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Is There a Link Between Joblessness and Addiction?

sad man sitting on bed at home holding a glass of liquor - joblessness and addiction

Does joblessness cause addiction? Does addiction cause joblessness? There’s no question that the two are linked together and often create a vicious cycle that is difficult to escape. Numerous studies, such as the one published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), show a direct correlation between joblessness and addiction.

How Joblessness Creates Addiction

When a person loses their job, they lose their sense of stability and self-worth. They feel a sense of rejection, and they worry about how they are going to pay their bills and take care of their family. Anxiety and stress build as they struggle with bouts of fear and depression. All of these states of mind are high-risk factors for the potential development of drug or alcohol overuse. While using drugs or alcohol can temporarily lessen feelings of hopelessness and despair, it can eventually lead to substance abuse or addiction.

How Addiction Creates Joblessness

When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they struggle with their disease every day. They might find it hard to get up in the morning to go to work. They may frequently arrive late for their job or call in sick. As their disease progresses,they have difficulty fulfilling their workplace responsibilities. As their cognitive and physical functions decline, they may make serious mistakes or perform so poorly that their employer has little choice but to fire them.

Unemployed are at a Greater Risk of Addiction

Statistics show that people who are unemployed are at a greater risk of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol. An article in CNN Money, based on a 2011 report by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, shows that one in six unemployed workers has an addiction to drugs or alcohol. That is almost two times the rate of those employed full-time. The results of the survey showed that nine percent of full-time workers had an alcohol or drug addiction compared to seventeen percent of those who were unemployed.

According to the same National Survey, the number of full-time employees who reported using illegal drugs was 8 percent. For those working part-time, the number was 10 percent, and it rose to 18 percent for those people who were unemployed.

Here are several additional important statistics regarding joblessness and addiction:

  • People who are unemployed are 87 percent more likely to engage in the heavy use of alcohol and are 29 percent more likely to become dependent on alcohol.
  • People who are unemployed are 65 percent more likely to use illicit drugs and 57 percent more likely to become addicted to them.
  • In any given county, if the unemployment rate increased one percent, visits to the emergency room increased by seven percent and the death rate from opioids increased 3.6 percent as reported by the Atlantic.

Recognize the Early Signs of Substance Use Disorder

It is important to be aware of the early warning signs of substance abuse in order to get help early. Drug and alcohol abuse often leads to relationship, financial, or legal problems. For example, someone may be arrested for driving while intoxicated or acting disorderly in public. They may steal money to support their habit or steal prescription medications from family or friends. Responsibilities at home, work, or school are often neglected. There may be unexplained absences from work or school. They may withdraw from their family and friends and lose interest in things they once enjoyed. Personal hygiene may be neglected. Several other early warning signs include:

  • Mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and depression
  • Using alcohol or drugs on a regular basis to deal with problems, sleep, relax, improve their mood, or just to feel normal
  • Experiencing blackouts when drinking
  • Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Frequent headaches, upset stomach, vomiting

If You Need Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, help is available. At Canyon Vista Recovery Center located in Mesa, Arizona, you will find the help you need to live a clean and sober life. Our skilled professional staff will work with you using a combination of evidence-based addiction treatments, psychiatric care, and holistic therapies to provide you with what you need for success. Give them a call and begin your journey down the road to recovery.

Looking for Mesa AZ alcohol treatment? Learn more about programs offered at Canyon Vista Recovery Center.
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