If You are Furloughed, it Could be a Good Time to Seek Treatment for Addiction
By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: April 29, 2020

We hear so many times from people who want to go to treatment that they “have to work” and simply can’t take the time off needed for a long-term addiction treatment option. If you are someone who may have not been able to take off for work to go to treatment, now may be the perfect time to go if you’ve been one of the millions of Americans who has been furloughed.

“There’s never been a better time to seek care,” says Lakeview Health Chief Medical Officer Lantie Jorandby, M.D., “Rehab facilities are exempt from the “shelter-in-place” guidelines. In isolating times like these, a treatment center is a great place to start your recovery, make connections, and be surrounded by a safe and supportive community.”

 If you are someone who is currently searching for treatment but has been furloughed, you can still access care. Addiction breeds in isolation and now is a great time to connect with others like you and get yourself better for when the world does open again.

How Substance Use Can Affect You During Your Time Off

If you live with your family or with roommates, substance use can become more apparent when at home more often. Many people used work as a way to hide their addiction. With that caveat removed, it’s easy for substance use to show itself in unexpected ways.

  • “Honey, can I ask you about something?” It’s harder to hide addictive behavior from your spouse or significant other when you’re home all day. No more stopping for a drink or two (or three) on the way home from work. No more opportunities to use in the car at lunchtime. Taking these “breaks” is more problematic now, and that may be forcing you to drink or use more and your loved ones may take notice.
  • “Wow, I really depended on that work routine.” A daily structure is good for most people, and imperative for someone in recovery. When you’re busy, there’s simply less opportunity for boredom or feelings of isolation or worthlessness – all classic triggers. It’s easier to stay out of harm’s way but being furloughed could allow for more spaces for doubts and demons to appear and increase relapse risk.
  • “I go to work every day, and I’m doing fine there, so how addicted can I be?” In this scenario, busy work days are the “proof” that you’re not addicted. Sure, you drink or use every day, but you’re in control of it and you’re almost always able to get up for work each day.

All of these scenarios are cause for you to take action now and look into a treatment center.

Take Action to Get Help

One way or another, because of a furlough, work slowdown, or work stoppage, two truths may now be revealed: (1) You may have a substance use disorder, or (2) You need to seek treatment before things get worse. Here’s a simple four-step plan to make that happen:

STEP 1: Discuss your decision to get professional help with your family or friends. Getting your friends and family on board can help push you to making the final decision to get help.

STEP 2: Pick up the phone or computer and contact a medically sound treatment center like Lakeview Health. We can help you determine the level of care you need (outpatient, residential, etc.), your insurance requirements, and all other logistics.

STEP 3: Consider contacting certain people to let them know what you’re doing. This might be a colleague, manager, or HR person at work, a friend or acquaintance you meet with regularly, or anyone else you want to alert who may become worried by your absence.

STEP 4: Come see us. We can’t wait to meet you.

That last step is the best move of all. It takes courage, but you’ll feel so good and so relieved once you do it. Even with the coronavirus making a mess of nearly everything, your life may be about to change for the better.