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Posted on 17th January 2022

How to support an employee who is ill with addiction

If offering support to an employee with an addiction sounds like a far-fetched concept, take a look at 3 reasons to provide addiction treatment for an employee, and you might change your stance.

If you want to help an employee with an addiction but are unsure how you’d go about it, here are 5 ways you can offer support.


  1. Know that they are ill

If the NHS considers addiction an illness that ‘entitles them to care in the same way as anyone else who has health problems would’, then so should you! If you approach the situation from that starting point, you generally can’t go too far wrong. Afford them the same level of respect, empathy and understanding that you would to someone who was battling any other long term illness.


  1. Let them take the lead

Such is the complex emotional nature of an addiction, it is very hard to judge what position to take when trying to show your support. You have to keep your responses as neutral as possible, even when they are well-intended.  Your employee’s mood, approach and attitude could be changing from hour to hour, so let them establish the narrative.


  1. Respect their privacy

Just like you would hopefully do with any other employee who has informed you of an illness, make sure their addiction doesn’t become public knowledge. This is especially important as, due to misconceptions of addiction, the response from people if it ‘got out’ could only add to your employee’s stress and hurt. And, as so many addictions stem from some sort of mental pain, this could be damaging to their recovery.

Just because they’ve told you it doesn’t mean they want anyone else to know.


  1. Lighten their load

The world will be sitting very heavy on their shoulders right now, so do what you can to take as much off their plate as possible to give them the room to get healthy. Of course, you’ll know your employee better, so judge each case on the individual. For some, having tasks taken off them could trigger worry about losing their job or reduce their already fragile feeling of self-worth.


  1. Keep talking

Be honest. Be calm. Be open.

Just by knowing they have someone in their corner you will be helping your employee’s recovery. Don’t force them into conversations that don’t need to happen, but do make it clear that you aren’t going to either ignore the situation or ostracise them for being unwell.


If you have identified that an employee is in need of help, get in touch for advice guidance and details of our Outpatient Detoxit’s discreet and fits around the individual’s life. There’s no need to ‘check in to rehab’ and turn their life on its head, the treatment is flexible and is designed to fit around their life.

Get in touch and speak with one of our professional and friendly advisors




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