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Unemployment and Substance Abuse

a newly unemployed person struggles with substance abuse

Substance misuse and abuse can be problematic for several reasons. It usually doesn’t just end with someone’s body developing a physical dependence on a substance. Substance abuse is generally intertwined with several of a person’s life, from their physical health to their employment status.

If you or a loved one are in need of a substance abuse treatment program, reach out to us today at 888.655.0289.

The Relationship Between Drug Abuse and Unemployment

On several occasions, researchers have studied the correlation between drugs and unemployment. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2005-2011, people who worked more hours in a week were less likely to engage in substance use. For example, only 8% of full-time workers used illegal drugs in the last month compared to 10% of part-time workers and 18% of people unemployed.1 Other studies have found a similar relationship between unemployment and substance abuse as well. In particular, alcohol, drug use, and unemployment seem to be strongly correlated among young adults. In one study on this population, researchers found that unemployment was associated with heavy episodic drinking and cigarette use.

Why Unemployment and Addiction Are Connected

The reasons for the relationship between unemployment and substance abuse may be multi-faceted. Although an immediate impact of unemployment is a lack of income, unemployment can lead to more than just financial instability. For some people, losing their job can be the start of a slippery slope that may eventually lead to addiction. The reason for this slippery slope may involve declining mental health as the unemployed individual is unable to find another job. In fact, there are believed to be several negative mental health effects of unemployment.

Consequently, some people may struggle to cope with these symptoms constructively and may turn to drugs or alcohol. Over time, this coping behavior becomes habitual until they become dependent on these substances, and addiction develops. In many cases, these people need formal co-occurring disorder treatment to get help for both conditions. In other cases, addiction and job loss may work in the other direction. Those struggling with substance abuse will often prioritize drugs or alcohol over everything else in their lives, including their jobs. As a result, their work may suffer, and they could eventually be fired. If their addiction continues, they will be unlikely to hold a job anywhere.

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Substance Abuse

So many factors, stressors, and conditions contribute to addiction. Some warning signs that someone who has fallen on hard times might also be struggling with substance abuse include:

  • Irritability and aggression
  • Disheveled appearance
  • Worsening financial issues due to the expensive nature of addiction
  • New or worsening depression, paranoia, anxiety, or insomnia
  • Noticeably declining health
  • Social isolation and withdrawal
  • Loss of interest in things they used to enjoy

There is always help in these situations; all it takes is reaching out. After treatment, you can be taught tools for managing stressors and even given resources for finding work.

Get Help for Your Addiction at Vertava Health Massachusetts

With the increase in unemployment from the coronavirus pandemic affecting addiction so severely, get help if you or someone you care about needs it. Our drug rehab in Massachusetts offers different treatment programs to help people in varying stages of addiction and addiction recovery. Get the help you are looking for yourself, or a loved one today. Contact us at 888.655.0289 to learn more.