Construction Workers and Addiction

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

Are Construction Workers More Prone to Addiction?

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.

Construction Workers and Addiction

Why Do Those Who Work in Construction Use Alcohol or Drugs?

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.

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Construction and Addiction Facts and Statistics to Consider

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.

The Hidden Nature of Addiction in the Construction Field

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.

Why do Construction Workers Participate in Substance Abuse?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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What are the Risks Involved with Drug and Alcohol Abuse for Construction Workers?

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.

When a construction worker is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there are consequences.

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 Dangers Involved with Addicted Construction Employees

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.

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What Types of Substances are Commonly Abused by Those in the Construction Field?

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 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.

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 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.

Should Drug Testing be Implemented for People Who Work in Construction?

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.

Why Aren't More Addicted Construction Workers Going to Alcohol Rehab or Drug Rehab?

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.

For those who do recognize that they have serious problems, taking time off from work may stand in their way.

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.

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Are You an Addicted or Alcoholic Construction Worker? Look for These Signs of Addiction

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.

Take an Addiction Quiz to Find Out if You Need Substance Abuse Treatment

It's very important for you to understand your own relationship with the substances you use. One way you can do this is by taking an addiction quiz. This quiz will ask you some difficult questions, but it's important to answer them honestly.

The Benefits of Drug Treatment and Alcohol Treatment for Construction Employees

Going to alcohol rehab or drug rehab offers you so many benefits as a construction worker. You'll find that it allows you to:

  • Take the time you need away from your job to focus on recovery
  • Get help for any co-occurring disorders you may be suffering from. These are conditions that can contribute to addictions.
  • Meet new people who are also working on recovering from addiction or alcoholism.
  • Learn how to live your life without being dependent on substances.
  • Improve your overall physical health.
  • Take the necessary steps to keep yourself safe on the job.

You may be nervous about going to addiction treatment. Many construction workers are. However, recent trends show that employers are very understanding about addiction. It benefits them in the long run for you to get the help you need. Your employer would probably appreciate the fact that you recognize a need for help.

Addiction Treatment for Construction Workers Can Aid in Recovery

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.

It's possible that you've spent the last few months or even years of your life feeling trapped. Maybe you've wanted to recover from your addiction, but you just didn't know how to do it.

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.

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