Can a Stressful Job Lead to Substance Abuse?

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Unfortunately, there are many issues that could lead a person toward substance abuse. Whether someone is struggling with mental illness, coping with a serious change, or has experienced other things that predisposed them toward drug use, there are certain triggers that absolutely lead to substance abuse in many individuals. A stressful job is one of these.

How Does Work-Related Stress Lead to Substance Abuse?

A stressful job can help lead to the potential for substance abuse because of the immense about of pressure it puts on an individual. When a person feels pressured to constantly meet deadlines or do other things in a hostile work environment, they may very well turn to a substance like cocaine or Adderall in order to be more focused and work longer hours. They may also turn to alcohol or opioids to unwind after a trying day at the office.

work stress

Some people look to substances to help them focus more at work, or to unwind after a stressful day.

This pressure can absolutely lead a person toward the use of dangerous substances, whether it is to pump them up or bring them down. Many individuals in an environment such as this often feel that the only way they are able to go on is to abuse drugs and alcohol. This is incredibly dangerous, however, and will likely only lead to more issues.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “A person’s environment includes many different influences,” some of which can be more likely to lead them toward substance abuse. “Factors such as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, stress, and quality of parenting can greatly influence the occurrence of drug abuse and the escalation to addiction in a person’s life.” Therefore, not only can work-related stress help lead to drug use but it can also increase the chances of addiction.

Can a Stressful Job Perpetuate Drug Abuse?

Someone who works in a stressful environment could actually become likely to use drugs more often or in higher doses, which also helps lead to the issue of addiction. This often occurs because a person’s ability to cope with stress can shrink based on the severity of their drug abuse. After using many types of drugs, like marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, and others, for a long period of time, a person will find it more difficult to cope with stress than it was before they began taking drugs.

How Can I Keep My Work Stress from Causing Me to Abuse Drugs?

The best way to avoid this issue is to find a safe, effective alternative for coping with your job stress that does not involve substance abuse. If you can find this alternative, it can help you avoid falling into the trap of associating your need to relieve that stress with abusing drugs or alcohol. In addition, if you have a job that is so stressful it causes you a number of physical and psychological issues, you may need to leave it, as it is likely dangerous to your health.