Professional Hazards for Addiction: High-Risk Jobs

By their very nature, certain careers are more prone to drug and alcohol addiction. An obvious example is musicians and actors who live with late nights, uncertain schedules, media scrutiny and a party lifestyle in which drugs and alcohol are readily available.

Vulnerability to addiction isn’t confined to glamorous or high profile careers, however. A study conducted by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), found that although addiction occurs in every industry, careers in the entertainment industry, including sports, art and media, are no more exposed to risk of addiction than many other careers.

Careers with Higher Risk of Substance Abuse and Addiction

Investment bankers, traders and others in similar roles are frequently introduced to cocaine or similar “uppers” early in their careers. Many are tempted to try the drugs for fear of falling behind the performance of others who do use the drugs. The choice to use illicit drugs is frequently a response to the long hours, stress, exhaustion and potential burnout involved in negotiating competitive, high stakes deals that can impact a company’s entire future.

Even the most successful sales executives cope with the ever-present possibility for failure and rejection, which makes their profession highly vulnerable to substance abuse and addiction.

Medicine is one of the highest risk professions. Ongoing stress, the need to remain alert during long shifts, and intense responsibility for other people, combined with ready availability of prescription painkillers and other drugs, is an invitation for substance abuse and addiction for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals.

Pilots, who cope with grueling schedules, frequent time changes and an incredible amount of responsibility for the safety of others, often turn to prescription and over-the-counter medications to help them remain alert, or to provide sedation when they need a good night sleep.

Talented professionals in the high-tech industry frequently turn to stimulants to keep up with long, demanding work days with insufficient time for rest and relaxation.

The difficulties involved in law enforcement work can lead to problems with anxiety and depression. All too often, police officers, correctional personnel and others turn to drugs and alcohol to ease the stress.

According to the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, a large percentage of restaurant workers and bartenders frequently engage in hazardous drinking habits.

Alcohol and the Company Culture

All too often, the use of alcohol is acceptable in the corporate world and many companies look the other way or even encourage drinking during working hours. Managers are often expected to enjoy a few drinks at luncheon meetings, attend business meetings at bars, participate in company-wide social events or take clients out for late-night cocktails.

Fitting in is important and peer pressure is a factor for many workers, especially those new to the workplace. Some people may turn to alcohol for fear of jeopardizing working relationships. Employees who choose not to partake may feel isolated. The culture is so pervasive that sometimes, non-alcoholic beverages are unavailable at company functions.

Hiding Drug and Alcohol Problems

On the other hand, people in high profile professions are often compelled to keep drug and alcohol abuse carefully hidden. Some turn to prescription drugs, which may seem safer and more acceptable because they are prescribed by a health care provider.

This company culture carries long-term consequences, including increased absenteeism and sick leave, loss of productivity, low worker morale, high employee turnover, and increased risk of injuries and accidents, both on and off the job.

Fast-Paced Lifestyles and stress

For people who work in high-stress, pressure-cooker environments, stress is always present and becomes a tremendous risk factor for addiction, especially when drugs and alcohol are always present. Many turn to drugs and alcohol as a strategy to reduce tension or as a way to cope with career demands, exhaustion, loneliness or isolation from family and friends.

Treatment and Recovery

As time goes by, what begins as occasional use can turn into serious addiction that requires drug and alcohol treatment or rehab.

We offer comprehensive, completely confidential treatment for addiction, eating disorders, emotional afflictions and mental illnesses. Our team of highly qualified therapists, doctors, nurses, counsellors and other professionals focus on the recovery of only one client at a time, eight to twelve hours a day.

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