Alcohol and Drug Abuse Among Restaurant and Bar Workers

SpringBoard Recovery provides effective treatment for substance use & mental health disorders.

There is a battle with drugs and alcohol in every walk of life and it is no different for restaurant and bar workers. It has been stated that in these types of jobs, people often turn to substance abuse due to stress. They often require long hours as well as low pay. Many employed in these industries take on second jobs to help meet the financial needs of their families.

Our outpatient drug treatment program allows you to keep work and family commitments while focusing on your sobriety.


Many people who work in the restaurant and bar industry have developed an addiction to alcohol or some other type of substance abuse. They give themselves many different reasons and excuses for their addictions and may not even realize they have one.

At SpringBoard Recovery, we want people to know there is help for people who work in this field. They face so many daily challenges, and they need treatment options that work. We offer coping skills to help beat these challenges and ways to live a life of sobriety and true happiness.

The Dangers of Alcohol

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), alcohol is a major active ingredient in wine, beer, and distilled liquor. It is a colorless, inflammable liquid with an intoxicating effect. It is produced by using different sources of sugars. Beer is made from grapes or berries, whiskey from fermented grains, and rum from molasses. Hard liquors such as whiskey, gin and vodka are produced by distillation.

Alcohol, unlike food, does not have to be digested, so when a person drinks, it enters the body through the stomach walls. It is quickly processed through the gastrointestinal tract, meaning that moments after alcohol is consumed it can be found in all tissues, organs and secretions of the body.

  • 20% of alcohol is absorbed immediately into the bloodstream.
  • 80% of alcohol enters the bloodstream through the gastrointestinal tract.

How Fast Does Alcohol Take Effect?

The speed at which alcohol enters the bloodstream and affects the brain and body depends on several factors:

  • How fast a person drinks
  • Whether the stomach is empty or full
  • Choice of alcohol beverage chosen
  • How much a person weighs
  • A person’s mood or expectations

Signs of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Among Restaurant and Bar Workers

There are signs to look for when alcohol use is excessive. These signs of alcohol abuse include:

  • Excessive drinking at any given time
  • Alcohol use to cope with mental or personal problems
  • Becoming upset when confronted about alcohol use
  • Drinking early in the mornings to help with hangovers
  • Withdrawal symptoms when alcohol drinking has stopped

There are also signs to look for with substance abuse. These signs may include:

  • Isolation from others.
  • Changes in behavior, that are brought on quickly.
  • Taking chances that are out of the normal attitude.
  • A deep craving for more of the substance to act normal.

Why are Many Restaurant and Bar Workers More Likely to Abuse Drugs and Alcohol?

There are many reasons that anyone begins using substances, and restaurant and bar workers are no different. These types of jobs require long hours and pay that is below minimum wage, so without good tips, a decent income to help with the cost of living is hard to establish.

There is stress in the restaurant and bar industry of working long hours. Quite often,  pulling double shifts and dealing with aggressive customers can cause an individual to begin looking for ways to cope that can lead to an addiction.

The risk factors that are identified as contributors to substance abuse are in these fields are:

  • High turnover positions
  • Living alone
  • Irregular hours
  • Work stress
  • Low-income jobs
  • To help face the stresses of life
  • To escape reality
  • To forget their worries
  • Aggressive managers

How do Family and Friends Enable Addictive Behaviors?

It is easy for family and even friends to help enable addictive behaviors and not realize that they are only helping to contribute to continual use. It is through emotions of guilt and remorse that causes the family to give in to the request of money or to offer a free place to stay. This, in turn, makes their own home unsafe and it causes a lot of undue stress on the person’s loved ones.

Enabling includes supporting the individual’s addictive thoughts and behaviors. This helps to prevent them from facing the consequences of their actions. By offering explanations for events or actions that they have encountered, it only serves to give them an excuse to continue with their alcohol or substance abuse.

Excuses for the loved one’s addiction is ranked high on the list of enabling a person to continue with their addictive behavior. But there is help available, and not just for the one addicted. Family members and friends can also get help and support through groups like Al-Anon and Alateen. During rehab, family therapy can be an essential part of the healing process.

Drug and Alcohol Detox at SpringBoard Recovery

While many people drink moderately, it can easily become an addiction when it is done excessively. People need to know that there are treatment options available to help them reach their sobriety goals. When stopping the use of alcohol and drugs, it is always best to seek professional help to ensure that the goal is reached safely.

The first step is to detox the body, and this is to help relieve the body of all the chemicals that it has grown accustomed to. This is a step that can be reached but can also be difficult on the body and can cause withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Shakiness
  • Insomnia
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Dehydration
  • Appetite loss
  • Body aches and pains
  • Fatigue
  • Anger
  • Brain fog
  • Depression
  • Blood pressures being high or low
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Thoughts of self-harm
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Problems with memory

Being in treatment during detox helps people receive the medical attention they need. Complications can and do occur during withdrawal, but going through drug and alcohol detox can help prevent them. Also, getting help for withdrawal symptoms is much easier when in recovery than by attempting to do it alone.

There are many drugs of choice for different people but there are a few that need the detoxification process. This is because of the effects they have had on the addict and the possibility of the effects on the brain chemistry as well. Withdrawing from these drugs can also cause potential complications, and even death.

The drugs that require detox are:

  • Opioids – This includes prescription painkillers for chronic pain, as well as illegal drugs, such as heroin. Relapses are common, and they can easily lead to overdosing.
  • Alcohol – Alcoholics are at risk for delirium tremens during recovery. This is a potentially fatal condition unless it is treated. Detoxing can reduce the risk altogether.
  • Stimulants – Stopping the use of stimulants can result in severe symptoms of depression, which can lead to suicidal ideation.
  • Benzodiazepines – Are depressants and common names are Xanax, Klonopin and Valiums.
  • Medical Detox – Medical detox is suggested for those who are recuperating from stimulants and benzodiazepines. This method of detox requires continuous medical supervision, so if needed staff can intercede if an emergency arises. The patients with this type of detox are also given medications that help with withdrawal symptoms.
  • Rapid Detox – Rapid Detox is one type of detox that is not approved by most experts but is still used due to the type of substance or substances that may have been abused. This type of detox requires taking medications to help bring on the withdrawal symptoms very rapidly and then more medications to reverse and bring on calmness.
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment – Medication-assisted treatment is for people who are addicted to opioids and alcohol. It includes behavioral therapy and certain FDA-approved medications.
  • Holistic Detox – This is a great way to naturally cleanse the body of toxins and many patients also go through nutrition therapy as well. During holistic detox, an exercise program is recommended because it helps the body release more toxins. As a result, the patient also feels mentally and physically better.
  • Ultra-Rapid Detox – Ultra-rapid detox is very much like rapid detox in some ways except for when the patient is put under general anesthesia unlike receiving different medications.

Different Types of Drug and Alcohol Rehabs

After detox has been completed, it is always highly recommended for people to go to rehab. This is a very important next step, and it includes helping remain sober and find the reasons why the addiction began.

Rehab offers different types of care that help with what type of treatment program is needed or required. Listed below are the different types of rehabs available:

  • Intensive Outpatient Program – This type of rehab permits the patient to continue working and living at home while receiving the care needed to help overcome the addiction. 
  • Inpatient Rehab – This is a 28-day rehab program and is considered one of the highest levels of treatment with round-the-clock support.
  • Sober Living – Sober living homes are actually not rehab programs at all. Instead, they furnish an environment that is free from triggers and temptations. They provide a safe place to live for people who are in recovery while they receive treatment.
  • Partial Hospitalization Programs – PHPs are also called day treatment programs. They are very rigorous and are available on an outpatient basis. They consist of different types of treatment, including therapy. They meet five to seven days a week for several hours at a time.

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Restaurant and bar workers often suffer from co-occurring disorders. This simply means that the person suffers from substance abuse and also has a mental health disorder. The two are so close together that they can be hard to distinguish separately which makes it tough to see and treat both.

Some mental health conditions are the result of alcohol or drug abuse. But most are in existence and enhanced more through the abuse of drugs and/or alcohol. Some of the most common co-occurring disorders include:

Treating co-occurring disorders is vitally important in order for addiction recovery to be successful long-term. Dual diagnosis treatment has been implemented in many drug and alcohol treatment centers for this reason.

Dual diagnosis treatment looks at each person as an individual with their own needs during recovery. It treats both addiction and mental health issues at the same time. This is beneficial for a few different reasons. People also find that with their psychiatric conditions addressed, they no longer have a need to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.

The Importance of Aftercare

Continuing to recover from addiction is critical, and once detox and rehab are over, the hard work truly begins. Restaurant and bar workers should always go to any follow-up appointments. Those who recover successfully are those who continue to get support.

A lot of treatment programs take more of a step-down approach to addiction recovery. A person may begin with inpatient rehab and then transition into an IOP. 12-Step programs are also available and they can be highly beneficial as well.

Treatment for Alcohol and Drug Addiction for Restaurant and Bar Workers

At SpringBoard Recovery, we treat everyone with respect. We know that you need your job at the restaurant or the bar and we offer a treatment plan that is just for you. We understand your concerns and we offer personalized treatment to help people meet their goals of getting clean and sober.

SpringBoard Recovery offers these different types of therapies:

Whether you own a restaurant or bar or just work at one of these jobs, we want you to know that there is help and that you are not alone. Contact us today and let us help you begin your journey to the life you deserve.

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