Can I Attend a PHP as a Working Professional?

Can I Attend a PHP as a Working Professional?

Can I Attend a PHP as a Working Professional?

In the United States today, so much of our identity is centered around what we do, our existence as a working professional. Nearly everything about the way we choose to define ourselves is related in some way to the work we do professionally. Our favorite lunch spots, after-work hangouts, and weekend activities are necessitated by the time and location of our workplaces.

With so much centered around our life as a working professional, how does treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) affect us? People are often concerned about whether or not treatment and recovery will impact their professions. After all, with so much of who we are tied to our careers, it is a question worth asking. And the answer is truly, emphatically, yes, we can indeed work while being treated in a partial hospitalization program (PHP).

PHPs are designed for outpatient clients to receive the same level of care as inpatient clients while living and working offsite. At Restoration Recovery, the PHP is providing all of the benefits of an inpatient program with counseling and recovery services. But, working with the care team, our clients have the support system to balance work and treatment as well. Ultimately, the decision of whether an individual should work during treatment is based on several factors discussed by the client and their provider. 

Beginning Addiction Treatment While Working

Recent research has documented how clients in drug addiction rehabilitation programs have benefited by continuing their employment. We might think of employment as a part of the aftercare program. Using work as a part of therapy has been shown to demonstrate increased abstinence when applied to addiction therapy programs. 

There may indeed be concerns that need to be addressed for working or finding employment while in treatment and recovery. However, none of these concerns are insurmountable. Here are a few rules to consider:

  • Accountability: Whether we are looking for employment or are already gainfully employed, finding a drug-free workplace is essential. We should expect to undergo regular drug screenings as a part of our treatment and be willing to engage in the same or extra screenings for our employer.
  • Flexibility: We should find workplaces or ensure our current workplaces offer flex time to attend our treatments and counseling sessions. Nothing, not even our work, is as important as our success in addiction treatment and recovery. 
  • Wage Supplement: The Wage Supplement Model is a great way employers can help employees who are seeking treatment for SUD. Under this model, wages and employment are contingent on continued abstinence, which helps clients stay accountable while working. 

Addressing the Needs of the Working Professional in Substance Use Treatment

Under the rules put forth by the United States Department of Labor (US-DOL), companies have a vested interest in preventing drug use in the workplace. This includes not only mandatory testing requirements for companies with federal contracts worth more than $100,000. It also includes the implementation of policies that allow employees to seek treatment for addiction. 

The American Public Health Association, a public health labor advocacy group, released a proposed policy in 2020. This policy outlined several proposals for companies to assist employees who seek help with addiction. Among other recommendations, the policy proposes:

  • Allowing employees to use workers’ compensation benefits for treatment.
  • Facilitating support and education in the workplace to encourage a drug-free environment and a safe space for seeking help.
  • Providing employee training on opioid misuse and what to do in case of an overdose. 

Stigmas Facing a Working Professional in a PHP

Working professionals in Restoration Recovery’s treatment program are probably going to face a stigma in the working world of one kind or another. Overcoming these pressures is part of treatment. According to the US-DOL, there are a few kinds of stigmas that are common in workplace situations. These include:

  • Social stigma, or negative stereotypes about members of a group that apply socially undesirable characteristics unfairly to that group.
  • Self-stigma happens when a stigmatized group begins to adopt the negative stereotypes applied to them or begin to believe them.
  • Structural stigma is the workplace barriers and rules a stigmatized group may encounter due to laws and rules that are prejudicial against a stigmatized group. 

One way we can overcome barriers to employment as working professionals is with second-chance hiring practices. These are protocols designed by companies to bypass structural stigma and discriminatory rules that work against marginalized groups. The state of Indiana has become a leader in developing second-chance laws. They have established guidelines for employers on hiring and retaining workers in good standing who are in treatment and recovery. 

Know Your Rights as a Working Professional

Originally passed in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is designed to protect the rights of laborers in the workplace. Like most other legislation, the ADA does not protect individuals who engage in drug use. However, the ADA does offer some legal protections for those seeking treatment. Under the law, employees who are classified as having an SUD are protected and allowed to seek treatment. 

If an employer requires a leave of absence to seek treatment, the employee can exercise their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Passed in 1993, the FMLA guarantees that employers allow employees job-protected, unpaid time off under certain circumstances. One of the circumstances covered by FMLA is inpatient and outpatient treatment for addictions and mental health. 

It is important to know that we can work while in a treatment program, working closely with our care team. However, knowing our rights as workers is essential during the treatment and recovery process. With this information, we can find success in our treatment and recovery as working professionals. 

When we are preparing to enter treatment for substance use disorder, we often have many questions. One question at the top of your mind is likely about whether or not you can continue working while in an outpatient partial-hospitalization program. The answer is yes; you can work with your care team to find a schedule that works for you and benefits your treatment. What you may not know is that laws and regulations protect your rights as a worker while you seek addiction treatment. No one should keep you as a working professional from maintaining gainful employment and receiving the treatment you need. For more about working in treatment and your rights, call Restoration Recovery today at (888) 290-0925 today.

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