Struggling with alcoholism or drug dependence as a working adult can make getting into recovery even more challenging. You have to worry about keeping your job and being able to financially support yourself and/or your family.
This is a reality for many people dealing with addiction. Approximately 77% of the people who suffer from addiction are employed. Many people try to balance it on their own, being what we call high-functioning addicts. But addiction can eventually become so severe that a person could lose their job, home, and family.
The Importance of Going Through Detox
Going to a detox program is the first courageous step in the recovery process. It is vital to understand that the only way to overcome addiction is through full treatment. Getting clean is one of the most important parts of recovery.
If you need to go to a detox program but cannot afford to miss work, there are several ways to make detox more achievable and accessible to you. Knowing your options in terms of treatment, legal matters, and financial assistance can be enough to make detox more possible for you.
For people who need to keep working and/or studying, outpatient treatment might seem like the best fitting choice. That’s because you do not stay overnight at an outpatient detox program. Outpatient detox programs can be done in two different ways:
- The detox staff comes to your home to monitor and treat you
- You go to the doctor to get monitored and prescribed medication and then return home afterwards
Partial Hospitalization Programs and Intensive Outpatient Programs
Once you finish the detox stage, the substance abuse treatment begins. There are multiple service setting options for outpatient programs, and they are recommended according to the patient’s needs. They vary according to the number of visits a week and how long they are. The most simple version is basic outpatient, which usually consists of 2 to 3 short weekly sessions, of about 3 hours on average.
The partial hospitalization program (PHP) option is the most immersive version of outpatient treatment. It might require as many as 5 sessions every week, making it an almost daily commitment. These sessions can last up to 6 or 8 hours at a time. This service setting can be an answer to those who might need inpatient treatment, but cannot afford it.
An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is another option for those who want something more than basic outpatient, but less intensive than PHP. This option can require about 3 to 4 visits a week, which can be 3 hours long or more.
Who Goes to Outpatient Care?
Outpatient programs, however, tend to be recommended to people who have mild to moderate symptoms of withdrawal and addiction. Though it might be a fit for some because of their routine, it might not be enough to address their issues. People looking for help need to take their medical needs and limitations into account.
Patients need to make a big commitment to going to every single session. This means having reliable transportation, stable schedules, and being responsible. In addition to that, they need to have a healthy living environment to come home to, as free of triggers as possible. They also need to be able to count on a support system, whether it is their friends or their families. Going through outpatient treatment requires lifestyle changes that patients must do to avoid relapse.
Even if outpatient service settings make it possible to stick to your routine, it is not the right answer for everyone. Some cases are too severe and have a higher chance of relapse for outpatient programs. These patients require 24/7 medical and psychiatric supervision, or they could even be in danger.
In these cases, inpatient detox is highly recommended. After a proper assessment, a doctor might conclude that a patient needs full attention. The patient must check-in to begin treatment and can leave once treatment is done. Detox itself can last anywhere from 4 to 10 days on average, depending on the type of addiction a person had. Still, people who go through inpatient detox might also have to receive inpatient treatment afterward.
These programs tend to be shorter because they are immersive, but they require that the patient stays in. Obviously, this will make it impossible for them to keep working as usual as they receive treatment. However, this doesn’t mean they must quit their jobs in order to get the treatment they deserve.
Legal Resources For Workers
Whether you are going for an inpatient or outpatient program, getting treatment will affect your routine in some way. Treatment requires time, money, commitment, and it should be your priority during your program.
The good news is that there are laws that help people to keep their jobs if they need to get treatment. But the way to approach the matter with your employer makes all the difference. Before doing so, you should understand what you can get from these benefits. They also come with a few conditions you should be aware of.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it is perfectly possible to come up with an agreement with your employer. It doesn’t have to be under the conditions of these laws, and it would work like any deal. You, your employer, and an HR representative can sit down and try to figure out a solution that would fit all your needs.
Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was created to protect people’s jobs as they went through temporary health issues. The law covers many scenarios, such as the birth of a child, the need to care for a family member who’s in the military, etc. People who need to care for their own serious conditions can be covered too. Addiction is considered a serious illness and falls under that category.
The conditions for being covered by the FMLA are:
- Employee must be working for a covered employer
- They must have worked for said employer for at least 12 months (can be non-consecutively)
- They must have worked 1,250 hours or more in the 12 months preceding medical leave
- Their employers must have at least 50 employees within 75 miles of the same area they work in
FMLA can provide you with 12 weeks of unpaid time off work, which must be taken in a 12-month period. This means you can either do it all at once or partially. You are not obligated to take the 12 weeks, but they have to be taken in that 12-month span. You must complete all the necessary paperwork and have it approved prior to your entrance into detox. If you start the detox process and only after that state that you intend to take time off under the FMLA, you won’t be protected.
However, FMLA doesn’t protect you from denials or other actions if you don’t first claim the FMLA when requesting leave. Also, FMLA isn’t above any conditions pre-established by the employer, including the right to fire due to substance abuse. This is why you should speak to human resources and know your employer’s policy before doing anything.
There is another important condition for employees that hope to benefit from FMLA. While they get coverage from it, they must stay sober. Should they get caught relapsing and abusing, they lose their FMLA benefits.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was created to provide equal opportunity to employees with disabilities. It is meant to protect their right to have proper working conditions and reasonable accommodations. In general, it also guarantees that the employer will not discriminate against an employee and their disabilities.
Addiction is considered a disability under the ADA. You can’t be fired for admitting that you have an addiction and that you are willing to go to treatment. You may also qualify for short-term disability benefits to provide you and your family income during the time you took off for treatment.
Why Start A Detox Program?
The first thing to understand is that detoxing is not a simple process, because becoming addicted is also a process. Your body starts getting used to receiving a certain “supply” of the substance you’ve been abusing. Frequent consumption of these doses starts to affect brain functionality, chemically and neurologically. Neurotransmitters are produced in different quantities and frequencies, and the body gets used to it.
This consumption becomes a part of the body’s process of homeostasis. Homeostasis is the body’s efforts to keep stable conditions in order to survive. But even if the body needs these substances to function normally, it does not mean it’s not been harmed by them. However, once that supply is cut, there will be a chemical, neural imbalance. The homeostasis has been disturbed, and now the body needs to find balance again.
This imbalance is what triggers what we call withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be felt while the body tries to find that balance again. The brain and the body need to “relearn” how to function without those substances again. The problem is that substance abuse affects areas of the brain responsible for judgment, decision-making, and self-control. For some, the withdrawal period can be quite intense because of that.
Withdrawal symptoms all vary depending on the substance abused and the dosage being taken. Some drugs might bring on manageable symptoms, while others can trigger life-threatening ones. The most commonly reported ones are:
- Anxiety, agitation, and/or restlessness
- Sweating, tearing eyes, and producing more bodily fluids
- Muscle aches and stiffness
- Less energy
- Abdominal pain and/or cramps
- Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea
- Goosebumps and/or chills
- Irregular and/or accelerated heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Dilated pupils
A few substances, such as alcohol, can trigger more serious symptoms like hallucinations and even seizures. Not only are they a sign of neural issues, but they can also put the patient at risk of getting seriously hurt. Another possible complication is dehydration, which can become serious if not properly addressed.
Avoiding the Dangers of Relapse and Quitting “Cold Turkey”
The severity of the withdrawal symptoms is not the only reason why someone should consider medically-assisted detox. Another major problem people might come across while detoxing is relapse. A lot of people might not resist abuse, and others might think that a small dose might help manage the symptoms. For some, this could lead the body to go into shock, and that could be deadly.
In addition to that, some substances cannot be quit cold turkey. Drugs like benzos require that the patient tamper off in order to avoid serious risks. That can prove to be a challenge without proper medical help. Doing so successfully requires more than willpower, and it is incredibly hard when your body is asking for more.
Being in a controlled environment with medical and psychiatric supervision can keep all of that from happening. Licensed professionals can administer drugs for pain management in a safe way, without triggering additional issues. They can explain what is happening and perform medical procedures if needed. Medically-assisted detox is safer, easier, and it comes with all the tools you need for a smoother process.
Begin Sailing Through Detox Today
Detox is a major step towards recovery, and it can be scary to go through it alone. That is why we at Coastal Detox are here to go through every step of the way with you. Coastal Detox is a state-of-the-art facility in Stuart, Florida, right off of the exquisite Treasure Coast. The zen garden and clean, comfortable semi-private make it the perfect place to recover physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Medical detox centers are the best place to go through detoxification, as opposed to a hospital. Here, you’ll have treatment and supervision available and specialized in treating addiction, with as much comfort as possible. The Joint Commission Accreditation has given us the Gold Seal of Approval, meaning we meet the highest national standards in safety and client care.
Biosound therapy, infrared sauna, acupuncture, yoga/meditation, and chiropractic care are just a few of the many treatments we offer. Meals are prepared by chefs and reviewed by dieticians to ensure that patients are receiving the nutrients their recovering bodies need. We also accept most major health insurance plans.
If you or a loved one need help or if you’d like to learn more about our services, contact us today. Our team will answer any questions you might have, and even schedule a tour if you’d like. We will go above and beyond to ensure your satisfaction and your utmost comfort. Detox can be rough, but it doesn’t have to be scary if you have the right team beside you.