Addiction and Substance Abuse in the Trucking Industry

addiction substance abuse truckerThe trucking industry is an important one, but sometimes the lifestyle it demands of its truckers can lead to addiction and substance abuse. Many people do not realize the ways that being a professional truck driver can be a mentally and physically taxing profession. The work of a professional trucker involves a lot of solitude. Sometimes the work can be very repetitive and boring while other times it is demanding and stressful. Like any work that places these strains on its employees, truckers frequently take relief in substance abuse and addiction, on and off the job, creating a very bad situation for themselves and other drivers alike.

The constant solitude of trucking is one aspect of it that pushes many truckers into substance abuse and addiction. Some feel the heavy weight of loneliness in their profession and try to drown it out through drugs, alcohol, sex or some other pleasure inducing thing. Others begin to feel detached and mentally unstable due to the solitude and turn to substance abuse and addiction in order to be distracted, which as most of us know, actually only worsens the problem. The long term affects of substance abuse and addiction are further isolation and instability.

Some truckers experience immense boredom and a lack of stimulation because of their jobs. Trucking can begin to feel very repetitive to many truckers. Despite driving through scenic areas, the tasks of the job can become very mundane. Truckers who cannot deal with this aspect often experiment with substances or processes in order to make their jobs more interesting. Some truckers have gone as far as to use dangerous drugs, such as meth and cocaine, while they are driving, putting themselves and other motorists in danger.

Because of tight schedules and demanding expectations within the trucking industry, sometimes heavy burdens fall on truckers shoulders. They may be expected to work as many as 14-hours in a shift, then are barely permitted a full night’s sleep before they are assigned another 14-hour shift, and entire weeks can play out like this. Some trucking companies push the regulations of how hard they can work their truckers to the absolute limits. In order to cope with the stress, truckers frequently experiment with addictive substances and behaviors.

Beating Addiction as a Trucker

trucker beat addictionProfessional truck drivers who are struggling with addiction need to be aware of ways of conquering addiction that are particularly suited to them. Professional truck drivers hold challenging work positions, full of reward but also full of hardship. Their jobs call for a great deal of physical and mental strength that not everyone can put forward. Many truck drivers struggle with addiction due to professional stress which makes them a danger to themselves and to other drivers. It is very important that any professional truck driver who is struggling with addiction realizes the value of recovery and works toward it, however they have to.

Inpatient treatment refers to residential rehabilitation, the form of treatment that involves living on site in a treatment facility for 30, 60 or 90 days. Inpatient treatment is known as the most effective way of treating addiction problems and is intended for advanced cases of addiction. Most truck driving professionals take a leave of absence from their work in order to submit to inpatient treatment.

Outpatient treatment is similar to counseling, but is more intensive. The counseling sessions, exercises, readings and therapeutic activities are more frequent and thorough than in counseling, and the duration of time they continue for is set to a schedule. Outpatient rehab programs that are tailored to trade workers will frequently work around the individual’s work schedule to arrange for treatment.

Counseling is great for those who’s addictions are less severe, but are strong enough to require professional help. If you are a truck driver who is used to doing things for yourself but are becoming aware of the need for help with addiction, counseling is great place to start because it is a minimal commitment.

Support groups are effective for those who are struggling with addiction but who have not lost total control and want to try recovering in a more independent way. Support groups meet sporadically, so a trucker is able to maintain their work schedule and still appear for meetings. The concept of a support group is to have others who understand your struggles encourage you through your personal addiction challenges.