When we start to examine our career choices early on in life, we immediately start making inevitable comparisons: money vs. time; opportunity vs. job scarcity; travel vs. telecommuting, etc. Very few, if any, of us are thinking about the likelihood that we’ll wind up succumbing to substance abuse and addiction by the sheer nature of our profession. The reality is; however, that there are some career paths that, judging by the numbers, simply lend themselves to drug or alcohol abuse. Whether it’s due to immense pressure, lack of opportunity, long hours or anything else, some vocations are simply higher-risk than others.
- Medical Professionals – Although they’re often responsible for treating such symptoms related to these conditions, doctors and nurses face an abnormally high risk of developing substance abuse issues of their own. It is estimated that between 10 and 15 percent of physicians suffer from some sort of addiction. These numbers are similar for registered nurses. A Nursing Times survey found that 63 percent of participating nurses experienced physical or mental side effects of job-related stress. This very often leads to self-medication and resulting substance abuse. Experts in the field say that demands of the profession steer nurses toward drugs and alcohol.
- Aviation – It might be scary to consider, but pilots and aviation professionals struggle with higher rates of substance abuse issues, specifically alcoholism, and this has been the case for decades. According to the Federal Aviation Administration and the Office of Aerospace Medicine, 11 percent of the 5,321 pilots involved in aviation accidents between 1990 and 2005 tested positive for drug use. Between 2004 and 2008, 37 percent of the 1,353 pilots who died in aviation accidents tested positive for drugs. The pressures of the job and transient nature of the employment experience often pave the way for mental illness and self-medication.
- Lawyers – According to the American Bar Association, Image result for addiction among lawyersinterventionstrategies.com lawyers are at roughly twice the risk of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol as people in other professions. They also have higher incidence of depression, anxiety, suicide and other mental health issues than the general population. A joint study between the ABA and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation reveals that one in three practicing lawyers are problem drinkers, based on the volume and frequency of alcohol consumed, 28 percent suffer from depression, and 19 percent show symptoms of anxiety, according to the study, which involved 12,825 licensed, employed lawyers in 19 states around the country.
Other professions that have higher rates of addiction include finance, law enforcement and emergency response, professional sports and more. The addiction treatment landscape has evolved to accommodate industry-specific recovery programs that address the specialized clinical needs of each profession. Recovery Unplugged proudly treats adult men and women in every profession so they can overcome their substance abuse and take the necessary steps forward to rebuild their careers and lives. You don’t have to let drug or alcohol addiction derail your career and your future.