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How to Convince an Employee to Go to Rehab

- 4 sections

Medically Verified: 2/1/24

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

People often live with an addiction for a long time before seeking help or treatment. In many cases, people can function somewhat normally in their daily lives for a while before their addiction takes over completely. Many people keep working while struggling with an active addiction.

Workplace substance abuse causes a lot of problems, both for fellow employees and their employers. People who use drugs or alcohol on the job are more likely to be hurt, cause accidents, and have frequent, unexplained absences. They are also more likely to show hostility or aggression to their customers or coworkers.[1]

If you have an employee you believe is struggling with addiction, you probably want them to go to addiction treatment to get the help they need. However, it can be difficult to know how to convince an employee to go to rehab–or if it is OK for you to ask them to go. Understanding how and when you should talk to an employee about getting treatment can help you prepare to have this sensitive conversation.

How to Know When an Employee Should Go to Addiction Treatment

Helping your employee get addiction treatment starts with recognizing that they have a problem with substance abuse. As their employer, you likely only see your employee during work hours. Since so many people hide their substance abuse for a long time, you may not always feel certain they are struggling with addiction. Knowing the signs can help you identify their substance abuse earlier and offer help as soon as possible.

You may notice:

  • Frequent absences or being late to work
  • Changes in their mood, behavior, or appearance
  • Not being able to keep up with their responsibilities
  • Accidents or injuries
  • Drug paraphernalia or alcohol containers nearby

In some cases, you may witness your employee using substances on the job. But in most, you will need to rely on what you witness or what other employees report to you.

Furthermore, certain industries have higher rates of employee substance abuse than others. Types of workplaces where drug and alcohol abuse are more common include the food and service industry, construction, mining, management, utilities, and wholesale trades.[2]

How to Convince an Employee to Go to Rehab

The first step you should take is to document everything you notice about your employee’s behavior, as well as anything other employees share with you. Before talking to your employee about going to rehab, you should talk to your company’s Human Resources (HR) department. Your employee’s health information is private and protected, and your company may have policies related to employee substance abuse that you will need to follow.

Generally, you and a Human Resources representative can have a private conversation with your employee about their substance abuse. Depending on the workplace and your relationship with the employee, it may be appropriate for you to stage an intervention at work.

An intervention is a planned event that involves an addicted person’s friends, coworkers, or other concerned people getting together to talk about their addiction. The ultimate goal of an intervention is to convince the person to go to rehab.

Always consult your company’s policies before asking your employee to go to rehab, and be ready to supply information about what help is available to get them started.

Resources to Consider When You Ask an Employee to Go to Rehab

One of the reasons people do not go to rehab when they clearly need to is fear of taking time away from work or even losing their job. Before you ask an employee to go to rehab, educate yourself on what resources are available for your employee. These may include:

  • Your company’s Human Resources department: They will help your employee manage their leave of absence, payment, and health insurance payments during treatment
  • FMLA: Familiarize yourself with what protection the Family Medical Leave Act offers employees
  • Local rehab programs: Learn about which local treatment facilities offer the program your employee needs.

The more support and information you can offer your employee, the more likely it will be that they choose to go to rehab.

Learn More About How to Convince an Employee to Go to Rehab at the Carolina Center for Recovery

If you, an employee, or someone else you care about is living with addiction or struggling with substance abuse, you do not have to manage this alone. Reach out to the staff at the Carolina Center for Recovery to find out about the comprehensive, adaptable programs we offer. We can help you to find the right program for yourself, a loved one, or an employee.

We believe that anyone can recover from addiction if they are given the support and treatment they need. Getting treatment for addiction doesn’t have to be overwhelming. We are here to help. Call today to speak with one of our knowledgeable admissions counselors.