We think of many aspects of our lives as being likely to lead to substance abuse and addiction, and we also know that a large number of people who abuse drugs and alcohol are struggling with homelessness, joblessness, and other serious problems. However, most people don’t realize that being employed can actually be a potential factor when it comes to addiction. Some people start using drugs and alcohol because of their jobs, which is why it is so important for employers and companies to offer options for those who experience this issue.
Employment can lead to addiction for many reasons, according to the latest study by Detox.com. When people work very long hours, they sometimes use substances to try and take the edge off after work. This type of use could become serious and may even bleed into their time on the clock. Plus, those who have jobs with high burnout rates, intense stress, or constant pressure are more likely to abuse substances than those who work in more calming environments. Finally, there are certain positions where substances like alcohol, prescription medications, or even illicit drugs are easily accessible, and this makes it difficult for the employee to avoid abusing them over time.
76.1 percent of heavy drinkers and 68.9 percent of illicit drug users have at least part-time—if not full-time—jobs, as stated by a 2013 study. Still, some professions see an increased risk for causing substance use disorders, often because they encompass all the issues listed above. For example, those in the healthcare industry, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, work high-stress, pressure-filled jobs with long hours, and they have easy access to prescription drugs. Entertainers—like actors, dancers, and singers—have all three aspects in their professions as well.
Even those who aren’t affected by all three issues can experience high rates of addiction. Construction workers topped the list of the jobs with the highest risk for drug and alcohol abuse. Though this job does not always contain life-or-death situations like working in healthcare, it does lead to many accidents for which workers will require treatment with pain medications. Business managers also have high-stress jobs and large amounts of disposable income, which can sometimes lead to substance abuse simply as a way to spend one’s money.
As such, it is important for us to recognize that being employed doesn’t necessarily mean you are safe from developing an addiction. In fact, your job could be adding to the stressors and other issues that are building your drug or alcohol use, and you could be going through life as a high-functioning addict who works every day but struggles with a serious substance abuse disorder at the same time.
If you believe this sounds similar to your situation—or to the situation of someone you know—don’t hesitate to seek help. Addiction treatment is the best way to ensure that you can make a change for the better and put your substance abuse in the past so you can start to focus on your future.