Did you know that work stress can detrimentally impact your health? Not only does work stress increase your risk of physical health problems, but it can also contribute to drug and/or alcohol addiction.
Both internal and external factors contribute to the link between addiction and work stress. Educating yourself about these factors is the best way to avoid falling into the trap of work-driven substance abuse.
Keep reading, and we’ll tell you all about the work stress and addiction; and, how to cope with your job in a healthy way.
Addiction Culture in Workplaces
Substance abuse is, unfortunately, part of the culture of many workplaces. This is why certain industries have higher rates of substance abuse than others.
Addiction culture often affects fast-paced work environments. It also impacts young workforces.
Food service workers are especially likely to develop work-related drug abuse disorders.
17% of food service workers have been diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder. 19% of food service workers report using illicit drugs recently. About 11% report recently binge-drinking.
Other industries that suffer from unusually high rates of substance abuse include construction, mining, arts, and entertainment.
Manual labor-driven industries such as construction and mining report the heaviest rates of alcohol addiction. In many of these workplaces, drinking heavily in your off hours is not only accepted but encouraged.
On the surface, this makes sense. After a long day of physically strenuous work, anyone might want some help relaxing.
However, this relaxation can become problematic quickly. Having a couple of beers after work can turn into spending entire evenings getting drunk, and even drinking on the job.
Alcohol abuse is also common in the food service, arts, and entertainment industries because alcohol is a key part of how these industries function.
These industries may require you to be around alcohol all day, serve it to other people, and sometimes drink during professional engagements.
When alcohol is such a regular part of your life, it can be hard to draw boundaries between normal recreational use and abuse.
Though it isn’t as common as alcohol abuse, stimulant abuse is another workplace hazard in some industries.
The most common stimulant abused on the job in the U.S. is cocaine. Adderall and other prescription stimulants are on the rise, however; particularly among young professionals and working college students.
Stimulant abuse is common in industries that require long hours without breaks and sharp mental focus. Once again, this makes food service and hospitality workers especially vulnerable.
High-powered careers in business, particularly sales, may also see a workplace culture of stimulant abuse.
Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms for Job Stress
Even if there is no ostensible culture of substance abuse at your job, you may find yourself turning to drugs and alcohol to mitigate work stress. The euphoria of being drunk or high can temporarily keep you from feeling the effects of work burnout.
Using drugs to cope with work stress is a slippery slope. When you try it once and see success, it can be nearly impossible not to try it again the next time you’re under stress.
This habit will force you to drink more (or up the dosage of your drug of choice) as your tolerance increases. It can be all too easy to become a “high-functioning” addict when you’re doing drugs at work.
Of course, this coping mechanism can seriously hinder your ability to function in the long run.
Eventually, the stress of maintaining your addiction will grow to be more intense than the stress you initially dealt with at work.
You may also find that your habit starts to interfere with your life outside of work. You may experience financial trouble, difficulty in relationships, and an inability to complete the work that you once thrived in.
Breaking the Tie Between Work Stress and Addiction
The best way to avoid work-related substance abuse is to learn to deal with work stress in healthy ways. When you go into a new workplace, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place for dealing with inevitable stressors.
Establish relaxation habits that do not involve intoxicating substances. That way, you can always depend on something healthy to help you unwind from your day.
For instance, you can practice ending a stressful workday with your favorite show and some comfort food. You can also find a new favorite nonalcoholic beverage.
Take good care of your health both on and off the job. Make sure you prioritize getting enough sleep, eating well, and getting some kind of regular exercise. When you go into work feeling healthy, you’re much less likely to experience excessive stress while you’re there.
If you do slip up and find yourself abusing substances to cope with work stress, don’t worry. This doesn’t mean you have to develop a life-ruining substance abuse disorder.
As soon as you notice these patterns starting to form, seek out substance abuse treatment. If possible, you should also reach out to a trusted friend or coworker and discuss your behavior.
Recovery from work stress and substance abuse is always possible with the right support.
Seek Addiction Help Today
If you feel that work stress is contributing to your addiction problems, we recommend seeking help immediately. The sooner you seek help for an addiction problem, the easier it will be for you to recover. Contact us today for information about our detox programs, insurance coverage, and the many benefits we offer. Our expert team is committed to providing you with a future free of substance abuse.