There are many factors that contribute to a person’s risk for addiction and substance abuse. Genetics may be one factor. A family history of substance abuse does not determine that a person will wind up in some form of addiction, but studies reveal that heredity can be a contributing factor. Another factor that leads to addiction is the environment that a person is in. While the environment can sometimes refer to the influence of others, research also shows that high-stress work environments can likewise play a role. Read on to learn about the relationship between job stress and substance abuse and how you can overcome both stress and addiction.
Relationship Between Job Stress And Substance Abuse
Some jobs, by their very nature, create environments of stress and anxiety for the employee. For example, soldiers, first responders, emergency room staff, and even deep-sea fishermen are just a few who face high stress as part and parcel of the job description. Other jobs are made stressful by high-pressure employers or unreasonable work expectations. Whatever the exact cause of a stressful environment is, when stress becomes a daily regimen, it is likely that workers will look for an escape. Often times, they find this escape through abusing drugs and alcohol.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Mental health research shows a strong correlation between anxiety and substance abuse. Workers with an anxiety disorder are two times more likely than non-anxious workers to abuse substances. When work-related stress follows a person home, the temptation to use alcohol or drugs in order to “get away” or quiet the anxiety increases. Long-term stress is also linked to depression. People who feel they are under constant pressure sometimes stop feeling happy not only at work but everywhere. If you believe you are suffering from a mental health illness and want to work through these issues, contact The Right Step. We have treatment programs and therapy available so that you can begin to see improvements in your mental health.
Why People Turn To Drugs In Stressful Situations
Substance abuse can be a way that the person reaches out in search of elusive feelings of happiness. People wrongly assume that the substance that makes them feel good temporarily will help them to stave off depression. In reality, substance abuse deepens depression.
Signs that stress and anxiety are too present in a person’s life include:
- Exaggerated reactions to people and situations
- Irrational concerns
- Constant tiredness
- Quickened heartbeat
- Feeling jittery
- Hot flashes
The answer to high-stress work environments is not to use substances to mask the situation. The appropriate response is to learn healthy ways of managing stress. There are a lot of other healthy ways to manage stress that do not involve drugs or alcohol. Rather than a glass of wine each night after work, take a walk. Sit down with your daily schedule and take control rather than giving in to a sense of being driven by events and outside forces. These are just a couple of stress coping skills that you can use to help avoid addiction.
When a person is abusing substances in order to handle stress, they will probably benefit from sitting down with a behavioral health professional that can help them to recognize maladaptive responses as well as teach them new strategies for managing daily stress. Nearly 20 million Americans are dealing with anxiety and stress, lots of it related to work. Since there is no way to live a stress-free life, learning to cope with stress in a healthy way is a must for us all. If you or a loved one is having trouble coping with stress and addiction, contact The Right Step at 713.528.3709. We are here to help.