How to Seek Professional Help for Addiction Without Negatively Impacting Your Career

woman stressed outRisk-taking, strong drive for success, obsession, dedication, novelty-seeking — these are character traits that help propel professionals into the C-level suite. Unfortunately, they are also character traits that correlate with drug or alcohol abuse and addiction. This means that many people dealing with addiction must balance seeking professional help with keeping their career afloat.

Forbes notes that, too often, there is an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality among high-powered business people. However, like most medical illnesses, it is more easily treated the earlier it is detected. Here are some thoughts professionals should consider.

Your Untreated Addiction Will Affect Your Career

The workplace is one of the places where many of the signs that a person is abusing drugs or alcohol begin to show. U.S. News and World Report notes that attendance problems, performance issues, strained work relationships, and behavior issues are four manifestations of a more serious underlying problem like addiction. Keeping up the facade of normalcy only works for so long. If your employer hasn’t yet noticed signs that your addiction is impacting job performance, he or she will eventually. That is why it is best for everyone involved to address your addiction immediately.

You Have Medical Rights

The thought of taking a leave of absence from work may be overwhelming for people considering checking themselves into a treatment center, especially when you aren’t sure what you should tell your supervisor or boss. Know that you don’t need to give anyone explicit details about your addiction or your need for treatment. You can simply tell your place of employment (as well as friends, extended family, or anybody else) that you need to go on medical leave. Your doctors and other medical experts are bound by privacy laws that prohibit them from sharing your medical information with anybody outside of the health-care system without your permission. Similarly, most reputable companies have internal human resource guidelines that prohibit supervisors and coworkers from sharing personal details. While you can never be certain that people won’t make assumptions or gossip, you should know that the law is on your side when it comes to confidentiality.

You Can Find a Treatment Center Catered to You

Once you’ve made the life-saving decision to seek professional help for your disease, it’s important to find a treatment center that caters to your unique needs. You’ll have to consider things like budget, insurance compatibility, enrollment availability, physical location, and cost into your decision about where to go. There are also recovery centers that cater to professionals who need to maintain a work presence. Talk to staff about their typical clientele and find out if they commonly deal with business professionals like yourself. Your journey to recovery will be easier if you enter a facility where you feel comfortable and they understand the challenges that face work-oriented professionals.

You Will Return to Work Better Than You Left It

The treatment professionals in your recovery program are the most appropriate people to discuss when and how you should return to work. Talk to them about identifying strategies on how to manage the work-related stresses that may have contributed to your addiction. They should also have advice and tips on how to best navigate potential office gossip and awkward interactions with your coworkers about your medical leave. Whatever your reservations and fears about the post-recovery program are, remember that this reality is far better than the alternative. Not addressing your addiction is not an option because addiction only gets worse, and if left unchecked, it will claim your work, social life, and health.

If you’re struggling with addiction, regardless of your career path, seek help today. You won’t regret it.

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