High Stress Jobs and Addiction
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Work Stress Could Lead to Addiction
There is a reason for the popularity of happy hour, that post-workday stop at a local watering hole for an alcoholic beverage. When the balance between work and life is seriously out of whack there is a higher probability that those who suffer from workplace stress will gravitate toward drugs or alcohol to help modulate the effects of that stress.
It is true that each person has his or her own unique ability to manage stress. Some are hardwired to overreact to stressors on the job, while others let it roll right off their back. Individual temperaments, or personality traits, are those characteristics about ourselves that we can’t really “fix” but rather must learn how to work with or workaround.
For example, someone who is prone to an exaggerated stress response would not be a good fit as a first responder. The daily exposure to stress-inducing situations would just exacerbate that tendency and may set the person up for a future substance use disorder as a quick and easy coping mechanism. Eventually, this stress response, using drugs or alcohol to quell job-related stress, can become habitual and lead to addiction.
What Are the High Stress Jobs?
While a job that one person considers to be too stressful might be perceived as exciting and stimulating to another, there are certain professions that do produce higher levels of stress across the board. Deadline driven jobs, trauma-related jobs, and overly demanding jobs are renowned culprits.
According to CareerCast, a website that specializes in job search and career advice, the most stressful careers include:
- Enlisted military personnel
- Airline pilots
- Police officers
- Event coordinators
- Public relations executive
- Senior corporate executive
- Newspaper reporter
- Taxi driver
High stress jobs and addiction often go hand in hand. Individuals who feel overwhelmed by the demands of their chosen occupation may reach for the bottle or a sedative, such as benzo, to relieve the tension held in their bodies after a day’s work. Over time these kinds of high stress jobs will take their toll on both physical and mental health.
Signs That Your Job is Leading You Into Addiction
What may have begun as a harmless beer after work can surprisingly result in full-blown alcoholism for some people. Genetic predisposition to alcoholism, brain chemistry, a co-occurring mood disorder, or a series of other stressful life events may cause some to incrementally increase their alcohol consumption. For individuals who lean on alcohol as a coping tool for work-related stress, alcoholism can stealthily creep in.
The same could be said for the individual who struggles with an anxiety disorder and sought help for it. He or she may have been given a prescription for Xanax or Valium, both benzodiazepines that has a sedative, or depressant effect on the central nervous system. These medications happen to be very psychologically addicting, causing the individual to begin to rely on them any time they feel the slightest bit stressed out. If these folks are in high stress jobs, the medication may be abused to the point that addiction develops.
Signs of drug or alcohol addiction include:
- Increased tolerance to the effects of the substance, leading to higher consumption
- Planning one’s day around using drugs or alcohol, prioritizing substance abuse
- Declining job performance
- Sleep disturbance
- Interpersonal problems
- Mood swings
- Obsessed with obtaining the substance
- Secretive behaviors, such as hiding booze
- Doctor shopping for pills
- Weight gain or loss
- Withdrawing socially
- Attempts to discontinue or stock using drugs or alcohol fail
- Experience withdrawal symptoms when the substance is unavailable
Treatment for Drug or Alcohol Addiction
When high stress jobs have resulted in addiction it is time to take a pause and address your mental health needs. Recovery will entail detox and withdrawal, psychotherapy, 12-step programming, medication management, and learning some recovery skills to help ensure sustained sobriety.
In addition to the treatment program benefits, it is helpful to reconsider your career path if returning to it will only trigger the addiction reflex again. Sometimes the rehab experience can lead to a shift in priorities and profound life changes that will greatly benefit the individual in the long run.
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Golf Drug Rehab is an upscale treatment center situated in a beautiful coastal community in South Orange County, California. High stress jobs can take a heavy toll, leading to drug or alcohol dependency and depleted physical health. At Golf Drug Rehab our clinical team is dedicated to partnering with you every step of the way. Our unique rehab features the best in evidence-based treatments in addition to recreational golf therapy, with three spectacular local golf courses to access while in treatment. For more details about the program, connect with Golf Drug Rehab today at (877) 958-5320.
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