While many people are familiar with the term “functional addict,” there does come a point in the disease’s progression where the individual can no longer function optimally in their roll whether due to the development of a secondary health concern or some other associated circumstance. The fact is, addiction leads to the disruption of health, relationships, finances, and careers.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “Among unemployed adults aged 18 or older, 18.2 percent were current illicit drug users, which was higher than the rates of 9.1 percent for those who were employed full time and 13.7 percent for those who were employed part time.” Job loss and addiction are connected, but it appears to be in more ways than one.
Does Job Type Matter?
When it comes to the links between job loss and addiction, no industry is spared. According to CNN, “Drug use cuts across all employment groups… It’s remained relatively constant over the last 10 years.”2 Addiction affects people in all age demographics and walks of life, so it makes sense that it is quite indiscriminate when it comes to job or career choice. However, statistics demonstrate that “Workers in security, education and legal professions are least likely to have used an illicit drug,” according to this CNN article.
Job Loss and Addiction: The Obvious Link
A person addicted to powerful painkillers or illicit drugs like heroin or meth will at some point find it difficult to maintain their responsibilities. A hallmark of addiction is that it disrupts a person’s life in what are often profoundly serious ways. An individual might refrain from abusing drugs when they’re on the job for many years. On the other hand, their performance might slip and they might make serious mistakes due to their reduced physical or cognitive function–also hallmarks of substance addiction.
People addicted to drugs or alcohol might find it difficult to get to work on time or manage their moods and irritability. Without treatment, addiction is a progressive and chronic disease. In time, it can impact a person’s job performance to the point that job loss becomes inevitable.
The Not-So-Obvious Link between Job Loss and Addiction
While addiction often precedes job loss, sometimes job loss or a period of unemployment paves a path to addiction. According to The Atlantic, states like Kentucky, Nevada, and Rhode Island have high rates of opioid-related overdose rates as well as high unemployment rates. 3“A series of studies suggests that this joblessness might have been–at least in part–contributing to the high rates of drug addiction.” With more time on their hands for recreational activities and possibly more stress as result of their state of unemployment, many individuals begin to abuse drugs or alcohol.
If you are suffering from an addiction and are either employed or unemployed, you need help. Treatment can make disease management possible. At a rehab facility, you can learn to manage your substance addiction and adopt new strategies for warding off relapse.