Many people are under the impression that most people who struggle with substance use disorders are jobless, but the truth is that more people who use drugs, binge drink alcohol, and drink heavily are actually employed rather than unemployed. According to a new study from Detox.com, there are many aspects about substance abuse and the workplace that most people in the U.S. don’t understand.
For one, drug and alcohol abuse can have consequences in the workplace, even if it occurs outside of work. Heavy drinkers who drink on and off the job are more likely to get into arguments with coworkers and customers, to become sick, to minimize productivity, and to provide poor work performance. The same issues are true of drug abusers, both illicit and prescription. Also, people who abuse drugs or alcohol are more likely to work three or more jobs in the course of a year, which can lead to high turnover in the workplace and a decrease in productivity. People who use addictive substances, even off the clock, are bound to increase the insurance costs of their company as well, as they are more likely to get sick.
Those who regularly abuse drugs will often show certain signs of this issue while at work like behaving strangely or unusually, gradually declining in their personal grooming, performing worse and worse at their job, and shirking or withdrawing from their responsibilities. In addition, these individuals are likely to become hostile or defensive when people mention their substance abuse.
Another important truth is that some jobs are more likely to lead to addiction than others. Jobs where people are likely to get hurt often, such as mining, construction work, waste management, and agricultural work, can lead to prescription pill dependency. People who are likely to have easy access to drugs, like doctors, nurses, and professional entertainers, are at a higher risk of substance abuse because of their jobs. Finally, jobs with high stress, high burnout rates, and high-pressure situations are more likely to lead to addiction. This can include many different industries from food services to law practice.
Many people do not realize that individuals who make lots of money and individuals who make very little money are both at increased risk for addiction. Those who make large sums of money, like business executives, will often start using drugs as a way to cope with stress, and as a way to spend their disposable income. However, those who make very little money, like retail workers, may use drugs in order to self-medicate when their financial situation makes them feel depressed.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no one type of person who is likely to abuse drugs or alcohol. However, there are some jobs that can increase one’s likelihood of this problem. No matter what you do for a living, it is better and safer to avoid substance abuse—both in and out of work—in order to ensure that you are performing at your best and that you are staying as healthy as possible.