What you do for a living might have a significant impact on whether you develop a substance use issue or relapse after treatment. Common factors in jobs that increase your addiction risk include high stress, long or irregular hours, dangerous conditions, isolation, and easy access to drugs or alcohol. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your sobriety and mental health is to find better employment. If you have one of the following kinds of jobs and are at risk for addiction, you might want to consider a career change.


Substance use, depression, and anxiety are extremely high among lawyers. A 2016 study found that more than 20 percent of lawyers report having had a drug or alcohol use issue at some point in their careers and 75 percent of those said their substance use began in law school, before they even entered the profession. Law is a highly competitive profession, leading many lawyers to put in extremely long hours, especially early in their careers. These jobs are often high stress, with a lot at stake for both firms and clients. What’s more, many lawyers have to represent clients whose values they don’t necessarily share, whether it’s a greedy corporate client or criminal defendant who is probably guilty. Many lawyers use drugs and alcohol to cope with these issues.


Medicine is another high-stress profession. Substance use in the healthcare profession is somewhere between 10 and 15 percent, slightly higher than the general public. However, misuse of prescription drugs is five times higher among doctors than among the general public. This is because doctors have ready access to prescription medications and doctors’ expertise often makes them feel confident they can use these drugs without developing a substance use disorder. Many jobs in the healthcare field also require long hours, often with erratic work schedules, which can disrupt sleep, leading to higher levels of depression and anxiety.

Food service

Substance use is very common in food service jobs, especially among chefs and bartenders. Chefs have to work long hours in stressful work environments. Use of both stimulants and alcohol is common in busy kitchens. Bartenders, of course, have easy access to alcohol and are constantly around people drinking heavily. That can be a huge challenge for anyone recovering from an alcohol use disorder.

Manual labor

Manual labor is the final big category of jobs that increase your risk of addiction. This includes jobs like mining, timbering, fishing, and construction. Many of these jobs require workers to be away from home for weeks at a time, increasing feelings of loneliness and depression. These jobs are physically demanding and workers often drink or use painkillers to deal with the physical strain of their work. If they are injured in the field, which is common, they may be given addictive painkillers and sent back to work. This is one reason opioid addiction is thought to be such a major problem in areas like West Virginia and Ohio, where mining and timbering are especially common.

At Alta Lama Transformational Services, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Lama uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.