Most people who have a substance use disorder manage to still hold down a job, at least for a time. According to the National Safety Council, a majority of U.S. employers (70 percent) report that they have been impacted by workplace prescription drug abuse. 

If you are struggling with a drug or alcohol use disorder, you might wonder about your options for getting help. Fortunately, some employees can access addiction treatment resources through their company's EAP. 

What is an EAP and How Does it Work?

EAP is short for an Employee Assistance Program, and may sometimes be referred to as an Employee Wellness Program. Not every company provides these resources for their staff, but many do. An EAP's goal is to help employees resolve short-term problems and refer them to the appropriate external resources for longer-term issues. 

EAPs offer counseling services, resources, and referrals to employees and management in areas related to financial, legal, workplace relations, mental health, and substance abuse. Often, EAP services are offered to a company's employees whether or not they have health insurance coverage. Some health insurers also offer EAPs to complement their behavioral health care coverage. 

Using an EAP for Addiction Treatment Services

There are different methods of obtaining employee assistance for addiction treatment. Depending on your job and the policies of your employer, you may be referred to an EAP for mandatory substance abuse services. 

If you work in transportation or health care and are suspected of having issues with substance abuse, there is a good chance that your employer will require you to seek EAP services. What does this entail? 

You might receive education about addiction, speak with a counselor on the phone, and receive a referral for face-to-face counseling. You might also obtain additional information about accessing addiction treatment services in your area.

Man seeking addiction treatment.

Potential Downsides to Using EAPs

While not necessarily a downside, there is still admittedly a stigma attached to addiction. If you are worried about your employer finding out about your use of an EAP to receive addiction treatment help, it would be a shame to let this keep you from getting the assistance you need. Get the help anyway; it is confidential. 

There are certain limitations to EAPs. These programs are only effective if they are promoted and used. An employer might have the EAP and never tell employees about the benefits or how to access them. 

Also, the EAP contract might only cover a limited number of phone or face-to-face counseling sessions. Once those are complete, either your health insurance benefits will need to pay, or you will be charged out of pocket to continue. 

Where to Turn for Addiction Treatment

Because EAPs are embedded in many U.S. organizations, they are best positioned help an employee who shows signs of having a substance use disorder. An EAP can provide education and early intervention services to employees and can save companies money in lost productivity while preventing job loss at the same time. 

If you are struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, it is generally a futile exercise to hide your problem from your employer. Even though EAPs are confidential, there is a good chance that your employer already knows about your struggles and would prefer that you get the help you need and deserve. 

At The Recovery Village, we provide comprehensive addiction treatment services according to your situation and needs. These include detox, inpatient and outpatient care, treatment for co-occurring disorders, and aftercare. 

Contact us now to speak with one of our addiction specialists about your admissions options. 

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