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Substance Abuse and Unemployment: Beyond Statistics

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Substance abuse and unemployment have long been associated with each other, but how accurate is this connection? The National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2012 found that 17 percent of unemployed people had a substance abuse disorder, compared to 9 percent of full-time workers. What do these statistics tell us and what can we do?

The Link Between Substance Abuse and Unemployment

The question at stake is a classic one: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? In other words, do people wind up unemployed because of their substance abuse, or does unemployment eventually lead to substance abuse?

Although conclusive evidence is yet to be discovered, research suggests that it’s actually the state of unemployment that can prompt substance abuse.

The evidence supporting this theory comes from trends showing that during the recession, the rate of drug use among the unemployed basically stayed the same. This suggests that as people lost their jobs, they also developed substance abuse problems. Otherwise, the addition of sober workers to the unemployed would actually reduce the rate of drug use among the demographic.

Digging Deeper

The connection between substance abuse and unemployment does exist, but it does contribute to stigma. It’s not just the unemployed who suffer from drug abuse. The government survey also showed that half of the 21 million US adults with a substance dependency held full-time jobs. The truth is that substance abuse can affect anyone, regardless of employment status.

Many people attempt to juggle their responsibilities, such as work and family, with substance abuse. This behavior isn’t sustainable and can take a serious toll on everyone involved. Not only can substance abuse exacerbate the issue of a lost job or health problems, but it can also damage family dynamics. The good news? Treatment works.

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While the statistics derived from these surveys are interesting and tell us a little bit about our society, we need to dig deeper. By focusing on getting treatment to those who need it, we can start to see changes in those numbers. Many people who struggle with drug or alcohol abuse do not seek treatment, even though it could help them. If we can raise awareness and understanding about addiction and recovery, we can improve our chances of giving everyone the help they need.

Treatment for substance abuse works differently for each individual, but therapy usually plays a major part. Through treatment in a safe, comfortable facility, recovery becomes possible. Through recovery, your odds of success – both personal and professional – can start improving as well.

If you or someone you love is having problems with alcohol abuse, chemical dependency or addiction, recovery from a drug abuse program, like the one at Destination Hope, may be the answer.  Remember that recovery from addiction and alcohol abuse treatment means learning how to cope with intensely emotional situations, and identifying when you need help and support.  Treatment for addiction relapse, counseling, and aftercare can help you do this, so please call us today. Destination Hope is a full-service addiction and health treatment facility in Florida for men and women who suffer from substance abuse and behavioral health issues.

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