drinking to relieve stress
drinking to relieve stress

Drinking to relieve stress is a fairly common occurrence in our society. Many people come home after a long work day, kick their feet up, and grab an alcoholic beverage to unwind. It’s not always a dangerous thing, but if you find yourself doing this every single night, it’s going to lead to alcohol use disorder and serious consequences. 

Stress drinking is one of the most prevalent coping mechanisms. And while anyone in any profession can give in to the temptation to relieve stress with alcohol, some occupations are at an elevated risk. That’s why it is essential to be aware of those professions so you can keep an eye out for people in your life or yourself and intervene before things get too dire. 

It’s also crucial to understand the hidden dangers of alcohol abuse to raise awareness and promote a culture of support and understanding within these professions. By creating greater awareness, we can work together as a society to support the individuals in these at-risk careers and hopefully get them the resources they need to combat alcohol use disorder. 

Alcohol Treatment in San Diego

The Impact of Alcohol Abuse on Individuals and Workplaces

Drinking to relieve stress can lead to alcohol abuse, which is a serious problem that can have devastating consequences on individuals and the companies, organizations, or businesses they work for.

Alcohol use disorder can lead to a decline in physical and mental health, strained relationships, and a deteriorating quality of life. It’s also crucial to mention that if you or someone you love is abusing alcohol, it can have a profound impact on their career prospects and professional reputation. 

alcohol abuse

In the workplace, alcohol abuse can lead to:

  • decreased productivity
  • increased absenteeism
  • higher likelihood of accidents or mistakes
  • a toxic work environment
  • fatal accidents
  • theft
  • high turnover
  • injuries and increased accident rates
  • trouble with co-workers and supervisors

Employers also incur financial costs when their employees struggle with alcohol use disorder, primary medical expenses, and lost productivity. Depending on their career, someone abusing alcohol could make devastating mistakes, leading to legal consequences their employers may face. 

While it may be challenging to broach the subject with employees, employers must recognize and address alcohol abuse in the workplace not only for the success of their organizations but also for the well-being of their employees. When businesses provide support and resources to help their employees overcome addiction, they allow their employees to get healthier and create a healthier work environment. 

Why Are Some Occupations At Higher Risk for Alcohol Abuse?

Having a stressful job is no walk in the park. When you work hard under a lot of stress day in and day out, it can wear on you, especially if you don’t make sure you take time out for self-care. But what makes certain jobs more susceptible to stress drinking, leading to alcohol abuse? 

In a nutshell, high-stress occupations, physically demanding jobs, jobs that have a high depression rate, or provide easy access to alcohol tend to have higher rates of alcohol abuse. To break it down a little, here are the most common reasons a particular profession may be more prone to stress drink, leading to alcohol abuse.

  • Work pressure

If your job involves meeting deadline after deadline and you’re forced to work in an unusually fast-paced environment, you’ll be stressed out. While you may turn to substances like cocaine or Adderall in an attempt to increase your focus, there’s a good chance you’re going to grab some drinks after work to “unwind.” 

  • Peer pressure

After a long day at work, co-workers may ask you to grab a drink after work. And because you’re probably exhausted, it’s difficult to say no. Not to mention, you may feel obligated to take your co-workers up on their invitation to ensure a stronger working relationship.

  • The job itself

There are several occupations linked to a higher rate of alcohol abuse (see below) due to the nature of the job. First responders, construction workers, and other emotionally and physically taxing jobs can make you want to drink to take the edge off the stress. 

stress drinking
  • Lack of healthy coping skills

It’s easy to turn to alcohol when you’re not sure how else you can relax. Learning effective stress management tools in therapy can help you better manage your stress and stave off the desire to drink to relieve stress. Ensuring you participate in regular exercise and relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing, and meditation can also help you learn how to cope with job stress in healthier ways.

Common Professions Prone to Alcohol Abuse

As mentioned earlier, any job can lead to you wanting to unwind and relax with a glass of wine, beer, or mixed drink. However, five specific occupations are more prone to stress drinking, which can easily lead to alcohol use disorder. 


A five-year study done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that 17.5% of miners reported heavy alcohol use in the previous month. This is most likely due to the long, irregular hours miners work and the fact that their job is physically demanding, dangerous, and very isolating. These factors not only play into their tendency to “self-medicate” with alcohol but also contribute to the high rates of depression among workers in the industry.

Construction Workers

Construction Workers

Like miners, construction workers have a physically demanding job with a high risk of injury. They are often under deadline pressures, which adds to their daily stress levels. Construction is also an unstable industry, leading to frequent layoffs. In turn, this could lead to stress drinking and limited access to getting the help they need.

Food Service Workers

Bar and restaurant workers have easy access to alcohol. Because servers, chefs, bartenders, and restaurant managers work in a fast-paced and hectic environment, they often feel stressed and tempted to sneak a drink or two during their shifts.


As you can imagine, being a legal professional is one of the most stressful occupations. And with all the stress, long hours, and high expectations, it’s no wonder lawyers are more prone to drinking to relieve stress. In fact, the American Bar Association estimates that one in five layers has an alcohol problem.

Because they must maintain a professional demeanor, lawyers tend to be good at hiding their emotions or issues, including alcohol abuse. This is probably the reason lawyers are at greater risk of being high-functioning alcoholics. 


Being directly responsible for the lives and health of their patients makes being a doctor one of the most stressful jobs out there. Like lawyers, doctors face high levels of stress on a daily basis and are required to work incredibly long hours. According to a 2012 study by the University of Washington, one in six surgeons met the criteria for alcohol use disorder. 

Individualized, Highly-Effective Options for Alcohol Treatment in San Diego at BOLD Health

Here at BOLD Health, we understand that asking for help can be challenging, especially for individuals with high-achieving or demanding jobs. You or your loved one may not feel like you “need” help. But if you or someone you love is relying on alcohol to help them cope with their stressful job situation, it’s crucial to get help as soon as possible. 

At our alcohol rehab in San Diego, we provide individualized, evidence-based care to help you or someone you love to overcome the desire to drink to relieve stress. We take the time to understand exactly what brought you to our door and how we can tailor our alcohol treatment in San Diego specifically to you or your loved one to achieve optimal results. 

BOLD Health

Within our alcohol rehab in San Diego, we offer:

  • outpatient alcohol detox
  • individual therapy
  • group therapy
  • medication management
  • intensive outpatient program (IOP in San Diego)

We believe in helping individuals better understand themselves and what drives them to do the things they do. Contact us if you or someone you love is in a high-stress occupation that causes them to drink stress regularly. We’re ready to help you or your loved one learn healthier coping mechanisms, reduce stress, and live your best life. 

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