Clock Out: 5 Jobs That Often Lead to Addiction

Last updated on November 4th, 2019

While I was in law school, everything seemed to revolve around drinking. Our university sponsored twice-weekly bar reviews (where we, the students, could drink all night for free) and an endless number of parties were thrown throughout the semester…all in the name of alleviating the stress of our course load.

It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that lawyers have a high rate of addiction, believed to stem from their days of drinking in law school.

Addiction in the Workplace

A big factor as to why substance misuse develops is largely due to stress. Attorneys carry a lot of responsibility on their shoulders; one poor performance in court can forever impact the lives of their clients.

But the law profession certainly isn’t the only career path that is prone to addiction – not by a long shot. Plenty of alternate industries have been labeled “high-risk” or extreme pressure cookers. Here’s a look at five career paths commonly linked to drug and alcohol abuse:

  • Healthcare

    With easy access to prescription painkillers, it can be difficult for healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, pharmacists and even veterinarians to resist the temptation to use – especially when coupled with the ridiculously long hours and stressful life-and-death situations.

    To put things in perspective, an estimated 10 to 15 percent of all medical professionals will abuse, misuse or become addicted to drugs at some point during their careers. How comfortable would you be knowing your heart surgeon was performing a triple bypass while nodding out from too much Xanax? Or what if his hands were shaking uncontrollably as a result of OxyContin withdrawal?

  • Sales

    Commission-based careers can take a serious toll on people who work in sales, especially when the pay is based on performance and the business is inconsistent. Constant travel can also become burdensome, adding more stress to the situation and taking away the possibility of spending time with family. As a result, clinical depression and anxiety are both frighteningly common in this profession, adding to the risk of developing a substance abuse problem.

  • Restaurants

    Addiction can run rampant among restaurant workers – even in the most upscale establishments. In fact, 80 percent of male workers and 64 percent of female workers in this industry are identified as having “hazardous alcohol consumption patterns,” according to a study published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

    What makes the restaurant industry ripe for drug and alcohol abuse? Firstly, restaurants are less likely to perform drug tests, allowing drug users to apply for – and land – jobs. Secondly, bartenders and servers can make a steady stream of cash each shift they work; with cash in hand, it’s extremely tempting to buy drugs or alcohol.

  • Stay-at-Home Parents

    Raising a child is a full-time job and, though it’s rewarding, it can also be monumentally stressful. As a result, the home can turn into an ideal environment for stay-at-home moms and dads seeking to nurture an addiction.

    Parents who stay home with the kids aren’t subject to the same routine employer drug tests. What’s more, they don’t have to worry about answering to supervisors or meeting deadlines.

  • Law Enforcement

    Police officers, correctional officers and other law enforcement personnel are all considered “at-risk” when it comes to drug abuse and addiction. In fact, experts suggest that 20 to 25 percent of this industry abuses drugs or alcohol. Unlike the groups mentioned above, a large number of law enforcement professionals succumb to addiction due to a different trigger: on-the-job injuries.

    Whether it’s chasing after a suspect or subduing an unruly inmate, law enforcement officials are required to perform sudden bursts of physical activity, often wreaking physical havoc on their bodies. To combat the pain, many officers turn to prescription painkillers, which can easily develop into an addiction.

Additional Reading:  Are Successful People More Prone to Addiction?

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