Does Job Burnout Lead to Substance Abuse & How to Prevent It?

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There probably isn’t a person older than 16 that doesn’t feel the pressure of their daily life from time to time. Whether you are consumed by exams or the workload that has been piling up, stress will be one of your body’s first reactions. This is particularly true if you are a workaholic that has been investing all of your time into your work. Bear in mind that you don’t have to be a workaholic to feel the stress of your workplace, as some jobs are more demanding and stressful than others. We know that stress can come with many negative consequences that will reflect on different aspects of our lives, but does job burnout lead to substance abuse?

A stressed out woman.
Stressful situations can make one more susceptible to addiction.

All Palm Beach rehab centers will tell you that there are many factors that have an influence on addiction and its development. Likewise, different people respond to life’s situations in unique ways. However, there is a lot of evidence that supports the claim that job burnout can lead to substance abuse in both males and females. Of course, addiction is a disease that can be prevented through proper actions and guidance. And even when not prevented, it can still be treated, providing an individual with all the necessary tools for recovering their pre-addiction lifestyle.

What is job burnout and how to recognize it?

For starters, you should know that nobody is immune to stress and job burnout. It doesn’t matter whether you work as a hairstylist, a doctor, or an architect – the stress of your job can get to you. Job burnout is defined as work-related stress that can cause both physical and mental exhaustion. A person that is stressed out because of their work can lose their personal identity and have a reduced sense of accomplishment.

Job burnout isn’t a medical diagnosis, yet it’s something that requires attention and some form of treatment. If left unchecked, job-related stress can have some serious consequences on your life, as it can even lead you to addiction. Thus, it’s essential to learn how to spot the signs of job burnout and take appropriate actions. The three main symptoms that point to this type of stress include:

  • The loss of motivation to accomplish personal or work-related tasks
  • Sense of inefficiency and a feeling that you can do nothing right
  • Frustration with your coworkers and your loved ones
A man in an office googling does job burnout lead to substance abuse.
A job burnout will have you feeling like you can do nothing right – both on your job and in your personal life.

As you can see, job burnout won’t remain confined to your workplace only. Instead, it will start affecting your personal relationships, which is what could push you into addiction. In fact, many people who are currently attending alcohol treatment in Boynton Beach will tell you that the reason why they are there is due to all the piled-up stress. Of course, nobody wakes up one day and decides that they should start drinking and create an additional problem. But due to many different variables, that’s usually what ends up happening.

What leads to complete burnout?

As previously mentioned, everyone can experience job burnout at some point. At the mere mention of the phrase, most people imagine someone slouched over their personal computer, working 60 hours a week and bringing their work home. However, that’s not what job burnout has to look like. It can – but it can also take many other shapes and forms.

For starters, many people will end up stressed out and, therefore, addicted due to a responsible job. That’s precisely why one can see so many doctors and former policemen dealing with addiction in a drug rehab facility in Florida. Jobs, where one is directly responsible for someone else’s life, are bound to be more stressful. After all, you can see how can job burnout lead to substance abuse when you are a firefighter who has to risk their safety and face casualties on a daily basis. The same goes for surgeons, where the slightest mistake can lead to the worst outcome.

Secondly, many people are overworked, but that’s not what’s making them stressed. The inability to financially provide for their families and afford all of life’s necessities could be what’s driving them over the edge. People who don’t have a job that covers their needs will oftentimes get second jobs, putting more fuel to the fire. It’s easy to see how someone with two jobs and financial struggles would search for any consolation, and people oftentimes find it in alcohol or drugs.

Dollar bills in a pocket.
Working 12 hours a day and still facing financial difficulties can oftentimes drive people over the edge.

Finally, a myriad of personal problems coupled with work-related stress can lead to complete burnout. Once that happens, a person is at risk of experiencing different financial, emotional, and physical problems.

Why does job burnout lead to substance abuse?

It doesn’t matter what is causing your stress – you will need some sort of outlet. This is where healthy coping mechanisms enter the scene. Some people can find comfort in healthy and productive activities, such as yoga and writing. But others can’t cope with everything that comes with stress unless they find something to numb their feelings.

Nowadays, alcohol has become a socially-acceptable way of dealing with work-related stress. We have happy hours where people can go and get a two for one special or discounted liquor prices. Likewise, by spending time at a bar, people get a chance to be around other burned-out people. Soon enough, people start associating alcohol with good time and solace. And that’s how addiction begins.

Turning to alcohol and drugs can seem like an immediate solution. It certainly numbs all the negative feelings of job burnout and helps you become more functional. But those positive feelings last only while under the influence of your substance of choice. Once the effects wear off, you will once again feel inefficient and without motivation. Instead of reaching out for your substance of choice once again, it would be best to learn how to deal with the problem.

When are you at an increased risk of job burnout that leads to substance abuse?

Your mental health is one of the main risk factors that will make you prone to addiction. Individuals who are already diagnosed with any mental or mood disorder have greater chances of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol. Keep in mind that having a disorder of this kind isn’t a guarantee that you will develop an addiction to any substance. But if you are wondering does job burnout lead to substance abuse more frequently when a person already has an existing mood disorder, the answer is yes.

Cubes spelling out mental health.
Your mental health will play a significant role in your response to stressful situations.

For a long time, the connection between addiction and substance abuse has been unfamiliar. But recent decades have helped scientists and therapists get a better understanding of the connection between the two. And while it is sometimes impossible to tell whether a mood disorder has led to addiction or vice versa, the connection is definitely there.

Individuals that are dealing with addiction on top of a mood disorder will receive a dual diagnosis. This presents a significant step in one’s treatment, as it helps you tackle both problems at once. Treating only one of these conditions can lead to relapse, as you risk neglecting the root cause of addiction. At Bright Futures Treatment Center, we have therapists who can work with clients on helping them overcome these two problems through therapy and counseling. We have learned that there isn’t a problem that can’t be talked out – medications are only an addition to individual, group, and trauma therapy sessions.

When is the right time to seek help for job burnout and addiction?

If you have noticed that your current lifestyle has taken a toll on you, and you have developed an entrenched desire to drink or consume drugs, then you are the right candidate for addiction treatment. You should keep in mind that addiction is easiest to treat once in its initial stages. Thus, if you admit yourself to a heroin, meth, or crack cocaine rehab Florida facility at the commencement of your addiction, you are very likely to reach the point of long-term sobriety.

If this is your first contact with addiction, you are very likely to be confused. Your only job is to contact a rehab facility such as ourselves. You will get to talk with advisors and admissions professionals who will walk you through the process. Moreover, you will get to have a professional assessment by rehab therapists who will recommend the best program for you.

A close up of an alarm clock.
Don’t waste time – it’s best to admit that you have a problem and get yourself treated in due time.

Most people begin with a Medically-Assisted Treatment (MAT) program. However, if you are firmly against using drugs to treat your drug addiction problem, you can go straight to the Inpatient program. We always suggest that you trust your rehab professionals completely, as they have the experience that is necessary for providing assistance on this journey. However, you have full control over what happens in rehab, your body, and your actions.

How to prevent job burnout?

The first way to ensure that your job doesn’t push you into addiction is to simply listen to yourself. Your mind and body are in tune more than you think, and they will start sending you signals that you are overworked. Thus, before you let it get to the point of burnout, it would be better to listen to yourself. Are you constantly tired? Sluggish? Unmotivated? Then it’s time to take a step back and either go on a vacation or learn how to deal with your stress.

Usually, people who have been working too much can benefit from taking some time off. It would be perfect if you could go on a vacation for a week or at least take a few days off. However, we understand that might not be a possibility for many people who are struggling financially. What you can do is cut back on your work hours. Likewise, make sure that you actually leave your work at the office and not bring it home with you. Of course, try to keep your weekends to yourself as much as possible. Having two days a week to rest and unwind can be enough to help you fight off job burnout.

Finally, keep your mind off work as much as possible. Just because you are physically enjoying your weekend does not mean that you are resting your brain. If you are constantly thinking about work and all the tasks that await you early Monday morning, then you are still putting yourself through unnecessary stress. You won’t have to wonder how is it possible that job burnout can lead to substance abuse – you’ll be the victim of your own thoughts.

On the off chance that you are one of the lucky few…

If your job has become a huge source of stress in your life, then you can also think about changing it. This is only applicable to those people who are in a position to find new employment and possibly be out of work for a while. Besides, if you have spent some time building your career, you might have to start from a lower position someplace else. However, your mental and physical well-being should always take precedence over your financial affairs. Thus, do what you can to find the best way to fight off job-related stress. Otherwise, you might find yourself needing a drug, alcohol, or prescription drugs Florida rehab facility soon enough.

Two women shaking hands.
You can always interview for a new job, but you will never be able to annul addiction – putting it under control is a lifelong job.

Some healthy ways to deal with stress

It doesn’t matter what you do in life – you can’t avoid stress altogether. But what you can do is not let it affect you in such a way that you have to start looking for solace in drugs and alcohol. Instead, choose to stay away from meth, cocaine, or heroin rehab facility in Florida by choosing one of the following healthy ways to cope with stress.


When in doubt about what to do, simply meditate. This seemingly simple action holds a lot of power over our bodies and minds. Mediation allows you to calm your breathing and relax your entire being. If you think about it, drugs and alcohol will also help you forget about your worries. The difference is that meditation won’t have you attending an intensive outpatient program Florida rehab centers have to offer.


There must be something that you love doing outside of your work. Are you a movie aficionado? Do you love learning new languages? Perhaps you take pride in growing your garden? These are all respectable hobbies, and they can all help you fight off job burnout. Thus, if you are currently under a lot of stress, spend even more time doing what you love. By doing so, you won’t have to wonder does job burnout lead to substance abuse, as you will not even think about using unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Physical activity

By now, you should be well aware of all the benefits of getting regular physical activity. The production of happy hormones will have a wonderful effect on your body, helping you fight stress every step of the way. Bear in mind that you don’t have to become a gym rat to achieve these positive results. Working out has different meanings for different people. Some consider hiking and long walks to be sufficient to get their blood flowing. Others count grueling sessions at the gym as working out. Pick whatever you are most comfortable with – you can’t go wrong.

A woman doing yoga to avoid job burnout that can lead to substance abuse.
From gentle yoga to more advanced forms of exercising, you can’t go wrong with physical activity.

Family & Friends

Sometimes, nothing can be more therapeutic than spending time with the people that you love and that love you. A simple conversation with a trusted friend or beloved family member can help you fight off work-related stress. Thus, once you start feeling the pressure of the world on your shoulders, seek some solace. There are ways to share a conversation even if your loved ones aren’t close to you. Nowadays, we have plenty of apps that allow you to see the person that you love at the click of a button.

Art, music, reading

Do you appreciate art and everything that comes with it? There are many forms of art, as you can be enamored with paintings, sculptures, or musical masterpieces. Whether reading a good book or messing around with some paintbrushes and an easel, give yourself a chance to show your creativity. By turning on the creative side and turning off the logical one, you can successfully keep stress at bay.


Never underestimate the power of your own words. The process of journaling has been proven to work wonders when it comes to healing broken hearts and helping people deal with their emotions. Those who have tried it know that writing down how you feel helps you let go of some of those emotions. Don’t get us wrong – we are not claiming that this is a magical solution. However, it is something that will help you process your emotions and stress. Likewise, you can gain some valuable insights into what might be causing such high levels of stress, helping you deal with the origin of the problem.

An open notebook, a phone, and some potted plants.
Make your favorite beverage, turn on some soothing music, and write down how you have been feeling.


The environment we are spending most of our time in isn’t very likely to make us mentally healthy. If you are overworked, chances are that you live in a concrete jungle and are a big part of corporate America. This isn’t to say that someone working in the countryside can’t experience job burnout – but the chances of that happening are somewhat lower. Being around greenery, animals, and nature can fill you up with happiness. Thus, we suggest that you reconnect with mother nature in any way that you can.

How often does job burnout lead to substance abuse?

The truth is, the answer to this question is 100% individual. Some people can work under constant stress and never develop an addiction. Others will turn to drugs and alcohol as soon as they have a period that is slightly more stressful than what they are used to. And while job-related stress isn’t exactly preventable, there is a lot that you can do to combat its negative effects. For starters, you can learn how to cope with your stress in a healthy manner. It just so happens that all of those healthy coping mechanisms will enrich your life in a certain way.

Hopefully, you are no longer wondering does job burnout lead to substance abuse and how you can prevent it. That being said, knowing what you need to do doesn’t always do the trick. If you find yourself facing addiction, you don’t have to let it consume your life. Instead, feel free to contact us and get our unconditional support every step of the way. Our addiction specialists will help you find your way back to sobriety and a healthy lifestyle. We know that addiction is a disease that can put a strain on every aspect of one’s life. But we also know that you can treat this vile disease and recuperate your normal life. It’s best to contact us at the first sign of addiction, as that will provide us with the greatest chances of helping you reach long-term success.


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