Addiction Among Professionals: Is it Really a Problem?

Addiction among professionals is a problem. There are millions of Americans with substance addiction problems. Some of them go to work everyday and are successful which makes it harder to detect an addiction problem. Maybe they operate machinery or drive around in the city. They may be putting themselves and other people in danger. 

In the United States, we tend to think of addiction as only applying to those with very low income and not many resources. This isn’t the case at all. There are many high functioning alcoholics that are also trying to manage addiction while working in high profile positions. Regardless of how much money you make and what kind of work you do, it’s important to get addiction help. Even if you can manage your responsibilities, you still put yourself at risk of health problems.

If you are a professional who is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, it's so important for you to reach out for the help you need. Even though it may seem strange for you to think about getting professional help, it is necessary. There are many benefits to getting the support and tools you need. Drug and alcohol treatment for professionals was designed to specifically meet your unique needs and guide you through addiction recovery.

Opioid Epidemic and Addiction Among Professionals

A decade ago, prescription opioid medications became easily available. It was part of a pain management plan for those in need. The pharmaceutical companies urged doctors to promote drugs like OxyContin. It was believed these drugs weren’t as addictive as other opioids from the past. There was little question from the medical industry and the prescriptions were given liberally. They were mismanaged to the point that some patients were given prescriptions for years. 

Eventually, it became clear that these drugs were addictive, especially when given long term. The nation was in trouble and there was no way to hide this fact any longer. Normal working people were all of a sudden heavily addicted to drugs. They thought it was safe because they were legal and given to them by their doctors. A few years ago, the government stepped in, making it harder for people to obtain pain management drugs. Many professionals got addiction help while others would turn to the streets and start abusing heroin. Working professionals addicted to opioids became common and heroin wasn’t just for “junkies” any longer. It’s safe to say that more, now than ever, there are many addicted professionals. While they are less obvious than homeless drug addicts and alcoholics, they still exist. The problem is probably bigger than you think.

An alcohol addiction may fall between the cracks because the person has a respectable job they’re good at. A high functioning alcoholic may drink enough during their work day to get by without becoming too drunk to cope. They may even validate themselves because they’re handling everything despite the need to drink. 

Deep inside, they know they have a problem but if they don’t experience consequences, it’s challenging to get them to stop. Heavy drinkers will rarely admit to having a drinking problem. If they’re thriving in their life, it’s likely nobody is going to say anything. It’s just as detrimental to your health as any other type of alcoholism and chances are, there will be repercussions at one point. 

In this video testimony, you get a glimpse of what a high functioning alcoholic’s story sounds like. Josh was extremely successful. He went through college, got into grad school, and graduated. He stayed with the same girl he had in college and they eventually married and started a family. He says drinking was still there among his successes but he didn’t want to see that it had become a problem.

He admitted to binge drinking and blacking out. What he didn’t tell her is that he was constantly drinking straight liquor. He had a supervisor position and people could smell alcohol on his breath. Eventually his boss took him into his office and Josh ended up resigning from his job. He was lucky to have a supportive wife who wanted to see him get better. He wanted it too so he went to Northpoint for addiction recovery treatment. It was hard to overcome the fact that alcohol defined him. He did go through addiction recovery successfully and has been clean since. The point is, he was a functioning alcoholic for years. He saw success in his life while he continued to quietly hide his drinking problem. It all ended up crashing down on him eventually.

You may think that an alcoholic will see their life falling apart in front of their eyes. While it is one of the symptoms of alcoholism to lose your job, family, and home, it’s not always the case. A high functioning alcoholic may seem normal to the outside world. Even if your life is great with a good job, a great family life, and good friends, you can still be considered an alcoholic. The definition of an alcoholic is how much you drink and behaviors associated with it. 

An alcoholic can manage social events without alcohol but it’s not ideal. They may form bonds with people who also enjoy drinking. Alcoholics are good at lying to themselves and to those closest to them. They can curate a life that allows them to drink while looking as though it’s not a problem. Alcoholism has various ranges. It could be from mild to severe. Even if your drinking problem is mild, it’s still a problem. It can eventually morph into a more serious problem as time and usage goes on.

Despite always meeting your commitments and doing a good job at work, you can still be a high functioning alcoholic. Maybe you think it helps take the edge off but your excuses will increase so you can meet the demands of this addiction. Many people will overlook your addiction if you do good work. You might say to yourself that you pay your bills and you have plenty of friends, reasoning that you aren’t an alcoholic. You might believe you’re doing fine because alcohol hasn’t held you back in life. If you drink every day, there’s a very real possibility you’ve formed an addiction. It will catch up with you eventually and you’ll no longer be able to hide behind your successes. 

While you may be in control of the disease, you are putting yourself and other at risks. Alcoholism can cause you to drink and drive, black out, or take part in risky sexual encounters. You are at risk of getting liver disease, certain kinds of cancer, brain damage, loss of memory, and high blood pressure. Your eating habits will likely be unhealthy and your sleep is interrupted. Alcohol is a depressant so you’re more susceptible to becoming depressed and potentially having suicidal thoughts. If you have a family, you’re more likely to be violent or neglect your children.

As a family member or loved one, you may notice your partner has a problem. It’s hard to pinpoint because they are maintaining all their obligations. Still, you may notice subtle changes and are concerned. Even if their work life is effective, they may not have much left to give once they’re home. In the safety of the home, the alcoholic will likely reach for a drink as soon as they get home. You may notice they come home smelling of alcohol already.

Despite how well they function, when you say nothing, you become an enabler. They will continue to keep drinking. The family may be the only way they can get the help they need. For a high functioning alcoholic to stop drinking, they will usually need the people around them to tell them it’s enough. If friends, colleagues, and loved ones are accommodating the addiction, there really is no reason for them to stop. These types of alcoholics will have a different “rock bottom” than others. Studies have found that once everyone around them is fed up, they are more inclined to get the help they need. 

A functioning alcoholic will receive the same treatment as anyone else for addiction. In a high quality inpatient setting, there will be an assessment. From there, there will be a program designed for each person. You can be referred to an addiction program through your doctor or therapist. It’s likely that if you’re a high functioning alcoholic, you won’t ask for help. You may even take pride in the fact you’re managing things while still being able to enjoy alcohol. As you learn what addiction looks like through the process, you’ll begin to see the power that addiction had on you. You will break through your denial and this is where your recovery can begin.

In this day and age, it’s possible that a drug addict can be functioning fully at work. In fact, the drug may be what gets a person through the day. The cocaine habit for a stock broker or the anti-anxiety medication for a lawyer act like an aid for stress or fatigue. Over time, these drugs will become debilitating and one can function without them. You become unaware of the reality of your addiction. The brain doesn’t function properly so you really don’t see the problem arising. Maybe others don’t either. 

Prescription opioid medications were widely dispersed to average people for a decade. Used for pain management, many respectable people fell into the trap of opioid addiction. When the government stepped in to prevent the over prescribing of opioids, people turned to street drugs like heroin. It’s possible that there are high functioning heroin users out there. It takes detox and therapy to get past this kind of heavy addiction. There are professionals who suffer with mood disorders. Perhaps chronic anxiety and depression and are given drugs like Ativan to make it through the work week. Legal and illegal drugs may become a part of a professional’s daily life. It may even enhance work performance and when it does, it’s much less likely anyone will intervene.

A functioning drug addict or alcoholic is rarely going to admit to themselves that they have a problem. Many family members, friends, and colleagues don’t say anything because they’re satisfied with the way things are, as they are. The addict works hard, gets things done, and brings home the money. It may feel like you don’t want to touch the problem because you’re worried everything will fall apart.

The thing is, everything will eventually unravel anyway. Addiction only gets worse over time and eventually, it becomes too much to manage. Did you know that you might be enabling them to continue abusing substances? This enabler quiz will let you know for sure. If you say nothing about the subtle signs of addiction, you’re allowing them to keep their head in the sand. You might think you are somehow helping but really, you’re just allowing them to continue on with hurting themselves. Any kind of chronic use of substances is causing them mental and physical damage. If you don’t think you have the ability to help them, get intervention help. It’s available for you when you need it. 

Laywers and Addiction Transportation Professionals and Addiction

Pilots and Truck Drivers

Addiction Information for Pilots

Unfortunately, pilots,addiction and alcoholism often go hand in hand. Their job is one that requires working a lot of long hours, and involves a lot of stress. It's no wonder so many of them turn to substances to cope.

If you're a pilot struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, it’s important to understand the repercussions of what you’re doing. Your situation is not as uncommon as you may think it is, you’re not alone in your struggles. Getting the right information is the first step toward getting the help you need to recover.

Truck Drivers with Addictions: The Statistics and Risks

There are so many truck drivers with addictions all throughout the United States, and this fact certainly is not surprising.

The stress of their jobs is something that most people can't relate to. They feel alone in their struggles so it makes sense that they would turn to something to help either distract them, or ease the pain they experience. For a trucker, their lives are mainly spent being on the road. Yes, they make a decent yearly salary but that doesn’t take away from the fact they are constantly lonely. These are individuals who often spend more time away from their families than with their families, which only adds to their burdens.

Perhaps you're a truck driver with an addiction, and you can't help but feel as though you have no other choice than to keep on using.

You know the risks involved with that decision, but drugs or alcohol have quickly become a way that you have chosen to cope with everything you go through on a daily basis. It's so difficult when you feel stuck in that position, but what you might not know is that there is a way out for you.

Rehab for truckers is the best way for you to recover from your addiction. Maybe you've thought about getting professional help before, but it's not something you've thought about too much because you just weren't sure you could handle the time away from your job. Truck drivers often list a lot of different barriers to getting professional help. Even so, it's important for you to realize that your job may just depend on it.

Stimulants, alcohol, marijuana and cocaine are just some of the various substances that are commonly used among truck drivers when they're on the road. Each of these drugs carries its own risks when professional drivers use them. Both alcohol and marijuana increase the risk of becoming sleepy behind the wheel, and they can also lead to decreased reaction times. Cocaine and amphetamines might help drivers stay awake, but they can also lead to dizziness, agitation and even hallucinations.

The statistics regarding addiction for commercial trucker drivers are rather eye opening, and they indicate that:

  • About half of truck drivers admitted to drinking alcohol and driving.
  • 12.5% of truckers have tested positive for alcohol when they were on the job.
  • 30% of truckers admitted to having used amphetamines to help themselves stay awake on long hauls.
  • Close to 20% of truck drivers admitted to using marijuana.
  • About 3% of truckers admitted to having used cocaine.
  • There are some studies in which drinking on the job ranged up to as high 91% of drivers.
  • Additionally, some studies stated that as many as 81% of drivers have used speed on the job.

Clearly, this is a problem that needs to be addressed, and if you are a trucker who is addicted to some type of substance, and you frequently use when you're on the road, you're certainly not alone. There are so many others who are facing similar struggles. Fortunately, help is available for you.

People often think of truck drivers as people who drive cargo from point A to point B, but there really is so much more to it than that. Fortunately, DOT regulations have stepped in over the years, and truckers are now limited as far as how many hours they work. However, even though drivers no longer can work 70 hours a week, and now restricted to working only 60 hours, there are many companies who will push this, and even find ways to work around it so that their drivers can be on the road longer. Most drivers are expected to cover about 125,000 miles per year, which breaks down to 500 miles per day. It's not surprising that they have so many reasons to turn to alcohol and drug use.

Some of the more common reasons why truckers turn to drugs and alcohol include:

  • Long Shifts Per Day: DOT rules allow truckers to drive for up to 14 hours per day, with one day per week at 16 hours. However, for those companies who do not have electronic log books, and still use paper logs, it is easy to change them so that the drivers can stay on the road longer.
  • Having to Spend Time Away From Their Families: Sometimes drivers will spend several weeks at a time away from their families, and this is all very individual according to what their employers require. However, for truckers who have to drive three weeks a month straight, it's very difficult for them to cope.
  • Boredom: Boredom is a very real problem for truckers, and even though they get to see the entire country, and there are scenic views everywhere, they will often get bored quickly, which leads to substance abuse.
  • Overnight Routes: Many semi-truck drivers end up with routes that require them to drive overnight, and that can be a big problem. They will often use amphetamines or other substances to help themselves stay awake when this is the case.
  • Accidental Addictions: What many people don't realize is that even though driving a truck is a fairly sedentary job, staying in one place for a long period of time is very taxing on the body. It's not surprising that truck drivers often experience physical pain in their bodies, and they do sometimes have to unload cargo, which can lead to injuries. In these cases, prescription pain medication addiction is likely.

Additionally, there are truckers who soothe their loneliness by entertaining "working girls" on the road. Sometimes these women will accept drugs as a form of payment for their services. There are many experts who believe that this fact alone is probably contributing to the high rate of drug use among commercial drivers.

Time is certainly a major barrier for many truckers, and because of the short amount of time they spend at home, it can make it very difficult for them to get help for their addictions. They also may panic when they think about how life will change for them on the road. For those entertaining females during their off hours, if they're not using, they won't have the "currency" to pay them. Also, truck driving is very much like a brotherhood for a lot of truck drivers, and many of them get to know each other, and they will even spend time together using when they're off the clock.

These barriers are very real, but they are not impossible to overcome.

Sometimes the line between addiction and substance abuse can become quite blurred, and it's not always easy to determine whether or not you are actually addicted, or if you're just participating in substance abuse. When you know the signs of addiction, it's easier to understand your own relationship to substances.

Some of the signs of alcohol addiction include:

  • Experiencing temporary memory loss or blackouts
  • Feeling the need to use alcohol to cheer up, relax, or just feel more like yourself.
  • Having arguments with your family members or friends about how much alcohol you drink.
  • Experiencing depression or mood swings.
  • Getting headaches, anxiety or insomnia when you stop drinking.
  • Preferring to drink alcohol when you're alone, or in secret.

Some of the signs of drug addiction include:

  • Feeling like you can't control how much you use at one time.
  • Neglecting your other activities or responsibilities regularly.
  • Taking serious risks in order to obtain drugs.
  • Changes in your appearance or personal hygiene.
  • Feeling the need to use larger amounts of drugs than you once did.
  • Going through drug withdrawal when you have not used in some time.

If you're still not sure whether or not you have an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you can take an addiction quiz that can give you a bit more insight into your own substance use patterns.

There are a number of risks involved for truck drivers who fail to get the help they need for their addictions. The most important risk is the fact that they put their lives at stake. They are also putting the lives of every other driver on the road at stake, and even though they are professionals, they are just as likely to get into a deadly accident if they use and drive. For all the time a truck driver is on the road, they increase their odds of getting into an accident. The repercussions for a trucker are different because they have a commercial licence. Not only do they lose their license but they are all of a sudden out of a job. There is no tolerance for a trucker who has been under the influence while driving.

Their careers are also at stake, and because of the stricter DOT guidelines, professional truck drivers have to adhere to standards that are much higher than those for the average driver. When truckers test positive for drugs or alcohol, they have a high risk of losing their licenses.

Going to drug or alcohol treatment for truckers can help you more than you realize, and although it will mean taking some time away from work, that's nothing compared to the importance of saving your life, others' lives, and your career.

When you go to treatment, you'll probably be recommended for a thirty-day rehab program that will start with detox. This is a process that will prepare you for rehabilitation by addressing the physical side of your addiction. Ongoing treatment is always recommended for someone with an addiction, and this is so important in order to maintain your sobriety.

If you are an addicted truck driver, every day that you use, you're putting your life and countless other lives at risk. Regardless of what type of substance you're using, you may think you have it completely under your control, but the truth is that alcohol or drugs most likely took control of you a long time ago. Getting professional help is the best way for you to arrest your addictive behaviors so that you can begin to focus on living a life of recovery. There are so many great benefits for you to experience once you make the decision to stop using.

Northpoint is Here to Help

At Northpoint Recovery, we strive to provide addiction treatment for truckers that meets them where they are.

We understand the stress that you face on a daily basis, and we also know that it's not easy for you to go through the recovery process. The issues you face are unique to you and to your profession, which is why we've designed our program to meet your specific needs. We've been able to help many other truck drivers to experience the freedom they wanted from their addictions, and we're confident that we can do the same for you as well.

Would you like to know more about drug and alcohol treatment for truck drivers? If so, please contact us today.

Military Professionals and Addiction

Military Personnel

Addiction Information for Military Personnel

Individuals who serve in the military struggle with addiction more often than most people realize. Whether they’re alcoholics or drug addicts, the problem is quite serious.

Military personnel who can relate to this issue should not be afraid to reach out for help. It is vital that these individuals not only learn more about addiction, but also learn more about where they can get the help that they need. The aim of this resource guide is to provide some insight as to where addicted military personnel can get the help that they need.

There are so many veterans with addictions in the United States, and this is a serious problem that many people don't understand.

Our country's veterans are facing so many different challenges, and for them, it often seems second nature to turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with their issues. In the U.S., we often tend to hold our veterans with the highest regard and in a way, we may even unknowingly see them as being immune to the problem of addiction. Because of everything they've been through, and because of the problems many of them face after their service to the country is over, they are actually much more prone to addiction than those in the civilian population.

The good news is that illegal drug use among veterans has declined over the years.

Unfortunately, the use of prescription drugs and alcohol among this population has increased steadily. There are a number of different factors that make veterans more susceptible to drug and alcohol addiction, and it's clear that this is a problem that has been ignored for far too long.

If you are an addicted vet, it's vital for you to know that you don't have to remain addicted. 

Getting professional help can provide you with the support you need to recover, although you might not know where you should turn for help. At Northpoint Recovery, we've been able to provide assistance to so many veterans who all struggled with addictions. These are individuals who thought all hope for them was lost, and they assumed that they would be destined to live lives of addiction forever. Of course, getting as much information about veterans and their addictions is so important for you because it will help you to understand your condition.

It's common for veterans to believe that they are alone in their addictions. After all, drug and alcohol addiction is a very lonely condition. When you take a look at the statistics surrounding addictions in veterans, it's clear that this is certainly not an isolated problem. In fact, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) states that:

  • As many as 13% of returning veterans are currently suffering from addiction to alcohol and drugs.
  • Between 2001 and 2009, the number of prescriptions written by military doctors quadrupled.
  • That means that close to 3.8 million prescriptions for pain medications were written during that year.
  • The rate of prescription drug misuse was 11.7% for veterans, which was more than two and a have times what it was for civilians.
  • This problem is particularly serious for women who have served as veterans.
  • Veterans who are women are more likely than men to use illicit drugs.
  • Prescription drug abuse among women on active duty is more than four times the rate for civilian women.

As you can see, if you're battling an addiction to any type of substance, you're certainly not alone. Addiction among veterans is incredibly common, but because of this fact, it's also important for you to know that treatment among vets is also common. Getting help for your addiction is the best way for you to recover, and this is something that should never be attempted on your own. When you get professional support, you'll find that you have access to the type of help you need to experience the freedom you're looking for.

There are a number of different reasons why someone who is a veteran might be more prone to using drugs or alcohol than a civilian. These reasons include:

  • Job Loss: For many veterans, once they return after their time in the service has ended, they may find that their position at their former place of employment has been eliminated, or that they have been replaced. Job loss causes a great deal of stress, and this stress can easily lead to an addiction.
  • Relationship Problems and/or Divorce: These are both very common among veterans, and divorce occurs for a number of different reasons. According to the Department for Veterans Affairs, about 38% of Vietnam vet marriages failed within six months of the veteran's return to the United States.
  • Financial Problems: For veterans who have lost jobs, or who are just trying to get re-acclimated to life outside of the service, financial problems pose a very real challenge for them. Financial issues can be extremely stressful, and they can easily lead to a dependence upon drugs or alcohol as a way to cope.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): There are so many veterans who are battling PTSD because of the various situations they've witnessed during active combat. However, PTSD often goes undiagnosed for a number of reasons, and it's common for vets to opt to self-medicate by using substances.
  • Physical Pain: Injuries among veterans are also very common, and for many, physical pain quickly becomes a part of their everyday lives. They take prescription pain medications as a way to cope with the pain, and for many of these medications, addiction is very likely if they are taken for a long period of time.

By far, the biggest issues for veterans are the physical pain and PTSD. These two conditions frequently leave to self-medicating with drugs or alcohol.

For veterans, pain is a part of life for many of them. In fact, it might be more difficult to find a veteran who isn't taking some type of pain medication than it is to find one who is. Many veterans don't realize how addictive pain medications can be, and there are certainly those who become addicted to them without meaning to. The number of disabled veterans addicted to painkillers is certainly rising, and right now, there are about 650,000 veterans or members of the military who have been given opiate pain medications.

In the military, taking pain medication is often just a way of life. Veterans will often tell stories about how they came to obtain their pain meds while they were in active duty. Quite often, they didn't even come in a labeled bottle. Instead, they are given to soldiers in baggies, and they're not even sure what it was that they were taking. Military personnel quickly learn that pain medications are not only a way of life, but they are also a way to make it through the day. In some cases, they become dependent upon them for survival, and that dependence is something that doesn't cease when their time in the military comes to an end.

PTSD is a disorder that frequently afflicts veterans because of the horrors they've seen during battle. This is often referred to as battle fatigue or shellshock. When veterans have witnessed warfare, or when they've lived through traumatic or startling events, it's not uncommon for mental health issues to arise, and this can even take place years after the events occurred. For women, there is an additional concern regarding PTSD because about 23% of them have reported being victims of sexual assault during the time they were in the military.

Many veterans who have PTSD don't realize that this disorder is what they're dealing with. That means that it often goes undiagnosed. They end up using drugs and alcohol because they need them to feel better. Perhaps this is something that you're dealing with as well, but you've never really thought too much about it. It's possible that you have been dealing with mental or emotional issues for many years, but it never dawned on you that it might be an actual mental health condition that you needed to get professional help for.

There are a number of different symptoms for PTSD that you can look for in your own life. This will give you some indication as to whether or not you may be struggling with this condition, and these include:

  • Feeling as though you have a very low sense of self-worth
  • Struggling within your relationships
  • Exhibiting self-destructive behaviors
  • Having problems with your memory
  • Frequent bouts of insomnia
  • Having problems with concentration
  • Experiencing flashbacks at times
  • Becoming aggressive on occasion
  • Feeling hopeless about your life

If you have ever felt any of the above, it's very likely that you have PTSD. Also, if you're using drugs or alcohol, it's very likely that you're doing so as a way to self-medicate your condition. Even though this is quite common, that doesn't mean that this is how you should continue to live your life. You can get professional help that will allow you to overcome your addiction and treat your PTSD at the same time.

As most veterans are addicted to something or many things, it wouldn’t be noticed on an individual basis. If there are soldiers in battle, the main objective is to carry out tasks without dying. However that can be managed is acceptable. Let’s face it, this career is not like any other. There are heavy drugs given to vets all the time. For pain or for alertness. In the chaos of their situation, any drug available can be taken with no repercussions. 

In Vietnam, it was heroin. Some armies in the past took amphetamines to amp themselves up. In many of the situations a vet will go through during their time away from home, they aren’t functioning. They’re merely striving to survive. It is when they come home that they may start to unravel. For the first while, they may function well at home. They might engage in family commitments. Chances are though, their addiction problems will eventually reveal themselves.

When a veteran has a co-occurring disorder, it means that the individual has an addiction, and also some other type of condition at the same time. Co-occurring disorders are common among veterans, and there are a number of different conditions that you could be suffering from alongside your addiction. These include:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • An anxiety disorder
  • A depressive disorder
  • An eating disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Schizophrenia

At one time, it was assumed that anyone who presented with both a psychiatric condition and addiction should be treated for each condition on separate occasions. As a result, the addiction would be treated first. The individual would go through a detox, and then possibly some type of addiction rehab. After that was completed, treatment for the underlying mental health issue would begin. It was soon found that this method of treatment was not beneficial for the patient at all, and there was a good reason for that.

What was discovered was that many patients who received this type of treatment ended up relapsing back into substance abuse.

However, when the conditions were treated at the same time, patients seemed to have a much easier time with their recoveries. They were also much less likely to experience a relapse down the road.

Treatment for co-occurring disorders offers veterans a much better chance of being successful with their treatment. Most veterans have a number of different reasons for their addictions, and it's important for these to be addressed so that they have the best possible outcomes.

Even though it is so important for veterans with addiction to get professional help as soon as possible, the fact remains that most of them do not. According to the United States Army, only about 40% of veterans who have screened positive for substance abuse disorders and psychiatric conditions actually go on to get the help they need. That statistic doesn't even factor in those who are not getting screened but choose to hide the fact that they're struggling with addictions. It's really too bad that this is the case, but there are several barriers that veterans may perceive as being reasons why they don't get the treatment they need.

Some of these barriers include:

  • Issues with finding the right kind of treatment because of transportation or cost.
  • Not being aware of the type of care that is available for veterans.
  • Having the belief that they will get better on their own, without treatment.
  • Believing that addiction treatment is for others, and not necessarily for them.
  • The stigma surrounding professional treatment for addiction.

Of all of these barriers, the stigma that can go along with going to drug or alcohol rehab is probably the most common. There are so many negative labels associated with addiction treatment, and veterans may be afraid of these labels. They could also have a fear of being discriminated against if anyone found out they had sought professional help for an addiction.

Perhaps you can identify with one or more of these barriers because that is exactly how you have felt about getting professional treatment for an addiction. Please know that getting professional help is the best possible decision that you can make for yourself, and once you do, any reservations you might have had will quickly fade away.

As a veteran of the United States Military, it's important for you to know that you do have options when it comes to getting treated for a drug or alcohol addiction. Whereas you may have always thought that you needed to go through the VA for these types of services, that's not true at all. You can easily opt for a private rehab facility instead, and this will offer you a couple of benefits. Not only will you have a more private treatment experience, but you will also enjoy being a part of a smaller population of patients where you will get more attention.

There are a number of different options available for you, and these include:

  • Going through drug or alcohol detox. This method is recommended for many people who suffer from addictions, depending on the type of substance that is being used. 
  • Detoxification not only removes toxins from the body, but it also addresses the physical component of addiction that can be missed when patients immediately go to rehab.
  • Inpatient rehab is often recommended for most people who have addictions, and veterans will also benefit from this type of treatment as well. Inpatient stays are around 30 days in length, and they allow patients to participate in group therapy, personal counseling sessions and other types of treatment.
  • Long-term rehab might be something you would want to consider if your addiction is severe, and if it is determined that you need a longer length of stay. There are some residential rehab facilities that allow patients to stay for as long as six months, or even longer in many cases.
  • Outpatient treatment might be appropriate for you if your addiction is considered to be fairly new or mild, and this would involve meeting with a therapist on a regular basis.
  • Intensive outpatient treatment is similar to inpatient treatment, but patients are able to live at home while they get treatment. They may attend appointments several times through the week for several hours at a time.
  • 12 Step meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous are often utilized by those who are getting outpatient treatment because they offer group support.

As a veteran, you undoubtedly have health insurance, and if you don't, applying for it is very easy. It's quite common for veterans to have financial issues, and they usually think that in order to go to a private drug or alcohol rehab, they would have to pay for it out of their own pockets. This is not the case at all.

Your health insurance offers you benefits to help cover the costs of addiction treatment. This greatly minimizes any co-insurance or co-payment amounts on your part, and you might even find that your treatment is covered in full.

Perhaps you have a loved one who is a retired vet, and you're concerned about his or her addiction. However, there doesn't seem to be much you can do to help your family member get the assistance that's needed for recovery. This is a common situation, but that doesn't mean you have to watch your loved one suffer.

In your case, you may want to consider scheduling an intervention. An intervention will give you a platform that you can use to talk with your loved one about the addiction and encourage him or her to get the necessary help. They have been so beneficial for so many people.

Treatment at Northpoint Recovery

If you're a veteran and you're battling an addiction, please be assured that the issues you're facing right now are not yours alone. There are so many veterans in the United States who are struggling just as you are. These are all men and women who have served their country faithfully. They've given they're all, and now they're suffering as a result of that. At times, it may seem as though you'll never be able to recover, and the fact is that if you attempt to try and recover from an addiction on your own, you're likely to be unsuccessful. Not only that, you're putting yourself in danger because of the risks involved with various withdrawal symptoms, and you're very apt to experience a relapse back into your drug or alcohol use. You can protect yourself against that, and give yourself a much better chance of a successful recovery when you get professional treatment, and here at Northpoint Recovery, we would be honored to assist you with that.

It has been such a pleasure for us to work with a number of veterans here at Northpoint Recovery. We value the sacrifices they've made for our country, and assisting them with finding the healing they're looking for is so important to us.

Are you an addicted vet in need of substance abuse treatment? Please contact us to learn how you can get started with recovery.

Medical Professionals and Addiction

Medical Professionals

Addiction and Alcoholism Within the Medical Profession

Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals often struggle with addiction and alcoholism. This surprises most people because these individuals are supposed to be focused on good health. However, addiction does not discriminate. They are more apt to fall prey to substance abuse than most people realize.

If you currently work in the medical field and you have an addiction, your situation may seem hopeless. You may think that there’s no way for you to escape it. The truth is that while it may be difficult, it is possible for you to recover. You only need to get the right type of help.

Understanding Drug Abuse and Alcoholism Among Registered Nurses

Substance abuse among nurses is very dangerous. Not only do their put their own lives at risk, but they do the same for the patients they care for. For many nurses, their substance abuse problems begin because they’re taking medications. They spend a lot of time on their feet, which can lead to physical pain. Their jobs may also be very stressful, which can lead to anxiety.

Regardless, many instances of substance abuse go undetected. Few nurses are willing to step forward and admit that they need help. In fact, they often feel that because they know more about substances than most people, their use is OK.

Alcoholism is also quite prevalent within the nursing profession. Again, the fact that they’re professionals leads them to believe that they can control their drinking. They may see themselves as being immune to alcohol addiction, unlike their patients.

Both alcoholism and substance abuse remain a major problem to this day for the nursing profession. If you’re a nurse who is a substance abuser, you need to understand why, and how to get help.

Addicted RNs and nurses treat patients in hospitals, doctors' offices and clinics every single day, and usually, no one is the wiser to their deception. It's no secret that their jobs are difficult. Nurses constantly have to deal with problems and issues that most people would have a hard time doing.

They're trained to be quick, efficient, and effectual multi-taskers that can handle almost any challenge that's thrown their way.

They often find themselves having to take extra shifts, cover for colleagues, and rearrange their entire day just to accommodate the needs of their jobs.

The nursing profession is one that should be honored and admired. Nurses generally spend much more time with their patients than doctors do, and they're often the first ones to know if a particular patient is struggling and in need of a doctor's immediate attention. Most nurses will say that they love their jobs, and they find their work to be incredibly rewarding. If that's the case, the question is, why are so many RNs and nurses turning to alcohol and drug addictions?

There are a number of reasons, and the way that the system is set up certainly doesn't make it very easy for them to get the help they need when they do become addicted to substances. Aside from the fact that so many nurses live in denial of the fact that they even have addictions, for them to be too afraid to speak out about them means that they are likely to remain in them for years unless they're discovered first.

How about you? Are you an RN or a nurse with an addiction to drugs or alcohol? If you are, then this information might be exactly what you've been searching for. It's important for you to know that you're not alone, and it's vital for you to understand that others share in your reasons for continuing on in your addiction. Even so, addiction treatment help is available for you to quit using.

One of the questions that may be on your mind is, how many addicted nurses are there in the United States? The numbers are actually quite shocking.

Statistics tell us that:

3,000,000

There are approximately 3 million RNs that are currently employed in the United States. About 10% of those RNs are addicted to drugs.

300,000

That means that around 300,000 nurses may be struggling with addictions. Prescription medication abuse is much more likely for nurses than addictions to illicit drugs.

75%

In one state, it was discovered that 3 out of 4 nurses who had received disciplinary action had done so because they were RNs with drug addictions. Within those same findings, it was discovered that 28% of nurse suspensions because of drug use had occurred within the last year.

Most patients never dream that their attending nurse might be struggling with an addiction, but as you can see, the problem is definitely there. What you may be wondering is, why are so many nurses turning to addictions? That's an excellent question, and the answer is that there are actually many reasons behind their choices to use substances.

Nurses who are diagnosed with substance use disorders have often been using drugs or alcohol for a very long time. Many of them continue to use for years before either coming forward about their addictions, or being caught using while on the job.

Nurses and RNs are a high risk of addiction for a number of reasons, and some of these include:

  • Their jobs are very demanding, and require a high level of concentration
  • They often work long hours, and have difficulty sleeping and waking up
  • The stress of spending so much time away from their families may be causing them to turn to substances
  • Hospitals, doctors' offices and clinics make medications and the tools to administer them very accessible
  • Many nurses suffer with mental illnesses, which they decide to self-medicate with drugs and/or alcohol

Nurses work vigorous schedules. Many times, they'll work for up to ten days at a time, for 12 hours shifts, and that's only if they haven't agreed to take on any more shifts or hours. Nurses who have addictions will frequently agree to take on many more shifts than they're regularly scheduled to work, and this is because they want to be where the drugs are. Of course, their supervisors don't suspect anything, and they only believe that they have an excellent employee who is a team player, and who really wants to care for his or her patients.

Just as in other high stress professions, the field of nursing is not immune to the issue of alcoholism. Many nurses are influenced by genetics and family alcoholism, and they may have seen family members using alcohol as a way to cope with stress and any other issues they faced. In one study by NCBI, alcoholism in nurses was influenced by a need for acceptance and the inability to cope with stressful situations at work.

Nurses will frequently spend their entire shifts on their feet. They're running from patient to patient, taking care of doctors' orders, assisting with important medical procedures and surgeries, and entering information into their patients' electronic records. Quite often, they barely have enough time to go to the bathroom, let alone sit down and take a break to eat lunch or dinner. That type of high-strung work atmosphere frequently leads to anxiety, and alcoholism often occurs as a result of that. Most nurses begin drinking as a way to release some of the tension they feel from a long day at work, or even just on the weekends as a way to unwind when they have a few days off. However, over time, it's common for these occasional binges to become more serious.

Infrequent nights out with friends to relax can quickly turn into secret drinking at home, while they're alone after a shift at work. Over time, these sessions become more frequent, and when they do, many nurses become alcoholics without ever meaning for it to happen.

The nature of a nurses’ work is extremely high stress. This can cause them to experience anxiety which can easily become chronic. They may drink or do drugs to prevent their anxiety. The mind may become dependent on the substance to function. This is dual diagnosis. It is sometimes hard to know what started first. Each disorder, anxiety and addiction, will feed off of each other. 

Nurses may also experience depression or even PTSD as they witness terrible things in a hospital setting. Treatment for dual diagnosis will involve a more involved rehab program with a specialist. Each disorder will need to be treated at the same time for best results. As this makes an addiction more complex, it may take longer to work through behavioral patterns.

The idea that so many nurses struggle with addictions might seem to be a crazy one for most people. After all, they're very knowledgeable about the side effects of prescription medications (as well the side effects of heroin and other illegal drugs and alcohol). They know more than most people do about the dangers of these substances, but it turns out that this is actually the problem.

Nurses spend their days being surrounded by drugs like Oxycodone and Dilaudid, along with the paraphernalia that are available to administer them. They will often reason with themselves that it's OK because they're using FDA-approved medications. In a way, their knowledge works against them because they know the appropriate dosages, and they also know when to back down to avoid overdosing, or making others suspicious of their addictive behaviors. There are some medical facilities that have strict rules in place about discarding medications that patients aren't using, but for the most part, hospitals and even doctors' offices and clinics are busy places. It's very easy to overlook a missing vial of a medication because there are just too many other things happening at the same time.

For nurses who have addictions, they actually have a very easy time covering their tracks. This is why so many of them continue to abuse drugs and alcohol for such a long time.

For example, a nurse who works the night shift might drink alcohol before going to work because it keeps her going during her shift; at least that is what she tells herself. To cover up the smell, she might have a few breath mints on hand, and because she always seems so happy, her co-workers might never have any suspicion that something is off.

For those who use prescription drugs while they're working, there are so many easy ways for them to obtain them. On some nursing units, there are specific medication nurses whose job it is to handle the dispensing of any and all medications to patients during their shifts. They handle medications in pill form, and they also provide patients with morphine injections, IV medications and other drugs as needed. On other nursing units, nurses are responsible for giving medications to their own patients when they're ordered or as they become necessary. Either way, there are no barriers to nurses getting the prescription drugs they need when they need them.

In these situations, because of the way certain drugs are packaged, nurses can easily take a vial of unused medication home with them that should have been put in the waste safely. Or, they can put it in their pockets and use it themselves in the bathroom. Nurses can pocket unused pills for their own personal use. There have been some accounts that nurses will only give their patients partial doses of medications so that they can keep the rest for themselves.

Where the healthcare industry has largely gone wrong is that they inadvertently allow this type of behavior to continue. Rules for safely putting medications in waste are rarely followed, and usually nurses are too busy to watch one another get rid of drugs. Also, when an addiction is suspected and reported, more often than not, nursing supervisors aren't willing to look into the matter further, either because they're so busy or because the report against one of their nurses seems so out of place that they assume it must be a mistake.

It's truly not surprising that there are so many nurses with addictions in America's hospitals and clinics. It's a behavior that has been allowed to continue.

Nurses with addictions are actually quite common in hospitals, medical clinics and doctors' offices all across the United States. However, many times their addictions are not discovered for a number of different reasons. That means that a great number of nurses will continue to come to work, placing patients' lives at risk while they're under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Quite often, this can go on for years without anyone suspecting that anything is wrong.

Perhaps you're a nurse with an addiction, or you suspect that you may have an addiction. It's possible that you may even work with a nurse that might have an addiction, but you're just not sure. You're not aware of the various signs you should be looking for in order to confirm that there might be a problem that needs to be addressed, and you need to know how to tell when an RN has an addiction problem. Knowing the signs and symptoms of addiction in nurses can certainly help you, but it's also helpful to know the behaviors you should be looking for as well.

It's possible that your main concern is for a co-worker. Maybe you've been noticing some strange behaviors from them. You may be wondering if he or she has an addiction. It's also possible that you're interested in knowing the symptoms of addiction for yourself because you're just not sure if your substance use has crossed over into addiction. There are many different signs you can look for.

Some of the physical signs of addiction for nurses include:

  • Shakiness or tremors in the hands
  • Complaining of fatigue
  • Exhibiting slurred speech
  • Frequent watery eyes
  • Constricted or dilated pupils
  • Problems with balance and coordination
  • Stomach problems, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Changes in personal hygiene
  • Weight loss or gain

You also might notice some behavioral changes, such as:

  • Problems with concentration
  • Sudden outbursts of anger
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Laughing inappropriately
  • Wearing long sleeves in warm weather
  • Complaining of insomnia
  • Impaired judgment regarding their own performance

Other changes you might notice include:

  • Brief, unexplained absences during a shift
  • Making rounds at strange hours
  • Frequent medication errors
  • Becoming isolated from others on the nursing unit
  • Mood changes after breaks
  • Patients may frequently report a lack of pain relief
  • Many instances of wasted narcotics
  • Altered telephone or verbal medication orders

If you notice any of the above happening for you, chances are that you do have an addiction. If you're a nurse and you're concerned about a co-worker who might have an addiction, these are just some of the indicators that a substance abuse problem or addiction might be present. If you're still unsure, it might help to take an addiction quiz that will give you even more information.

While it stands to reason that there would be a high number of addicted nurses in the United States, most people just don't realize how common it really is. Approximately 10% of all nurses have addictions in the U.S. That means that out of every ten nurses, one of them has an addiction. Most people are surprised to find that the statistic is so high; especially because nurses work in the healthcare field, and they generally see addiction on a regular basis. They know what it can do to people, and they know the effects it has had in their patients' lives.

The amount of knowledge that nurses have in this area is exactly why they are so prone to addictions. Of all of the different types of substances that nurses could use, most of them tend to either drink alcohol or they will use prescription drugs that they obtain from their places of employment. Nurses basically have unrestricted access to prescription drugs, and so for them, it's very easy to get what they need when they want to get high, whether it's on the job or off the job.

Another issue for nurses is the fact that even though doctors and nurses appear to be on the same "team," whether that's in a doctor's office, a clinic or a hospital, there are some separations there. Both doctors and nurses tend to believe that they are the ones in charge of the facility, which creates a division between the two groups of people. If a doctor happens to suspect that a nurse has altered paperwork and stolen prescription drugs, the doctor will naturally report it to the nurse's supervisor. The problem is that nurses who use substances are generally hard-working professionals, and their supervisors are likely to stick up for them, and just brush the issue aside.

The busyness of hospital settings also contributes to addiction problems in nurses as well. There has been a lot done in an attempt to control medications in hospital settings, and even at medical clinics. However, the fact remains that many facilities are understaffed, and their patient populations are just simply too high for them to handle them comfortably. Even so, most facilities have narcotic waste rules, which indicate when a nurse is getting rid of medications, it must be witnessed by another nurse. Although it sounds like an excellent way to protect against the possibility of staff members stealing prescription drugs, most of the time the rule isn't followed appropriately.

Nurses often have to be in many different places at once, and very rarely does one have an extra moment to watch a colleague get rid of a medication in a waste container.

What usually happens is that a nurse will report that he or she wasted a medication, and someone else will sign off it either on paper or in the computer afterwards, without ever having actually witnessed anything. This happens all the time, and it allows so many nurses to get away with obtaining prescription drugs without too much worry or concern.

Clearly, the way the system is set up has made it so easy for nurses to continue in their addictions, and many of them do for years, until they either realize that they need to get help, they get caught, or they suffer a serious medical consequence from drug use. Addictions among these professionals are being enabled, and that's something that clearly has to stop.

Most patients have no idea that so many nurses are battling addictions, and there is such a great deal of deception that occurs behind the scenes. Addicted nurses have learned how to work the system in their favor, and they do it by first gaining their patients' trust. For example, a patient who has spent the last half hour talking with a nurse in the emergency room, sharing stories, laughing at his or her jokes, and appreciating such thoughtful and attentive care is going to end up liking the nurse quite a bit. This is often the persona that the nurse becomes known by, not only to patients, but also to everyone else on staff.

Later on, that same nurse may need to administer medications to that patient via IV. In many cases, IV medications come in vials in fairly small doses, but there is usually some degree of waste that occurs with most of these vials. Typically, nurses with addictions will give patients their medications and then pocket the remaining amount for themselves. However, sometimes nurses will not administer the entire amount of the dose in order to have more for themselves. 

There are times when the placebo effect kicks in and the patient doesn't even notice. When that doesn't happen, doctors just assume that patients need a higher dose, and nothing is ever said to the nurse who administered the drugs.

Yes, patient deception is very real, and it's happening in hospitals and clinics all over the United States.

If you're a nurse or another medical professional, and you suspect that someone you work with is abusing drugs or alcohol, the most important thing you can do is address it. If you don’t have the right words to put into place, there are intervention services to help you. If you’re a nurse, you likely have greater access to this service than others. If not, you can contact an intervention specialist. Doing so puts the patients' lives in jeopardy, and it's important for the situation to be brought to light so that the right kind of help can be obtained.

Quick action is what is needed in this type of situation, and some of the steps you should take include:

  • Avoid approaching your co-worker directly because that will usually be met with denial.
  • Talk with a supervisor or someone in management about your suspicions.
  • Don't feel guilty about your suspicions or your actions of reporting the nurse, even if it turns out that you were wrong.
  • Remember that what you're doing is a service to the patients on your unit.
  • Don't discuss your suspicions with anyone else on the unit in order to protect your co-worker's privacy.

There are a lot of incentives for you to get the help you need to stop using drugs and alcohol. The first and most important incentive is that in your current state, you're putting patient lives at risk. If you're using drugs or alcohol because you're depressed and you use them as a way to help yourself feel better, finding out that your drug use has caused the death of a patient is likely to be more than you can bear. As a nurse, you want to provide your patients with the absolute best in medical treatment, but it's just not possible for you to do that while you're impaired.

Secondly, if your drug and alcohol use is discovered and you are reported, you could suffer from disciplinary action. It's possible that your employer may terminate your employment, even if you agree to get help for your addiction. The Board of Nursing in your state will also most likely suspend your license, at least temporarily. You will be required to get the appropriate type of addiction treatment at a facility, and your treatment may be mandated for several months.

It is possible for you to eventually have your license reinstated so that you can go back to work, but you will have this incident on your record, which can make it hard for you to secure employment if your previous employer has let you go. The better decision would be for you to opt to take the time off on your own so that you can get the help you need from a drug and alcohol rehab.

If you choose not to get treatment for your addiction, eventually, you will most likely lose your job and your license permanently. It's not possible to continue to use while you work in the healthcare industry, and even though you may do it for a number of years before anyone finds out, at some point, you may make a mistake that ends badly for you.

There are also some personal implications that can result. Many RNs with addictions have had failed marriages because they refused to get the professional help they needed to recover. If you spend money on drugs or alcohol, this can take a terrible toll on your finances too. The same is true if you lose your job because of your addiction. Your health is likely to suffer as well, and there have been many nurses who thought they were using prescription pain medications, but who ended up using a drug that was hazardous for their health instead.

Addiction Treatment for Nurses

If you are an impaired nurse, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get professional help for your addiction. Unfortunately, so many nurses will not do this. Instead, they'll wait until they are caught or reported. This could have a devastating effect on your career and on your personal life.

When you choose to go to drug or alcohol treatment for nurses, you're being proactive, and you're taking the steps you need to ensure your own safety, as well as the safety of your patients. It's likely that your addiction began because of another condition you're dealing with at the same time, and dual diagnosis treatment can help you recover from both of them, giving you a better chance of being successful.

Creative Professionals and Addiction

Creative Professionals

Understanding Drug Addiction Among Artists

It does seem as though creative individuals and addiction are often paired together. There’s no denying that celebrities are much more prone to addiction than others. For one, successful celebrities are able to afford using expensive drugs like cocaine. However, there is a belief that using substances of abuse may actually foster creativity.

Everyone knows the various stories of drug use among popular rock bands. For instance, the Beatles used LSD and marijuana to create several albums. Some would even call their music the best of all time. Authors often use drugs to enhance their thinking and expand their minds while they write. Consider Edgar Allen Poe’s use of opium as he penned some of the best masterpieces in the literary world.

The question is, why is substance abuse necessary among creative people? Is it even necessary? We believe that it’s not, and that it can actually do more harm than good.

Drug addiction among musicians and artists has been a long time problem, and it's actually a problem for many creative people or those who are considered to be entertainers. In fact, history is filled with creative and talented people who had problems with drugs and alcohol. Many of them feel that using substances will provide them with an inspiration to be more productive in their work. Oftentimes, they also feel that without using drugs, they will be unable to perform to the best of their ability.

Many creative individuals, such as artists and musicians, are only medicating their pain when they use drugs. Although the results they experience because of doing that are enough to keep them continuing on with those behaviors.

Creative people and addiction seem to go hand in hand, and there have been a great number of performers have had drug or alcohol issues throughout the years. Consider the following:

  • Beethoven was reported to drink wine as often as he wrote music.
  • Five Nobel Prize winners for Literature were considered alcoholics.
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman reports using anything he could get his hands on because he was panicked about his life.
  • Johnny Depp used to get drunk before going to press conferences because he was attempting to not feel anything.
  • Anne Lamott used to get drunk every night from the age of 19 to the age of 22.

Other famous people that have had addiction problems in Hollywood include:

  • Amanda Bynes
  • Anthony Bourdain
  • River Phoenix
  • Elvis Presley
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Drew Barrymore
  • Lindsay Lohan
  • Mischa Barton
  • Corey Haim
  • Jeremy London
  • Robert Downey Jr.
  • David Hasselhoff
  • Nicole Richie
  • Heath Ledger

Some of the names on this list include those who passed away from addiction. Some managed to get the help they needed and went on to do great things with their career. Others still struggle or simply left the limelight because they lost credibility. 

What many of these well-known individuals have never realized is the fact that it doesn't require substance use in order to be creative. There are many other ways to stoke creativity without having to turn to drugs and alcohol.

Creative people are often overly intelligent, fixing the world's problems or making it a more colorful, entertaining place. Their agents and the people surrounding them want them to perform. It’s really the only thing that matters. Many famous actors have worked themselves into the ground. Before that happens however, they are often given drugs to keep them afloat. It’s far easier for an actor to get an upper than the average person. They can continue to make movies, working for 18 hours a day, without needing a break. 

When you see someone on the red carpet, they look flawless. Yet, they are some of the hardest working people around. Scientists that have made game changing discoveries did so while managing an addiction. Artists can come up with incredible creations and ideas under the influence of drugs. As we’ve seen so often though, eventually it all comes crashing down. You’re a functioning alcoholic or a drug addict until all of a sudden, you aren’t. You can’t cope with the lifestyle any longer. You can’t manage things like you once could. There have been surprising deaths or arrests in Hollywood that reveal an underlying problem you would have never guessed existed. 

According to the Scientific American, the answer to that question is no. Sometimes creativity and addiction do occur within the same person, but that does not mean that it always has to be that way. Even though a large number of creative people - including actors, musicians, artists and writers - do struggle with addiction, to assume that the two go hand in hand is nothing more than confusing coincidence with cause.

Even so, there are some that believe that in order to be creative, you have to use drugs or alcohol, which is just one reason why so many talented people end up using. Unfortunately, what they're really doing is taking major chances with their lives every single day, but it turns out that most people see creativity as risky.

There are so many addicted artists and musicians in the world today. The list of celebrities that have died because of their drug addictions is long, and it's a list that seems to grow every year. People like Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison had incredible futures ahead of them, and yet, they all succumbed to their addictions. 

The questions that their deaths provoke include:

  • Is there a link between creativity and addiction?
  • What role do genetics play in drug and alcohol addictions?
  • Do creative people feel that if they stop using drugs or alcohol that their creative abilities will be diminished?
  • How do artists and musicians really feel about their drug use?
  • What is it that promotes this culture of drug and alcohol addiction?

If you're a musician or an artist, perhaps you're dabbling with addiction as well. It may seem as though it's just another part of your busy life. Maybe it's something you do to keep you going each day, or perhaps you use because you feel it gives you the edge that your persona as an artist really needs.

Regardless of the reasons behind your addiction, it can be helpful to know why people in your position are so prone to addiction, and what the statistics generally say about artists and musicians who are unable to stop using.

A drug or alcohol addiction is actually a very complicated condition. Addictions affect all types of people of every age, of every background and of all levels of intelligence. There are usually many different factors in play when it comes to the risk of addiction, and some of these include individuals that are:

Young Men and Caucasians: People who are between the ages of 18 and 24 are much more likely to use drugs, and men are more prone to it than women. A recent study concluded that:

  • 15 percent of Native American young people had the highest chance of become addicted to a substance.
  • 9% of whites are addicted to drugs or alcohol.
  • 5% of African Americans have addictions.
  • 5% of Asian Americans have addictions.
  • This is the case even though young African Americans are much more likely to be arrested for drug crimes.

People Suffering with Mental Illness: Those who have depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, or any other type of mental illness are usually more prone to addictions than others. The reason for this is because there is a strong desire to self-medicate when you have these issues. The goal is to numb the pain, and it is a cycle that continues on unless something is done to stop it because substances can actually cause the exacerbation of these conditions.

Sensitive Individuals: These people are sensitive to stimulants and the effects of other drugs and alcohol, but they also tend to be negative emotionally. They often experience anger, stress and sadness, which can contribute to addiction.

Children of Substance Abusers: Statistics show that children of parents who are or were drug abusers have as much as a 79% chance that they will abuse substances themselves. This may be because of genetics, but it also might be because of the fact that they have seen that behavior modeled for them.

Individuals with Higher IQs: Research has shown that some of the highest paid professionals in the world have the highest rate of addiction. People tend to think of addicts as being people with low incomes, and that generally isn't the case at all.

You can see how artists and musicians might fit into many of these categories, and that alone makes them more prone to addiction.

It's very common for artists and musicians to be portrayed as being drug or alcohol addicts. The media frequently exposes illicit behavior when it occurs, and it's possible that this fact only fuels the frequency of addiction within this group of people.

A survey was completed by the University of North Texas to find out more about the perception of addiction among this particular group of people, and what they found was that:

15%

Only 15% of those surveyed claimed that they believed that musicians and artists do not use drugs. The drugs that were thought to be used most often were amphetamines, marijuana and cocaine.

20%

20% of classical musicians reported widespread drug use.

40%

That percentage doubled to 40% for non-classical musicians. Female artists and musicians were considered to be at a much lower risk for addiction than males.

Clearly, the statistics in this survey indicated that drug use is a widespread problem among artists and musicians, and it certainly does not favor one genre of music over another. All types of artists, from country music to hip hop music have serious problems involving drug and alcohol addictions.

Many experts would say that there really isn't a link between creativity and addiction, but there is a link between addiction and the things that result in creativity. While scientists know that there is some sort of genetic reason for addiction in many cases, there is still much more to learn about it. Even so, the ones they are aware of are inherently related to dopamine and serotonin being released in the brain.

Addicted artists and musicians are those who tend to experience pleasures more weakly than other people, but they are more likely to use larger amounts, and use more often in order to achieve the desired amount. If artists and musicians have low-functioning dopamine systems, they are much more likely to be risk takers and exhibit compulsive behaviors. These characteristics are what is required within someone who is creative, but they are also the characteristics that often lead to addictions.

It's easy to see why creative people have such a higher risk of becoming addicted to alcohol and drugs than others. Quite often, once they're addicted, they find themselves feeling as though they have no other choice but to continue to use.

The CDC indicates that every day in the United States 105 people die of a drug overdose. More than 6,700 people are treated in emergency rooms across the country daily because they misused and abused substances. It's impossible to think that musicians and artists are not aware of these statistics, so why do they continue to use?

The main reason that they continue to use is because the risk of not using alcohol and drugs is simply much too high for them. In short, most addicted artists and musicians feel that using alcohol and drugs simply makes them better at their jobs. This is one of the biggest myths in the industry, but it is also one that is widely held as truth. Many musicians may worry that if they choose to stop using drugs, they won't experience the creativity they need to make new music. Artists may feel that their work will suffer if they're not able to think outside the box when creating.

The pressure that is on them is incredible. Not only do they consistently feel the need to keep their levels of performance up to or above par, but they also experience pressure from inside the industry. Fans are always eager to look for the next best thing that comes along, which means that there is an enormous amount of pressure on artists to deliver. For the most part, they feel that without substances they won't be able to do that.

Stress is also an important factor for artists and musicians who use. They may use one type of substance as a way to stay at the top of their game, and another type of substance so that they can relax and cool down at the end of a show, or even at the end of a typical day. The stress they face is unlike the type of stress that is experienced in other jobs. They typically spend months at a time away from their families, they often have a lot of pressure from their record labels, and they are frequently seeking for ways to impress and amuse their fans to keep them interested and entertained.

For most artists and musicians, drugs and alcohol are not just a way to stay ahead in the industry, but they're also ways to cope with the challenges they face in their everyday lives.

The Culture of Addiction Among Artists and Musicians

In the world of entertainment, it's much more common to find an artist or a musician that maintains a lifestyle of addiction than it is to find one that doesn't. Their very culture makes it quite easy for them to continue to abuse drugs or alcohol, and it's one that's actually quite forgiving of addictions. 

A number of factors play into fueling the fire beneath their continued substance use problems.

  • Their Environment- Spending a great deal of time at night around those who are drunk or high on drugs does not make it easier to remain abstinent from substances. This might even be one of the reasons many musicians and artists feel that there is no use in trying to get sober.
  • Their Money- Most entertainers are people of means, and because of their wealth, they are much more able to sustain bad habits than those that aren't. Drug dealers will often target them because they know they can buy a lot at one time.
  • Their Value- Artists and musicians are valuable, and once they gain a following, making a profit from them is the concern of everyone who is associated with them. For this reason, they're always given more permission to live their lives they way they see fit. What would never work in some jobs is often considered to be just fine in their industry.
  • Their Health- It's not necessary to be in good health to be a musician or an artist. They can perform even if they're not at their peaks.
  • The Pressure- Peer pressure is just as real among musicians and artists as it is among high school students. In many cases, not using drugs gets them labeled as not being cool, which some may perceive as being a big problem for their careers.
  • Their Travels- The fact that artists and musicians spend a lot of time away from home, and away from their meaningful relationships often results in them turning to drugs or alcohol to fill the void.

Addicted celebrities are at a high risk for overdoses or suicide. When an actor, athlete, musician or other type of celebrity is found dead because of a drug overdose or due to an alcohol related death, the news is incredibly tragic. It's often met with such remorse from the general public, as well as from others who knew the individual well. There have been so many well-loved celebrities who have succumbed to their drug addictions over the course of history, and to say that the world is not the same without them would be an understatement. The loss of them carries with it a terrible sting that never truly manages to fade away.

It's important to note that although many celebrity deaths are because of the use of illegal substances, drugs that can lead to death are not always illicit. In addition, overdoses are usually unintentional for most celebrities. 

The list of celebrities that have died from drug overdoses is actually quite a long one, and it includes:

  • Prince Rogers Nelson, who died from an accidental Fentanyl overdose at the age of 57.
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died from intoxication by mixed drugs (heroin, cocaine, amphetamines) at the age of 46.
  • Joan Rivers, who died from a complication from propofol sedation at the age of 81.
  • Cory Monteith, who died from mixing alcohol and heroin at the age of 31.
  • Chris Kelly, who died from an overdose of heroin and cocaine at the age of 34.
  • Jeff Hannerman, who died from cirrhosis because of alcoholism at the age of 49.
  • Whitney Houston, who died by drowning because of complications from cocaine and heart disease at the age of 48.
  • Derek Boogaard, who died of an accidental alcohol and oxycodone overdose at the age of 28.
  • Amy Winehouse, who died of alcohol poisoning at the age of 27.
  • Erica Blasberg, who died of asphyxia because of a multiple drug overdose at the age of 25.
  • Andy Irons, who died because of cardiac arrest after mixing drugs (cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone) at the age of 32.
  • Michael Jackson, who died of cardiac arrest because of propofol intoxication.
  • Christopher Bowman, who died of a drug overdose involving cocaine, cannabis, alcohol and diazepam at the age of 40.
  • Heath Ledger, who died an accidental death because of combined drug toxicity (oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, etc.) at the age of 28.
  • Scott Charles (Bam Bam Bigelow), who died in an accidental multiple drug overdose at the age of 45.
  • Ike Turner, who died from medical issues complicated because of a cocaine overdose at the age of 76.
  • Eddie Guerrero, who died because of heart complications due to anabolic steroid use at the age of 38.
  • Howie Epstein, who died of a possible heroin overdose at the age of 47.
  • Elisa Bridges, who died of a drug overdose involving heroin, methamphetamines and other drugs at the age of 28.
  • Douglas Glenn Colvin (Dee Dee Ramone), who died from an accidental heroin overdose at the age of 50.
  • John Entwistle, who died from a heart attack that was caused by cocaine at the age of 58.
  • Darrell Porter, who died of an accidental cocaine overdose at the age of 50.
  • Chris Farley, who died of an overdose of morphine, cocaine and possibly other drugs at the age of 33.
  • Kurt Cobain, who died of a gunshot wound to the head, but doctors found heroin and diazepam in his body. He died at the age of 27.
  • River Phoenix, who died of a heroin and cocaine overdose at the age of 23.
  • Paul Hayward, who died of a heroin overdose at the age of 38.
  • John Kordic, who died from lung failure because of a drug overdose at the age of 27.
  • John Belushi, who died of an accidental heroin and cocaine overdose at the age of 33.
  • John Simon Ritchie (Sid Vicious), who died of a heroin overdose (suicide) at the age of 21.
  • Keith Moon, who died of a heart arrhythmia (possibly because of too many prescription medications) at the age of 42.
  • Jimi Hendrix, who died from respiratory arrest because of an alcohol and barbiturate overdose at the age of 27.
  • Jim Morrison, who died from heart failure because of a possible heroin and cocaine overdose at the age of 27.
  • Janis Joplin, who died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27.
  • Judy Garland, who died from a barbiturate overdose at the age of 47. There is some uncertainly as to whether or not this was accidental or a suicide.
  • Lenny Bruce, who died of a morphine overdose at the age of 40.
  • Marilyn Monroe, who died of a barbiturate overdose at the age of 36. Her death was a suicide.
  • Billy Holiday, who died from cirrhosis of the liver because of alcoholism at the age of 44.
  • Joseph McCarthy, who died from hepatitis, which was made worse by alcohol, at the age of 48.
  • Tommy Dorsey, who died by choking himself while sleeping at the age of 51. His use of sedatives made him unable to wake up.
  • Hank Williams Sr., who died from heart failure that was possibly related to drugs and alcohol, at the age of 29.
  • Sigmund Freud, who died from a morphine overdose during physician-assisted suicide at the age of 83.

This list is, by no means an exhaustive one, and there have been so many great talents that have been lost because of drug or alcohol overdoses. As you can see, several on this list were ruled to be suicides, (and research shows there a link between suicide and addiction) but there were many on the list that passed away for other reasons.

Sometimes drug overdoses occur simply because someone has taken too much of a particular drug at one time. Those who are considering using cocaine for the first time are often cautioned not to use too much because people have been known to die from cocaine after just one use of this powerful, potent drug. However, more often than not, overdoses occur because the individual has tried to stop using drugs, and then relapsed back into drug use.

When someone has been using drugs, and they try to quit using on their own, their withdrawal symptoms can sometimes cause a lot of issues for them. Withdrawal can become dangerous, and it can result in relapsing for the simple reason that people often can handle them on their own. They will usually go back to using in an effort to get some relief from their symptoms, and as a result, they use too much of the drug. Tolerance levels can drop very quickly once drugs are stopped abruptly, and when a drug addict goes back to using the same amount he or she was previously using, an overdose is a very good possibility.

It's difficult to say what each of the above celebrity's circumstances was. Perhaps some of them were attempting to stop using and then relapsed, or it's possible that they just used too much of their drug(s) of choice.

Unfortunately, most people don't realize the dangers of mixing various types of drugs with each other. Each drug, medication, or alcoholic drink has different consequences, and they all cause different things within the body. Usually, people will mix them because they've developed a tolerance to the type of drug they're used to taking. Mixing them is an attempt at improving the high that is experienced, or it could be an attempt to get a different type of high.

These types of interactions can quickly prove to be deadly, depending on which substances are being mixed together. For example, someone who mixes many different central nervous system depressants with alcohol can end up experiencing depressed breathing that can lead to asphyxiation. Opioid painkillers, sedatives, hypnotics, alcohol and illegal drugs are frequently mixed together to produce a variety of sensations for the user.

This is a very dangerous practice, which is one reason why doctors are so careful to review prescription medications to check for interactions before prescribing new ones. So many deaths could have been prevented if only the users were aware of the consequences of mixing various types of drugs or alcohol together.

There are so many medical consequences that can be caused by drugs and alcohol, and as you can see, many of the celebrities on this list didn't necessarily die from an overdose, but they died because the drugs or alcohol they were consuming caused serious medical issues for them.

Just some of the medical issues that can be caused by the use of substances include:

Usually, people begin using drugs and alcohol without giving the medical consequences a second thought. They may use infrequently at first, with the intent to stop almost as soon as they've started. However, addiction has a way of taking a hold of your entire life, and because celebrities have so many opportunities to use, as well as the means to purchase large amounts of drugs or alcohol, addiction for them is actually fairly commonplace. Usually, finding out that they've been diagnosed with a medical issue related to their drug or alcohol use comes as quite a surprise to them. Unfortunately, even with the best doctors in the world, some diseases or conditions are progressive, and there is often little that can be done, aside from treating them.

Regardless of the reasons behind these terrible losses, the fact remains that the world has already lost so many creative people to drugs and alcohol, and unfortunately, there are sure to be more added in the future.

The fact is that drugs and alcohol do kill creativity. Perhaps you're someone who is creative, and you aspire to do great things for the entertainment world someday. Maybe you're someone who is already very successful, and the last thing you want to do is to end up being another name on this list. No matter what your situation is, please know that it is possible for you to recover from addiction, as long as you have the right kind of support.

Using drugs and alcohol as a way to be more creative is actually taking the easy way out. The chemical changes in the brain that occur often do lead to more creative thinking patterns, but that doesn't mean these are the only ways to become creative and come up with new ideas. Instead, you could try some of these ideas to boost your creativity:

  • Try Restricting Yourself: This is an idea that came from Seuss, who once took a bet that he couldn't create a story using less than fifty words. The result was Green Eggs and Ham, which has gone on to sell more than 200 million copies, and is now the best selling children's book in the world. Restricting yourself forces you to come up with new ideas within boundaries, which is a great way to hone your creative skills.
  • Constrain Your Time: Putting a time limit on something not only gives it more urgency in your mind, but it also forces you to come up with ideas quickly. You won't have to worry about putting something off for another day because of your schedule, or because you're not motivated. Deadlines can be difficult, but they can also work to your advantage.
  • Change Your View of the Project: Regardless of what it is that you need to complete - whether it's a new hit song, or it's a new novel for your publisher - people often get stuck when they're trying to come up with solutions to the various problems they face within a project. Taking a different approach can help. Try looking at the project from your audience's point of view. What do they want to hear/see/read? What inspires them? What are they tired of?
  • Be Prepared: If an idea strikes you at an odd time, are you prepared to take note of it? Do you carry a notebook with you so that you can jot ideas down? Do you record a message to yourself on your phone so that you can go back and listen to it later?
  • Remain Positive: Research has shown that the best creative work is done when people are in a positive frame of mind. If that's a problem for you, then it might be something that's also driving you back to your addiction. You may want to consider getting professional help so that you can get in to a more positive mindset.
  • Allow Daydreaming: You might be thinking that having a wandering mind only causes you bigger problems because your goal should be to focus. However, that's not really the case at all. As long as you get a project started, you'll be surprised to see how daydreaming can boost your creativity temporarily, and that might be all you need.
  • Focus on Others: Try to avoid thinking about the benefits you'll experience because of your creation. Instead, think about the benefits that others will enjoy because of it. This has been shown to trick the brain (in a sense) into coming up with even better ideas.

Most likely, you can think of works of art, or books, movies or pieces of music that you would like to emulate. Those individuals are your inspiration. They are what drives you to do what you do, and you long to have the experience of being as successful as they are. However, you can't deny that being afraid of rejection haunts you on a regular basis, and you're not sure how you will ever overcome that fear, except of course, if you medicate it away with drugs or alcohol. 

When you look at it that way, substances tend to serve two purposes. They calm your fears and they foster your creativity, correct?

What you don't see is the fact that every great creative mind has to face rejection at one point or another. It is destined to occur, and even when you see something as an overnight sensation, there is bound to be a story of rejection behind it. For example, take a look at these famous failures:

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein didn't speak until he was four years old, and he didn't read until he was seven. He was thought to be slow, mentally handicapped and anti-social for most of his life, and yet, he is known today as a genius.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was demoted in rank when he went to war. He also failed at numerous businesses and went bankrupt twice before he became president.

JK Rowling

JK Rowling battled depression after the loss of her mother, and was left as a single mother when she got divorced. It took her years to finish her manuscript, and it was passed over by several publishers, only to be rejected time and time again. Finally, because a publisher's daughter read some of the first book in the Harry Potter series, the book was published, but with the warning that she would never be a children's book author. Today she is one of the best selling authors of all time.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison refused to look at his 1,000 failed attempts at creating the light bulb to be failures. Instead, he insisted that he had only discovered 1,000 things that didn't work.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven was terrible at playing the violin when he was young, and he preferred to spend his time composing. Still, his music teacher insisted that he was too stupid to be a composer.

Stephen King

Stephen King received 30 rejections after he wrote his first book, Carrie, and he was so disgusted that he threw the book away. His wife encouraged him to resubmit it, and today, he is one of the world's best-selling authors.

Perhaps it seems impossible for you to ever be as creative as you would like to be without the use of drugs and alcohol. Maybe you feel that it's too late for you, and even though there are other ways for you to be creative, you live your life in fear that you'll be stuck in a creative rut if you ever do something different. Or, it's possible that you do see the value in choosing to find better ways to flex your creative muscle.

If that's how you feel, then it's important for you to know that you don't have to be stuck in your addiction, nor should you attempt to stop using on your own. Going to drug and alcohol rehab can help you find the path to recovery that you need.

Addiction Treatment for Artists and Musicians

Unfortunately, we live in a society where substance abuse is not only accepted among those in the creative world, but it's also celebrated by almost everyone. Special concessions are often made for musicians or artists who get DUIs or have other legal problems because of their addictions, and the country as a whole breathes a sigh of relief when this occurs.

The statistics surrounding musicians and artists with addictions demonstrate the fact that something needs to be done. Far too many have already been lost because they were unable to stop using. This is a serious problem in the entertainment industry, but many people don't recognize the importance of getting help, and they also don't know where to turn.

Here at Northpoint Recovery, we offer a small, private drug and alcohol rehab facility that can provide artists and musicians with the addiction treatment services they need. If you're suffering from an addiction, you don't want to go to a large facility. You want personalized care and a unique treatment plan that takes your needs into account. We can provide that for you, and just as we've been able to offer hope to so many others in your position, that same hope is also available for you.

To learn more about addiction treatment for musicians and artists, please contact us today.

Business Executives and Addiction

Executives and Addiction

Successful and Addicted

Strength doesn't come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn't. – Anonymous

When you're an executive, you think you have it all together, and that's true even when you're an addicted executive. Of course, when you're constantly thinking about when you're going to get your next high, or when you're going to be able to settle down with your bottle of whiskey or wine at the end of the night, you're anything but "all together."

You're falling apart.

I can remember when it all started. I had started my own company, and I was feeling as though I was on top of the world. Before that, I struggled for years trying to make something of myself, and to find a way to make myself successful. I landed my first big client and it was a high unlike any that I had ever experienced, even to this day. I celebrated by buying a round of drinks for everyone in the office. We were all excited, and eager to see where the future would take us.

It wasn't long before I started to view alcohol as away to celebrate my achievements. Even the smallest ones required some type of alcoholic drink as a way to congratulate myself and those on my staff, for a job well done. Of course, as time went on, there were also some downfalls, and I found that alcohol offered me a welcome escape from my problems too. Those who have addictions say that alcoholism starts with abuse and then before you know it, you don't know how to function without it.

They're right.

Of course, it wasn't long before alcohol had taken over my life, but it also didn't take much time before it was no longer enough for me. At some point, all of the stress I was facing at the office led me to go to the doctor and get a prescription for opiates to treat my chronic back pain that they say was probably being caused my stress. Oxycontin, was what they gave me. I had never taken such strong prescription medications before, and it pleased me to see that they helped. Finally, I was able to function like a normal person at the office, and the feeling I got when I drank after taking them didn't hurt either.

I didn't realize you could become addicted to prescription medications like that. Even though the warning was right there on the bottle, when you work in such a high-powered position like I did, you start to think that nothing can touch you. Those warnings are there for other people, and they're certainly not anything that I needed to worry about.

Of course, I was wrong.

I got pretty frustrated when I took an Oxy one night and it did absolutely nothing for my back pain. I could hardly lie in bed without feeling that twinge in my back, so I doubled my dosage. I told myself I would do it just that one time because I needed to get some sleep. Little did I know, my body was building up a tolerance to the drug, and that one time would turn into every time.

Can you imagine how I felt when my doctor refused to prescribe me any more Oxycontin? He told me that he was afraid I'd become addicted to them, so he gave me something milder and referred me for physical therapy.

That was the last time I saw that doctor.

Doctor shopping became the norm for me for a while. Then I learned how to buy Oxy on the street, and when that wasn't enough for me, heroin seemed to be a decent alternative. After all, I could afford it.

They typically assume that no one knows about their addictions, and they’re often right. These are individuals who seem to be able to manage their lives in spite of their substance abuse. They will often work overtime, and are frequently thought to be workaholics. They tend to be very successful in their careers.

As far as their social lives go, functioning addicts and alcoholics are extremely social. They have a lot of friends and enjoy spending time with them. It’s not hard for them to keep their substance abuse quiet. For these individuals, they’ve mastered the art of covering their tracks.

Business executives, CEOs and professionals with addictions are actually quite common, although they are also very good at keeping their substance abuse problems a secret. There are a lot of reasons why executives have such a difficult time not turning to drugs and alcohol as a way to soothe their worries, and as a way to escape from the stress of their jobs.

There are so many high-powered professionals in the United States who are struggling right now. So many of them just don’t know of any other way to cope with their stress and challenges.

Perhaps that's how you feel as well. Whether you're just starting out in business or you've been an executive for a number of years, you are undoubtedly familiar with how the stress of the job and the challenge of balancing your family and personal life can weigh on you after a while. At first, using substances seemed like a valid way for you to manage everything you're going through. However, now it feels as though everything is spiraling out of your control. This is how so many business executives feel, and what's worse is that they assume that there is no way out for them that will work.

Fortunately, that's not true at all. You can opt to get help for your addiction, and there is drug and alcohol treatment for executives and professionals that can assist you with that.

It's not surprising that sometimes executives and others who work in high-powered positions often feel as though they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. These individuals often work from early in the morning until late at night, and sometimes they even work through the night.

The issues they encounter on a daily basis would be enough to cause most people to quit their jobs, and yet, they persevere.

For many executives, the only way they know how to keep going is to opt to use substances as their fuel. The statistics regarding substance abuse among professionals, CEOs and executives are astonishing.

427,000

9% of those in management positions have a problem with heavy alcohol use. This works out to be about 427,000 executives, professionals and CEOs who have alcoholism.

521,000

1% of those in management positions have used illicit drugs at some point within the last month. This works out to about 521,000 CEOs, managers and executives with drug addictions.

11.4%

Only 11.4% of those in management who have substance abuse problems have been diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder.

0%

The number of those struggling with alcoholism in management positions has gone up .5% from 2007 to 2012.

2%

The number of those in management positions who have used illegal drugs during the last month has gone up almost 2%.

Less

Less people in management positions with substance abuse disorders are getting treatment for addiction now than ever before.

These statistics are incredible, and they just go to show the fact that the addiction problem among executives is probably much more severe than most people think. The question is, why are professionals and CEOs at such a high risk for addiction? There are a few different reasons why their risk is so high.

Few people are able to understand the constant stress and pressure that high-powered executives face on a daily basis. For the most part, drug and alcohol abuse begins as a way to cope with the issues that executives face every single day while they're at work.

Just a few of these issues might include:

  • Negotiating multi-million dollar contracts with other businesses and individuals on a regular basis.
  • Making decisions that could mean the rise or fall of the company.
  • Making plans to ensure that the financial future of the company is secure.
  • Facing economic challenges that threaten to be the company's undoing.
  • Sacrificing family time to ensure that work goals are met, or exceeded.
  • Struggling to manage a team of associates that all need consistent instruction and supervision.

Most executives that work in these types of positions spend most of their lives trying to reach that type of success. The problem is that they often find that working so hard and so often throws them completely out of balance. Ideally, humans are supposed to get eight hours of sleep, spend eight hours at work and enjoy eight hours of rest and relaxation time. When that work-life balance is thrown off, it causes a great deal of problems for the individual.

At that point, regardless of how much an executive enjoys closing deals, expanding his or her business, or making money on Wall Street, something is bound to give. Quite often, people in these positions will turn to drugs and alcohol. This is because they simply don't know if any other way to cope with their problems.

Time With Family

Another issue that frequently plagues executives, and also goes along with the work-life balance issue is the problem of time with family. Animosity can quickly arise when spouses are not at home to spend time with their husbands or wives. Many executives have to spend anniversaries, birthdays or even weekends stuck in the office, unable to take off for even a few hours to spend time with their families. Fathers and mothers frequently have to miss out on special events like class plays and little league games because they have to work and can't afford to miss any of that work time. Also, they tend to travel a lot, which can mean that they spend several weeks, or even months during the year out of town or out of the country.

Not only does that time away often cause a problem, but it also creates many different opportunities to use drugs or alcohol without any backlash from disapproving family members.

Lack of Sleep

Lack of sleep is often another issue that can lead to substance abuse problems. Professionals may feel as though they need to stay up well into the night in order to complete an important project for a high-profile client, or they may simply lose sleep because their minds are so full with the goings on of the day. It's not uncommon for CEOs, executives and professionals to regularly take sleeping pills, which can become addictive.

Those who have a hard time waking up in the morning or staying up late to complete projects will often turn to amphetamines like Adderall, Ritalin or Strattera as a way to help themselves wake up and stay awake for many hours. These drugs are usually prescribed to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), but college students will regularly use them to stay awake to study for exams. It's not unheard of for executives to use them for the same reason, and they can be purchased illegally on the street.

Mental Illness

Finally mental illnesses among high-powered executives are actually quite common. The stresses that they face on a daily basis can easily result in bouts of anxiety and panic attacks, and there are many CEOs with manic depression. So many executives need to talk with a counselor about their psychological symptoms, but that can take a great deal of time. For them to carve more than an hour out of their days to go to a therapist once a week is something they feel they can't do. It would take too much time. As a result, they will often tend to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.

These are just some of the reasons why so many executives turn to substances as a way to deal with the issues they face while they're on the job. There are many more, and every individual is different. Some can handle a great deal of stress on their own, while there are others who look for solace through substances at the slightest hint of depression, stress, or work-related problems.

Perhaps you're an executive, and you can't help but wonder if your substance abuse has gotten out of hand. You may know that you shouldn't be drinking quite so much alcohol, and you certainly shouldn't be taking drugs or using illegal drugs as often as you do. Still, for the most part, you feel as though you're in complete control of your substance use.

This is how many professionals feel. You're used to being in complete control of everything in your professional life, and so of course, you're going to feel in control of your drug or alcohol use. The fact is that it is much more likely that your substance abuse is controlling you, regardless of how you feel.

It might help you to take a quiz that can help you understand what your relationship with substances is. You'll be able to tell what level your drug or alcohol abuse is at right now, and what you should do as far as getting treatment. It may also help you to look at a list of addiction symptoms that you can use to study yourself more closely to understand your level of addiction or abuse.

Some of the physical symptoms of drug or alcohol addiction include:

  • When you haven't been able to use in a while, you go through withdrawal symptoms.
  • You've experienced an increase or a decrease in your appetite.
  • You have problems with sleeping at night.
  • You need to use higher amounts of drugs and alcohol than you once did in order to get high or drunk.
  • You frequently experience stomach problems, such as vomiting, diarrhea or stomach aches.
  • Chronic headaches are something you experience almost every day.

There are other behavioral symptoms of addiction that you might notice as well, and some of these may include:

  • You find that once you start using substances, you're not able to stop.
  • You realize you've developed a health problem that's related to the drugs or alcohol you're using, and you still refuse to stop.
  • You've given up social events or hobbies that you once loved because using is now much more important to you.
  • You always make sure you have a good supply of drugs or alcohol on hand.
  • You've taken risks to obtain drugs or alcohol.
  • You've engaged in risky activity while you were under the influence, such as driving or having unprotected sex with someone you don't know.
  • You feel as though you're obsessed with using substances almost all the time.
  • You keep your substance abuse problems a secret from those you work with or live with.
  • You've lied about your substance abuse problem to the people who love you.
  • You deny that you have any type of problem with substance abuse.
  • You've had legal problems because of your substance abuse, such as a DUIor a drug-related legal charge.
  • You spend a great deal of money on drugs and alcohol; possibly even to the point of having financial problems because of it.

Are any of the above symptoms of addiction a factor in your life? If they are, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to get help as soon as possible. A drug or alcohol rehab can provide you with the support you need to stop using substances safely, and they will assist you with getting your life back on track without having to be dependent upon them at all.

Quitting the use of drugs or alcohol cold turkey seems to be a method that many executives find the easiest for them. They assume that they just don't have the time it would take for them to get professional treatment. Quitting substances cold turkey seems like the next best option for them. Unfortunately, doing so is incredibly dangerous, and it can result in a lot of different problems for you if this is the route you choose to take. Not only do you put your health at risk but it’s likely your job performance will plummet. The brain will create symptoms that are both physical and emotional. You may become erratic and everyone will watch you unravel in your professional setting. 

When you stop using substances cold turkey – whether you're quitting your use of alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription medications – you're going to experience withdrawal symptoms. There are some types of substances that the withdrawal symptoms can be relatively mild for most people, but alcohol withdrawal (for example) is very dangerous. It's even possible for it to lead to death.

Some common drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • The onset of depression symptoms
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Problems with breathing
  • Upset stomach, including vomiting and nausea
  • Digestive issues, such as constipation or diarrhea
  • The onset of hot or cold sweats
  • The onset of chills
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Feeling fatigued all day long
  • Being unable to sleep at night
  • Having nightmares
  • Shakiness in the extremities

It's even possible to experience even more severe symptoms, such as heart palpitations, blood pressure and pulse irregularities, seizures or a stroke. In some cases people can experience delirium tremens, or DTs. If DTs do not receive immediate medical attention, the individual can die.

Drug and alcohol rehab facilities generally do not recommend for anyone to stop using drugs or alcohol cold turkey. Even if you don't have a prior medical history that indicates you may have a complication when you attempt it, you can still suffer many of the above withdrawal symptoms, and even one or more of the more dangerous symptoms.

Getting professional support is the best way for you to stop using, and when you're in a controlled facility, medical care will be available at all hours of the day or night. If there is a problem or you experience an emergency situation, you'll be able to immediately get the help you need.

This is a good question, and for many executives, it doesn’t. Let’s hear from one professional’s experience.

I still remember my first hit of heroin. I was a little nervous, but I figured that Oxy was pretty close to it, anyway. It wasn't too bad, but I have to admit that I was somewhat afraid of what might happen. The effects of heroin are intense, and it was truly unlike anything I'd ever experienced before. I can only explain it as a rush, and my immediate response was that this was a drug that most people just didn't understand. I was sure that it had gotten a bad rap, and although I knew that it was illegal, I figured that if was careful enough, and I didn't overdo it, I'd be OK.

I learned quickly that you have to be careful when you drink alcohol and use heroin at the same time. It took one time of me passing out and almost feeling like I needed to go to the emergency room to learn my lesson on that one. I took to drinking in the mornings before I went into the office, and then using heroin at night, because it did make me sleepy after a while.

I had a family at the time. My wife knew what I was doing, even though I tried to keep it a secret from her. She didn't say much at first, and I think she was hoping that it would be just a phase I was going through and that it would pass eventually. Like any drug, you build up a tolerance when you use heroin, and it didn't take long before I was using almost double the dose I started with. That was when my wife sat down with me to talk about my substance abuse problem.

She started by telling me that she understood I was under a lot of stress at the office. She was worried that I had become depressed because of all the problems I was facing at work, and everything I'd been through during that year. She told me she wanted me to stop using drugs and stop drinking so much, and she mentioned how she'd watched the progression of my substance abuse patterns over the last several months.

"I mean…when does it all end?" was the question she asked me. I didn't have an answer for her, but I had no intentions of stopping.

One day, I came home from the office and my wife and our two children were gone. There wasn't even a note, but I didn't need one. I knew she left because of my addiction. The last time she had asked me to stop using I went into a rage because I was so angry with her. Couldn't she see that I needed to use heroin? Why couldn't she understand that I needed to drink that fifth of whiskey before I went to work in the morning? They helped me function, and they kept me sane. She kept telling me that I needed to go to drug and alcohol rehab, but that was the last thing I wanted to do.

Losing my family was a wakeup call for me, but I still didn't have the time to go to addiction treatment. I assumed that they'd want me to go away to some 30-day rehab program, and there was no way I was going to do that. Too much was on the line for my business, and besides, I figured if I was going to kick the heroin habit and at least slow down on the alcohol consumption, I was going to do it on my own. Surely I was strong enough. I'd practically built an empire by then, so I could handle a little withdrawal.

When you stop using any type of substance abruptly, they call it going cold turkey. Let me tell you, this is no joke. I thought it would be a breeze, but it was the hardest thing I ever tried; not to mention the most dangerous. Not only was I detoxing from heroin, but I was also detoxing from alcohol at the same time. I couldn't sleep, I was sweating all the time, I had a fever, and I lost count of how many times I threw up. I honestly felt like I was going to die.

I made it through 48 hours of that, and on the third day, I just couldn't take it anymore. I had saved some of the heroin just in case I needed a little just to get me through the worst part of the detox phase. I crawled to the bathroom and shot up, telling myself that it would be just this last time, and then I was finished.

That was the last thing I remember.

I don't remember my wife coming home, but I'm thankful that she came home when she did. She found me in the bathroom, passed out on the floor with a syringe in my hand. She told me later that she called 911 and an ambulance came to take me to the hospital. Fortunately, they make a drug called Naloxone for overdoses. I would have died that day if she hadn't found me and acted so quickly to get me the help I needed.

Professionals and executives often have addictions, and yet, most people turn the other way, or they refuse to acknowledge this as a reality. After all, these are individuals that have been successful in life and in business, so for them to have an addiction to alcohol or drugs, it must mean that it's really not all that serious. The truth is that it is very serious, and there are many high-functioning addicts in the world who appear to have it all together on the outside, but on the inside, they're suffering.

For many of them, their marriages are crumbling. Their businesses are falling apart. They are so reliant on their addictions that they just don’t see any other way to cope with the stress.

Perhaps that's how you feel. You may be an addicted executive or professional, and you know that your addiction is really the root of your problems. Drug and alcohol addictions have a tendency to affect people in ways that they never could have imagined, and once they're addicted, they fear that they're destined to remain that way for the rest of their lives. This simply is not true at all.

It's important for you to know how to identify your addiction for what it is. It's possible that you're in denial about even having an addiction, but you know that your substance abuse issue is not doing you much good. Recognizing that you have an addiction is the very first step. Once you do that, you can begin to look at some of the ways you can get the kind of help that will lead you to your recovery from it.

When you go to drug and alcohol rehab, you'll find that there are a lot of different types of treatment that you experience. Of course, every patient is assigned his or her own treatment plan because all patients' needs are different. What would work for you might not be something that works for another patient. It is essential to look at each patient as an individual with his or her unique requirements for excellent addiction treatment.

When you go to treatment, you'll most likely encounter most or many of the following:

Individual counseling sessions– Working with a therapist on an individual basis is going to be critical for your recovery from addiction. When you talk with your therapist, he or she will help you understand the root cause of your addiction. In the event that you're not sure why you became addicted, your therapist will also help you find the answer to that. If you have been through a traumatic event, that will also be treated. Counseling is vital for recovery.

Group therapy sessions– Group therapy has been shown to be a very effective way to treat addictions, and that is why it's so important during drug and alcohol rehab. Group therapy sessions allow for peer counseling to take place, and this is a time for you to share with others about your addiction. You will also be able to listen to their stories and learn from one another as you offer support.

Family therapy sessions– Drug and alcohol addictions can tear families apart, and this can even happen in the lives of high-powered executives who appear to have it all together. Family sessions help to restore these important relationships and they provide support as families heal.

Nutrition therapy– The quality of the food you eat is so important for your recovery because the body processes toxins much faster and more efficiently when it's healthy. Nutrition therapy will ensure that you're getting all the vitamins and minerals you need.

Physical fitness– Your physical fitness is also an important component for addiction recovery. You may engage in sports, participate with Yoga, or even just get some daily, regular exercise. This will improve your overall physical and mental health.

Executives often have a really difficult time admitting that they need to get help for their addictions. Even when they know they have addictions, they will resist going to professional treatment.

For many executives, asking for help implies weakness, and this is one reason why so many of them tend to try to stop using on their own first. They also may be fearful about leaving their businesses in the hands of other associates for fear of what might happen while they're gone. However, for many, it's an issue of pride. They simply have too much pride to admit that beating their addictions is something they can't do on their own.

You have a couple of different options available to you, as far as paying for drug and alcohol rehab. If you want to utilize your health insurance plan, you do that. All you need to do is find an addiction treatment facility that participates with it. However, if you would rather not do that for privacy reasons, you can also opt to pay out of pocket. When you contact the facility, ask what the cost would be and the admission specialist you talk with will be able to give you information about how you should proceed.

If you're a professional or an executive with an addiction, getting professional help should be your very first priority. The worst thing you could do would be to try to stop using on your own. Many have attempted this, but there are only a few who have ever been successful. More often than not, professionals put their health at great risk by stopping the use of drugs or alcohol cold turkey, and there are serious medical issues that can result from attempting it. Worst of all, if you relapse, and you go back to using substances the way you were before you stopped, you are at a great risk of relapsing, which could lead to an overdose and even death.

Drug and alcohol treatment for professionals is the best way for you to stop using. The program will allow you to stop using while you're being monitored by a team of specialists in the addiction treatment field who all have your best interests at heart. You'll find that you learn so much about your addiction, and you'll also see that by opting for dual diagnosis treatment, you're much more able to be successful in your recovery because you'll be addressing the issues behind your addiction.

Here at Northpoint Recovery, we've had the ability to work with a number of professionals and executives who all needed to recover from their addictions. Our success rate is quite high when compared to other drug and alcohol treatment centers in our region, and we're available to serve you.

Are you a professional in need of addiction treatment? If so, please contact us today so that we can help you.

Emergency Services and Addiction

First Responders

Addiction in Law Enforcement Personnel

Addiction in law enforcement has never been as big a problem as it is right now. However it's still an issue that many people tend to gloss over. This is true even for those who may see addictions developing all around them often. The fact is that most people see police officers, state police, and sheriffs as public servants who are charged with keeping the peace and making sure everyone is safe. They rarely seem them as infallible human beings who are capable of developing addictions like everyone else. The truth is that law enforcement personnel are capable of becoming addicts, and it's so important to recognize this so that those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol can get the help that they so desperately need.

Perhaps you work in law enforcement and you've been doing your best to hide your addiction from everyone around you. You've hidden your drug and alcohol abuse from those who work with, from your superiors and even from your family, and you're tired of living that way. Or, it's possible that while you do use drugs or alcohol on a regular basis, you feel as though it's something you're in control of. Regardless of what your personal situation is, it will help you to learn as much as you can about drug and alcohol addiction in law enforcement officials so that you can get the help you need to recognize the truth about your substance abuse and possibly get assistance to overcome an addiction.

Because addiction among police officers is becoming such a serious problem, there is now a lot of information known about cops who have addictions. Addiction is something that law enforcement professionals deal with on a regular basis. Drug addicts and drug dealers are responsible for many of the crimes that take place in the United States today. So, while offers are very skilled and quite capable of handling drugs and addicts on the streets, their agencies are not quite as skilled at handling addiction when it afflicts many among their own ranks.

According to Police Magazine:

  • As many as 25% of police officers have addictions to either alcohol or drugs.
  • This number is more than twice the average national rate for addictions among civilians.
  • Many of these police officers should be diagnosed with PTSD, but they're not. They often will turn to substances as a way to self-medicate.
  • 11% of male officers and 16% of female officers reported regular alcohol use levels that deemed them to be "at risk."
  • In 2007, close to 40% of police officers in the United States reported one or more problem drinking behaviors.
  • 31% of police officers view other cops that don't drink as suspicious and unsociable, which indicates that there is a great deal of pressure to drink alcohol and fit in among law enforcement personnel.

Clearly, addiction in the law enforcement field is much more serious than most people realize. These shocking statistics cannot be denied or ignored, and it's so important for those who are working as police officers to understand that trying to maintain an addiction is no way to live their lives.

You may be a police officer who is participating in substance abuse, but you're not really sure that you have what most people would refer to as an addiction. While it's true that you do use drugs and alcohol more often than you should, it's still something that you feel in complete control of. After all, you have a great job, a family at home, plenty of friends, and a wonderful place to call home.

As you probably already know because you work in law enforcement, sometimes addiction strikes the most unlikely people, and it is possible for you to be an addict even if you don't feel as though you are. There are some common signs of addiction you can look for that are typical for police officers that have them. These include:

  • Your once stellar level of work performance has been slipping recently, whether the issues are mental or physical.
  • You are frequently late for work.
  • You've been exhibiting strange behavioral patterns, such as irritability or mood swings.
  • You are experiencing problems with your relationships at home.
  • You are having financial problems.
  • You go through withdrawal symptoms when you haven't been able to use drugs or alcohol in quite some time.
  • You're finding that you're having problems with some of the people you work with.
  • You're struggling with symptoms of depression or anxiety since you started using drugs or alcohol.
  • You experience memory loss or temporary blackouts.
  • You feel that you need to use substances just so you can feel normal.
  • You use drugs or alcohol at times when you told yourself you wouldn't.
  • You take big risks in order to obtain drugs or alcohol.
  • You're secretive about how much or how often you use substances.
  • You need to use larger amounts of drugs or alcohol now than you did when you first started using, which indicates that you've developed a tolerance.

It's important to recognize when you have an addiction that has become beyond your control, and even though that's hard for someone in your position, the sooner you can recognize it, the faster you can get the help you need. If you're still not sure, and you need more information about whether or not you have an addiction, it might help to take an addiction quiz. By answering just a few questions, you'll be able to understand whether or not you have a serious problem that needs to be addressed professionally.

Today, so much more is known about what leads to addiction when compared with what we knew just a few years ago. We know that genetics play a role in addictions, as well as addictive personalities and mental health issues. When it comes to those in law enforcement, we know that there are so many challenges these individuals face that leave them susceptible to becoming addicts. Some of these include:

Sleep Deprivation: This is a major problem for those who work in the law enforcement field. Many police officers work various shifts that are constantly changing. That makes it nearly impossible for them to create a sleep schedule for themselves and stick to it. They may take on overtime shifts, or even work second jobs as a way to supplement their income. In cases such as these, taking medications to help with sleep are very common, and those who do so will often find that they grow reliant on other medications (stimulants) to help themselves wake up. Over time, this can develop into a dangerous cycle that's impossible to escape without professional help.

Stress: Working in law enforcement is an incredibly stressful job, and most civilians don't realize the amount of stress that cops face on a regular basis. Being a police officer presents a unique combination of danger and tension that would cause issues for anyone if they were subjected to it long enough. Cops are frequently exposed to death, accidents, tragedies and injuries, which means that their stress levels are often off the charts when compared to someone who works in a different field.

Drug Access: Some of the most common types of crimes that police officers have to deal with on a daily basis are related the production, use and distribution of street drugs. When drugs are confiscated, they are generally processed properly, tagged and kept as evidence. However, pieces of evidence go missing all the time, and the same is true for drugs that have become evidence. Because police officers are also in contact with drug dealers regularly, it is not uncommon for them to form inside relationships with them for the purpose of obtaining drugs for their own personal use.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD goes beyond the ordinary type of stress that many police officers face on their jobs, and it moves into a category all its own. PTSD is a serious problem for police officers, and yet, many of them are reluctant to admit that they have a problem that needs to be treated. Instead, they choose to self-medicate this disorder in an attempt to take care of it themselves. Drugs and alcohol are both used by cops to reduce their symptoms of PTSD.

Lack of Personal Time and Relationships: Because law enforcement officials often have to work such long and strange hours, they definitely lack when it comes to spending time with the people they love the most. This can cause them problems in their interpersonal and family relationship, and not having time for themselves can also encourage them to turn to substances as a way to get comfort.

Injuries on the Job: If you ask any police officer, getting injured on the job is something that is often just par for the course. It happens to everyone, and when it does, they go to the doctor to get help. Doctors are often quick to prescribe addictive medications without giving their addictive nature much thought. Because of this, many cops will become addicted to their prescription drugs unknowingly or by accident.

For the longest time, alcohol was considered to be the most popular substance for those who were in law enforcement. It was just a part of their culture, and there wasn't enough information out there to deter police officers from drinking socially with each other or with their friends. Today, we know the dangers of alcohol, and how easily it is to become an alcoholic. Even so, that hasn't seemed to stop many cops from choosing to continue their destructive drinking behaviors. In fact, binge drinking is actually much more common among police officers than those in the general public.

In addition to alcohol, anabolic steroid abuse is very typical among law enforcement professionals, and it's easy to see why they would be so appealing. Being a police officer is a very strenuous job, and in order to keep up with its demands, officers will often obtain anabolic steroids as a way to make sure they stay in shape.

Prescription pain medications are also among the most abused drugs for cops, and because so many officers are injured on a regular basis, it's relatively easy for them to keep getting the prescriptions they need to provide themselves with pain relief, and to feed their addictions.

It makes sense to assume that a large number of police officers will actually abuse drugs and alcohol while they're on the job. Through rigorous self-training, they will become high-functioning addicts, and it doesn't help that many police departments and cities have regulations in place that will allow them to use while they're working.

According to NBC in Chicago, there are a number of suburban areas in the United States that will allow police officers to have alcohol in their systems while they are on duty. Some permit a BAC up to .08, while others restrict the BAC to being at .05.

As far as other drugs go, there seems to be a camaraderie or a sense of fraternity among police officers that allows them to use drugs while they're working in many instances. Quite often, if a police officer notices that something is off about his or her partner, it will be overlooked. These situations only tend to fuel the flames of addiction for law enforcement personnel who really do need to get professional help for their addictions.

Reluctance to Ask for Help

The biggest reason why so many police officers are reluctant to ask for help with their addictions is because they're attempting to live up to the image of a cop. They're viewed by the public as strong individuals who are impenetrable. They're seen as resilient and tough, and anything that strays from that implies weakness. For a police officer, his or her job is to look up the "bad guys," and admitting that you have much more in common with them than most people think is an attack on your pride.

Another issue that often keeps those in law enforcement from admitting that they have a drug or alcohol addiction is the fear of losing their jobs. It makes sense because they feel that they can't escape being arrested for breaking laws because it's their job to uphold the law. They fear being charged with drug offenses and having to go to court to defend themselves, and there's nothing worse than worrying about having to spend time in jail or prison with inmates whom they have put behind bars themselves.

There is so much at stake for police officers who are abusing drugs or alcohol, and it's very common for them to simply ignore their addictions and continue on in their lives as though nothing was wrong.

If you suspect that a colleague of yours is struggling with an addiction, it is probably instinctual for you to just ignore it, or hope that it goes away. Too many addiction problems have been allowed to continue for police officers until something is done so that the individual gets the necessary help. You're most likely aware of an unspoken "code of silence," and you feel bad about breaking it, but you know that something needs to be done.

It's important to keep in mind that addiction is a disease, and it's not something that goes away. Like other diseases, it's progressive, and it only gets worse as time goes on; especially when it is ignored. If you're wondering whether or not a fellow officer has an addiction problem, there are a few things you can look for, and these include:

  • An increase in the number of accidents your colleague has.
  • Demonstrating a lack of focus or concentration on the job.
  • Changes in your colleague's attitude.
  • Taking a lot of time off or sick time.
  • Demonstrating poor grooming habits.
  • Developing aggressive behavior toward the public or even toward other officers.
  • Signs of withdrawal symptoms

You may want to start by having a conversation with the officer about what you've noticed and suggest treatment, but if that doesn't work, it's important to bring the addiction to the attention of a supervisor.

If you are a family member of someone who is a police officer, and you're concerned about your loved one's addiction, you're absolutely right to have that concern. Being a cop is such a dangerous job, and there's nothing you want more than for your family member to be safe and healthy at all times. However, bringing the addiction to his or her attention, or trying to confront your loved one about it usually only ends up with the situation being ignored. That's when it's important to know what else you can do to encourage drug or alcohol rehab.

It might be helpful for you to schedule an intervention. During an intervention, you and other friends and family members will have an opportunity to present your case for treatment to your loved one. This is such an effective method, and it usually ends up with the individual agreeing to get help.

While it's true that you can get into legal trouble for using drugs or alcohol as a police officer, you're much more likely to experience the legal ramifications of it if you fail to come forward about your addiction. Today, so many law enforcement agencies have been educated about the disease of addiction, and they are much more willing to find a way for you to get help than to simply strip you of your position. You might be surprised to find that there is actually a great deal of compassion for you from your superiors when you are truthful and honest about your struggles, and they will support you and encourage you to get the kind of help you need to recover.

It's important to know the various options that are available to you if you are interested in getting help for a drug or alcohol addiction. You may be surprised to find that there are more options that you originally thought. They include:

Outpatient treatment, which would allow you to come to appointments weekly or more often at first, although this type of treatment is usually for those whose addictions are mild, or who have been through inpatient treatment.

Intensive outpatient treatment, which would require you to attend treatment several times during the week.

Inpatient treatment, which would require you to stay at a facility for a period of time (usually 30 days) while you get addiction help.

Outpatient support groups, such as narcotics anonymous or alcoholics anonymous. These types of 12 Step meetings work very well for those in outpatient treatment.

Drug detox or alcohol detox, which may be the very first step in your addiction recover process to help you through the withdrawal period.

Help is Available at Northpoint Recovery

Because you work in the law enforcement field, you've undoubtedly seen the consequences of addiction on a regular basis in your job. You know how it has torn families apart, how it has caused so many health problems, professional issues, and even anxiety or depression problems for those who are addicted to alcohol or drugs. Because you work in this field, it's common to think that there is no way that you might ever succumb to the horrors of addiction. 

You might believe that you're above that, and for a short period of time, you might be able to maintain a façade of strength that convinces you and those around you. However, it's impossible for you to maintain that stance for very long. It's important for you to know whether or not you are an addicted law enforcement official, and if you are, you need to know that help is available for you so that you can stop using and recover.

It is so difficult for police officers to admit that they have problems with drugs or alcohol. You're taught to remain strong in all situations, and admitting you have a problem implies weakness in your mind. However, making the admission that your addiction is something you just can't handle on your own is the strongest decision you'll ever make.

Here at Northpoint Recovery, we've been able to work with many police officers in all different positions, and we've helped them to successfully recover from their addictions. It might seem impossible for you, but others who have gone before you have proven that it is possible.

Would you like to learn more about addiction treatment for law enforcement personnel? If so, please contact us today to get the information and help you need.

Information About Addiction and EMTs

EMS workers and addiction are hardly ever linked together in most people’s minds. It’s unheard of to think that someone who is charged with saving lives could have a substance abuse problem. However, is it really all that impossible? Of course, the answer to that question is no.

EMTs are viewed as superheroes. As such, they should be untouchable and infallible, at least in the minds of the public. The fact is that their jobs are difficult, trying and stressful. They hold countless lives in the palms of their hands every single day. It should be no wonder that so many of them turn to substances as a way to cope. For many of them, they’re the only way they can face another day on the job.

Addiction in EMTs is something that largely goes ignored because of the fact that EMS workers are thought to be professionals who should be immune to the threat of addictions. Of course, this idea is incorrect. EMTs are just as vulnerable to addiction as those in the general public, and sometimes, they are considered to be even more vulnerable because of the various issues they face in their jobs.

Still, when people read headlines that say something along the lines of, "City EMS Worker Accused of Stealing Pain Medication from Patient's Medicine Cabinet," everyone who reads it reacts with shock and awe.

It may help to understand a little bit more about the job of being an EMS worker and what exactly it is that puts these individuals at such a great risk for becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol.

It's possible that you are an EMT yourself, and you've been struggling with some type of addiction, or at least you have a suspicion that you are. Please know that you are not alone if this has been your experience, and here at Northpoint Recovery, we want you to understand that others have been where you are.

There are so many EMTs in the United States who have resigned themselves to suffering in silence with their addictions because they're afraid of what might happen if they're honest about them. Learning as much as you can about addiction in EMT workers will help you gain insight into your own drug or alcohol abuse, as well as provide you with information about what you should do to get help if you do have an addiction.

For those who believe that emergency service workers should be immune to the temptation of drug and alcohol addiction, the statistics certainly tell a story that is much different.

36%

36% of EMS workers suffer from depression, which puts them at a very high risk for abusing drugs and alcohol.

72%

72% of EMTs suffer from sleep deprivation, which also leads to addiction in many individuals. For most ambulance attendants, prescription medications and alcohol are their drugs of choice.

65

According to JEMS, in 2007, a report regarding a California EMS agency stated that they uncovered more than 65 drug and alcohol cases internally in 2005 and 2006. This number was up from only 8 cases in the two years prior to that.

You may find these statistics to be quite surprising. Most people do, and the reason is that these individuals are supposed to be people that are looked up to and celebrated as heroes because of the work they do. Even so, it's important to recognize that they are under such a tremendous amount of stress and strain on their jobs, and there are a number of other issues that can end up leading to addictions in so many of the world's best EMTs.

There are a number of risk factors in place for paramedics that most people don't think about when they hear of instances of addiction within this field. These risks are very real, and they often lead to dependence on various substances. For example, EMTs are at risk for addiction because:

  • They have easy access to potent and addictive prescription medications when they visit patients' homes.
  • They often have to work long, strenuous hours because there is a shortage of paramedics in the field.
  • The number of managers in this field is quite small, and because of this, ambulance attendants often have less direct supervision.
  • The increase in the elderly population cannot be denied, and it is leading to higher call volumes and higher stress levels because paramedics don't have as much downtime as they once did.
  • There is a general lack of excellent substance abuse prevention programs in this field, and virtually no plans to make that a priority.

For those with such serious risk factors in place, it's not surprising that so many of them turn to addiction. Drugs and alcohol serve as a way to decompress after a long day or night on the job, and they often become a welcome escape to those who are suffering because of their circumstances at work.

Most people have no idea the type of stress EMTs are under on a regular basis. What the general public often fails to realize is that they are so much more than just a ride to the hospital. Their jobs often require 24-hour shifts. They’re tasked with life or death decisions, and it’s up to them to keep patients alive, at times.

The training that EMTs receive is state-mandated, but the pay they’re offered is much lower than you’d expect. Many struggle to meet their monthly bills, which only adds to their stress.

It shouldn’t be surprising that EMS professionals have the 9th most stressful career. They’re constantly exposed to death, violence, destruction and trauma. The mental anguish doesn’t stop there. Even once their shifts are over, they have to deal with work-related stressors. When you add relationship and family stressors on top of that, it’s easy to see why they may abuse substances.

There are a number of different reasons that emergency medical technicians often turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to escape their realities. Even though substances are not a good substitute for getting professional help, knowing why those who work in this field are so quick to reach for the bottle or the drugs can help you understand the pressure they experience on a day-to-day basis.

EMTs frequently deal with:

  • Stress on the Job– It's difficult to imagine the amount of stress that an EMS worker faces on a daily basis; especially when you take into consideration the fact that they often deal with multiple calls during a single shift, mountains of paperwork, and all of the tragedy they see and endure when they are out in the field.
  • Trauma– While there is certainly trauma to be experienced when visiting the home of an elderly woman who is having a heart attack, the level of that trauma is increased when EMTs have to go to the scene of an accident where a good friend or family member is involved. This happens all the time, and it takes trauma to a personal level. It's no secret that many EMTs suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and yet, many of them fail to get the type of treatment they need.
  • Anxiety– Being a paramedic is often a thankless job that requires quick thinking and quick action. This in repetition can easily lead to anxiety, and it's not surprising that so many EMTs suffer from it.
  • Depression– Depression is very common among EMTs because of the situations they've been involved in, their long work hours, and their lack of sleep.
  • A Family History of Addiction– Many EMTs chose their profession because a parent was also an EMT. It's likely that this parent also turned to addiction as a way to cope with the stress of the job. Having a family history of addiction – and especially when another family member also worked as an EMS worker – increases the risk of addiction for that individual.

When your adrenaline is going due to emergency situations, nobody is going to see that you’re actually under the influence. There are many EMTs that are looking to numb themselves from their traumatic experiences at work. They work erratic hours and often go through long periods of waiting. In many ways, the work and the emotional problems that come with it give you plenty of excuse to drink or do drugs as a way of decompressing. Most people aren’t going to question your need to do so. 

You may be able to manage emergency situations but you’re not really all there when you’re dealing with an addiction. A behavior among addicts will be making it their job to obtain, use, or come down from their substance of choice. It’s hard to know when an emergency will take place. You may be able to work your substance abuse out so it doesn’t affect you right now. Tolerance builds and eventually, you’ll have to break and abuse at the wrong time. This is the concern of even the high functioning addict. It only takes one time where you make a mistake at the workplace.

All sorts of medical emergency staff are going to witness someone dying in front of them. While there are therapists on staff for these situations, it can still cause PTSD. When undiagnosed, PTSD is a debilitating illness. To continue on functioning, many EMTs will use drugs or alcohol. The symptoms that go along with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can get in the way of doing their job properly. Once they find a substance that helps them through this time, they’ll use it regularly to get by. A mental disorder and addiction is known as dual diagnosis. It is a complex disorder that is more challenging to treat. It needs to be treated at the same time. There are professionals that focus specifically on helping those with dual diagnosis.

If you're an ambulance attendant, and you're concerned that you might have an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it's important to know the signs you should be looking for. Or, maybe you're in denial that you have a problem with addiction because you know you feel in control of your substance abuse. A lot of people fit that category, and they're actually able to become high-functioning addicts who are able to put on the appearance of being in control when they're actually not.

Regardless of how you see yourself and your relationship to substances, you can identify an addiction within yourself by looking for a few signs, and these include:

  • Forging prescriptions
  • Stealing medications from others
  • Having problems with making decisions
  • Feeling or appearing too sedated or over-stimulated
  • Visiting a number of different doctors for prescriptions for the same medication
  • Experiencing extreme changes in your sleeping habits
  • Experiencing mood swings or becoming irritable very easily
  • Taking higher doses of your prescription medications than you should
  • Having problems getting along with your co-workers
  • Frequently making judgment errors on the job
  • A pattern of arriving late to work
  • Struggling with personal appearance and hygiene

Have you noticed any of the above within yourself? If you have, it's likely that you have an addiction. If you're still not sure, you may want to take an addiction quiz, which can help you by giving you more information about your own personal relationship with substances.

Maybe you are an emergency services worker yourself, and you are very concerned about a co-worker because you suspect that he or she has an addiction. That individual may not ever talk about it, but because of various behaviors you have witnessed, you can't help but believe that there is a real problem. It's so difficult to know what to do in these types of situations because more than anything, you want to be as helpful as you possibly can. However, you may also fear losing a friend, or fear the outcome of your co-worker losing his or her job.

Ultimately, the most important concern you should have is for your co-workers safety, health and wellbeing. There have been many stories of EMS workers losing their jobs because of addictions, but it is becoming more and more common for supervisors to look upon these situations with the view of encouraging professional treatment over job termination. Try having a conversation with your co-worker about your concerns, and talk with him or her about getting help. If that doesn't work, you are wise to bring the issue to the attention of a supervisor so that something can be done. Allowing it to continue puts everyone at risk, and that's not something you want.

Perhaps you have a family member who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, and who is also a paramedic. This puts you in a terrible position because you want your loved one to be happy, but you also can see how the addiction is destroying his or her life.

Chances are pretty good that if you bring up the idea of getting professional help, your family member is going to brush your suggestion aside. In cases like these, intervention services are extremely helpful. An intervention often results in the loved one going to get help at a professional drug and alcohol rehab, and the meeting itself will give you a platform to talk about your concerns.

There are a number of different reasons why EMTs might refuse to get professional treatment when they are confronted about an addiction, regardless of who is doing the confronting. They may be in denial that there is actually a serious problem present. They may also be in fear of losing their jobs, which can actually result in them trying to quit on their own in secret. This is incredibly dangerous.

Ambulance attendants will also frequently refuse to admit to having an addiction because of pride. They know that their job is an important one, and being able to save the lives of others is most likely why they chose their careers in the first place. Their positions are strong ones, and admitting that they can't stop using drugs or alcohol on their own is like admitting to having a weakness, which is something they want to avoid at all costs.

When you go to alcohol and drug rehab for EMTs, you're going to experience a few different types of therapy. These include:

  • Individual therapy, which will allow you to work with a counselor on a one-on-one basis. This is so important because it will give you the ability to talk privately about the issues that may have led to your addiction.
  • Drug and alcohol detox, if needed, which will help you overcome your withdrawal symptoms, and get through this phase of your quit much faster.
  • Participation in a 12 Step program, which has been shown to be very effective for those who need addiction treatment.
  • Group therapy, which allows you to receive peer counseling for your addiction.
  • Nutritional therapy, which will help you to improve your diet and overall general health.
  • Family therapy, which will help you and your family members to strengthen your relationships and heal from any wounds that may be there because of your addiction.

Because you work in the medical field, you are undoubtedly aware of the issues that many patients face when it comes to health insurance. You've probably overheard so many conversations from them regarding how they are going to pay for your services, how they're going to cover the cost of their hospital stays and their medical treatments. While it's true that it can be an uphill battle to work with some health insurance providers, you should know that the same is not true for those who are seeking addiction treatment.

Your health insurance company is required by law to help cover the costs associated with drug and alcohol rehab, and many of these companies will even cover these costs completely. This should come as a great relief to you if you were worried about how you would pay for it out of your own pocket. In fact, for many ambulance attendants, the cost of substance abuse treatment is what keeps most of them from even getting information about rehab.

It's easy to find out how much your health insurance company will pay toward your drug and alcohol rehab. At Northpoint Recovery, we would be happy to verify your insurance for you so that you know exactly how much – if anything – you would need to pay on your own.

Treatment for Paramedics at Northpoint Recovery

If you're an EMT with an addiction, it's so important for you to know that you're not alone in your struggles. The very nature of your job puts you at a high risk for drug and alcohol dependence, and there are so many others who are battling it the same way you are. The general public may feel that you should be able to resist the urge to turn to substances as a way to cope with the stress you endure on a daily basis, but the truth is that your addiction is a disease that needs to be treated. It is not something that you've chosen for yourself.

At Northpoint Recovery, our goal is for you to get the help you need so that you can go on to have a full and promising career. We have seen so many medical professionals walk through our doors in need of addiction treatment, and it is certainly a field that has endured a great deal of shame from the public whenever one of its members is suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. We seek to end that, and we want nothing more that to be able to assist you with overcoming your addiction.

You will learn that shame is a part of addiction for everyone. Knowing this is an important part of your recovery. This video demonstrates the kind of conversation you’ll have when you’re in a safe environment. The knowledge of managing your behaviors through recovery is what will help you truly recover for good. Hopefully you can identify with some of the stories being told and begin to get an understanding of how your own shame feels. 

Are you seeking addiction treatment for EMTs? If you are, or if you would just like to talk with us about how we can help you, we'd love to hear from you. Please contact us right away.

Addiction in Firefighters

Addiction in firefighters is actually much more common than most people think it is. We tend to think of those who take on these challenging positions as being heroes, and in doing so, we begin to think of them as being free from the threat of addiction to drugs or alcohol. If only this were the case. The fact is that so many people who work as firefighters are victims of addiction, and there are a number of different reasons why. To think of firemen and women as being immune to the problem of addiction only does a disservice to them, and it allows the terrible stigma of addiction to continue within this particular community of people.

On the outside, you act as though everything is fine, but on the inside, there is a major battle going on.

Perhaps you work as a firefighter, and you are concerned that you might have an addiction to drugs or alcohol. On the outside, you act as though everything is fine, but on the inside, there is a major battle going on. You can't help but wonder whether or not your drug or alcohol use isn't quite as in control as you thought it was, and you need information about how to know if you have an addiction, and where to get the right kind of help. Fortunately, you are in the right place to get the information you need.

At Northpoint Recovery, we have been able to provide information and addiction treatment services to many firefighters who all wanted to recover from their addictions. It's important for you to become educated on this topic; particularly if you feel that you might have an addiction yourself.

It makes sense to assume that a fairly low number of individuals who served as fire rescue workers would be involved with various types of addictions. However, the statistics tell a very different story. In fact, they indicate that:

  • Approximately 9.1% of firefighters report heavy alcohol use during the previous month.
  • This percentage is slightly above the national average for the general population.
  • According to the US Firefighters Association, they estimate that as many as 10% of all fire rescue workers may be abusing drugs.
  • They also estimate that their rate of alcohol abuse might be more than double that of the general public.
  • In one study 37% of firefighters reported that they had lost one or more of their colleagues during the previous two years because of alcohol abuse.
  • In another study, 40% of firefighters report being under chronic stress, and of these individuals, about 30% of them reported regular alcohol use.

Clearly, the issue of addiction among firefighters is more serious than most people realize, and because these statistics are so high, it's apparent that this population of people is in need of help, and direction to assist them in finding assistance for their addictions.

Drug and alcohol addiction is fairly common among those who work difficult jobs, and the job of a firefighter is no exception to that rule. There are a lot of reasons why fire rescue workers might turn to addictions in order get relief, and these include the following:

Lack of Sleep

For those who have sacrificed their lives for the purpose of saving the lives of others, they understand the lack of sleep that is involved with their positions. Firefighters usually don't work 9 to 5 jobs, and they are often ripped from their sleep in the middle of the night to answer calls. When this occurs, they have to immediately be able to respond, and most fire or emergency calls can last several hours at a time. This lack of sleep can lead to mental illness, which can then lead to addiction. Also, some firefighters will turn to stimulants as a way to help themselves stay awake longer when they're exhausted.

Strange Work Hours

Someone who works an eight-hour shift five days a week can usually find it pretty easy to slip into a routine. However, there is no such thing as a routine for those who are fire rescue workers. Firemen and firewomen often find themselves working strange hours, and quite often, their shifts tend to be 24 hours long. Having to be on duty for such a long period is very stressful, and it's difficult to spend so much time away from your family. It's not surprising that the stress of the odd work hours often contributes to instances of drug or alcohol addiction.

Socialization with Fellow Firefighters

Drinking alcohol is often a way to socialize with friends or co-workers, and for those who are fire rescue workers, the same is true. Being a firefighter encourages an atmosphere of friendship and a need to talk about the previous shift and everything that occurred during that period of time. Even though alcohol use can often start off as a way to decompress and de-stress with friends, it's not uncommon for it to eventually become an addiction.

Stress or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Stress is a major factor for firefighters, and unfortunately, it's something that often tends to go overlooked. Business News Daily has ranked being a firefighter as the second most stressful job in the United States, and it indicates that the only position that is more stressful is being a member of the Military. Firemen and women are frequently under a great deal of stress in their jobs. They have to make decisions quickly, they have to use their skills and knowledge to know what to do in life or death situations, and they're constantly laying their lives on the line in order to save others.

Because of this Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is also something that is quite common for firefighters. PTSD can develop after someone is exposed to a traumatic event, which firefighters are exposed to all the time. The symptoms can be difficult to contend with on one's own, which is why many firefighters turn to substances like drugs or alcohol as ways to cope with them.

Injuries While Working

Being a firefighter is a very physical, demanding job, and it's not surprising that so many fire rescue workers end up being injured in one way or another in the line of duty. Fortunately, many of these injuries are relatively minor, but even then, it is common for doctors to prescribe prescription opioid medications to help them handle their pain. While many firefighters will take their medications and not have any problems, there are those who will develop addictions to them for a number of reasons. When this occurs, even though these addictions were accidental, they are likely to continue, or even lead to worse addictions.

Excessive Time Off

Finally, because of the strange work hours that firemen and women keep, they usually have several days off during the course of the month. Because they have such a lot of time off, this can lead to boredom, which can lead to using drugs or alcohol as a way to fill the time, or for something to do. Having so much free time can create a void, and if that time is not filled with something constructive, forming an addiction is quite common.

Perhaps you're a firefighter, and you're concerned that you might have an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Although, you're not sure because you seem to be managing your life without too many problems. It's possible that you have become what is frequently referred to as a high-functioning alcoholic or drug addict. These individuals manage to live lives that look fairly normal on the outside, but on the inside, so much of their lives are a mess. It's also very common for those with addictions to be in denial, and that might be where you are right now.

If you're concerned about what some of the signs of addiction are within those who are firefighters, they can include:

  • Taking pain medications for an injury long after the pain has subsided.
  • Becoming defensive or aggressive if someone questions you about how much or how often you're using pain medications.
  • Exhibiting a need to keep your drug or alcohol use a secret.
  • Feeling as though you're unable to think rationally in dangerous situations.
  • Shifting your focus from caring about others and their safety to caring about yourself primarily.
  • Lying about your drug or alcohol use to the people who care about you.
  • A shift away from caring about your own personal hygiene.
  • Suffering from significant weight loss or weight gain.

Have you noticed any of the indicators of addiction as present in your own life? If you have, it's so important for you to get the right kind of treatment so that you can recover.

If you have a family member who is a firefighter, and whom you believe is battling an addiction, you might be at a loss as far as what you can do to help. You may have tried to have a conversation with him or her, but as soon as you started to talk about the substance abuse issues, your family member responded with anger or words of denial.

Unfortunately, those types of responses are very typical of someone who has an addiction, and you might find yourself increasingly frustrated and worried. If this is how you feel, and if the presence of an addiction is evident in your family member, you may want to consider an intervention. Intervention services are available through many drug and alcohol rehab centers. 

They give you the opportunity to not only confront your loved one about the addiction and need for treatment, but they also give you a chance to identify some of the issues in your own life that might be enabling the addiction to continue. The best news of all is that many times, interventions result in the family member agreeing to get the help that's needed to recover.

There is a definite stigma that surrounds substance abuse issues for firefighters, and this stigma leads to a great number of them rejecting even the idea of getting help for an addiction. For them, the idea of asking for help results in an almost paralyzing fear that they are desperate to escape from. They're afraid that they will be looked upon as a failure if they admit that they have an addiction that they can't handle on their own. Quite often, they even feel as though they'd rather die than admit they have an addiction, and many times, they do.

Fire rescue workers are trained to maintain control at all times, and in situations when they feel as though they don't have control, they will strive to obtain it. When the idea of addiction comes about, their lack of knowledge about this disease leads them to recognize that they no longer have control. This is a completely foreign concept and one that they want to avoid at all costs.

Another issue that firemen and women often encounter is the fear of losing their jobs if they admit to having an addiction. For most people in this field, being a firefighter is more than just a position they fill; it actually makes up their identities. They fill their lives with firefighter memorabilia, they get T-shirts proclaiming their loyalty to their professions, and they even tattoo their bodies with fire rescue tattoos. Losing their jobs means losing most of who they are as a person, and that's a thought they simply cannot bear.

Perhaps you have a colleague who you know is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. You know that treatment is the right course of action, but you also know that your friend will be resistant to any type of change. It's important to know how to talk about the need for professional help. However, you should also be prepared for your words to fall upon deaf ears.

It may be necessary for you to bring your concerns to a supervisor, who will then help the situation by taking the proper steps to ensure that treatment is made available.

A firefighter who is found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol would be under the same legal conditions as a civilian. However, so much more is known today about the importance of getting drug and alcohol treatment when you have an addiction. That means that if you are honest about your need for help, you'll likely be given the chance to get it. There's no need to be afraid about losing your job if you're honest. In most cases, your supervisor will be understanding and provide you with the time and help you need to recover.

In most cases, the very first step that you'll take during your recovery is to get alcohol or drug detox treatment. Detoxification is such an important step because it addresses the physical side of your addiction. This is the part that generally causes most people to go back to using. They experience withdrawal symptoms, decide that they can't handle them, and start using again to get some relief from them. Detox will help you with that by relieving many of your most severe withdrawal symptoms and helping to shorten the duration of this part of your recovery.

There are a few different methods that are commonly used for drug or alcohol detox. If your drug of choice was prescription painkillers, you may be given tapering doses until you're ready to be taken off them safely. You may also be placed in a holistic detox program that will help your body rid itself of drugs or alcohol naturally.

Once you've gone through detox, you'll go to drug and alcohol treatment. This is the second phase of your recovery, and during this time, the psychological part of your addiction will be addressed. What you might not realize is that it is usually an underlying symptom that is causing you to turn to alcohol or drugs. This is the case for many people, and a lot of them have what is known as co-occurring disorders. Getting the appropriate treatment for these conditions – whether they are found to be anxiety, PTSD, depression, or something else entirely – is a vital part of your recovery. You'll find that it helps you so much to get to the root cause of your addiction so that you can experience the freedom that you so desperately need and want from your addiction.

While inpatient treatment is most often recommended for those who have addictions to drugs or alcohol, it's really important for you to opt for the right kind of rehab that will benefit you the most.

Choosing Northpoint Recovery for Help

Right now, the idea of getting help for your addiction might seem impossible to you. You might not be able to imagine being honest about your addiction struggles with your superiors, or even your fellow firefighters because doing so makes you feel weak. However, please be assured that you are not alone, and know that there are so many others who have also struggled with addictions in the past. The fact that you're battling a drug or alcohol addiction right now does not mean that you are different. It only means that the disease of addiction has taken over your life and you need to seek out treatment for it.

Here at Northpoint Recovery, we have seen so many different types of addicts walk through our doors. It might shock you to know that we've treated many people who work in the fire rescue field, so we're very familiar with the different types of stress that you face on a daily basis. Our goal is to provide you with the type of treatment you need to overcome your addiction so that you can get back to being the hero that everyone knows you are.

Are you an addicted firefighter who is in need of help to recover from a drug or alcohol addiction? If so, or if you're simply looking for additional information, please contact us here at Northpoint Recovery to learn how we can help you.

Workforce and Addiction

WorkForce

Construction Workers and Addiction

It may be surprising to some to know that construction workers and addiction often go hand in hand.

A person's job plays a major role in the lifestyle they choose. It has a tremendous influence in their behaviors off the job as well. For some careers, substance abuse and addiction are relatively common. Unfortunately, construction is one of those fields.

Drug addiction and alcoholism can affect anyone, at any time. Addiction is a disease that doesn't discriminate. There are many genetic, personal and environmental factors that can put certain people at a higher risk. Construction is a very demanding field, and it's one that lends itself to substance abuse vulnerability.

Quite often, construction workers will use drugs or alcohol and not really think much of it. They may assume that using is their reward for a hard day on the job. They may abuse alcohol on the weekends as a way to kick back and relax. In their minds, these behaviors are harmless. They don't realize how much damage they're really doing.

Perhaps you work in the construction field yourself. You may be battling an addiction. You may be participating in drug abuse or alcohol abuse, but feel that your behavior is justified. It's no secret that you work long and hard. You put your heart and soul into your work. Still, alcohol and drug abuse is only going to lead you down a dead end road.

Let's go over some of the specifics related to addiction and construction workers. This information may help you understand more about the dangers of substance abuse within this profession.

Many of the statistics surrounding addiction in the construction industry are surprising. This is considered to be a professional position. People generally don't think of professionals as being susceptible to alcoholism or addiction. Still, the numbers tell an entirely different story.

According to a study done by SAMHSA on addiction within various industries:

  • 16.5% of construction workers report heavy alcohol use within the last month.
  • This number has gone up from 15.6% between 2003 and 2007.
  • 11.6% of construction employees admit to having used illicit drugs within the last month.
  • This number has done down from 13.9% between 2003 and 2007. Still, it remains a problem.
  • 14.3% of construction workers state that they have been diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder.
  • This number has gone down from 17.3% between 2003 and 2007. This could possibly be because less construction workers are seeking treatment.
  • Based on these numbers the construction field ranks second among all industries for addictions.

Additional statistics tell us that:

  • Binge drinking is a big problem among construction workers.
  • 22% of them participate with binge drinking on a regular basis.
  • 12.8% of construction laborers use illegal drugs.
  • 17.2% of construction supervisors use illegal drugs.
  • 17.3% of other types of construction workers use illegal drugs.

Clearly, this is a much bigger problem than many people realize. If you're an addicted construction worker, you may feel as though you're all alone. You may know others - even at your construction site - who use drugs or alcohol. However, they appear to have it all together. Just because people appear to be able to handle substance abuse, that doesn't mean they are. 

There will often be functioning alcoholics or drug addicts on a work site. With a sense of brotherhood, it’s common practice to drink as a means of socializing. There are many accidents on the work site without being under the influence. Until someone does get into an accident or hurts other people, there will be cause for alarm. If someone is a high functioning alcoholic, they may be careful when it counts. This makes it hard to figure out if the person has a problem. 

The construction field is challenging. It's a job that has the potential to break down the body quickly. There are many different reasons why construction workers may view drug and alcohol use favorably.

Working Long Hours

Construction workers often have to work long hours. At times, their hours can even be irregular. This can lead to sleep disturbances. They also may not have much time to recover before their next shift begins. These long hours can lead them to look for something to help them cope. For many, substance abuse is the answer.

Physical Exertion and Pain

Construction is a very physically demanding job. Injuries are very common in this industry. Even those who don't get injured can end up with sore muscles that cause them a lot of pain. Not only that, but the physical exertion can cause fatigue quickly. This is especially true when they don't give their bodies enough time to recover. It's not surprising that so many construction workers struggle with addiction. For them, it can be a way to relieve their pain and discomfort.

High Stress Levels

Stress levels are very high for construction workers. They are constantly working hard to beat or at least meet their deadlines. This can cause them to make dangerous decisions on the job. Substances can help to relieve their stress, at least temporarily.

Increased Risk of Work Disability

So many construction workers are placed on disability each year because of injuries on the job. Whether their disability is short or long-term, it still creates a hardship for them. These workers may turn to substances as a way to cope with being out of work. Their income levels go down on disability, which creates a stress all its own.

Mental Illnesses

Mental illnesses are actually quite common among construction workers. The demands on them are so great, that it's really not surprising. So many of them struggle with issues like anxiety and depression. Consuming alcohol or using drugs can help with their symptoms, but it's only a temporary fix.

Sometimes construction workers will use substances on the job. They may bring drugs with them, or they may bring alcohol to drink on their lunch hours. Other times, they keep their substance abuse habits separate from work. They only use when they're at home, and not on the clock. Either way, there are some big risks these individuals take when they use drugs or alcohol.

Both their physical abilities and their mental abilities are affected. Their ability to perform well on the job is drastically impacted. In the construction field, these workers often use big and powerful tools to do their jobs.

The risks involved include:

  • The risk of having an accident at work
  • The risk of becoming seriously injured
  • The risk of making a mistake that ends up being fatal
  • The risk of making a poor decision that costs them their job
  • The risk of putting their co-workers' well-being and even their lives in danger

Even without substances entering the picture, construction is a dangerous field. Workers are constantly at risk of falling, getting electrocuted, or being struck by an object. When you add substance abuse into the equation, the job becomes even more dangerous.

Alcoholism and drug addiction have their risks for anyone. However, in the field of construction, these risks are incredibly amplified.

There are a few different substances that have been found to be very common for those in construction. Also, there are good reasons why these particular substances might be so attractive. They include:

Alcohol

Alcohol is probably the most common drug used among those in the construction industry. It's very easy to obtain, and it fairly easy to use, even during the workday. Many construction workers look forward to coming home after a long day and drinking. They may spend their weekends binge drinking. This is probably in an attempt to get their minds off their work.

Prescription Painkillers

It's not surprising that prescription painkillers make it to this list. Many construction workers become addicted to opiate drugs purely by accident. They experience pain and so, they go to the doctor. The doctor writes them a prescription for a narcotic drug to help control their pain. As time goes on, and they take this drug too long, an addiction forms. Before they know it, they're increasing how much of the drug they take. These inadvertent prescription drug addictions are extremely common in this field.

Marijuana

Marijuana has a relaxing quality to it. It's also quite easy to obtain in many states across the U.S. Some construction workers may get it legally to help with their pain. Others may obtain it in illegal ways, or because it's legal to use recreationally in their states. Marijuana is not thought by most to be physically addictive. However, it is extremely psychologically addictive. It can also create physical withdrawal symptoms when it is stopped. For a construction worker under the influence of marijuana, they are dangerous on the job.

Most employers in the U.S. are not required to drug test their employees. For this reason, drug tests are often not performed on construction sites. There really should be more employers that require them. It protects the construction company itself, and it also protects the workers from hurting themselves or someone else.

Consider the following statistics:

  • Drug abuse is reported to be a major factor in the workplace.
  • As many as 50% of worker's compensation claims include drug abuse.
  • 35% of the absences in the workplace are due to drug abuse.
  • 35% of fatal and non-fatal injuries involve drug abuse.
  • 40% of instances of theft are reported to involve drug abuse

Furthermore, for companies who require drug testing, there have been substantial improvements in these numbers. They have seen a 51% reduction in juries. They have also noticed an almost 12% reduction in worker's compensation claims.

There could be a number of reasons why more addicted construction workers don't opt for treatment. For many of them, it boils down to lack of knowledge about addiction. They may talk about drinking or using drugs with their co-workers and feel like it's normal. They may not realize the type of harm they could be doing to themselves.

It takes time to recover from an addiction; and even more so if you need inpatient care. This might be time that they're not willing to give up.

Some construction workers may also be concerned about losing their jobs. It's not easy to admit you have an addiction. It's even harder when you have to admit it to your boss. There is a risk of being fired, and even not being able to work in the field again. This is not a risk that many construction workers are willing to take.

You may be wondering if you are an addicted or alcoholic construction worker yourself. Maybe you've been thinking about your substance abuse patterns recently. Still, you're really not sure if what you're experiencing would qualify as an actual addiction.

You can look for some of the signs of addiction or signs of alcoholism in your own life. Have you noticed:

  • That you need to drink or use drugs at odd times during the day?
  • That you're constantly thinking about the next time you'll get to use?
  • That your drug abuse or alcohol abuse is affecting your relationships?
  • That your performance at work is suffering because of substance abuse?
  • That you have health problems related to drug or alcohol use?
  • That others are asking you to get alcohol treatment or drug treatment?
  • That you experience withdrawal symptoms when you're not using?
  • That you need to use higher amounts of substances now than you did before?

If you have noticed any of the above, consider that you might be an alcoholic or a drug addict. If you are, addiction recovery is the best option for you at this point.

As an addicted construction worker, you can come up with a lot of reasons why you don't need treatment. You may have spent years reasoning with yourself about your addiction. Maybe you've been stuck in denial. Whether you're an alcoholic or a drug addict, every time you use, you're putting yourself in danger.

The job you do is so important. Without construction workers, our country could not progress. You're responsible for building homes, erecting new businesses, and improving cities and towns. In order for you to do your job well, substance abuse cannot be a part of your life.

Northpoint Can Help

It's also possible that you didn't recognize that you even had an addiction until now. Either way, here at Northpoint Recovery, we want you to know that help is available for you. Our goal is to offer substance abuse treatment to anyone who needs it. Because you work in the field of construction, your addiction treatment needs are unique. Our targeted approach will meet you where you are. It will provide you with the type of treatment that speaks directly to your personal needs.

Would you like to learn more about drug rehab or alcohol rehab for construction workers? We'd enjoy the opportunity to talk with you about how we can help. Please contact us right away.

Addiction in the Restaurant Industry

It appears that addiction in the restaurant industry is on the rise. Most people wouldn't think of people who work in accommodations positions as being addicts. However, these jobs are among the most stressful ones in the country. When you consider the issues that are likely to lead to addiction, it begins to make sense.

Perhaps you are an addicted restaurant worker. You may have been struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction for years. For you, it has become a method that you use to cope. You may not have even seen what you're doing as being an actual addiction.

It is so important to call attention to the substance abuse problems of our country's hardest workers. They often go ignored, by both the general public, and by the addicts themselves. If you have an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you need to get as much information as you can.

Substance Abuse in the Accommodations Industry

It can be so helpful to learn more about how addiction has affected the field you work in. You'll find that there are so many others who are just like you. Addiction can be a lonely place. It's important for you to know that you're not alone. There are reasons why you are so susceptible to turning to substances for comfort and as coping mechanisms. Still, just because you have an addiction, that doesn't mean your life has to remain this way.

Let's take a few moments and talk about how substance abuse has affected the accommodations industry.

Food and Beverage Industry Substance Abuse Facts and Statistics

You may be surprised to find out how prominent addiction is in the food and beverage industry. Addicts tend to think that they're all alone; that they're the only one suffering. This couldn't be further from the truth.

According to SAMHSA:

  • 11.8% of food service workers report heavy alcohol use during the last month.
  • 19.1% of food industry workers report that they have used illicit drugs at some point during the last month.
  • Close to 17% of accommodations industry staff say that they have been diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder.
  • Regular alcohol use among those in the food and beverage industry has gone down. However, illicit drug use has risen from 16.9% to 19.1%.
  • The number of food service workers being diagnosed with SUD has decreased.
  • However, this could mean that there are less of them seeking treatment.

Do you find these statistics surprising? If you work in the food industry, you may not have been aware that substance abuse was so prevalent. There are so many people who battle addictions. Many of them don't realize that there is help available to them. As a result, they may struggle for most of their adult lives.

There are actually several different types of substances that people working in the food and beverage industry find appealing. For this reason, it's hard to say that these workers tend to lean toward one, in particular.

Food industry employees use a number of substances for various reasons. The most popular drugs of choice include the following:

Stimulants

Food service positions often require long hours spent on your feet. They require quick decisions and excellent attention to detail. For many food service workers, their jobs are incredibly stressful. They may not get much sleep at night, or they may work more than one job. This makes stimulants seem like an obvious choice if they're going to abuse drugs.

Alcohol

Alcohol seems like another obvious choice for a substance of abuse for those in food service. Today, most restaurants serve alcohol. For this reason, it's readily available to staff members at all times. It's not unusual for food service workers to steal alcohol, or to even use while they're working. Bartenders are known for drinking while they're on the clock, at times. For them, it seems as though a logical option if they're looking to a type of substance. Many restaurants, resorts, or clubs will offer their staff 50% off on food and beverage. This gets them to spend their money where they make it. It also fills up the room, making it more appealing for people to come into the establishment. Workers in the food and beverage industry are supposed to know their drinks so they can sell them. It becomes accepted and almost insisted upon that if you’re serving drinks, you should also drink yourself.

Marijuana

Marijuana is very popular among food service workers. In many states, marijuana is legal to purchase and use recreationally. This can make it much more attractive to those in the food industry. It helps to calm the nerves after a busy dinner rush and eases the pain that comes from running around on your feet all shift. There are also many states where marijuana is available by prescription. For workers who suffer from chronic pain because of their jobs, smoking pot seems like a good solution.

Cocaine

Cocaine also makes the list for most used substances by restaurant or bar employees. Cocaine is a stimulant, and it can help them stay awake through long shifts. It also helps you focus and not skip a beat. It often doesn't take much for food industry workers to find out where to get this drug. Once they use it even one time, it can quickly turn into an addiction.

Painkillers

Food service workers frequently suffer from injuries. They are on their feet all day long. This puts a strain on their backs, their legs and their feet. Many of them suffer from migraine headaches, or other types of pain. Many food and beverage industry employees visit the doctor to get pain medication. Their medication helps them to experience less pain, and get through their shifts. Unfortunately, opiate drugs are frequently prescribed for them, and these drugs are addictive. Many in the food industry become addicted to opiates accidentally. Once they're addicted, it's extremely hard to stop using.

Interestingly enough, restaurant workers rarely turn to heroin or sedatives. This is surprising because of the long hours and lack of sleep. It's also surprising because many pain medication addicts turn to heroin eventually.

Addictions in the food service industry can quickly spread. Employees will share their drugs with others, or they will influence them to use as well.

There are many different reasons why the food service field is so ripe for addiction. These workers are subjected to many different troubling circumstances. Because of this, using drugs or alcohol may seem like a good solution for them. Some of the reasons why addictions are so common in this field include:

  • Because of the high stress environment: The restaurant field is an incredibly high stress field. The staff are constantly on the go, with very little time to sit down and rest. If they are short staffed for a shift, one person can end up working the entire time with no break. It is so hard to be moving all the time, without any time to decompress.
  • Because of high turnover rates: Turnover rates are extremely high in restaurants. Most of the positions they fill are entry level positions. This means that the people are generally paid minimum wage. They will all eventually move on to other careers. Students working in restaurants will graduate and move on. It is very easy for an addict to get a job working in a restaurant.
  • Because of access to substances: Substances of all kinds are so easy to access in the restaurant environment. In most cases, alcohol is available at all times. Workers will bring in drugs to share with their co-workers. In some restaurants, substance abuse is even cultivated as a just a general part of the atmosphere.
  • Because of lack of sleep: Food and beverage industry employees often work long, hard shifts. To make matters worse, one job often isn't enough for them to care for their families. They will frequently take on a second job, which can make them even more sleep deprived. Their lack of sleep can lead them to choose stimulants or other drugs to cope.
  • Because of peer pressure: In many restaurants, the staff are much like students in high school who pressure each other to use. It is almost like a family, and people tend to follow each other in what they do. Peer pressure can cause anyone to give in and use alcohol or drugs.

There are many restaurants that do make it very easy for their staff members to use. Drug abuse and alcohol abuse are prevalent in restaurants, for a number of reasons.

Because of the low level of pay, most restaurant owners don't require their employees to submit to drug tests. This tends to attract addicts because they know that they'll still be able to use and keep their jobs.

Also, it is becoming very common for restaurants to offer employees alcohol for free after their shifts. This occurs far more than most people realize. The restaurant owners most likely see it as a way to treat their employees well. For someone who is an alcoholic, it only fuels the flame of their addiction.

There is little to no education provided for food service workers by their employers. This is something that really needs to change. The industry itself clearly has a problem with substance abuse and addiction. More needs to be done to make workers aware of the dangers of drugs and alcohol. If simple education was implemented in many restaurants, there may be a decrease in a lot of the above statistics.

It helps to take a look at some common signs of addiction. Do any of these seem to fit you?

  • Arranging your entire life around when you'll be able to drink or use drugs
  • Spending a great deal of time with those who also use drugs or drink alcohol
  • Having legal problems that are related to your substance abuse
  • Experiencing trouble at your job because of being high or drunk
  • Having medical problems that are tied to substance abuse
  • Always looking forward to the next time you'll get to use
  • Feeling the need to use drugs or drink as soon as you wake up
  • Feeling anxious if you run out of alcohol or drugs

Can you identify with any of the above signs of addiction? If you do, you may be an alcoholic or a drug addict. It's important for you to be able to recognize this. It will help you understand what type of help you need to recover.

Restaurant workers frequently find themselves either battling alcoholism or drug addiction. However, there are so many reasons why they fail to get the treatment they need. Some of these reasons include:

  • Not being aware of the type of treatment they need. Again, there is a definite lack of education about addiction in the accommodations field. These workers are often not aware of the severity of their problems with substances.
  • Being afraid of losing their jobs. Many restaurant workers admit that they are worried they'll get fired if they admit to using. This can paralyze them, and cause them to fail to get the help they need. This is very unfortunate because professional help is exactly what they need to recover.
  • Being afraid of losing friends at work. Restaurant employees will often continue using to keep up appearances. Remember, these environments are very much like a family. People often do the things others are doing to fit in.
  • Not wanting to take time off from work. Although food service is a low paying industry, people need their paychecks. Having to go to substance abuse treatment means taking time off from work. This isn't something that many workers are willing to do.
  • Believing that they can't afford treatment. So many food service workers are unaware of how the Affordable Care Act has changed healthcare. They may have insurance, but not know that it covers drug treatment or alcohol treatment.

If you work in the accommodations industry and you have an addiction, you can get help. Addiction therapy can assist you in more ways than you realize. Drug rehab or alcohol rehab offers you so many benefits for your recovery. You'll find that you be able to:

  • Spend some time on your own truly focusing on your recovery goals.
  • Be removed from toxic environments that are only contributing to your addiction.
  • Meet with a therapist regularly to talk about your drug addiction or alcoholism.
  • Work on finding out the reasons behind your addiction. This way, you can heal more fully.
  • Meet and work with others who are also battling addictions of their own.
  • Learn how to live your life without being dependent on alcohol or drugs.

Going to alcohol treatment or drug treatment is a true investment in your future. It will only make you a more valuable worker in the long run.

Addiction Therapy is Needed to Recover

As an addicted restaurant worker, you may have felt stuck in your addiction for a long time. You may have thought that there was no way out for you. You look to drugs or alcohol as a means to find comfort. They offer you a way to relax after a long day of being on your feet. They help you de-stress, and some days, they may be all you feel you can look forward to. The problem is that substances are not a long-term solution to any problem. They always do so much harm, and absolutely no good.

Maybe you've been in a position where you've known you needed to get treatment for your addiction. You've known you needed alcohol rehab or drug rehab, but weren't sure where to begin.

You do have options to recover, and this isn't something that you should take on by yourself. Substance abuse therapy can change your life for the better.

At Northpoint Recovery, it has been a pleasure for us to work with so many restaurant workers. We know the stress and the pressure you undergo on a daily basis. We know how difficult your job is, and we know it offers few rewards. Still, we're confident that we can provide you with hope for your recovery.

Would you like to know more about alcohol rehab and drug rehab for food service industry workers? If you would, we'd love to talk with you. Please contact us.

Addiction Within Mining Professions

This should come as no surprise to most people. Mining is a very demanding job that puts workers' lives at risk every single day. It makes sense that many miners would turn to substances as a way to cope. Still, this doesn’t mean that miners have an excuse for becoming addicted to substances. Regardless of what job is being done, these individuals are working with heavy machinery. Every decision could mean the difference between life and death. For minors who participate in substance abuse, they are putting their lives on the line.

The problem is that many miners don't realize that they're engaging in risky behavior. They may be aware that substance abuse is dangerous. However, for them, the positives they experience frequently outweigh the negatives.

This might be a situation you're currently facing right now. You may be a miner who uses drugs or alcohol. However, you look at it as something you do to unwind.

Maybe drinking alcohol at the end of a long, hot day has become a reward to you. It's possible that you use drugs as a way to deal with the anguish and stress of your job. Regardless of your reasons, doing so is still very dangerous. It's important to learn as much as you can about addiction in the mining industry. This is especially true if you are currently abusing drugs or alcohol. Let's take a few moments and discuss the details of substance abuse and mining. There are probably more miners who share your situation than you might think.

There are certain fields in which addiction and substance abuse are prevalent. It may surprise you to find out that mining is one of those fields. In fact, it's actually one of the fields that ranks the highest.

According to SAHMSA, and a survey that was completed in 2012:

  • 17.5% of miners participated in heavy alcohol use during the course of the last month.
  • This statistic was the highest of all the professions who were studied.
  • 5% of miners reported having used illicit drugs at some point during the last month.
  • 11.8% of miners admitted to being diagnosed with a substance use disorder during the last year.
  • The number of miners who drank heavily has gone up in recent years, from 16.2% between 2004 and 2007.
  • The number of miners participating in illegal drug use has decreased.
  • The number of those in the mining profession with substance use disorders has also decreased.
  • This could be due to the fact that many of them fail to seek addiction treatment and/or a diagnosis.

Clearly, substance abuse is a problem in the mining field. However, it's also clear that little is being done to reduce the number of addicts too.

Are You an Addicted Mine Worker?

It's possible that you are a miner who drinks alcohol excessively, or uses drugs. It's also possible that substance abuse is very common among the people you work with. In your mind, you may use this fact as a way to justify your substance abuse. Drinking or using drugs may seem to be a good solution for the issues you're facing in your job. You may be using it as a way to cope, or even just to make it through the day.

The fact is that your addiction is dangerous. It's important to learn why.

According to SAMHSA's findings, there are certain substances that miners prefer over others. There are certain drugs that lend themselves to becoming better suited for those in this profession.

Miners are much more likely to use:

Alcohol

There are probably a number of reasons why alcohol is at the top of this list. Alcohol is easy to obtain as long as you're old enough. It's also a much more socially acceptable drug than others. These two facts alone make it one of the more dangerous substances on the market. Miners who are alcoholics probably don't realize they're alcoholics. They may not see any harm in having a drink at the end of a long, grueling day. They may even bring alcohol to work with them to use on the job.

Prescription Drugs

Whether miners are mining for natural resources, or they're mining for coal, it is a demanding job. It's a job that often results in injuries or sore muscles. For this reason, miners often have to take prescription painkillers to help them cope. They feel they need these drugs in order to keep working. A concerned physician will readily prescribe narcotics to miners to help them get through their shifts. Unfortunately, while opiate drugs are effective, they are also highly addictive. Many miners will become addicted to drugs like Vicodin and Oxycodone without knowing it. They may not even believe that addiction to these drugs is possible. They assume that they're safe because they came from a doctor.

Crystal Meth

Crystal meth is a known stimulant. It seems as though it might be an unlikely choice for miners. However, in some parts of the world, it has become the drug of choice. Crystal meth works by giving the user an intense rush of euphoria when it is used. In one study that was done in Australia, 38% of their mineworkers are using it regularly. This is a drug that management should keep a close eye on. Use of it is likely to escalate quickly because it is so addictive. Crystal meth can also be viewed as a drug that might help mineworkers cope with the issues they face.

Nyaope (Heroin and Methamphetamine)

New drugs are showing up on the street all the time. One of these newer drugs is called Nyaope. It is a mix of heroin, rat poison, prescription drugs and methamphetamines. It is becoming increasingly popular among those who work in the mining field. This particular recreational drug is relatively inexpensive. Some even say that it's more affordable than alcohol. This could be why so many miners are opting to use it.

Perhaps you frequently use drugs or alcohol, either on the job or off the job. You've never really thought it was a problem for you. However, now you have to admit that you're concerned. You're wondering if you may be doing some serious damage to your mind and body. It's important for you to learn the truth about your own substance abuse problem. This can be done in a few different ways.

Take a look at the list of addiction symptoms below. Do any of the fit you?

  • Going through withdrawal when you've gone too long without using.
  • Occasionally needing to increase how much you take or drink to get the same effects.
  • Being told by loved ones that you need addiction treatment.
  • Noticing that your substance abuse is starting to impact you on the job.
  • Having relationship problems that are tied to your alcohol or drug use.
  • Feeling that using drugs or alcohol is more important to you than anything else.
  • Missing time at work because of recovering from binge drinking or heavy drug use.
  • Feeling as though you need to use as soon as you wake up in the morning.
  • Becoming isolated from loved ones because you would rather use substances.

If any of these indicators of addiction apply to you, you may be an addict or an alcoholic.

Alcoholism and drug addiction is so dangerous for those who work as mineworkers. Without realizing it, they are putting lives at risk every single day that they use. Addicts and alcoholics often think that the only individuals that are affected are themselves. What they don't realize is that their addictions reach much further than that.

Some of the dangers associated with addiction for miners include:

  • Putting themselves at risk when they use heavy machinery under the influence.
  • The risk of losing their jobs if they are found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Making poor decisions that can result in accidents or injuries.
  • The risk of harming their co-workers because of the inability to focus on their jobs.
  • The risk of damaging expensive machinery and jeopardizing the safety of the worksite.

Of course, there are many other dangers involved when miners are addicted to drugs and alcohol as well. The mining profession is one that involves great attention to detail and utmost focus. When these are not able to be applied to the job, there are usually serious issues. Far too many miners end up seriously injured, or even losing their lives because of substance abuse.

There are several reasons why miners may turn to alcohol or drugs. Every situation is different, but in general, they may:

Have Physical Pain or Poor Health

Mining requires you to do something over and over. You may be lifting heavy equipment all day. The hours are extremely long when you’re in a camp setting. You have to eat the food that’s available which doesn’t always include healthy options. 

Suffer from a Mental Illness

Some miners suffer from mental illness. They are away from home so there’s nobody to monitor the illness they have. Some mental illnesses come with careless behaviors such as not taking their medications. If they do take their drugs, they may abuse them.

Have Extreme Amounts of Stress

Miners are away from their families for long periods of time. This can be challenging and cause problems in the family dynamic. The environment a miner works in are often very isolated and they may become lonely with nobody to turn to.

Be Extremely Fatigued

The long hours can cause fatigue. Miners will start work early in the morning and if they didn’t get the sleep they needed the day before, they may use stimulants to get through the day. The work is physically demanding and requires a lot of energy.

There are several reasons why miners might not want to go to addiction treatment. These barriers to treatment include:

  • Not knowing enough about their conditions to realize a need for treatment.
  • Not wanting to admit to their bosses that they have an addiction. They may be afraid of losing their jobs.
  • Not wanting to stop using alongside other co-workers who use substances.
  • Not knowing of any other way to cope with their health or mental health issues.
  • Feeling afraid of how to get through a shift if they're not using.

Rehab Offers Hope

Here at Northpoint Recovery, you may feel as though you have your substance abuse under control. However, now your feelings might be changing. Perhaps you've recognized many of the signs of addictions within yourself. You want to change your life, but you're not sure where to turn. We want to help you make that happen.

Even if you have lived most of your adult life in denial about your addiction, you can recover. We understand the demands of your job. We know you work hard, and we want to assist you any way that we can.

Would you like to learn more about drug rehab or alcohol rehab for miners? We'd like to talk with you and answer any of your questions. Please contact us today to get help.

Addiction Myths or Stigmas to be Aware of

There are so many myths surrounding professionals and addiction, and this is why it's a topic many people don't really discuss. It's important to debunk these myths, and even more so if you are a professional in need of treatment.

Myth #1: Professionals know the dangers of drugs and alcohol, so they are much more likely to avoid using them.

While it might seem as though professionals would be much more immune to addiction than others, the opposite is actually true. Those in high-level positions will often believe that they have control over their use of substances, and so, they may be more willing to use them. Also, doctors, nurses, and others in the medical field usually have unrestricted access to pain medications that can become addictive if they are abused. Sometimes, professionals are tempted to use drugs to find out if they can increase their productivity on the job, as well.

Myth #2: You can easily tell a professional who is addicted because they're not as productive as they once were.

Many addicts are very good at keeping their addictive behaviors a secret. In the beginning of their drug or alcohol use, they may become more focused and even seem to be more productive on the job. As a matter of fact, in the beginning of the addiction, workaholism is a sign that a substance abuse problem may be present. As time goes on, the symptoms of their addictions may start to show through, but even then, it's fairly simple to do research on how to mask the signs of addiction.

Myth #3: Prescription drugs are much safer for professionals to be addicted to than illegal drugs or alcohol.

This could not be further from the truth. In fact, it's possible that prescription drugs are among the most dangerous of addictions because of the perception of safety regarding them. No matter what the addiction is, using any type of legal substance in excess, and using any type of illegal substance is extremely dangerous. The repercussions for using prescription drugs long-term are just as hazardous as using alcohol or illegal drugs. For these reasons, prescription drugs should never be considered safer.

Myth #4: Professionals should have an easier time recovering from their addictions because they have more knowledge, and oftentimes, more willpower.

When it comes to having an addiction, it is no easier for a professional to recover. Our bodies may be different, and we may all respond to addiction in our own ways, but once an addiction occurs, recovery is going to be very difficult. It takes more than willpower to overcome an addiction, and it always requires the help of a qualified addiction treatment center, or another type of drug or alcohol treatment.

Myth #5: Professionals should be able to stop using on their own because they're likely to be in much better health than those who aren't professionals.

Stopping the use of drugs or alcohol on your own is never recommended because of the medical complications that can occur by doing so. It's not necessary to have a prior medical history to experience some of the side effects that might occur when substances are stopped abruptly, outside of professional supervision. The following are all withdrawal symptoms that can be problematic:

  • Depression that can lead to suicidal ideation
  • Risk of heart problems
  • Risk of a stroke
  • Risk of a coma
  • Poor appetite, which can lead to extreme weight loss

Addicted Professionals and Their Personal Lives

There are varying factors related to addiction. Sometimes, addiction stems from the kind of job you do. There’s a lot of stress involved or the job take a toll on your family life. A study took information from the US Consensus to determine what jobs lead to the most divorce. The highest risk careers included:

  • Bartenders
  • Flight attendants 
  • Switchboard operators
  • Telemarketers
  • Factory workers
  • Phone operators
  • Massage therapists
  • Nurses
  • Corrections officers
  • Ambulance Drivers
  • Mechanics

They are all different careers that come with their stresses, disappointments, and problems. They put a toll on the worker and can cause problems with loved ones. If your job was part of the reason you began abusing substances, it’s likely going to be worse if or when your family life falls apart. Your job may have attributed to your drinking or use of drugs but you can turn it around. As a family member, you might be the only hope for an addicted loved one. If they are a high-functioning alcoholic or drug addict, they aren’t going to get help. It may be up to you. 

Addiction Rehab Recovery Process

For professionals with addiction, the hardest part may be to admit they need help. If you are a family member and suspect someone has a problem with drugs or alcohol, an intervention may be necessary. Otherwise, professionals with an addiction will receive similar treatment to anyone with an addiction. With a high quality program, there will be an assessment that will determine what kind of therapy the individual needs.

First though, detox is necessary. This is the process of getting the substance out of the body. Professional detox is recommended as there are withdrawal symptoms that are often hard to manage when detoxing. This step will take up to a week and from there, you will move onto psychological reasons for your addiction. 

Therapy will help you work through why you became addicted to drugs or alcohol. Maybe you were genetically predisposed for addiction. Perhaps it is your work environment or emotional problems. Through the process of therapy, you’ll begin to understand how you came to be addicted. 

There are also activities you’ll take part in. You’ll be encouraged to eat healthy and take part in exercising, art therapy, and group therapy sessions. 

There is inpatient rehab that requires you to stay in a residential setting. It’s an intensive program that many can benefit from. If, as a working professional, you need to continue working, there are outpatient programs also. You can attend treatments at your convenience but they may not give you the support you need. 

Once rehab is complete, you can go to 12-step meetings in your area. There are many different meetings available such as AA, NA, and Smart Step Recovery. Your family can also gain support through groups like Al-Anon, Alateen, and Nar-Anon.

Finding the Help You Need for Addiction Recovery for Professionals

If you're a professional who has an addiction, it's so important for you to get the help you need to recover. There could be a number of reasons why you're struggling with addiction, which means there are probably underlying issues that need to be addressed at the core. Quite often, people suffer from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, and these conditions often go undiagnosed or ignored because they're being self-medicated away.

At Northpoint Recovery, we provide holistic addiction treatment that will address any co-occurring disorders you may be suffering from. Our goal is to treat you as an individual, which is why all of our patients receive personalized treatment plans upon admission. We want to help you reach your recovery goals, and we have an excellent track record of helping other professionals do the same.

We offer a 28-day program that allows you to go through all the essential stages of addiction recovery. We accept many different health insurance plans, making it more affordable to get high quality treatment. Our inpatient rehab program will begin with detox. You’ll have 24/7 care as you physically rid the body of the substance. From there, we begin treatments that will be determined from the assessment we give you. Your program is designed just for you and includes education, therapy, and activities. You’ll learn about addiction and your relationship to it. We give you tools that will give you power over your addiction. You don’t need to do this alone. There is a supportive, professional, and knowledgeable team that will help you throughout your recovery. 


If you would like to learn more about Northpoint Recovery and our options for drug and alcohol rehab programs for addicted professionals, please contact us today.