The Connection Between Job Loss and Addiction


Sydney Schulz on May 27, 2021 at 12:39 PM

Addiction usually leads to the disruption of family dynamics, health issues, and a drop in work performance. People struggling with addiction can for a while maintain the status of a "functional addict," delaying the beginning of their recovery journey. Nevertheless, the disease will progress until the point when that functionality becomes questionable. That can happen either due to the development of a secondary health issue or other associated reasons. Thus, the connection between job loss and addiction is a strong one. 

However, job loss doesn't necessarily have to occur due to the addiction. Sometimes, a prolonged period of unemployment can precede substance abuse, be it because of more free time or, more likely, depression. 

Is there a connection between addiction and a type of job?

As we already know, addiction doesn't discriminate between ages, status, and other demographics. And the same goes for job types and career choices. However, a CNN article states that people who work in security, education, and legal professions are less likely to use or to have used illicit substances. Still, employment status may influence substance and alcohol abuse. 

The obvious connection between job loss and addiction

As we have already mentioned, at a certain point, a person addicted to illicit drugs, painkillers, or alcohol will find it hard to keep up with their responsibilities and maintain an expected level of functionality. Addiction affects practically every sphere of a struggling individual's life and work is no exception. Even if a person manages to refrain from substance abuse during their working hours, the effects of these activities will doubtfully remain hidden. 

They can start making mistakes or their performance may be lower because of a reduced cognitive or physical function. Moreover, individuals struggling with addiction may start having trouble arriving at work on time. On top of that, they could have difficulty managing their mood and behavior.

Like many other diseases, addiction is progressive unless treated. It is also a chronic problem. Therefore, unless steps toward recovery are taken, addiction can impact job performance so much that they will lose their job. 

The less obvious connection between job loss and addiction

Job loss and addiction are connected in more ways than one. The first scenario that comes to mind is that struggling individuals lose their jobs due to poor performance. Nevertheless, it sometimes happens that job loss and an extended period of unemployment lead to substance abuse. It seems that joblessness contributes, at least partially, to drug or alcohol addiction. Increased stress levels cause by unemployment or other life difficulties, often steer people towards seeking consolation is mind-altering substances.

Although relocating during recovery is not the best course of action, sometimes it's not only necessary but can also be very beneficial. Moving away from triggers can be helpful as well as moving closer to people who can provide solid support. Moreover, relocating to another country in search of a job can also be beneficial. If you decide to change your life from its core, a change of scenery can do you a world of good. And you don't even have to go that far with Canada right across the border. Thus, if you choose to try your luck in Canada, you may be surprised by how much progress you can make. Getting a new job, in a new surroundings, may just be what you need to turn your life around.

Unemployment, economy, and addiction

Addiction can be a consequence of a job loss, the reason behind losing a job, and it can also be the reason why you don't get a job. According to a survey conducted by the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County, about half of the people who applied for manufacturing jobs in Ohio tested positive on drugs. As a result, they were turned down. This shows that illegal drug use can cost you a job opportunity. 

On the other hand, it appears that substance abuse is not only a personal issue. The Department of Justice stated that the United States economy suffers a loss of $193 billion every year owing to substance abuse. Without the right workforce, many industries are having a hard time expanding and growing. With quite high unemployment levels, this is both paradoxical and unfortunate. 

Given all this information, it would be best if employers referred candidates who tested positive for illegal drugs to proper treatment. It would be highly beneficial both for struggling individuals and for many industries in the long run. What is more, it will be a step in the right direction when it comes to offering help to the people who need it. 

Employment and treatment

Having a full-time job can be a part of a treatment for those suffering from addiction. Obligations provide structure for a recovering individual's daily life. They also reduce the amount of free time. This is also why having hobbies during recovery can help. More importantly, increased responsibility can positively impact the person's state of mind. Having a job will improve their confidence and promote self-worth. Also, it will reduce the chances of depressive thoughts and destructive behavior. 

Furthermore, the employment status of a person in recovery should also impact the way in which they receive treatment. Full-time employment limits the amount of free time. Thus, those without it will demand more attention. Without it, they will have more free time on their hands when they can indulge in drug abuse or heavy drinking. Those providing treatment and attention will have to find other ways to improve recovering individuals' self-esteem and steer them toward more productive and healthier habits. Finally, it's imperative to consider that those without a job also have fewer people to offer them support during the recovery process. 

Final words

As you can see, there is a pretty strong connection between job loss and addiction. And if you are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, regardless of whether you are employed or not, you need help. Although addiction is a chronic illness, treatment can help you manage it successfully. Remember that taking the first step and asking for help is the hardest part. Once you begin treatment at a rehabilitation facility, you will learn useful coping mechanisms to manage your addiction and avoid relapse.


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