Work is a common source of stress for individuals in the United States. There is social, personal and familial pressure to succeed, get ahead and stay on top in a competitive job market. Social status is often determined by income and employment, and both men and women find themselves facing the challenges of providing for their families. While some stress can motivate individuals to work harder or find more efficient ways to meet goals and deadlines, high levels of stress can lead to substance abuse issues, as Psychopharmacology (November 2011) states, “Stress has been shown to increase alcohol craving in alcohol-dependent individuals.” When work is the source of much of the stress in your life, it can also contribute to an alcohol abuse or addiction problem.
How Does Work Contribute to Drinking Problems?
More than two billion people struggle with alcohol abuse or dependence, and alcohol addiction is a chronic disease that often leads to one or more relapses. Addiction is rarely viewed as something that affects individuals on successful-seeming career paths, yet the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights reports that up to 25% of Americans sometimes show up to work while drunk or under the influence of another substance. Addiction is not just a problem for the homeless, unemployed or destitute.
“Work Stress and Alcohol Use,” by Michael Frone, explains that alcohol, stress and work are related, as employees, “who felt their skills were underused, had low job control, and had little participation in decision-making were more likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs. This dissatisfaction was, in turn, positively related to drinking to cope.” A job with high demands but little room for independent thought or action can lead to alcohol abuse and addiction problems. Work can also create stress within families, if members work long hours and/or struggle to pay bills. Employees may feel pressure to join coworkers at events and in activities that involve drinking, and, if they are already at risk for problem drinking due to lack of coping skills, high levels of stress or genetic disposition, regular social drinking may become problem drinking.
Treating Stress-Related Alcohol Addiction
Psychopharmacology also relates that “treatments that address high stress levels and the associated high levels of alcohol craving are likely to improve treatment outcomes in alcohol dependence.” Quality addiction treatment programs understand the roles stress and employment play in addiction development, recovery and relapse prevention. To find out more about these recovery options, call our toll-free helpline and talk with one of our admission coordinators about treatment placement. We are available 24 hours a day to help you navigate the confusing world of addiction and treatment, so you can find the resources that match your needs as an individual. Call today, and begin your recovery journey.