreated addiction can include severe depression, insomnia, anxiety, heart attack, cancer, stroke, damaged relationships, financial instability, and other potentially tragic outcomes.


The amount of time you will need to take for your recovery will depend on several factors, including your health, the substance you have used, and how long you have been addicted.

But as we mentioned before, this is not the time to rush. Failure to address all of your concerns or not taking the time you need to develop meaningful coping mechanisms will only shortchange your health and recovery.

Instead, have a thoughtful conversation with your employer, and contact a responsive treatment center.
Educate yourself on strategies and discuss your history, needs, and concerns openly. Though it may be uncomfortable, this strategy will help you get a clearer picture of your recovery timeline and communicate respectfully with your employer about how vital your recovery will be to your future success.

Payment Information

Do you want treatment but are worried about how you can pay for it?
We have a team of financial professionals who provide free insurance verification.
We will work with you to determine how to move forward with the treatment that works for you and your financial situation.

How to Get Help

At BriteLife Recovery, located in beautiful Hilton Head, SC, you will be welcomed by our team of professionals dedicated to helping you recover and heal from your addiction.

BriteLife Recovery is a place of peace, a place of support, and a place of recovery.

You will receive supervised drug detoxification, medication therapy, residential, outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs, progressive therapies, peer support, and one-on-one counseling for your addiction in our care.

Call BriteLife Recovery today to schedule your consultation.

Let BriteLife Recovery light your way to recovery through comprehensive addiction treatment.

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