Teachers and Alcohol Addiction

Teachers and Alcohol AddictionStatistics on substance abuse vary when it comes to teachers. Citing a government survey in 2007, MSNBC wrote online that about 4 percent of teachers reported past-month illegal drug use, which is below the national average. Meanwhile, the 1990 Journal of Drug Education article “Teacher Drug Use: A Response to Occupational Stress” discovered higher rates of alcohol use in a survey of 500 Texas teachers. According to the BBC in 2000, nearly a quarter of British head teachers reported heavy alcohol use or dependence in a labor union survey. In both the Texas and British surveys, teachers said stress and overwork were the primary motivations for their abuse.

Teachers and Alcohol

In addition to stress, there are several other reasons an educator might abuse alcohol, including the following:

  • An effort to sedate the mind if struggling with insomnia or anxiety
  • A relaxation aid if teaching an overly difficult group of students
  • Social conditioning if educated at a party-heavy college or university
  • Addiction problems related to genetic and environmental predisposition
  • An attempt to use the bar scene as a setting to meet other single adults

Teachers typically have a high profile in the community, especially if they live in the same school zone where they teach. The public scrutiny can be stressful, and privacy concerns can impact a teacher’s willingness to seek addiction help.

Privacy Concerns for Teachers

A 24-year-old teacher in Georgia lost her job in 2011 because a Facebook photo taken during a European vacation years before showed her with a beer in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. Whether right or wrong, situations like this make many teachers afraid to have any public association with alcohol, including the following:

  • Social drinking after work
  • The purchase of alcohol at a store
  • Alcohol addiction treatment
  • Recovery support groups

Certain parents and neighbors may take issue with a social drinker or recovering alcoholic teaching children in the community, and this can motivate teachers to start a pattern of secret alcohol use. Regularly drinking under anxious conditions can be psychologically unhealthy, and it can make teachers more apprehensive to get help if addictive behaviors emerge.

Teachers and Addiction Treatment

Teachers may be dismissed if alcohol use limits their ability to fulfill work responsibilities like student safety, and the Department of Education states that certain legal protections for public teachers do not apply to situations that occurred under the influence of alcohol. In seeking treatment, however, teachers have rights and options, including the following:

  • Prior treatment and addiction problems cannot be used against a teacher.
  • Addiction-related information must be kept confidential.
  • Public schools generally need to make reasonable accommodations for treatment.
  • Teachers can consider an out-of-town treatment center if worried about local exposure.

Addiction treatment is the best way to avoid health, work, and legal problems. Rehabilitation centers can help addicted teachers with several potential services, including the following:

  • Detoxification under medical care in a comfortable setting
  • Screenings and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues
  • Counseling to identify alcohol-use triggers and unhealthy behaviors
  • Optional holistic therapies to assist with insomnia and stress
  • Group therapy to share experiences and provide mutual support

Local support groups are an important aspect of aftercare recovery, and privacy is important to all involved. Finding support within the community is important. However, if a teacher is still concerned, he or she can join a group that is located in a different school zone.

Substance Abuse Help

Speak with one of our admissions coordinators to discuss alcoholism treatment, facility locations, and other concerns. If you have health insurance, we can check your policy for rehabilitation benefits. Please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline now.