Psychologists Reveal Top Workplace Stressors Which Trigger Addiction

With deadlines to meet and demanding bosses to appease, nothing you do seems good enough. It would be better if you didn’t work in that toxic job, but there’s always the specter of economic uncertainty haunting you, as well as the prospect of a long wait between jobs. —

For many people, it is a common conception that those who are unemployed and homeless are the ones who engage in substance abuse. This stereotypical image, however, was refuted by several groups, including psychologists and mental health advocates. 

A report is written and published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration revealed that there is almost the same number of employed and unemployed who are substance abusers. Another study by The Globe and Mail Newspaper reported that the workplace has a high contribution to addiction. The survey found out that those people who are stressed out and not happy in their work turn to either alcohol, gambling, or drugs. 

Nobody is exempted from experiencing occupational stress, but being aware of these stressors can help employers keep their employees away from substance abuse. 

Work Overload

Everyone has been at this point in their careers. This statement means that the demand for their skills overpowers the time and energy that they have. This work overload encompasses last-minute deadlines, overlapping projects, unrealistic workload and timelines, and juggling several roles due to a hiring freeze.


Whatever the situation is, receiving too much work can mess with your sanity. The excellent way to address this is to learn to say no from adding additional tasks to your plate. This task might sound simple, but whenever you’re in the situation that your co-employees need your help or you are compelled to impress others, you might be forced to say yes. 

Sense Of Powerlessness

Employees want their employers to empathize with them and heart their voice. It can be in situations where they want to give feedback or whenever they want to propose some plans to improve business operations. But sometimes, employers live in their bubble. They take an authoritarian approach wherein they do not value the input of their employees.

This sense of powerlessness consumes the confidence of these individuals. Whenever they are at their worst, they tend to shift their attention to addicting things that they believe will give them a boost in personality. 

The link between chronic stress and opioid addiction may be a contributor to the nation’s opioid crisis.  — Mithu Storoni MD, Ph.D.

Professional Rivalry

Admit it or not, we always want to be on the top. This attitude is also applicable in the workplace setting. Whenever employees are working with their teams, there is a tendency that they will be competitive with one another. This is backed up by the job demands-resources model of burnout, which also revealed that too much of this competition could lead to stress. 

The best way to go about this problem is to try to be focused on yourself only. Do not try to study where people are headed, go with your own pace (but also pressure yourself once in a while). Rest assured, you will be able to reach your version of success. 

Supervision Problems

Yes, it is normal for the workers to complain about their bosses. However, studies say that ineffective managers are the ones responsible for the majority of the stresses in the workplace. Listed below are some reasons how managers can affect the wellbeing of their employees.

  • Lack of support, guidance, and directions makes the employees feel no one in the company values them. 
  • Bosses who micromanage sometimes send the message that the reason why they are supervising that way is that these workers cannot be trusted and are incompetent. 
  • Some employees feel that they are not given enough opportunities since managers play favorites. 


Lack Of Knowledge And Expertise

Some jobs require technical skills and knowledge while are more inclined to creative thinking. Whatever kind of job it is and the employees know that they are not delivering what the company expects from them, there is a tendency that they’ll feel self-loath. This intense feeling sometimes escalates to the need to immerse in drugs and alcohol.

What companies can do to avoid this kind of situation and mindset is to conduct training and mentoring. Some companies prefer doing group seminars while others have their one-on-one mentoring with the line managers. 

As reported in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), researchers discovered people with job stress and an unhealthy lifestyle are at higher risk of coronary artery disease than people who have job stress but lead healthy lifestyles. — Rick Nauert PhD

Change And Instability

Several people still feel uncomfortable whenever they step away from their comfort zone. TThis issue can be in the form of changing roles in the company, transferring offices, or conducting fieldwork away from home all the time. This can of instability in the life of an employee leads to confusion and an inability to know oneself accurately. 


The workplace can be a consistent source of stress, and it can get very overwhelming. You might find it useful to seek help from online counseling platforms, like BetterHelp, since licensed therapists will attend you. Many have testified by leaving reviews on how it has helped them.

Remember, these work stress factors will always be there. The best way to keep your life in order and away from all these substance temptations is to try to give feedback to your employers regarding the way they manage company culture. This way, they can pinpoint which areas to improve on for the betterment of the wellbeing of their workers. 

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