Addiction, Mental Illness, and Work Burnout

The inability to healthily cope with pressure and stress can often lead to addiction or substance use disorder (SUD). This inability can be due to stressors in one’s personal life or professional life. High-pressure careers that are demanding and stress-inducing can lead individuals to use alcohol excessively and potentially use dangerous drugs.

For example, high-ranking CEOs may begin using stimulants to power through 70-80 hour work weeks. Individuals struggling to make it through their workday may start drinking while still at work. Similar dangers are present regarding mental illness. An individual may experience insanely high pressures to perform in their job but are unable to while going through a depressive episode or panic attack.

Whatever your struggle, knowing how to handle your addiction and mental illness and not experience burnout from work is easier said than done. However, you can be on a healthier path to recover and balance your career with the right tools.

The Toll Your Career Can Have On Addiction

Whether you have a high-pressure executive job or not, the pressures of any everyday job can affect your physical and emotional well-being as well as your mental health. Worklife culture does not always help either. A common way people let off steam at the end of a workweek is by drinking. Alcohol and other substances are often used to unwind and relax at the end of a stressful workday or week.

Unwinding with a method like this could potentially be a gateway for more severe problems with that substance. This scenario is especially true if you do not know how to cope with work-life pressures in a healthy way.

If you are already suffering from addiction and are not seeking help or treatment, you are only putting your health and career in more jeopardy. Some of the signs that you or someone you work with may be struggling with addiction could include:

  • Being late or absent from work frequently or unexpectedly
  • Acting inappropriately at work or extremely out of character
  • Mood swings, behaving erratically, irritability, or avoiding interactions with co-workers
  • A noticeable difference in physical appearance, including looking disheveled or failing to take care of personable hygiene
  • Physical signs of addiction that are more typical in any setting, such as shaking, slurred speech, and potentially noticing the use of drugs or alcohol while at work

If you are currently experiencing symptoms, it is important to realize that you will experience a breaking point or rock bottom at some point. Untreated addiction will ultimately affect the quality of your work and the relationships you have built throughout your career. Addiction can lead to unemployment, financial struggles and start you on a downward spiral of suffering.

Seeking Help and Avoiding Burnout

The first way you avoid using drugs or alcohol to cope with the high pressures of work is to create boundaries for yourself. This is often easier said than done, but learning to say no and understand your limits for what you can and can not accomplish in a workday or week is essential for preserving your overall well-being.

You may need to have a conversation with your manager or team members to create these boundaries, as keeping the lines of communication open is essential. You need to vocalize what you need to do your job effectively, maintain mental health or recovery, and avoid burning out.

If you have yet to seek addiction treatment, more resources are at your disposal. For example, many companies have Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). These employee benefit programs are designed to offer assistance to employees struggling with personal or work-related issues that affect their overall health and the ability to do their job. Programs like these can also help you avoid burnout at work, as you can seek necessary help while continuing your work. It is essential to address the issues sooner rather than later before any extreme damage occurs.

How Entering Treatment Can Help

If your work pressures have led you to burnout and have exasperated your struggles with addiction, you may need to consider entering into a recovery program. Frequently, work burnout can be due to exhaustion, personal struggles, or having too much on your plate in your job. This burnout often leads to even more excessive substance use than you are currently experiencing. If you are in that situation and your career and, more importantly, your health is at risk, entering into a treatment program may be the best option.

At The Lakehouse Recovery Center, our individualized treatment programs and care plans can help you recover from addiction and learn the tools needed to cope with work pressures and avoid burnout. Our virtual and evening programs can even help you seek treatment while still focusing on your work. To find freedom from your addiction and learn how to avoid work burnout healthily, we encourage you to seek help and start your path to recovery today.

Many people often use drugs or alcohol to cope with the constant high pressures of their career and everyday work life. In many instances, this leads to more severe suffering from addiction and other mental illnesses, increased substance use, and even using these substances while at work. You may think you’re coping, but it’s only inevitable that you will simultaneously experience rock bottom and burnout. To successfully avoid these unwanted outcomes, there are many resources you can utilize. Consider speaking to your manager and being honest about your struggles. Research if there are employee assistance programs you can use to improve your overall well-being and job performance. You may even consider entering into a treatment program that will help you find recovery from addiction, seek treatment for mental illness, and learn how to cope with the pressures of your career, healthily. For help, call the Lakehouse at (877) 762-3707 today.