Addiction can affect anyone, no matter age, race, occupation, or gender. Certain circumstances can make it all the more difficult to avoid. Many government workers face mass amounts of stress and trauma nearly every day, and that amount of stress can lead to individuals turning to substance abuse to help them cope.
Government workers have certain expectations of them, and getting help can be all the more difficult. The idea that these people should be able to handle their everyday struggles differently from everyone else can make getting help a challenge.
Even in positions where it might be harder to use drugs, because of things like random drug tests – that’s simply not enough to prevent addiction. Instead, alcohol addiction would appear to be more prevalent.
Where to turn
Due to the negative stigma around substance abuse, looking for help among peers or loved ones can be very difficult. As a government worker, raising your struggles as a concern or as a cry for help could put your position on the line – especially as a police officer or someone in the healthcare sector.
Even if you don’t directly conform to someone you work with, it would be normal to worry that your employer or colleagues could find out. For reasons like this, a lot of drug rehabs and addiction treatment centers keep their patients’ activities confidential. Overcoming addiction can be very stressful and challenging, so these centers work to protect patients, helping them overcome their addictions without making it public knowledge.
There are programs, like the partial hospitalization program, that lets patients keep up their daily lives while attending during the agreed hours. This way, you can keep going to work or seeing friends without having to make excuses or an alibi during your treatment.
If treatment is not something you can afford, there are many laws put into place that require your employer to help you. While you may not want to disclose the details to others, it can be handled at your discretion to make sure you get the help you need. The FMLA is there for this specific circumstance, but it will only protect employees who have been with the company for at least 1 year.
It’s not just a loss of employment that prevents people from speaking about it, but the judgment that may come with it. People may start to see them differently, or they may treat you differently because they don’t understand how it came to be in the first place.
The reason that many turn to substance abuse is that it can help to cope with the difficulties of everyday life. When it seems like there’s nothing else that makes life easier, it can be all too easy to become dependent on these substances. Addiction doesn’t make anyone worth less than they are, nor should it be a reason for judgment. As mentioned before, addiction doesn’t discriminate against race, age, gender, or occupation.
So, what can someone do when their only source of income is causing this overwhelming amount of negativity? Simply avoiding substances and shutting it all away isn’t going to help you either.
Instead, seeking therapy before the substance abuse starts can help to reduce the risk of addiction. Having someone you trust that you can talk to about things, and process them in a healthy manner is highly important, especially working with particularly stressful conditions.
Putting yourself first
Whether you’re already struggling with substance abuse, or considering using substances as a coping mechanism, you should learn to start putting your health first. Is work causing most of the stress? Your life at home? You need to get to work on what it is that’s causing your stress.
If you’re going to overcome addiction, alone or with a drug or alcohol rehab, your lifestyle is something that you will absolutely have to change.
Most drug rehabs will have a therapist for you to work with where they will try a number of different strategies with you. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) are both talking therapists that give patients a way around their issues.
It can help you identify what is causing you to need the substance, as well as how to better avoid it, or change how you react when you’re feeling that way. It’s non-invasive and can be used to better defuse the stressors that you’re experiencing every day. The treatment your therapist chooses will depend on the patient.