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How an Unhealthy Work Environment Can Lead to Addiction

work stress and addiction treatment

In the United States, it’s estimated that 18.8% of workers are both highly engaged with their work and burnt out.

It’s good to be passionate about your work, but there comes a point where you cross from passionate to draining yourself. And once you cross that threshold, it’s hard to go back, even if you’re feeling extremely unhappy and stressed out. For this reason, many turn to alcohol and drugs to take the edge off and keep pushing on with work.

If you’re concerned about your work environment, are feeling stressed out, and don’t know what to do to cope, then read on. We’ll discuss how an unhealthy work environment can contribute to addiction and prevent you from making a full recovery.

What Does an Unhealthy Work Culture Look Like?

When it comes to working hard, there may be a thin line between perseverance and toxicity. Often, employees can’t tell the difference between the two, and for good reason. What may seem like dedication to company goals may actually be toxic and harmful.

The most important way to tell if you’re in an unhealthy work culture is this: do you look forward to going into work every day? Or do you dread it?

Your answer will be very telling.

An office can be filled with people who work to the bone daily, but still enjoy each other’s company because there’s lots of positive feedback and encouragement. On the other hand, a laidback company can have an unhealthy work culture because people are negative, bully, and harrass one another.

A workplace that’s too neutral can be bad as well. If you feel like everything is sanitized and impersonal, you may start feeling like a cog in the wheel. You may start feeling unappreciated for the work that you do. As a result, you may feel like you’re dispensable and easily replaced.

In an unhealthy work culture, managers may also play favorites. Poor leadership skills on their part means excellent work goes unrewarded and promotions only occur through favoritism.

Also, your employer may have unrealistic expectations when it comes to work-life balance. While being on a salary means you may have to work overtime occasionally, this doesn’t mean you should be constantly doing it.

Unhealthy Work Culture in Our Society

In modern-day society, a huge emphasis is placed on blood, sweat, and tears in the workplace. The ultimate goal is to land high-level positions, such as a place on the board of directors. You should do anything you can to attain that.

This means in day-to-day work life, our society expects to see people driven to the bone, and experiencing burnout is normalized. However, this isn’t good in the long term, for both your own health and the company’s.

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How an Unhealthy Work Environment Leads to Addiction

If you’re being treated unfairly at work, plus you have an unmanageable workload, this can be an incredible burden on your mental health. You may feel like you have no allies in the office, even with the CEO (stands for chief executive officer) or another high-level manager.

That, coupled with emotional exhaustion and no tools to cope, can lead to you seeking outlets. Often, these are quite unhealthy and only offer temporary relief. For example, binge eating, drinking alcohol, and taking drugs all offer fleeting moments of satisfaction.

You may be at a higher risk of developing an addiction if you have a family history of it. Sometimes, all it takes is one time to get addicted to alcohol or substances; this is due to your genetics.

Also, if you’re a high-level executive (like chief operating officer (COO), chief financial officer (CFO), or chief information officer (CIO)), you may feel significantly more pressure than the rest of the workforce does. Not only that, but the people at the highest levels may be inadvertently contributing to the unhealthy work environment. Presidents, vice presidents, and other high-level executives have to work together to make the workplace a healthy place for everyone.

The Costs of Addiction on a Workplace

Not only is there an emotional toll of addiction, but there’s a financial one as well. While some can be “functioning” addicts, they’re still not going to function at 100% of their potential capacity.

Every year, drug abuse in the workplace costs employers $81 billion. Although they may be able to come into work most of the time, they may have to call out of work, quit their jobs, or their quality of work suffers. When you combine all this together, then it’s a massive loss for a business.

Symptoms of Burnout

Here are some commons signs of burnout so you can be more aware and nip this problem in the bud early on:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Gastrointestinal pain
  • Lowered immune system
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Detachment
  • Apathy

It’s normal to go through at least one of these things occasionally. But it’s definitely a red flag if you have multiple symptoms on the list and they’ve been long term.

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Seek Help Promptly

If you feel like you’re suffering from an unhealthy work environment, the best thing to do is to find a new job where you won’t feel as distressed, anxious, and/or burnt out.

But that’s easier said than done. For many, the current jobs they’re in can be the only lifeline they have, and they can’t afford to quit and find a new job.

With that said, the next best course of action is to seek help promptly for your addiction. A rehabilitation center can help you safely detox off of alcohol and drugs, plus provide you with the appropriate counseling you need.

Considering addiction is often a combination of environmental stressors and mental health issues, this is the best course of action you can take to get your life back on track. In the end, you’ll get back to leading a healthy and happy life.

Are you interested in starting detox and rehab? Then get in touch with us today by filling out our contact form. We have several locations in Southern California for your convenience.