Studies have found people in certain jobs are more prone to alcohol abuse. Here are the top nine occupations where this possibility becomes a reality.
Gender, education and hours affect those in the mining industry. Miners are almost 20% more likely than any other occupation to have an alcohol abuse problem.
Miners are isolated, work irregular hours and do not have easy access to health care. But easy access to health care wouldn’t make it easier. One fly-in, fly-out mining camp manager said males are more likely to drink than seek help.
“I personally believe that boredom in remote areas, as well as the ongoing stress of being away from family and civilization, is conducive to drinking and drug use on site,” he said.
Construction workers face the same issues of isolation and hours that miners do.
Chris DeHerrera, the president and CEO of the Utah Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, said their lifestyle includes long periods of time away from family. This loneliness often contributes to alcohol abuse.
Construction laborer Tim Krueger said workers expect drinking on the job.
“While the union wasn’t tolerant…it was kind of common knowledge that some guys drank during lunch in their cars,” he said.
In the retail and food industry, alcohol abuse is common because of ease of access.
John Puckett has worked in restaurants for over 30 years and said it’s a part of the camaraderie.
“You and your crew might unwind by having a celebratory shot or cracking a beer. Beer, wine, and liquor are around all the time,” he said.
The industry’s high turnover rate makes it easy for those with alcohol abuse issues to get a job. Once on the payroll, abuse worsens when coupled with high stress, long hours and double shifts.
Arts and entertainment
Filled with creatives, many who work in this field feel alcohol furthers their creativity.
“The creative ‘personality’ is one that has higher arousal needs, craving novelty and dopamine,” said Andrea Kuszewski, a cognitive scientist. She said they crave “artificial stimulation,” which they may abuse.
Think of magazines you pass at the checkout counter at your local grocery store. On almost every issue, there are topics of drinking and driving or substance abuse. Those are the big stars, not local comedians, musicians and artists.
Kuszewski said they need intensity to flourish, but they have to control it.
Young males dominate this industry, a fact which lends itself to alcohol abuse.
Drug policy journalist Christopher Ingraham says statistics show men drink more than women. He also said younger men drink more than their older counterparts.
A majority of the industry — 78% — is male. Of those, a quarter is between the ages of 16 and 30.
Wholesale traders face irregular hours with limited family time. People in business, they meet clients at social events where alcohol is available.
The alcohol sector of wholesale trade included, men are three times more likely than women to struggle with alcohol.
Managers, CEOs and business professionals face economic, intrapersonal and time management stress. Many claim to drink a moderate amount, or 2-5 times a week. That number jumps to 80% for those who make over $75,000 annually.
Since they are likely the highest ranking employee at a company, others don’t call their issues to the attention of higher-ups. This power benefits them until it begins to affect work, as in cases where drinking on the job occurs. Alcoholics in management are high-functioning because they don’t show signs like absenteeism.
Factory jobs share similar issues with construction workers and miners. They work irregular hours with minimal access to intervention for alcohol abuse issues. They often work the graveyard shift and come to work after having a few drinks at home.
“Alcohol problems permeated the factory floor—a workplace full of decent, hard-working people who also happened to be badly damaged,” said one union boss. He said the biggest issues for those in manufacturing shift not to job performance, but chronic absenteeism. When he attempted to ease these problems by offering AA meetings in-house, few showed up because of low morale.
Farmers may work normal hours, but they are isolated. Boredom and a sense of independence can lead to drinking on the job, especially when the job is at home. Those who grow grains and corn may even make home brews.
Because farmers live in rural, remote areas, they may not feel they have access to resources to help their alcohol abuse issues. One farmer went to an AA meeting and felt he didn’t belong.
“I went to a few AA meetings, oh the sob stories; I feel so bad for those people,” he said. “That isn’t me, is it? Am I still in denial? Can’t be me, I am too smart. I can outsmart this thing.”
Alcohol abuse affects people in all occupations, not just these nine. If alcohol abuse has affected you in the form of a DUI, contact Douglas Herring today.