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Alcohol abuse treatment - a good idea in many cases

Alcohol abuse treatment is a good idea in many cases. As an employer you know the effects that alcohol abuse can have on employees in the workplace. Alcohol abuse leads to impaired work, poor performance, and absenteeism. Ultimately as a person in management you will have to decide whether or not to terminate the employee or to try to help them find help.

Many companies may prefer to try to solve the problem rather than replace the employee. If a manager is made aware of the problem and that there is a treatment for the cause of impairment, he is going to be more likely to refer the employee in question to receive alcohol abuse treatment then to terminate the employee's employment. Granted, the employee will most likely have to take a leave, and also would be on a probation or semi-suspension upon his return to work. However, the results are well worth the efforts. After straightening out the alcohol abuse problems in his life, the employee is more likely to return to work with a new conviction to make a fresh start. These employees turn out to be among the most loyal and hard working because they recognize the kind of investment that management felt that they deserved. As a person in management, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you have not only changed a life for the better but you may have saved this employees life as well.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that, "Many companies across the nation have recognized the problem [of employee alcohol abuse] and realized that with proper treatment employees who have a substance abuse problem can, and do become happy, healthy and productive workers."
Alcohol abuse treatment varies. It may involve weeks of intense rehabilitation and in or out patient care. Treatment may need to be ongoing such as becoming a member of a regularly meeting group such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Whatever the method of treatment the key is to create an environment of assistance where the employee can admit that they have a problem and know that they can receive help in trying to overcome it.

Employee assistance programs are the most common front line of help that employers should have for their employees. Employee assistance programs can help an employee in many areas of difficulty. In this case an employee assistance program, when properly staffed, can provide private and confidential counseling to the employee seeking help for alcohol dependency. Federal laws and regulations keep privileged medical information between doctor and patient. The employee can rest assured that their names or identities will not be shared with the company or other outside services.

Your Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) should be a licensed Medical Doctor, a licensed or certified psychologist, a social worker, employee assistance professional, or an addiction counselor. This individual should hold the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors Certification Commission (NAADAC), or should have the International Certification Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse. It is imperative that your Employee Assistance Counselor for alcohol abuse treatment has not only the knowledge of but the clinical experience in the diagnosis and treatment of drug and alcohol-related disorders. Make sure that you are careful in choosing the individual who will be helping your employees with these serious health and behavioral problems.
Finally, as management it is important that you recognize that alcohol abuse treatment is a good thing in most cases. Many times an employee with an alcohol abuse problem will come to you looking for help. Although it is easy to judge this person and tempting to just fire them and not worry about the referrals that you may have to make to get them help, but keep in mind the benefits that you could provide to this individual's quality of life and to the company as a whole as this employee is likely to return after treatment and work harder and better than ever before.

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Posted by DF
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