Some careers have considerably higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse than others. Typically, these jobs are high-stress, but the location and low wages can also play a role. Men tend to misuse drugs more often than women, and younger adults abuse drugs more often than older people. Therefore, industries that hire a higher percentage of men or young people also have a higher concentration of addicts.
The medical profession, despite being theoretically better equipped to understand the dangers of substance abuse than the general public, has its fair share of addicts. According to the American Nurses Association, one in ten nurses has a substance abuse disorder. Nurses work long hours and tend to be on their feet most of the day, which can lead to exhaustion and chronic pain. They also have the closest relationship with patients, often having to struggle with despair or grief.
Similarly, doctors sometimes turn to drugs, particularly easily-accessible prescription medications, as a result of stress. A 2010 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 17 percent of those who responded personally knew of an impaired or incompetent physician within the previous three years.
Professional athletes are also more prone to addiction than normal. Over the course of their careers, they’re likely to sustain at least one serious injury resulting in the need for pain medication, which can become addictive. Their higher income bracket plays a role, as they are easily able to afford a variety of illicit substances. The social environment also enables drug use or heavy drinking, as many are akin to celebrities and tend to party lavishly. The pressure to play well can lead to the use of performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids, which can cause irritability, insomnia, heart attack, impaired judgment and high-risk behavior.
Firefighters and police are yet more people who are frequently in high-pressure situations. Police officers are exposed to violence and death and may turn to drugs or alcohol to de-stress or forget about the things they’ve witnessed. Police today also face a great deal of scrutiny and distrust from the public, making their jobs even harder. Firefighters risk their lives, sometimes daily, and may struggle with depression or PTSD. A study in the Journal of Substance Abuse and Alcoholism showed that 58 percent of firefighters reported binge drinking behavior. Both groups work long hours and may not have enough time to rest or see their families.
Lawyers also report higher rates of substance abuse, particularly with alcohol. A 2016 study by the American Bar Association found that 21 percent of employed lawyers qualified as problem drinkers. The legal profession is stressful, with serious consequences and tight time constraints. The pressure to win a case, which can mean freedom or even the difference between life or death for a client, is immense.
No matter your occupation, if you need help ending drug or alcohol abuse, contact Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504.