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Can You Work While in Rehab?


Rehab is an integral part of staying sober, but it can also intimidate many people.

With the potential for long-term commitments and the need to take time away from your job and other responsibilities, getting help can seem impossible.

Let’s answer the question, “Can you work while in rehab,” and discuss some fears surrounding attending rehab while employed!

What is the Difference between Outpatient and Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient rehab offers 24/7 medical support and therapy sessions for clients staying at a facility.

This treatment allows individuals to focus on recovery while accessing necessary resources.

It’s effective for those battling substance abuse and mental illness, providing a safe and supportive healing environment.

Outpatient rehab is an alternative addiction treatment where clients don’t live in a facility. Instead, they attend regular counseling and therapy sessions.

Although they don’t have 24/7 supervision like in an inpatient setting, outpatient rehab provides flexibility for those unable to commit to round-the-clock care.

Can You Work While in Rehab?

Outpatient rehab allows clients to work during treatment. A flexible program will enable clients to attend therapy sessions during their free time.

However, a strong support system at home and adherence to the treatment plan are necessary.

Can You Work While in Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient treatment, a full-time commitment, often prohibits work. Clients focus on recovery and healing for a healthier lifestyle.

The program’s intensity provides a distraction-free environment, free from daily pressures.

Depending on the treatment facility, some may offer work programs allowing clients to leave for a few hours weekly or daily.

The clinical team’s approval provides structure and accountability for individuals’ recovery progress.

What is Intensive Outpatient Rehab?

Intensive Outpatient Rehab (IOR) is a treatment program for those with mental health or substance abuse issues.

Providing comprehensive services, IOR suits clients who don’t need 24-hour residential care but require firm support and guidance.

Usually, these programs offer individual and group therapy, psychoeducation, and activities like art therapy, yoga, meditation, and recreation.

Clients attend IOR programs during the day or evening based on their needs allowing clients to work while in care.

What are the Fears and Stereotypes of Attending Rehab While Employed?

The idea of attending rehab while working can be frightening for many people.

Stigma and Judgment

Stereotypes about addiction contribute to these fears, as many view addicts as unreliable or untrustworthy. 

This can cause individuals to feel ashamed or embarrassed about their addiction.

Job Instability

Many clients fear going to rehab could endanger their job, but remember that many employers understand addiction and support those seeking help.

Before entering treatment, discuss your plans to secure your job during rehab with your employer. This respects their time and lets them arrange the required changes.

It also allows you to explore options like a leave of absence or telecommuting during or after rehab.

Laws Supporting Workers While in Addiction Treatment

If your employer is unsupportive or unwilling to work with you while in treatment, you must be aware of the applicable laws and regulations protecting your rights as an employee.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Eligibility

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal law, allows employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific health and family reasons without employer retaliation.

Substance use disorder treatment may be covered under FMLA if it fulfills specific criteria.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must work for your current employer for at least 12 months (not necessarily consecutive), with 1,250 hours in the 12 months before FMLA leave.
  • Your company must have at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your worksite.

Telecommuting During Treatment

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, you may be eligible to telecommute while receiving treatment for substance use disorder.

If your employer offers this option, you can maintain work and attend treatment appointments.

Additionally, you might take time off for 12-step meetings, counseling, or other recovery-related activities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects those in recovery, prohibiting employers from discriminating based on disabilities, including drug or alcohol addiction.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for protection under the ADA, you must meet specific criteria:

  • You have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • You have a record of such an impairment, or
  • Others perceive you as having such an impairment

Reasonable Accommodations

If you qualify under the ADA, your employer must provide reasonable accommodations, ensuring you can perform job duties without disability discrimination.

Reasonable accommodations may include:

  • Provide you with an alternate work schedule to accommodate medical treatments
  • Providing mobility or communication aids, making physical changes to the workplace
  • Allowing you to telecommute from home, and more
  • Provide a safe working environment for employees with disabilities

Silicon Beach Treatment Center Offers Rehab Where You Can Work in California

At Silicon Beach, we know recovery goes beyond abstinence from substances. Lasting addiction recovery thrives on promoting the individual’s overall well-being–mind, body, and spirit.

Our multidisciplinary treatment team works together to address each individual’s needs and determine which tools best suit them for their recovery journey.

Our facility provides various outpatient treatments, including traditional, intensive, and partial hospitalization options, enabling clients to receive care while remaining employed.

Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive addiction recovery programs and how we can help you or a loved one get back to sobriety!

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