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 usually intertwined with several of a person’s life from their physical health to their employment status.
The Relationship Between Drug Abuse & 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 abuse. 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 abuse, 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 as well as cigarette use.2
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 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 in a constructive manner and may turn to drugs or alcohol. Over time, this coping behavior becomes habitual until they become dependent on these substances and an 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.
Especially, with the increase in unemployment from the coronavirus pandemic, 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.