A recent study was conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health that found that about 1 in every 5 unemployed adults within the United States actually struggle with alcohol addiction. This finding is so surprising because it is double the national average of working Americans which means that it is statistically significant enough to warrant attention from the medical community.
Self Report Survey
This survey is taken on a regular basis in order to monitor dependency within the U.S. and it covers a wide range of substances, including tobacco and alcohol. The findings were collected in 2012 and they showed that about 17% of individuals who do not have full time employment in the United States were prone to developing alcohol dependency, whereas only 9% of full time workers were vulnerable to this problem. It is thought that since the survey focused on self reports of abuse, the actual percentage of abuse within this population might actually be much higher than it currently seems.
What Is Substance Abuse
According to the DSM, or the American manual that is used for diagnostic purposes for mental disorders, substance abuse is defined as a dependence on mood altering substances that lead to negative social or behavioral changes, and this includes a loss of employment. Alcohol tends to be the number one choice for substance abusers throughout the country, but it should be noted that about 30% of these individuals actually use a combination of alcohol and drugs.
Undefined Causal Relationship
At this point in time, scientists have pointed out that there is a strong link between unemployment and substance abuse, but the precise causal relationship is not yet know. More studies will need to be conducted on the matter to determine whether or not people are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol and then lose their job as a result of the effects of this substance, or whether they are more likely to abuse alcohol because of the negative emotional effects associated with losing their job.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
According to a recent study that was published in July by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, it is thought that the increase in adults who are dependent on alcohol while being unemployed might be due to the effects of losing their job. This study was conducted during the recession that took place between 2008 and 2010. It was during this time that the experts actually discovered a spike in the unemployment rates, which rose from 5% to 10%, and substance abuse actually remained quite constant within this group.
Furthermore, studies have shown that substance abuse spikes just after someone loses their job, but in the long term, they need to find work to sustain their addiction, and this can lead to a long term maintenance of the problem.
Studies on alcohol addiction are important because they can pinpoint certain factors about why addiction starts in the first place, as well as what facets of society need to be tackled in order to prevent this issue from arising in the first place.
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