Taking a Leave of Absence from Work
How to Use FMLA to Go to Detox

Over the course of the past several years rates of benzodiazepine abuse and dependence have been skyrocketing throughout the U.S. Benzodiazepines, more commonly referred to as benzos, are a type of prescription sedative used for the treatment of anxiety disorders and sleep disorders. In most instances these medications are prescribed to be taken short-term because they are so addictive. Even if a person takes a benzo as prescribed, they run the risk of developing a physical and psychological dependence.

If you or someone you love has been struggling with a benzo addiction you are not alone. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, roughly 5.2 million adults misused a benzodiazepine medication in 2018. At CuraWest we provide people of all ages and walks of life with effective inpatient detox services while actively preparing them for the next stage of the treatment process. Because the symptoms associated with benzo withdrawal can pose a range of serious health risks, undergoing withdrawal in a professionally monitored environment is always a good idea. Sadly, many people choose to avoid detox because they are afraid of getting fired or facing scrutiny from their coworkers or employers. The good news is there are several laws in place, including FMLA, geared towards ensuring job security while you seek the treatment you need. To learn more about using FMLA for benzo detox, contact us today.

What is FMLA?

The United States Department of Labor first implemented the Family and Medical Leave Act in 1993. This U.S. labor law requires covered employers to provide their employees with unpaid, job-protected leave for qualified medical or family-related reasons. An employee who utilizes FMLA for drug rehab will still have access to group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions they would have had they not taken leave.

Eligible Employees Have Access To:

  • 12 work-weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for the birth of a child, caring for an ill family member or dealing with a serious health condition (such as addiction) that makes completing work tasks difficult
  • OR, 26 work-weeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service member’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).

If you are currently employed full-time and you have been struggling with benzo abuse or addiction, you might qualify for job-protected leave under FMLA. Addiction is a complex illness, and a person who struggles with drug addiction of any type or severity experiences a range of symptoms which must be treated in a designated treatment center. Addiction does not resolve on its own over time, especially when a substance as addictive as benzodiazepines are involved. Additionally, the symptoms associated with benzo withdrawal can be life-threatening if they are not closely overseen by a team of medical professionals in a safe and secure environment.

In order for a person to get better they need to seek professional help. At CuraWest we employ evidence-based detox methods including medication assisted treatment, behavioral therapy and holistic approaches to recovery. Our main priority is providing our clients with a safe and pain-free heroin withdrawal while equipping each individual with the healthy coping mechanisms and life skills they need to stay sober for years to come. Contact us today to learn more.

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Taking a Leave of Absence

If you make the decision to take a leave of absence and attend benzo detox you might be wondering how to handle the situation when it comes to your employer and coworkers. At CuraWest we have several pieces of advice for those using FMLA to go to detox.

CuraWest FMLA and benzo detox
  1. First of all, we recommend speaking with your employer if you feel comfortable doing so. Remember, you are not required to let your employer know the details of your circumstances under the FMLA law.
  2. If you do feel comfortable speaking with your employer, be honest without incriminating yourself. Don’t run into their office saying, “I’ve been high out of my gourd for the past five months!” If your employer finds out you have been using benzos on their watch they can still legally terminate you. It is a better idea to sit down and say something sincere and respectful like, “I appreciate your willingness to give me time off to work on myself. I am dedicated to being the best employee I can be.”
  3. If you do tell your employer you are certainly not obligated to tell your coworkers. Even if your coworkers have the best of intentions, word can travel fast and some pieces of the story are liable to get lost in translation. Use discretion.

When taking an FMLA leave for a benzo abuse disorder the main priority is ensuring your own personal needs are being met and you aren’t leaving anyone in the lurch. Just remember to be gentle with yourself. This is probably a situation you haven’t dealt with before, and no one expects you to execute everything perfectly.

Benzo Withdrawal & Detoxification

The most commonly misused benzos include Xanax, Klonopin, Valium and Librium. Even if you were initially prescribed a benzo for a legitimate medical reason, you are still at risk of developing an addictive disorder over time. The body acclimates to the medication over time and essentially goes into shock when it starts to leave the system.

Symptoms of Benzo Withdrawal:

  • Severe anxiety and restlessness
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Insomnia and other sleep-related disorders
  • Hand tremors
  • Muscle spasms
  • General aches and pains
  • Stomach issues like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Intense headaches
  • Profuse sweating/night sweats
  • An increased heart rate
  • Racing heart and heart palpitations
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Hyperventilation and panic attacks
  • Issues with memory and concentration
  • Disillusionment and feelings of unreality
  • Hallucinations and delirium
  • Depression and suicidal ideation
  • Grand mal seizures

Ready To Begin Your Benzodiazepine Detox?

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If you or your loved one attempts to withdraw from benzodiazepines without professional, around-the-clock assistance, the related consequences can be life-threatening. At CuraWest we are extensively familiar with all potential withdrawal symptoms, both physical and psychological in nature. Not only are we equipped to treat and reverse such symptoms as they arise but we have the experience necessary to make even the most severe benzodiazepine withdrawal safe and pain-free. At CuraWest the medical detox experience is truly unlike any other. We utilize medication assisted treatment when necessary, ensuring that clients who have been suffering at the hands of a benzo addiction are never at risk of danger or severe discomfort. When our medical team finds tapering necessary, we slowly reduce the amount of benzos in a client’s system until he or she is physically stabilized. No matter how severe the addiction we have the tools and professionalism necessary to ensure a comfortable and positive detox experience while preparing our clients for the road ahead.

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Begin Your Journey of Recovery Today

If you or someone you love has been struggling with benzo abuse or addiction CuraWest is available to help. We have developed a simple admissions process that can be easily completed over the phone in a matter of minutes. We understand how difficult it can be to make the decision to seek treatment, especially when you are the sole caretaker of dependents or you have other financial obligations that make leaving your job difficult. The good news is we are readily available to walk you through FMLA and help you secure your job. There are ways to seek and receive the help you need without compromising any areas of your life. Just think of how much productivity and motivation you’ll gain when you are free of you benzo habit. Contact us today to learn more.

Reviewed for accuracy by:

Jasmine has worked in the mental health field for over 18 years. She earned her B.A. in Psychology with a Minor in Child and Family Relations from North Carolina Central University, and her M.A. in Mental Health Counseling from Argosy University. Jasmine is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and has specialized in addiction for over 10 years.