We may have health insurance parity legislation, but it still might take some time for substance use disorders to be seen as less stigmatizing in the workplace than other illnesses. A thought-provoking survey released last week by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) indicates that the need for addiction treatment still produces high levels of anxiety among employees fearing a loss in workplace status.
The survey of 1,129 individuals found that 76% believed they would suffer damage to their work status if they sought treatment for drug addiction, while 73% believed their work status would suffer if they sought treatment for alcoholism, HealthDay News reported. By comparison, the percentages were 62% for depression, 55% for diabetes and 54% for heart disease.
In reaction to the findings, the APA’s Partnership for Workplace Mental Health offered several suggestions for employers to be proactive in encouraging workers to take care of their health needs. Included in the recommendations is specific reassurance to employees that the confidentiality of their health information will be protected.