One in 13 working adults struggles with excessive alcohol use. People in every type of job face their own unique challenges, some of which lend themselves to unhealthy behaviors like drug and alcohol use. Professions that have high rates of addiction are unsurprisingly demanding jobs, where the hours are long, and the stakes seem high.
Several studies provide a wealth of information about the challenges facing workers in all levels of their careers. Let’s take a closer look at what the research says about professions that have high rates of addiction.
Heavy Alcohol and Illicit Drug Use in the Workforce
Certain industries have high rates of drug and alcohol use among workers. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health lists mining, construction, accommodation and food services and management as a few of the industries in which heavy drinking occurs. Accommodation and food services, arts and entertainment, management, and information technology top the list of industries with high rates of illicit drug use.
An interesting takeaway from this research is that even in industries with comparatively lower rates of use, such as healthcare and educational services, nearly 5 percent of workers engage in heavy drug or illicit drug use. In other words, even industries where it’s not a problem, it’s still a problem for a select few.
Drug and Alcohol Use in the Legal Profession
Studies suggest that about one-third of practicing attorneys are problem drinkers. Problem drinking is hazardous, harmful and potentially alcohol-dependent drinking. The legal profession also has high rates of depression and anxiety, conditions which are linked closely with substance use disorders.
The pressures of working at a large firm appear to make an attorney more likely to drink. Lawyers in firms had higher rates of problem drinking than attorneys who practiced alone. Among law firm attorneys, junior associates drank the most, with senior associates and junior partners close behind.
Heavy Drinking and Drug Use Among Healthcare Professionals
Some research suggests that one in 10 health care professionals struggle with drug or alcohol use at some point in their lives. Another study found that more than 100,000 doctors, nurses, technicians and other health professionals deal with addiction, largely to powerful narcotics like oxycodone and fentanyl.
Some types of doctors are more likely to suffer from substance use disorders than others. For example, 15 percent of surgeons have alcohol use disorders. Studies also indicate that dentists drink more heavily than other health care professionals and that a high percentage of nurses and midwives engage in harmful daily drinking.
Characteristics of Professions That Have High Rates of Addiction
High-pressure work environments that require long hours are hallmarks of roles that make addiction more likely. A profession’s work culture can also breed substance use disorder. Management, legal professionals and food service workers often find themselves in situations where drinking is not only expected but encouraged.
Though it might feel as though drug and alcohol use is a way to cope with the stresses of your job, it soon becomes an obstacle. Left unchecked, addiction can limit a professional’s potential and, in some cases, spell disaster for a career.
Signs that a Professional Needs Help
A professional might be experiencing any number of challenges, which substance or alcohol use only worsens. Depression and anxiety are closely linked to substance use disorders, so many of the signs that professionals should look out for include mental health issues.
- Daily use of alcohol to cope with the stresses of a job.
- Declining performance at work due to drug or alcohol use.
- A feeling that there is little hope for a life without substances.
- Constant anxiety stemming from the demands of a profession.
- Engaging in risky behavior that endangers a user or others.
- Exhaustion with work and personal obligations.
A professional is headed for disaster if they show these signs. Ideally, you should heed the signs and seek help before a complete collapse. In many cases, it’s only after a career-threatening incident that someone commits themselves to finding help. Whatever brings you to the realization that help is necessary, it’s important to know that the right program can position you for a successful recovery.
If You Need Help, Contact Providence Treatment
At Providence Treatment, we work with professionals to give them the tools to cope with a substance use disorder. Our staff takes a holistic approach to addiction treatment, tending to a person’s mental, physical and spiritual needs. We encourage you to learn more about Providence Treatment’s services and call 866-247-3307 to speak to our team.