Professionals, Prescription Pills and Addiction

Professionals, Prescription Pills and Addiction

As working Americans, our primary source of stress is our occupation.  Most of our time and energy is devoted to earning a living.  Yet, for some people, their job provides a sense of fulfillment, satisfaction, and identity.  Their careers are exciting and rewarding.  But for others their jobs are boring and frustrating.  Either way, our jobs cause stress regardless of the benefits.  

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reported that “25 percent of workers claim that work is the most stressful aspect of their lives.”  

Professionals, prescription pills, and addiction are almost commonplace in America today due to stress-related issues.

Impact of Substance Use on Employers

The number of people who use drugs or alcohol while on the job is shocking.  Surprisingly, about 60 percent of people know someone who reports to work while under the influence of a substance.  This problem occurs among all demographics of the workforce.  However, the highest levels of substance use on the job occur among laborers, machine operators, construction workers, and food service employees.  

Individuals who only use drugs or alcohol at home on the weekend can still harm the company through repeated absences or tardiness.  Showing up for work with a hangover can lead to job site accidents and injuries.  

Many high-earning professionals use substances to help them cope with a demanding job.  The personality traits that make them successful in their profession are the same traits that can contribute to substance misuse and addiction.  

Some of the traits that influence professionals to abuse addictive substances:

Sensation-seeking 

Many high-ranking professionals are risk-takers.  They thrive on challenges.  These traits are common among people who abuse drugs and alcohol.

Perfectionism

Most executives and CEOs display tendencies toward perfectionism.  They set high standards for themselves.  The stress from their intense focus and need for control lead many of them to turn to substances to manage their high emotions.

False persona  

Some people in top professions strive to appear optimistic, upbeat, and self-assured.  Maintaining this image can be stressful.  As a result of their unrealistic expectations, they may turn to drugs or alcohol to suppress their fear of discovery or failure.  

Many high-ranking professionals are successful in hiding their substance misuse for years. The fear of repercussions prevents them from seeking treatment.  So, they continue using the substance until the addiction becomes noticeable.  

Today, it is possible for these individuals to enter treatment without losing their jobs.  For instance, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protect people from losing their job due to addiction.  Under the ADA, addiction is considered a disability.

Substance Misuse Statistics by Occupation

Substance misuse affects people from all professions. However, members of each profession handle job stress in different ways.  Many people suffer heart attacks and strokes due to increased stress.  Some become aggressive and angry, taking out their frustration on coworkers.  Others turn to drugs, alcohol, or both, to escape the turmoil of emotions.

The following statistics show which workers have the highest rates of substance use.

  • 16.5% of construction and17.5% of miners report heavy alcohol use. According to SAMHSA, workers in construction and mining professions have the highest rates of alcohol use.  
  • 19.1% of food service workers report illicit drug use in the past 30 days.  
  • 15 to 24% of people working in legal professions abuse alcohol.  One in five lawyers suffers from alcoholism.  
  • 10 to 15% of healthcare workers and professionals are affected by addiction.  About 69% of doctors misuse prescription drugs such as narcotics and opioids according to the Journal of Addiction Medicine.
  • Law enforcement and social services workers also have high rates of substance misuse.

For most of these professionals, fear of financial and legal repercussions prevents them from seeking treatment.  The sad truth, without treatment, they will suffer those financial and legal repercussions eventually anyway.

Substance misuse affects industries in many ways.  Workplace accidents and injuries, absenteeism, and lost productivity take a toll on a company’s bottom line.  The best way to bring these numbers down is to provide affordable, effective addiction treatment programs.

Substance Misuse Treatment at Design for Change Recovery

Substance misuse and addiction is a national public health concern.  As an addiction treatment provider, Design for Change Recovery seeks to be part of the solution.  With each person we treat, we contribute to bringing down the addiction statistics.

Are you struggling to control your substance misuse?  Whether you use the substance while on the job or not, addiction is a serious disorder.  To protect your health, your job, and your family, contact Design for Change Recovery today.  When you recover from substance use, every aspect of your life improves.

With our customized approach to addiction treatment, you can overcome drug use and return to being a productive, healthier member of society.   Call our toll-free number to talk with one of our Palmdale, CA advisors for more information about our programs.

Sources:  

  • samhsa.gov -Substance Use and Substance Use Disorder by Industry
  • ada.gov – Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability
  • dol.gov/ – Family and Medical Leave Act
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