Unemployment and Addiction
After graduating from college with a degree in business administration, 24-year-old Hassan desperately searched for a job for over two years. With no job in sight, Hassan’s economic, social, and psychological problems deepened to an unbearable point.
It was then that Hassan turned to drug abuse after one of his friends offered him a taste of Tramadol; telling him the tiny green pill would take all his troubles away so that he could relax. Quickly after, Hassan became addicted to the drug, using it to escape from his situation and even resorting to stealing from his father to afford his habit.
After I graduated from university, I spent a long time looking for work, but to no avail. It dragged on until I started to feel that I was a burden on society. I was living in an endless cycle of psychological anxieties.
In recent years, the United States has seen a sharp increase in unemployment rates spanning across the country. While the rise in unemployment has shown a rise in social problems, such as suicide and homicide, there has also been a noticeable increase in alcohol and drug abuse.
Dealing with unemployment can be a contributing factor in developing an underlying psychological condition such as depression or anxiety; which in turn could lead to self-medicating with drugs or alcohol.
Additionally, unemployment can create other conflicts that can lead to alcohol and drug addiction, including heavy strain on relationships. Couples that are faced with unemployment may clash over financial issues, or end up spending more time together out of work, which can create an environment of contempt. Loss in money can also force individuals to move back in with their parents, or stay in a relationship they don’t want to be in out of sheer financial necessity. While strenuous relationships aren’t always a direct factor in drug and alcohol addiction, the everyday stress and tension involved in broken relationships can definitely contribute to it.
Unfortunately, individuals struggling with alcohol and drug addiction due to lack of work may also find themselves unable to land future jobs because addiction has such a strong physical, emotional and financial impact on everyone involved. If you or a loved one have struggled with addiction to due lack of work, the following suggestions can help get you or your loved one back on track:
- It’s time to consider drug rehab treatment. Addiction treatment professionals will evaluate your unique condition, including the severity of your addiction, how and when it started and escalated, and how to properly treat your battle with alcohol and drug abuse.
- Don’t fear that the financial stress affiliated with unemployment will hinder your ability to enter drug rehab treatment. Many facilities offer adjustable private payment options with more affordable payment plans. Many drug rehab centers also work with major insurance providers to help cover or alleviate the cost of treatment. We understand that making the choice to enter a treatment program is hard to justify if you are unemployed and financially struggling to get by, but living with addiction is a much more expensive lifestyle than you may think.
- Start a 12-Step program. This includes continuing or resuming a program if you have relapsed due to the financial stress. By attending meetings, using a 12-Step support group, or contacting a sponsor you can handle the stress of unemployment in a healthier fashion.
- Be active and keep occupied. If you are out of work, staying at home while others go to work can make you feel isolated which can increase feelings of anxiety and depression. Many individuals have a difficult time handling feelings of depression and anxiety by themselves and resort to self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.
- Utilize stress management and relaxation techniques to help alleviate the strain of unemployment. This can include forms of meditation, which are easy to learn, and can vastly decrease the stress that can lead to a struggle with addiction.
- Pay extra attention to your relationships. As stated above, strain on relationships can lead an individual down a path to alcohol and drug addiction. By taking extra care of the good relationships you have while unemployed, you can avoid the triggers for addiction that can stem from a strenuous relationship.
Dealing with unemployment, especially when it can lead to an underlying mental health disorder, can be extremely stressful. If ignored, the stress can quickly lead to drug or alcohol abuse or relapse as a way to cope. It’s time to recognize the problem and seek help for you or a loved one in need.
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