Why Is Stress in the Workplace Driving Professionals to Drugs and Alcohol?
Certain professionals are more likely to develop addictions due to stress in the workplace. View this infographic of most stressful jobs and learn about coping alternatives.
It’s a common misconception that drug and alcohol addiction is something that mostly happens to poor people who are unemployed or working dead-end jobs. However, the fact is that many high-earning professionals with prestigious careers can also turn to substances to deal with stress in the workplace.
After all, the bigger the paycheck, the visibility of the role, and the stakes on the line, the greater the pressure to perform. Professionals such as corporate executives, business owners, doctors, airline pilots, lawyers and investment bankers put in long hours and make decisions that affect many people’s lives. They are often exposed to drugs and alcohol in their workplace culture, and the stress felt by everyone in their profession reinforces the peer pressure to take the edge off with substances.
Take a look at the infographic below that lists the most stressful jobs in America, the workplace conditions that are especially stress-inducing, and other interesting stats about the relationship between workplace stress and addiction. Then keep reading to learn about alternatives to using drugs or alcohol to deal with stress in the workplace, and how to find the right kind of treatment for professionals in high-powered roles.
What Professionals Need to Know About the Consequences of Substance Abuse
It’s no secret that addiction can lead to job loss, destroyed relationships and drained finances. But for people in positions of authority and respect, the career and legal consequences of addiction can be even more dire, including:
- Mistakes That Could Lead to Substantial Harm or Even Death
- Loss of Respect and Professional Reputation
- Revocation of Professional License Needed to Operate (Especially for Doctors, Lawyers, and Pilots)
Unlike those who are struggling to make ends meet, affluent professionals may have the financial means to support and hide their addiction. They may not be in danger of losing their job right away…but when a major catastrophe occurs, the consequences can be far-reaching. This is why it’s absolutely critical that professionals in high-powered careers get clean before the problem spirals out of control.
First, let’s look at ways that professionals can reduce stress without turning to substances, in order to prevent addiction. Then, we’ll cover what to do if you or a loved one needs professional assistance in overcoming an addiction.
Alternative Ways to Cope with Stress in the Workplace
Although some jobs are inherently more stressful than others, there are things within your power that you can do to relieve stress without having to default to using substances like alcohol or drugs.
Make Time for Recreational Activities and Hobbies
At least an hour or two of each day should be spent doing something you genuinely enjoy doing. This may be something low-key like reading a book, drawing, gardening or a hobby such as restoring old cars. You could choose multiple activities and change it up every now and then. If you’re not sure what to do, look back at the things you enjoyed doing in your youth.
Take Breaks for Physical Activity During the Work Day
Take 15-minute walk breaks a couple times a day. Stand and stretch every half hour or so. Anything that gets your body moving around and allows your mind to wander freely will improve both your mental and physical health, combating the effects of stress in the workplace.
Set and Respect Boundaries Between Work and Home Time
If work has taken over your life, take it back. At least some of it. Choose times when you won’t allow work to disturb your relaxation and family time, and honor it. Arrange coverage with co-workers if needed, and offer to cover for them when you’re on call and they’re off.
Incorporate Some Humor into Your Day
Smiling and laughing triggers the release of hormones that make you feel happy. So, you can literally “fake it until you make it” to feel happier. Or you can go online and watch funny cat videos. Whatever works for you?
Get More Sleep
When people work long hours, sleep gets cut back. And yet, sleep is needed to repair the damage done to the body by stress. So, make it a priority.
Ask for More Time Off and/or Shorter Hours
This can be a tough one, because many organizations have a workaholic culture and/or require long shifts. However, working fewer hours is important to carve out sufficient time for sleep and recreation.
Thankfully, companies are starting to recognize the dangers of having employees work long hours, and some policies are shifting. So, it’s worth considering. You never know for sure until you ask. Perhaps you will be the person who is the catalyst for change in your organization.
Make Sure You’re Eating Healthfully
A fast-paced life often leads to fast food…or skipped meals. Highly paid professionals have an advantage in this area though, because they can hire someone to cook their meals for them or subscribe to one of the many healthy, prepared meal services that have become available in recent years. If you’re not taking advantage of this, start now.
Plan Substance-Free Getaways with Friends and Family
Take vacation time. You won’t look back and regret that you didn’t work enough; you’ll regret not spending more time with the people you care about. Make plans now, even if they’re a year from now, and stick to them.
Finding the Right Treatment for Those in High-Powered, High-Stress Careers
The Dunes East Hampton drug & alcohol rehab center was originally founded because traditional drug and alcohol treatment facilities simply weren’t designed to address the unique needs of executives and other professionals with demanding careers. They need:
- Privacy and Discretion – People in highly visible roles, where reputation is everything, need a treatment center that respects their privacy, and where other clients also care about discretion.
- Flexibility Around Work Obligations –Unlike other facilities that cut residents off completely from the outside world during rehab, The Dunes allows outside contact during certain times to take care of urgent business. If attendance at an important function is critical, we can even arrange for a discreet chaperone to accompany a client.
- Luxury Facilities – Our clients don’t have to sacrifice quality of living during treatment.
- Compassionate Care and Empowerment – We don’t believe in shaming our clients about their substance abuse, but instead, we treat each person with sincere compassion and respect as we assist them in reclaiming their lives from addiction.
- Customized, Best-in-Class Treatment – Our clients deserve the best treatment options available, which is why we provide cutting-edge clinical and holistic treatment methods, and why we customize the treatment plan to each client’s specific needs.