Plenty of people like to kick back with a drink after a long day’s work, but when does that pint of pale ale or glass of chardonnay turn into a life-altering problem? The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) defines “heavy alcohol use” as consuming five or more alcoholic beverages in a sitting on five or more days in a 30-day period. While anyone could fall into that pattern, researchers at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report that full-time workers in these ten industries are more likely to abuse or become dependent on alcohol.
10. Retail Trade – 9% Engage in Heavy Drinking
What do salespeople do to forget a long day of price checking and customer complaints? At least 9% are heading to happy hour on a regular basis and staying a bit longer than they should.
9. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting – 9.4%
Imagine your job forces you into prolonged periods of isolation at sea, in the woods or on a sprawling piece of farmland. Perhaps it’s boredom and lack of options that contribute to the problem drinking, or maybe there’s a correlation between these male-dominated industries and statistics indicating men are twice as likely as women to binge on alcohol.
8. Manufacturing – 9.7%
One study of blue-collar drinking habits found that a workplace with a heavy drinking subculture may cause workers with little outside interests or social life to use alcohol as a way to alleviate boredom and dissatisfaction.
7. Management – 9.9%
Being in control all day can leave supervisors on edge. Alcohol may calm nerves temporarily, but when that salve turns into a compulsion there are other issues in play.
6. Wholesale Trade – 10.2%
More than 1 in 10 workers in the wholesale trade sector — an industry fraught with high-pressure situations and time-sensitive projects — say they engage in binge drinking on a regular basis.
5. Utilities – 10.3%
Another blue-collar industry, the utilities sector is comprised of workers who specialize in things like water, electricity and gas. Long hours cause strain, and job loss due to the encroachment of automated plants and solar and wind farms breeds anxiety, two things frequently associated with binge drinking.
4. Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation – 11.5%
When you’re in a band, starring on the silver screen or batting .300 the big leagues, it’s easy to feel like you’re on top of the world. The problem with flying high, though, is that it’s so much easier to fall. Combine easy access to alcohol and a fast-paced lifestyle, and you have a recipe for overindulgence.
3. Accommodations and Food Services – 11.8%
Working at a hotel, restaurant, or bar means you’re always busy dishing up hospitality, but when the guests go home, the party often continues. After all, there’s little else to do in the wee hours once work wraps for the day, and the stress from a frantic dinner service takes awhile to dissipate. When tasting the night’s specials turns into a 3 am binge, service industry pros can easily find themselves in the throes of addiction.
2. Construction – 16.5%
Construction workers put in long hours, often in uncomfortably hot and dusty conditions, and manual labor is physically taxing. When the day is done, buddies head to the bar for liquid relief and a chance to unload whatever’s on their minds.
1. Mining – 17.5%
Mining is a tough, dangerous and often thankless profession. The industry is threatened by the increasing popularity of more eco-friendly power sources and job stability is less than optimal. Add in health stressors (miners fall ill six times more often than other workers) and a serious lack of daily sunlight, and it’s not to difficult to understand why some might seek to escape from reality.
The group least likely to be heavy drinkers? School teachers.
In 2010, binge drinking cost the U.S. a staggering $249 billion in lost productivity, treatment costs and crime but our economy isn’t the only thing paying a hefty price. Heavy drinking is tough on your body, your relationships and your bank account. The solution? Ask for help putting down the bottle and reclaim your life.