Occupational Stress and Substance Use Disorder

man on stressful call

Every profession has its stressors, but for some, managing workplace pressure proves to be too much. As a result, many seek to cope in unhealthy ways such as turning to substance use. Persistent drug or alcohol use leads to addiction, creating more stress for those who are struggling. Occupational stress and substance use disorders often coexist, and managing the two is nearly impossible without proper treatment.

Common Occupational Stressors

Anyone who works in a professional setting has experienced the stressful nature of these environments. Doctors, lawyers, corporate employees, and blue-collar workers all manage intense situations at their jobs. Some of the most common occupational stressors include:

  • Long working hours
  • Lack of support in the workplace
  • Budget cuts
  • High employee turnover
  • Increased responsibility
  • Unusually fast-paced environments

Without proper coping strategies or a consistent work-life balance, professionals use alcohol and drugs to manage their emotions. 

Prevalence of Substance Use Disorders Amongst Professionals

Substance use amongst professionals is far more common than most people realize. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 17.5% of those who are employed full-time have substance use disorders. Similarly, 52.7% of all people with this disorder have a full-time job. Often, addiction goes unnoticed if professionals are able to maintain reasonable productivity levels. However, the further into a substance use disorder someone is, the more challenging it is to keep up with their responsibilities. This can create lasting consequences for employees and employers alike. 

Risks Associated With Occupational Stress and Addiction

Substance use is known to impair decision-making, creating potentially dangerous situations. Addiction creates cravings for alcohol or drugs that are difficult to resist. This frequently leads those with a substance use disorder to use within their workplace, resulting in risks for the person struggling with addiction and the people they interact with. Common risks associated with substance use in the workplace include:

  • Missed deadlines
  • Impaired decision-making
  • Unprofessional behavior and interactions
  • Patient/client consequences
  • Financial losses
  • Missed work and reduced productivity
  • Loss of employment

Choosing recovery can prevent a majority of these consequences, especially if a person is willing to engage in a treatment program. Attending a rehab program is also covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Rehab for Professionals at Providence Treatment

If you are a working professional who would benefit from addiction treatment, Providence Treatment offers a rehab program designed to fit your busy life. Our providers understand the occupational stress our clients are experiencing and how this contributes to a substance use disorder. We offer services that range from an intensive outpatient program to outpatient treatment and sober living. Our Pennsylvania center works with you to maintain your work commitments while completing treatment, so you can return to your normal life more quickly. Contact our admissions team today to learn more about our program model.

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