What to Do When Alcohol Abuse Hits Educators

What to Do When Alcohol Abuse Hits Educators

Rates of alcohol abuse and drug abuse vary by profession. Individuals in various professions can suffer from addiction or alcohol abuse at any time. When alcohol abuse hits educators, it can feel like there is fear around how to handle this for people who help educate others. They are not at the top of the list as most are doctors or lawyers that struggle in professional settings but they may feel more stigmatized and lack the opportunity for formal treatment. 

Teacher Treatment

A comprehensive treatment program for alcohol use disorder (NIDA) should include certain things. When educators receive the right treatment, they are in a better position to heal properly from addiction and enter recovery.  This treatment may include:

  • Formal assessment to determine the severity of abuse
  • The treatment program that is sensitive to the needs of the individual
  • Withdrawal management for alcohol or drugs
  • Medically assisted treatment, including medications (as needed)
  • Substance use disorder therapy as a key to recovery
  • Participation in social support groups to boost recovery success

Treatment Decision

The decision to enter treatment is made by every person individually. Substance use disorder interventions are often performed by friends and relatives who place consequences on a person for not entering treatment. It may not result in the loss of their job, but they can be placed on the watch to look out for ways this interferes with their ability to teach kids. There is little difference in treatment outcomes between individuals who are forced into treatment recovery programs by employers. It is important not to enable the individual by making idle threats and causing them to become defensive. 

Why it Happens

Several theories exist as to why some teachers turn to substance abuse. The first one is that stress is so huge for teachers now, dealing with social work issues in kids. They are having a hard time juggling life and work together, so things get out of balance. The use of alcohol or drugs to reduce perceived stress is very common for all occupations and may be hypothesized that stress reduction may be a reason why educators begin using or abusing drugs or alcohol. It may reduce issues associated with stress and complicate them over time. 

Another reason for using substances is to enhance mood. This prevalence of depression and struggles with mental health can make it necessary for some to use mood enhancers to help combat symptoms. Teachers may be more likely to become depressed than those in other occupations. Teaching can be monotonous for some and stressful for others. Teachers may turn to substances, along with other educators, as a means of coping. Teachers and educators may use it to help with sleep issues and desire to feel better. 


There is no solution to breaking the stigma associated with substance abuse. Seeking treatment changes behavior. People appreciate honesty but the stigma still survives today. Understanding the signs and symptoms helps break the stigma of drug abuse. If family members notice signs and they don’t want treatment, an intervention might help make others aware and find support for getting their loved ones to help. Stigma is hard to combat but people can decide to get help and follow this journey forward to healing from addiction. 

The Palmetto Center is based on a Therapeutic Community model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. Educators are especially welcome as people who need treatment from addiction. Our program provides a special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.