As the world limps out of the crisis that has gripped us for the past two years, the effects are still being felt. Even though the unemployment rate has fallen to a low 4.1%, trouble around inflation and the cost of living means that more people than ever are struggling to get by.
While this may paint a somewhat decent picture, there are record job vacancies and worries about labour shortages. People are continuing to suffer despite available opportunities – and addiction is just one of the reasons why.
According to government statistics “[t]here were 275,896 adults in contact with drug and alcohol services between April 2020 and March 2021.” This is a rise from the previous year, showing that a lot of people are desperate for help, turning to drug and alcohol rehab. Substance abuse is closely entwined with every aspect of an addict’s life and can have a disruptive effect on health, relationships and unemployment status.
Relationship Between Drug Use and Unemployment
A person with drug addiction, whether it be prescription drugs or heroin, will struggle to maintain a job. Addiction has a massive impact on your life and will lead to a decrease in your physical and cognitive function. If you have so far managed to stop your addiction bleeding into your work life, soon it will become hard to maintain your responsibilities. As the addiction worsens you will struggle to achieve tasks on time, suffer from mood swings and have an increased temper or irritability.
When addiction is not treated, it only gets worse and job loss will become inevitable.
On the flip side, as addiction can affect job loss, lack of employment can pave the way to addiction. Without a full time or part-time job, you have no real income – and if you have bills to pay and a family to feed this can be distressing. Many people turn to substances to cope with the pressure and eventually this occasional substance use will slip into a full-blown addiction.
With an increase in employment, addiction rates are sure to follow as many people struggle with the mental health effects of having no job and the negative impact it has on a person’s entire life.
Mental Health Effects of Unemployment
Unemployment and mental health issues are often closely linked. Lack of employment brings a lack of belief and self-esteem.
When you are not working you soon feel isolated as the world is moving around them and you are standing still. This feeling of isolation and uselessness can lead to depression which you may try to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. People not working feel stress and anxiety around not having a job and this may lead them deeper into addiction and depression.
So beyond just the monetary benefits of employment, the sense of purpose and drive it can give a person is vital to mental health. If you are keeping busy, then you are less likely to turn to substances to fill the hours and escape the negative feelings you are having.
Knowing the signs of addiction can help you to stop the decline before it becomes too steep.
Signs of Addiction
If you are unemployed and have yourself using drugs and alcohol more regularly, there may be a danger of slipping into addiction. Knowing the signs of addiction is important as it may convince you that you have a problem, and it is time to seek support.
The signs and symptoms vary from person to person but there are common psychological, behavioural, and physical symptoms that can be recognised. These symptoms often end up seriously harming the person addicted and the people around, resulting in dire consequences.
Psychological signs of addiction:
- Memory problems
- Mood swings
- Increased agitation and temper
- Worsening of any existing mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and stress
Behavioural signs of addiction:
- Continuing to use substances despite the negative effects it is having
- Trying and being unable to stop using substances
- Withdrawing from life (avoiding responsibilities and social interaction)
- Moulding social engagements and activities around drinking or drug use
- Becoming more secretive
Physical signs of addiction:
- Disrupted sleep patterns (sleeping too much or insomnia)
- Lack of hygiene/lack of care in appearance
- Looking unhealthy (change in weight)
These signs are more short term and noticeable effects. If left untreated there can be long term effects that may be irreversible, including liver damage, kidney failure, increased risk of cancer and stroke and other heart problems.
How to Access Addiction Treatment
You may be ready to make the step towards recovery and away from substance abuse but don’t know where to begin. Addiction treatment is a wide-ranging business and there are many types of facilities and programmes out there for you to be a part of. Knowing the next steps towards accessing the right treatment will help ease your mind and harden your resolve around a difficult decision.
At Action Rehab we can help you find the right treatment for you. We can help you find suitable treatment providers, compare them, and help with self-referral up until the provider can take over from us.
As you may be coming into this situation unemployed, money could be a big factor in your decision. Accessing treatment through the NHS is free and you will have access that can work, but it is more a one size fits all approach with long waiting lists. Depending on the severity of your alcohol or drug abuse it may be that you should complete rehab with a private provider. Whilst this is more expensive, the level of care and range of treatments you have access to is unmatched.
Through private rehabs that Action Rehab helps you find, you can better deal with the addiction and mental health issues that sustained unemployment may have brought up. What’s most important is that you find the treatment that fits your situation and gives you the best chance of achieving long-term recovery.
Get Help Today
From the information above there is evidence as to why unemployment and addiction are connected – with one having an effect on the other, whatever order they come in. At the core of unemployment and substance use issues are self-belief and self-care. Having the desire to make a change and improve your life is a great first step towards recovery and regaining employment.
Today is the best time to start that journey. Contact our team now at 0151 268 6992 or fill in the enquiry form on the website and a member of Action Rehab will get in touch with you.