Education is universally considered to be one of the most difficult professions, especially in the United States, and the stress increases every year. By most standards of measurement, teachers are underpaid, undervalued, and underappreciated.
Teachers are working under the constant state of fear of school violence, budget cuts, difficult parents, ever-changing policies and often unsupportive administrators. Due to this unrelenting pressure and job stress, alcohol and drug addiction is a steady and growing issue with teachers in the education system.
Substance Abuse and School Teachers
In 2014, The British Association of Teachers and Lecturers issued the results of a 2014 poll of college and school staff which revealed a widespread rise in mental health concerns as a direct result of the job. Over half of the teachers revealed that their job hurt their mental health, with up to 80% saying they felt stressed during the day at work. Beyond that, 70% reported that work left them feeling drained and exhausted, and 66% said that they had difficulty sleeping due to the strain of their working conditions.
Another poll found that approximately 10 percent of teachers are prescribed antidepressants to help face the stressors in their daily face to face with students, parents, and administration. Almost half of the profession, 47% of teachers, have seen a doctor for their job-related mental health concerns, 14% have been to counseling, and 5 % have been hospitalized at some point. Twenty-two percent have admitted to an increase in drinking and binge drinking on the weekends, dreading Mondays. Seven percent admit to relying on prescription drugs to get through the workday and to relax after work.
Being a School Teacher is a Stressful Job
One of the most stress-causing issues at play with teachers is that they have so many different people to please. They stand in front of their students daily and have to follow a curriculum, rules, and policies set by an administration which oftentimes does not align with the teacher’s own classroom goals. Another group teachers have to deal with are the parents who also have different expectations from the students and policymakers. Teachers are faced with much more than the huge task of educating their students, they are being asked to please many different sets of people who usually want opposing things. It is no wonder that teachers experience severe anxiety and self-doubt. An online survey recently showed that out of 3,500 members of a teachers union, 67 % reported low morale and low self-esteem.
Another obstacle facing teachers is the stigma of substance abuse and mental health issues in their profession. A majority of teachers have a routine of “relaxing” after work with a few glasses of wine and throughout the weekends to stave off the “Monday morning dread”. Too often, however, this turns into binging, abuse, and use during working hours. The line between social use and addiction can be a slippery one. Teachers are both unappreciated and placed on a pedestal in our society, which makes it all the more difficult for them to seek treatment. Teachers are expected to display perfection both at work and at home, and there has been more of a stigma for teachers in the past.
Fortunately, over the last few years, the importance of mental health and the need to treat addiction has become better understood, and more and more teachers are seeking treatment. There are many symptoms of drug abuse and/or alcoholism, including mood swings, impulsive behavior, depression, anger, missing work, a decline in productivity, lack of motivation, anxiety, physical illness, and decline in good judgment. All of these hurt the teacher’s ability to implement their lesson plans, report to the administration and parents, and most importantly, to relate positively with their students.
Fear of Losing Employment if Seeking Drug Treatment
Many teachers are hesitant to seek treatment, fearing the loss of their job. However, if their substance abuse continues, they could lose their job and more. Addiction is a clinical, neurological disease, and therefore, employees are protected by the Family Medical Leave Act. Qualified employees in public or private schools to a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year. As addiction and/or alcoholism are determined to be fatal and chronic illnesses by the medical and healthcare industries, treatment is allowed by FMLA. The Americans with Disabilities Act also ensures job protection if the addict enters treatment on their own.
Drug Detox at Allure Detox for Teachers
At Allure Detox in West Palm Beach, we provide a safe environment for the addict to begin their recovery process. The first step is medical detox. Depending on the addict’s drug of choice, or if they have been abusing alcohol, detox can be dangerous and sometimes fatal. At Allure, we have a full-time staff of doctors and nurses in our medical facility to ensure a safe detox process.
During the detox treatment, our caring and educated staff will also work with the addict in a recovery plan for success after detox. Teachers can fall into addiction due to high-level stress and anxiety. Allure Detox can help the addict start over in the right direction with better ways to manage these without turning to substances for relief. If you or a loved one are suffering today, please call us at Allure Detox. We are available 24/7 to help educators in need of drug detox and addiction treatment.