Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs

Therapy group

Often employers and employees have questions about what drug and alcohol treatment entails. There are different types of treatment programs depending on the nature of the problem, the recommended treatment, and the insurance coverage. Here are the different types Fully Effective Employees refers to:

  • Drug and alcohol information class
    This program consists of a one-day informational session and the employee is provided a certificate at the end of the session. The program is recommended when the employee is not found to have a substance abuse problem, but is at high risk if their use continues.
  • Self–help groups
    The most common type is Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Groups meet at all times of the day, as well as evenings and weekends. Groups are free ( or a nominal donation), non-denominational and confidential. Members should meet with a sponsor in addition to attending meetings to help maintain support and sobriety.
  • Out-patient treatment
    Usually meets several times per week for a set period of time based on diagnosis and needs. Be aware if an employee tells you that his out-patient treatment takes place every day so he needs time off from the job. This is seldom the case and you may want to verify his schedule with the EAP.
  • In-patient treatment
    Usually prescribed when out-patient treatment has not been successful. Can be combined with detox if needed or after detox is completed at a different facility. Can be 10 to 30 days or more. Most out-patient and in-patient treatment programs include education and support for family members affected by the disease of addiction.
  • Residential treatment
    Recommended in early recovery, when maintaining post treatment requires additional support. Can be a longer term treatment program or a 24/7 monitored sober living environment, requiring abstinence and random drug testing. One can live there for months as long as they remain sober.
  • Continuing Care
    May consist of an out-patient program after in-patient treatment, or a step down to less frequent out-patient treatment, weekly and then monthly support meetings, individual therapy or a combination of the above.
  • At Fully Effective Employees, an EAP counselor will provide support and assistance during the employee’s treatment, and afterwards for up to two years, to ensure he or she is remaining both clean and sober and successful at work.
  • For more information about our employee assistance services, please call us at 425-454-3003 or send an email to audreyr@fee-eap.com.

By |2019-11-02T17:37:08-07:00April 8th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs

Questions and Answers About Kratom

Kratom Plant

Kratom is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, with leaves that contain compounds that can have mind-altering effects. Kratom is not currently an illegal substance and has been easy to order on the internet, however, the FDA may be planning to ban the substance in the future. Recently, we have seen a number of people in the workforce suffering from Kratom addiction.

Here is more information about this increasingly popular substance.

How do people use kratom?
Most people take kratom as a pill, capsule, or extract. Some people chew kratom leaves or brew the dried or powdered leaves as a tea. Sometimes the leaves are smoked or eaten in food.

How does kratom affect the brain?
Kratom can cause effects similar to both opioids and stimulants. Two compounds in kratom leaves, mitragynine and 7-α-hydroxymitragynine, interact with opioid receptors in the brain, producing sedation, pleasure, and decreased pain, especially when users consume large amounts of the plant. Mitragynine also interacts with other receptor systems in the brain to produce stimulant effects. When kratom is taken in small amounts, users report increased energy, sociability, and alertness instead of sedation. However, kratom can also cause uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous side effects.

What are the health effects of kratom?
Reported health effects of kratom use include: nausea, itching, sweating, dry mouth, constipation, increased urination, loss of appetite, seizures and hallucinations. Symptoms of psychosis have been reported in some users.

Can a person overdose on kratom?
In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began issuing a series of warnings about kratom and now identifies at least 44 deaths related to its use, with at least one case being investigated as possible use of pure kratom. Most kratom associated deaths appear to have resulted from adulterated products (other drugs mixed in with the kratom) or taking kratom along with other potent substances, including illicit drugs, opioids, benzodiazepines, alcohol, gabapentin, and over-the-counter medications, such as cough syrup. Also, there have been some reports of kratom packaged as dietary supplements or dietary ingredients that were laced with other compounds that caused deaths.

Is kratom addictive?
Like other drugs with opioid-like effects, kratom might cause dependence, which means users will feel physical withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug. Some users have reported becoming addicted to kratom. Withdrawal symptoms include: muscle aches, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggression, emotional changes, runny nose and jerky movements.

Does kratom have value as a medicine?
In recent years, some people have used kratom as a herbal alternative to medical treatment in attempts to control withdrawal symptoms and cravings caused by addiction to opioids or to other addictive substances such as alcohol. There is no scientific evidence that kratom is effective or safe for this purpose; further research is needed.

Sources: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

By |2019-11-02T18:00:45-07:00January 9th, 2019|Drugs|Comments Off on Questions and Answers About Kratom

Tips for Practicing Self-Care at Work

Self-care at Work

Self-care is all about taking care of your mind and body so you feel less stress and more happiness. Considering the total number of hours we spend at work and the hectic pace we set, most of us could benefit from practicing more self-care. Rather than having self-care be something you just do outside of work, it’s important to also weave it naturally into the course of your workday.

 There are many different ways to practice self-care at work and what is helpful for one person may not be helpful for another. However, here are six basic self-care ideas that most everyone can benefit from:

 1. Get Enough Sleep First and foremost we need good sleep to do our best work. Finding out the right environment we need for sleep is essential.

 2. Eat Healthy When we eat healthy, we sleep better, and have more energy. Lunch tends to get short shrift while at work. Make your midday meal more of an opportunity for nourishment. Pack or order foods you love that offer energizing protein and complex carbs, which can put you in a brighter mood and help you power through the afternoon. Don’t forget about snacking smartly – vending machine runs are convenient, but soda and sweet treats aren’t the best snack choices when you’re racing against a deadline or feeling overwhelmed by a report. 

 3. Exercise Stretch your arms and legs at your desk, do laps around the office, walk up and down the stairs, or take on some other activity that allows you to move your body. Try to get outside at some point during your workday.

 4. Set Up a Healthy Workspace A messy environment can intensify the tension and anxiety you already feel. We don’t always have complete control over our office equipment, but wherever possible try to create a work environment that allows you to be your most productive. Reducing desk clutter can help.

 5. Prioritize Throughout a given workday, others frequently ask for our time or resources, distracting us from more important priorities. That’s why it’s important to set aside 15 minutes first thing each morning to jot down the three things you hope to accomplish that day. Then, as requests come in, consider the impact on your priorities before offering a knee-jerk automatic yes. Be sure, however, to make time throughout the work day for intermittent self-care breaks (i.e. lunch or afternoon walk; social time with co-workers; listen to relaxing music).

 6. Give Yourself a Break and Acknowledge Your Accomplishments We can often be our own harshest critic. By keeping your internal critic at bay, you can create the right psychological conditions to get through periods of self-doubt more quickly.  Also, take stock of what you’ve accomplished on the job once a week or so and congratulate yourself for your efforts. Reminding yourself of your contributions gives you a psychological boost and helps you feel more positive, which is the ultimate goal of self-care.

 Stress is a real workplace issue. It can impact your health and job performance and finding ways to de-stress can help you personally and professionally perform at your best. 

By |2019-11-02T17:45:43-07:00August 30th, 2018|self-care|Comments Off on Tips for Practicing Self-Care at Work

How to Create a Recovery Friendly Workplace

recovery friendly workplace

More than 21 million people are struggling with addiction which has a tremendous impact on our society – and our workforce. With so many in recovery, it remains in the best interest of employers to become informed about how to help their employees by creating a recovery friendly workplace.

Employers often have many false beliefs about the recovery community, which may be caused by longstanding misconceptions about addiction. No matter if your business is small or large, it’s important to challenge false beliefs, learn to understand recovery, and adjust your company culture to be supportive, compassionate, and most of all, recovery-friendly.

As a manager, the topic of addiction may have you concerned about theft, missed working days or bad behavior – but it’s important to learn about recovery and how stigma may be playing a role in forming these beliefs. Stigma is one of the top deterrents to people seeking help, and can be a barrier that prevents employees from speaking up about their recovery.

As you challenge misconceptions, here are key things to remember about recovery:

The values of recovery transform a person. Recovery is founded on the principles of honesty, acceptance and continuous growth and humility. When you build a recovery-inclusive culture in the workplace, you allow those in recovery to be proud of their skills. As your people feel more included and proud to be themselves, the values of recovery will become more apparent throughout their work.

Recovery is possible. While it may seem like adopting the “once an addict, always an addict” belief is safer to eliminate potential risk to your business, it’s simply not true. Today, there are more than 23 million people living in active recovery, serving as living proof that second chances and life-changing transformations are possible.

You will learn valuable lessons from a diverse perspective. The recovery community is diverse, and it’s likely that someone who’s been through the throes of addiction has a story to tell and lessons to share. Diversity in the workplace is one of the greatest assets of a good company, and bringing in people with recovery experiences is no different.

To start building a recovery-friendly environment look at your policies and culture. Ask your team, “What policies or benefits do we offer to people struggling with substance use disorder?” and “How do we address substance-related criminal charges in a way that is recovery-friendly?” These questions will not only help shift your thinking, but can help set up important policies and safeguards for addiction and recovery in the workplace. Whether it’s better health benefits for mental health or substance abuse treatment, or a compassionate action-plan if one of your employees gets a DUI and needs support, it’s important to have guiding policies that can serve as the groundwork for effective conversation and honesty.

Also discuss with your coworkers, “How can we promote a culture conducive to recovery and mental health?” You may be surprised by the ideas shared with you. Whether it’s promoting work-life balance, having honest conversations or brown bag lunches to learn more about one another, tap into the perspectives of your people. Crowdsource ideas to make sure mental health, addiction and recovery are talked about honestly. Creating safety around these often vulnerable topics will transform your workplace and will further cultivate trust with your team.

Perhaps one of the most important elements of creating a recovery-friendly workplace is through having bold leaders willing to set an example from the top-down. If you have a leader who’s in active recovery and is willing to tell his/her story, this sets the example and will empower others to start important conversations, supporting one another throughout your company.

Recovery can be a transformative process for those who experience it, and often, these individuals bring a wealth of skills, talents and character to the workplace that has the potential to benefit your entire company culture for the better. Being an employer supportive of the recovery community will not only ensure that those struggling are offered understanding and support, but will help those living in long-term recovery be empowered and able to offer their talents and skills at work without the fear of shame or stigma.

Source: Recovery.org

By |2019-11-02T17:58:59-07:00July 25th, 2018|Recovery|Comments Off on How to Create a Recovery Friendly Workplace

How to Help A Severely Depressed Loved One

Depressed

Suicide has been making headlines with the recent deaths of celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Their tragic stories are not rare – suicide rates have been steadily rising in the United States.

This month, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report suggesting that America’s suicide rate increased by 25% between 1999 and 2016. Nearly 45,000 Americans took their own lives in 2016, making it the tenth leading cause of death overall in the U.S. While there are many reasons why people choose to end their lives, severe depression is a major one. This article from the New York Times offers expert tips on how to help a friend or family member who is struggling with depression, as well as suggestions on how to take care of yourself while helping others.

By |2019-11-02T17:51:08-07:00June 16th, 2018|depression, suicide, Uncategorized|Comments Off on How to Help A Severely Depressed Loved One

The Importance of Taking Vacations

Taking Vacations

Across the board, Americans agree that taking vacations are important for general health and well-being and help them feel more connected to their family and friends. Conversely, skipping vacations can have a negative impact on many aspects of their personal and professional lives.

Expedia’s 2017 Vacation Deprivation® report, an annual study that looks at the vacation habits of more than 30,000 working adults across 30 countries, shows that Americans are struggling to use their vacation time. Around half of workers in the U.S. report feeling somewhat or very vacation deprived, and will fail to use approximately 462 million vacation days.

The primary reasons cited for not taking time off are budget, the desire to save up vacation days for a longer holiday, not being able to get away from work, and the fear of losing their jobs. However, vacations are beneficial not only to workers, but to their companies as well.

The benefits of vacation are widespread. Taking time away from work and routine, even if only for a long weekend, allows the body to replenish and repair itself. Employees return from vacation in better health and attitude. Health benefits include reduced stress, lowered blood pressure, improved mental health and stronger family relationships. After a break employees are more focused and productive, and taking vacations foster stronger workplace morale and greater employee retention.

Not using vacation days is similar to sleep deprivation, according to physicians and psychotherapists. Just as lack of sleep impedes your ability to think clearly and act decisively, lack of playtime keeps you from taking in information effectively and has a negative impact on your reflex time, general resilience and ability to ward off infection.

According to the Expedia report, staying digitally connected by checking work related emails and messages on vacation can contribute to rising stress levels. Vacation should not just involve time spent out of the office but time off work as well. Other studies have shown that people who spend a lot of time thinking negatively about work while on vacation actually had higher levels of exhaustion and disengagement from work when they returned. People who felt that their holiday was highly recuperative, meanwhile, experienced enhanced effects when they went back to work.

As managers it is important to create an environment where taking time off is recognized and actually encouraged as a way to promote a healthier and more productive workplace.

Sources: Expedia 2017 Vacation Deprivation Report, thepip.com, monster.com

By |2019-11-02T17:54:36-07:00April 4th, 2018|Taking Vacations|Comments Off on The Importance of Taking Vacations

Flu Prevention in the Workplace

A nationwide flu outbreak is showing no signs of easing up and may continue for many more weeks. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said so far more than 17,100 people have been hospitalized with influenza since the flu season began in October. The main culprit for this harsh flu season is the predominant strain, H3N2. Seasons where H3N2 dominates typically result in the most complications, especially for the very young, the elderly and people with certain chronic health conditions.

Workplaces offer many opportunities for people to interact. More interaction between people in close contact increases the risk for respiratory illnesses like the flu to spread. According to the CDC, flu viruses can spread to people from up to six feet away through droplets made by sneezing, coughing or talking. Even before showing symptoms, an infected employee who sneezes during a meeting or coughs at someone’s desk without covering his or her mouth can expose others to the flu.

Here are important steps from the CDC that employers can take to prevent the spread of this year’s outbreak:

Communicate with employees about flu prevention through emails, websites, posters and announcements.

  • Use staff training, routine workplace communications, and email announcements to encourage healthy workplace policies and behaviors.
  • Encourage managers and employees to get a flu vaccination as soon as possible. It’s not too late since there are still weeks of flu activity to come.
  • Consider offering flexible leave and telework policies to make it easier for your staff to stay home when they are sick or caring for a sick family member. Managers should promote sick leave policies that encourage sick employees to stay home.

Maintain a clean environment, and provide employees with supplies that prevent the spread of flu. 

  • Be sure frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as telephones, keyboards, doorknobs and water fountains and microwave handles are cleaned often.
  • Provide supplies that promote healthy hygiene, including tissues, soap, and hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. You can also provide a bleach-and-water solution or a disinfectant with a label that says “EPA approved” for killing bacteria and viruses.

Educate employees on the following  healthy behaviors and when to stay home:

Wash hands often with soap and warm water. Rub them together for at least 20 seconds and be sure to dry them thoroughly. If there is no soap and water available, use alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gels and also let it dry completely. Washing hands at specific times reduces cold and flu transmission, for example:

  • After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose;
  • Before touching your face;
  • After touching contaminated objects such as tissues;
  • After cleaning surfaces which may be contaminated;
  • After shaking hands with someone known or suspected to be infected;
  • Before eating.

Practice good cough and sneeze etiquette – covering the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing reduces the likelihood of cold and flu viruses becoming airborne and/or contaminating surfaces and other objects in the work environment. However, when hands are used to cover the mouth, they become contaminated. Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze and encourage workmates to do the same. The tissue should be disposed of and hands washed immediately afterwards. If no tissue is available, cough into the sleeve at the inner elbow. Make sure you have a bin for tissue disposal.

Cold and flu viruses can survive on hard surfaces for up to eight hours and on a person’s hands for approximately five minutes after they touch a contaminated surface. From there they can cause infection if the person touches their mouth or eyes. Reduce your risk of infection by avoiding touching your face, or washing your hands before you do so.

Employees should stay home if they have any of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

 

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- Nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs): At work

https://www.cdc.gov

By |2018-06-18T10:46:32-07:00February 9th, 2018|flu prevention|Comments Off on Flu Prevention in the Workplace

Time For a Cell Phone Use at Work Policy?

According to the Pew Research Center, the vast majority of Americans – 95% – now own a cellphone of some kind and 77% of adult Americans own smartphones.  Many employees use their personal devices to make phone calls, surf the internet and send texts while at their workplace, and with 69% of U.S. adults using social media, many also check their accounts while they’re on the clock.  When less formal policies fail to limit cell phone use at work, it may be time to establish a formal cell phone policy.

Cell phones can be an important tool in the workplace. Business owners and employees often deal with pressing situations, and a delayed response can mean losing a customer, a client, a sale or a business opportunity. While sending a quick text might be important, and a few minutes of cell phone use here and there won’t typically hurt a business, excessive use can be a big distraction and become a problem in terms of productivity.

Your employees could resist strict or unrealistic requirements, so don’t ban cell phone use at work unless there’s a security or safety issue. However, you may want to set rules, such as requiring employees to keep their cell phones on silent and to limit personal phone calls to breaks and emergency situations. It’s also appropriate to ban the use of smartphones for playing games, watching videos or texting and chatting while at work.

Policies can be incorporated into the employee handbook and/or communicated to employees in other ways, such as with orientation materials distributed to new employees; in an email or written notice to all employees; and posting the policies in areas frequented by employees, such as break rooms, main hallways or bulletin boards.

Here are some guidelines to consider including in a cell-phone policy:

-Limit private phone use to urgent and time sensitive matters such as childcare and medical emergencies.

-Employees should make personal cell phone calls during break or lunch times whenever possible.

-Employees who need to make or take personal calls should be asked to step out of the office or go into a private area to not distract others.

-Phones can be kept on but should be set on quiet mode at work, with ringtones off. Those who want to listen to music should use headphones.

-When in a business meeting, or at a business meal, do not text and let calls go to voicemail. If an urgent call is anticipated and received, step away to talk.

-Cell phone use at work must never include obscene, discriminatory, offensive or defamatory language.

-Personal cell phones should generally not be used for business-related purposes unless a business phone is not provided or available.

Be sure to also address employees on the road. Prohibit texting while driving, whether your employees drive full-time or only occasionally to carry out their work, and whether they drive a company vehicle or their own.

One of the best things an employer can do to promote proper cell phone workplace etiquette is to model the behavior. If you’re constantly checking your phone, surfing the Web or replying to texts, your employees are likely to do the same.

Cell phones are a part of everyday life for most Americans, and by creating clear guidelines and realistic expectations, their use in the workplace can be managed to both employers’ and employees’ satisfaction.

By |2018-06-18T10:47:20-07:00January 17th, 2018|cell phones in the workplace|Comments Off on Time For a Cell Phone Use at Work Policy?

How to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

January 1st will soon be here and for many people that means it’s time to start their annual New Year’s Resolutions. Research suggests, however, that only a fraction of people actually keep those well-intentioned resolutions. If you’re like most people, your resolve to get in better shape, declutter your home, learn a new language, or read, more likely dissipates by the time February rolls around. Gyms around the country are packed with people after the New Year, but treadmills become much more available after one month or two!

Here are some ways to set and achieve your New Year’s Resolutions:

Be realistic by setting achievable goals. Some of the biggest mistakes people make are setting goals that are too broad, too big, or too many. Your resolutions should be absolutely clear and describe them in specific terms. Instead of “I want to be a better person” which, according to one poll, was 2017’s top resolution, think of specific behaviors which you feel will make you a better person and resolve to act on those behaviors. Find alternatives to a behavior that you want to change and make this part of your resolution plan. Do you want to quit smoking but you smoke to relax? Find other forms of relaxation that don’t include smoking.

Understand that unhealthy behaviors develop over time and changing them will take time, as well. Your timeline toward reaching your goals should be realistic. For years experts used to think it took about 21 days to form a new habit. Current thinking from a landmark 2009 study is that 66 days is much more realistic.

Break down large goals into smaller ones. For instance, if you want to lose weight resolve to join a gym and improve your eating habits. If you would like to make more friends, you could look into joining a club that interests you and volunteer for a cause you believe in.

Setting deadlines is a key to success, especially when dealing with big goals. You can only successfully break a goal down into smaller steps if you set deadlines for each step. It makes your goals more concrete and creates the urgency for you to begin. Logging progress into a journal or making notes on your phone or in an app can reinforce the progress, no matter what your resolutions may be.

Before you start acting on your resolutions, think about the potential barriers that might get in the way and identify contingency plans for how you will respond in those moments. Slips-ups while reaching toward your goals are completely normal. Don’t give up completely because of a minor transgression such as eating a few cookies or skipping the gym for a week because you were busy. Everyone has ups and downs; resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track. Be compassionate with yourself, acknowledge your slip-ups, and move on. Identify an important reason why you are resolving to change something in your life. Reminding yourself of that will keep you motivated, even if you experience a setback.

Share your experiences with family and friends and accept help from others. Consider joining a support group to reach your goals, such as a workout class at your gym or a smoking cessation group at work. Having someone to share your struggles and successes with makes your journey toward achieving your goals that much easier and less intimidating.

Celebrate the small steps and achievements along the way. And, even if you run out of steam before achieving your goals, remember that you can start over again. You don’t have to wait for a new year to make a resolution to better yourself.

By |2018-06-18T10:48:59-07:00December 27th, 2017|New Year's Resolutions|Comments Off on How to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

How an Employee Assistance Program Can Benefit Your Employees

Employee assistance programs can promote healthier and more productive workers. When employees bring their personal problems to the workplace it can impact their behavior and job performance and negatively affect office dynamics. Access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) gives your employees a confidential way to cope with personal issues which can range from workplace stress to drug and alcohol abuse.

EAPs are unique in that they provide services to individual employees and family members and to the employer as a whole. EAPs support management and supervisors by helping them manage troubled employees, as well as by addressing such topics as workplace violence, emergency preparedness and sexual harassment. Companies and organizations that have an EAP see a return on their investment with more productive employees and less absences and employee turnover. Workers are also more inclined to stay with an organization which supports and helps them resolve their personal issues.

Along with decreasing absenteeism and increasing employee retention, EAPs have been shown to help reduce accidents, workers compensation claims and the number of labor disputes, and significantly reduce medical costs by early identification and treatment of mental health and substance use issues. Employers have found that efforts to help employees resolve personal issues before they have serious consequences make good financial sense.

Fully Effective Employees, Inc. has an excellent reputation as a caring, personalized and service-oriented EAP, in which our own professionally trained staff counselors conduct most of the EAP work, from intake to assessment, brief counseling, referral and case management. Our programs can be customized to meet our employer client needs and we service companies nationally who have from five to five thousand employees. We offer a full range of services, including EAP and HR consulting, drug testing, background checks, as well as supervisor and management trainings and consultations. We also offer work/life and legal programs which further assist with employee health and well-being.

If you would like to learn more about our company, please visit us at www.fee-eap.com or email audreyr@fee-eap.com.

By |2018-06-18T10:49:37-07:00December 12th, 2017|EAP, Employee Assistance|Comments Off on How an Employee Assistance Program Can Benefit Your Employees