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Helping a coworker experiencing addiction

Pensacola, Fla. (April 4, 2023) – Helping a coworker experiencing addiction can be awkward and uncomfortable. It may ease your mind to know that you only need to do two things to lead them to help.

Two ways of helping a coworker experiencing addiction:

Counseling for addiction
  1. Let the person know you genuinely care. Speak to them in a non-confrontational, compassionate way explaining that you are going to try to help them.
  2. Refer the person to your Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The program provides access to counseling, accommodations and potential leave time to receive treatment.

From there, specially trained caregivers can take over.

Also good to know, is that substance misuse often overlaps with mental health issues. If an employee feels threatened over losing their job, they may not seek treatment and only get worse. Eventually, misuse can alter brain chemistry. It takes a specialized team to address the addiction issues. There are often co-occurring issues like depression, anxiety, trauma, chronic pain and family relationships. A clinical team can map out an individualized recovery plan. The employee may need extended time away from work to get well.

Time away from work may be necessary.

If that’s the case,  substance misuse and mental health disorders often fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act. That depends on the number of hours the employee works and other criteria. If they qualify, their provider can complete paperwork for a temporary leave of absence. The employee’s job would be protected by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Lakeview Center caregivers are available to help with this paperwork and coordinate intermittent leave or FMLA. The good news is that when they return, you will likely recognize the talented, engaged person they once were.

Furthermore, addiction can happen to anyone in the workplace. When unaddressed, it can result in costly errors, accidents and decreased productivity. Putting off treatment or terminating someone can only make matters worse. Successful treatment is available, and recovery is possible. Check with your human resources or benefits department. Learn about your Employee Assistance Program. Lastly, visit local provider websites to learn about the recovery process through services like intensive-outpatient treatment and medication-assisted treatment at Friary Pensacola.