Employee Assistance Programs, also known as EAPs, can benefit both the employee and the workplace. By giving appropriate referrals and advice to employees with mental health issues, they’ll become happier, more productive workers for the company long-term. If you’re an EAP professional, you may be somewhat trained on how to help employees struggling with substance abuse, but if you’re not first-handedly familiar with addiction, there may be a few important factors to consider when counseling these employees. Here’s a guide on everything you need to know to help addicted employees find recovery.
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Issues
When counseling an employee that has approached you as their EAP, it’s imperative that you remember, addiction and substance abuse don’t come alone. Mental health disorders often go hand-in-hand with addiction as a person uses their substance of choice to “escape.” When referring employees struggling with addiction to treatment options, you should look for a treatment program that uses a dual-diagnosis approach. Years of trauma can directly fuel both a mental health disorder and addiction, meaning a dual-diagnosis approach helps an employee begin to heal from that trauma and treat the mental health and substance abuse issues it’s causing.
Addiction Can’t Be Cured Overnight
Just as trauma takes time to heal, so does addiction. As much as you’d hope giving a referral to a treatment program could cure an employee of addiction overnight, it takes time for this to happen. As an EAP professional you should beware that recovery is a lifestyle that needs to be continuously worked at. Ensure you counsel your employee struggling with addiction treatment to utilize resources outside of and after substance abuse treatment. This can include regular therapy sessions, recovery meetings, or mindfulness techniques, such as meditation and yoga.
Relapse in Employees Can Occur
Be patient with your employee. While addiction can’t be cured overnight, a relapse can happen when life triggers come along and the employee is unprepared to handle that situation with healthy coping mechanisms. Continuing to check in with an employee even after they’ve completed an addiction treatment program is imperative to support their mental health and performance in the workplace.
Your Employee Could Be Addicted to More Than Drugs or Alcohol
Addiction doesn’t just pertain to drugs and alcohol. It can be anything from gambling, shopping, food, sex, and more. Even if an employee doesn’t seem to be using drugs or alcohol, addiction in any form is all-consuming and will affect their work. To learn more about how to spot addiction in an employee, click HERE.
There’s also resources and referrals you can give to an employee for any addiction. Recovery group meetings aren’t just AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous). There’s a support group for pretty much everything out there, that you can refer your employee to. There are even support groups for the loved ones of addicts to help promote healthy relationships for your employee at home. For information on how to find a support group for the loved ones, click HERE.
Treatment Referrals for Addicted Employees
It can feel like there’s a lot of pressure on you as an EAP professional to give advice and referrals to someone struggling with addiction, as it may not only help the company, but referring an employee to the right addiction treatment program could end up saving their life.
There’s a few different options of substance abuse treatment you can refer your employee to, including recovery group meetings, counseling with a substance abuse therapist, detox, residential treatment, outpatient treatment, and more. While an employee may feel inclined to choose the treatment program that will allow them to take the least amount of time off from work, the lack of time spent in an addiction treatment program could put them at a higher risk for relapse. Residential addiction treatment is typically a 30-90 day program at a facility where the employee can take a break from life’s triggers and their substance of choice to build a solid foundation for recovery. Referring your employee to the right residential treatment program that utilizes a dual-diagnosis approach could be the difference in having an employee return to work as one of the best workers or an employee that ends up relapsing again and again.
To learn more about the best ways you can help an employee struggling with substance abuse, give us a call today. Our admissions team will give you advice and even offer a free over-the-phone assessment with your employees to guide them in the decision to seek residential addiction treatment.