Does Your Job Increase Your Risk for Addiction?

hotel check in lobbyThere are a number of risk factors for addiction, such as a person’s genetic makeup, his age when he first used addictive drugs, the type of drug he is taking, how long he took it, and how much of it he takes.

Have you ever wondered whether your career choice could also put you at increased risk for addiction?

If you think of certain careers as putting the people who perform them at a higher risk for addiction, which ones do you think are highest on the list? Do you picture people who work in high-pressure jobs, like someone who works in the finance industry? Do you think professionals (by industry) are more or less likely to than people who work in mining or construction to develop a substance use disorder? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Heavy Alcohol Use Rates in the Past Month by Industry Category

Adults Aged 18-64, Working Full-time, 2008-2012 (samhsa.gov)

  • Mining: 17.5 percent of all employed adults
  • Construction: 16.5 percent of all employed adults
  • Accommodation/Food Services: 11.8 percent of all employed adults
  • Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation: 11.5 percent of all employed adults
  • Utilities: 10.3 percent of all employed adults
  • Wholesale Trade: 10.2 percent of all employed adults
  • Management: 9.9 percent of all employed adults
  • Manufacturing: 9.7 percent of all employed adults
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting: 9.4 percent of all employed adults
  • Retail Trade: 9.0 percent of all employed adults
  • Transportation and Warehousing: 8.8 percent of all employed adults
  • Other Services (except Public Administration): 8.5 percent of all employed adults
  • Real Estate, Rental, and Leasing: 8.5 percent of all employed adults
  • Information: 8.1 percent of all employed adults
  • Professional, Scientific, and Tech Services: 7.7 percent of all employed adults
  • Finance and Insurance: 7.4 percent of all employed adults
  • Public Administration: 6.6 percent of all employed adults
  • Educational Services: 4.7 percent of all employed adults
  • Health Care and Social Assistance: 4.4 percent of all employed adults

The rate of heavy alcohol use in the mining and construction industries could be linked to them being traditionally male-dominated professions. Some people working in these fields may have a “work hard, play hard” philosophy that spills over to their habits when consuming alcohol.

It’s also possible that since these industries require a certain amount of physical labor as part of their job requirements, employees are more likely to experience injuries of all types on the job. Some of them will be relatively minor. Others, such as neck and back strains, can be very painful as well as difficult to diagnose by doctors since they involve soft tissue injuries.

An employee working in one of these industries may be hesitant about taking time off from work to consult a doctor, thinking that if he takes some ibuprofen and gives the situation some time, he’ll be fine. He may be concerned that the doctor may recommend that he take time off work. For employees who are being paid by the hour, this may not be practical. Instead, employees may try to self-medicate with alcohol so they can continue working.

Illicit Drug Use Rates in the Past Month by Industry Category

Adults Aged 18-64, Working Full-time, 2008-2012 (samhsa.gov)

  • Accommodations/Food Services: 19.1 percent of all employed adults
  • Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation: 13.7 percent of all employed adults
  • Management: 12.1 percent of all employed adults
  • Construction: 11.6 percent of all employed adults
  • Other Services (except Public Administration): 11.2 percent of all employed adults
  • Real Estate, Rental, and Leasing: 10.9 percent of all employed adults
  • Retail Trade: 10.3 percent of all employed adults
  • Professional, Scientific, and Tech Services: 9.0 percent of all employed adults
  • Wholesale Trade: 7.8 percent of all employed adults
  • Manufacturing: 7.4 percent of all employed adults
  • Finance and Insurance: 6.5 percent of all employed adults
  • Utilities: 6.1 percent of all employed adults
  • Transportation and Warehousing: 5.9 percent of all employed adults
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting: 5.7 percent of all employed adults
  • Healthcare and Social Assistance: 5.5 percent of all employed adults
  • Mining: 5.0 percent of all employed adults
  • Educational Services: 4.8 percent of all employed adults
  • Public Administration: 4.3 percent of all employed adults

The rate for overall past month illicit drug use among full-time workers in the age 18-64 age bracket was 8.6 percent. Workers in the accommodation and food services industry were most likely to report using illicit drugs within the past month, at 19.1 percent. Their working conditions, as well as those for workers in the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry, may involve working in high-stress environments where they have little control over working conditions. When the working conditions are added to the availability of illicit substances, it’s easy to see how some workers in these industries may turn to illicit drugs as a coping mechanism.

Does Your Job Increase Addiction Risk?

It’s possible that people working in certain types of fields are more likely to develop an addiction. The factors that put someone at risk for becoming an addict are complicated, and environment does play a role. However, career choice on its own probably isn’t going to be enough to push someone into becoming an addict. It’s more likely that stresses from work compound factors that are already present in people who develop substance abuse issues.

Regardless of how someone develops an addiction, it’s important to seek treatment to promote a sustained recovery. Great Oaks Recovery Center provides a full continuum of care for chemically dependent individuals, personalized to fit each client’s unique circumstances.

If you or someone you love is in need of alcohol or drug treatment, contact us for Houston addiction treatment anytime, at (877) 977-3268. We are here to help.

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