Article by James Miller
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Self-care, both physical and mental, is the key to keeping yourself from burning out when working in high-stress occupations. Employers need to educate themselves about common symptoms of stress related to the job for employees in order to prevent burnout, mental health issues, and addiction. At Laguna Shores Recovery, we have experienced mental health professionals that can guide you through managing stress while getting sober.
If you or a loved one are experiencing this type of situation, it might be time to work with health professionals who can guide you on reducing and managing stress before it becomes an issue for drug abuse. Many working professionals develop a substance abuse problem because they cannot handle the stress associated with the job. A person who has work-related substance abuse addictions and difficulties is likely to have psychological distress, depression, and relationship problems.
A person who has a work addiction may not be able to stop engaging in this type of behavior, regardless of the negative ways that this may impact their personal life or their mental or physical health. Because a work addict is driven by a desire to become a better person, it may become very difficult to feel fulfilled over time, leading to increased psychological distancing, or feelings of negative or cynicism toward ones job, and decreased effectiveness. In some cases, when work stops providing any kind of satisfaction, it may result in the pursuit of quick fixes, such as drugs or alcohol.
It is also possible that someone in recovery may use work as an addiction replacement, this was my own experience with my own business. Also, Workers in addiction recovery fields can beat themselves up about their failure to cope better with the stresses, dissatisfying client outcomes, or negative emotions surrounding the work environment. For some, chronic stress may contribute to a substance use disorder, as they seek drugs or alcohol to dull feelings and escape from the causes of chronic stress.
Burnout has consequences for our mental health — it also may place us at greater risk of developing a substance use disorder if we turn to drugs or alcohol as a way of managing stress. Burnout may also create lasting changes in our bodies, making us susceptible to illnesses such as the common cold and the flu. Feeling physically tired and exhausted more often than not, experiencing headaches or other illnesses, and being unable to eat or sleep may all be signs of burnout.
Characterized mostly by feelings of depletion or energy exhaustion, burnout results from chronic workplace stress. If over-stress feels like drowning under the weight of responsibilities, then burnout is the sense that everything is running out. If the constant pressure makes you feel powerless, frustrated, and totally worn out, you might be headed down a path toward burnout.
If we ignore the feelings of discontentment, great pressures continue to mount, eventually leading to the phenomenon known as burnout. Unfortunately, many of us experience the negative forms of stress far more than we do the positive ones. Negative stress causes us to feel worn down, down, and exhausted. Small-scale office politics, unexamined work, unclear expectations, feelings of drudgery instead of purpose, and many others contribute to feelings of dissatisfaction.
One problem that has significant consequences is burnout–that sense of relentless stress and dissatisfaction that can make it difficult to function effectively in your job, as well as in other aspects of your life. Pushing yourself to the point of physical and mental exhaustion on a regular basis in your job is one major contributor to developing burnout. Employees experiencing prolonged periods of stress may lose the motivation and creativity to do a good job.
Long-term work stress may cause changes in behavior, such as missing work, low job performance, depression, anxiety, and sleeping problems. Problems at work, or in the home, may take a long time to resolve, and that may cause the person to feel like the weight of each issue is constantly being placed on his shoulders; overwhelming him. Personal issues, like a loss, may become exacerbated by difficulties related to their job, leading the individual to feel overwhelmed and helpless.
There are positive steps that you can take to manage overwhelming stress and rebalance your life. At the same time, we can help you tackle any mental health disorders you are experiencing in combination–including issues rooted in feelings of job exhaustion–so you begin your recovery journey better able to make beneficial changes that restore work/life balance. From depression and anxiety to job burnout, we can help you learn strategies to improve your mental health — and, if you are in recovery, protect your sobriety. There are many things you can do to help you curb burnout, keep you mentally healthy overall, and, if you are in recovery, protect your sobriety.
The road to recovery is complicated, but treatment can provide the tools needed to sustain sobriety and handle stress and fatigue. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and work-related stress, a professional rehabilitation program may provide the assistance needed to reestablish a healthy, balanced life. Trained interventionists can help working professionals deal with stress without turning to drugs and alcohol.
If you or your loved one needs help managing work-related stress or chemical dependence, training in stress reduction combined with therapy can help break this troublesome cycle. Mitigating the risks that job stress, burnout, and eventually, self-medication may bring is not just important to your job security, it is important to your physical, emotional, and psychological wellbeing.
In attempting to cope with stress, many workers try to self-medicate through drugs or alcohol — a mistake that can spiral into substance abuse problems and other problems. You can learn ways of dealing with stress, but if you discover you cannot cope, this could lead to complications, like an addiction to drugs, alcohol, and other substances in order to deal with the elevated level of stress. According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, the stress caused by work-related addictions may weaken the immune system, which, in turn, increases the persons risk for disease.
Cognitive therapy may also be supplemented with acupuncture, massage, meditation, yoga, and other complementary therapies in order to foster new habits for relieving stress, which will help to keep work and relationships, passions, and interests balanced.