It’s common knowledge that not everyone loves their job; but a majority of individuals are content with their field, what they’re doing, or their coworkers.
But for some people, their place of work only induces stress that can cause harmful effects and behaviors. Management, coworkers, clients, and workload alike can contribute to an unhealthy work environment that could lead employees to start using potentially dangerous substances.
Unhealthy Working Environments
If you’re feeling stressed or unhappy after work every day, you might be in an unhealthy environment. Here are some ways that places of work could make workers feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed:
- Poor leadership
- Lack of support for employees
- Little work-life balance
- Extremely heavy workload
- Lack of respect for employees & boundaries
- Encouragement of competitive conflict
- Poor communication from management & coworkers
- Unmotivated coworkers and team
- No room for growth or forward movement
Dealing With Job-Related Stress
All of these patterns and issues that occur at work can cause high levels of stress that employees may not know how to deal with. If a person doesn’t have a stress-relieving routine or coping skills, they might end up turning to illegal substances like opiates or alcohol.
Common Risks of Substance Abuse
Some people are more likely to become addicted to substances than others, depending on certain biological and environmental factors including:
- Genetics (age, gender)
- Mental illness
- Peer pressure from coworkers & friends
- Accessibility of drug
- Problems at work
If you haven’t noticed, about half of these risks can be connected to someone’s job. Below are some more ways that substance abuse and work may be linked.
The Link Between Employment & Addiction
Workers in every field can form an addiction due to overwhelming stress, but substance abuse is more common in some fields that others. Some industries that have a large amount of employees with addiction issues include:
- First response
- Real estate
- Food service
This is especially dangerous since those with alcohol and drug problems are more likely to get injured on the job. In addition to injuries, abuse can also lead to lack of productivity, absence, and theft at work.
According to The National Council of Alcoholism & Drug Dependence, 70% of people who use drugs are employed at least part time. And in terms of alcohol, about 24% of people with jobs have drank during the work day at least once over the past year.
So how exactly does work stress turn into a problem with drugs or alcohol?
How Stress From Work May Lead to Addiction
Here’s how stress from work may lead to stress-induced abuse:
- Pressure to meet deadlines — could cause cocaine or Adderall use
- Unwinding — using alcohol or opiates after a long day
- Exposure — some jobs require you to be around substances (bartender, nurse)
Someone in a stressful work environment may be more likely to develop a dependence if they start using drugs or drinking frequently. But it’s all a vicious cycle; because the more someone uses a substance, the less able they will be to deal with work stress.
Coping in A Healthy Way
If you’re feeling stressed from your job to the point where you’re thinking about using substances to reduce stress or cope with issues, it may be time to look for something else. However, if you’re not able to do so or you’re still feeling on-edge, here are some good habits and coping mechanisms to try:
- Regular exercise routine
- Healthy diet
Treatment for Substance Abuse
But in some cases, it unfortunately might be too late to cope on your own. If you or a loved one is using drugs or alcohol to deal with stress from work-related situations, it may be time for serious treatment and attention.
Those with drug or alcohol issues should begin by detoxing under medical supervision at a hospital or rehab center. Then, they’re encouraged to attend therapy and group meetings to continue sobriety.
If you or someone you know has developed substance abuse because of work, give us a call at 844-237-5762 for advice regarding treatment options and next steps.