Detox & Drug Rehab In Orange County

Pilots And Drug And Alcohol Abuse

The aviation industry is a highly sensitive sector as it facilitates travel for millions of people in a day. Drug and alcohol abuse by the aviation crew or controlled substances before a flight can jeopardize many lives. Sadly, there have been cases of substance abuse among pilots, which has led to some fatalities.  In this […]

The aviation industry is a highly sensitive sector as it facilitates travel for millions of people in a day. Drug and alcohol abuse by the aviation crew or controlled substances before a flight can jeopardize many lives. Sadly, there have been cases of substance abuse among pilots, which has led to some fatalities

In this article, we will cover pilots and drug and alcohol abuse, why pilots turn develop these problems and how they can get help for substance abuse and addiction. 

Pilots And Drug Abuse

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) published a study in 2014 on the trends of drug use in the aviation industry. This study analyzed over 23 years of data and only focused n drugs and not alcohol. The drugs in the study include illicit drugs, over-the-counter medication, and prescription medication. 

Toxicology results in the study uncovered that:

  • There was an increase in the use of drugs.
  • Diphenhydramine, an OTC antihistamine, was the most abused drug.  It is an active ingredient in sleep and cold medications. 
  • There was an increase in the number of positive tests of THC among pilots for over ten years before the study. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana.
  • Pilots without a medical certificate were more likely to use controlled substances. 
  • There was an increase in the number of pilots who tested positive for at least one drug. 

Pilots and Alcohol Abuse

The Federal Aviation Administration carries out Alcohol toxicology tests on pilots over the years. Annual reports from the institution show that there are only a few cases of alcohol abuse and addiction. However, even a single case of alcohol abuse before flying is one too many. The FAA records show that:

  • Over the years, there has been an increase in the number of pilots who test positive for alcohol abuse. 
  • 64 pilots received citations for drug and alcohol abuse between 2010 and 2015. At least One Pilots test over the legal alcohol limit every month. 
  • In 2015 1546 aviation professionals and abused an illicit drug.


Why Do Pilots Abuse Drugs?

Pilots are still prone to the general family, social, and individual reasons for substance abuse. However, they still have unique factors that could lead them to substance abuse. Occupational stresses are a major contribution to drug and alcohol abuse by pilots. 

Some people assume that stresses you only part of the job, but it can cause chronic conditions. Moreover, workers should report stress because the stress factors could affect others across the industry. Some of the stressful factors for pilots include:

  • Geographical stresses
  • Pilots have an intense job with hectic work, high pressure, and a need for extreme focus. They need to focus for extended periods, which can cause short-term or long-term burnout. 
  • Pilots have a huge responsibility for transporting people safely.
  • The average person may find a pilot’s schedule dizzying. Pilots travel across different time zones frequently. Some may end up losing sleep or working more than five days a week. 
  • Other colleagues in the aviation industry may also be prone to stress. Occupational stresses may also affect pilots. For example, strikes by other personnel could get a pilot stranded in a foreign airport. 

Pilots are prone to the physical and psychological effects of stress. They include:

  • Anxiety
  • Low morale
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Isolation
  • Feelings of powerlessness
  • Drug or alcohol abuse as a coping mechanisms

Substance abuse and other effects of stresses in pilots could lead to more severe effects, which include:

  • Addiction to drugs and alcohol
  • Clinical depression
  • Damaged relationships with loved ones
  • Burnouts
  • Suicidal ideas or behavior
  • Overdose 

Substance Abuse In Aviation and Addiction Treatment for Pilots

Pilots need to get treatment for substance abuse treatment to avoid on-the-job and off-the-job effects. It is also important to understand that addiction is a chronic disease that affects your brain’s reward and decision-making system. Addiction compels you to abuse substances despite the negative effects. 

Anyone can suffer from addiction. Therefore, you should seek to get a loved one help rather than give judgment. Pilots struggling with addiction can get a lot of stigmas because the aviation industry is a high profile industry. 

Patients have unique needs for substance abuse treatment and addiction. Pilots usually have privacy needs of treatment due to the sensitive nature of their industry and careers. They will get the normal routine programs, including detox, inpatient treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, and ongoing treatment or aftercare.

However, most pilots enroll in the executive or luxury forms of addiction treatment programs. It means that they have high levels of privacy and luxury services. A good example of luxury services is luxury intensive outpatient addiction treatment at the comfort of your home. 

You should expect the following from the core addiction treatment programs:

Detoxification Programs for Pilots

Detox helps pilots to remove alcohol or drugs from their system. You will experience withdrawal symptoms that vary with the drug. Therefore, there is a need for measures to cope with detox. Rehab centers may offer medication to help ease withdrawal symptoms. Some rehab centers offer ultra-rapid detox to help you skip the discomfort of withdrawal. 

Inpatient Addiction Treatment for Pilots

Inpatient addiction treatment is a rehab program where you are at the rehab center 24/7 until treatment ends. You will have a safe space to withdraw and recover from substance abuse. Inpatient programs could be 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days long. Rehab centers provide programs like therapy, medication-assisted treatment, education, and more. 

Intensive Outpatient Treatment for Flight Crews

Intensive outpatient treatment is a form of rehab where you spend a better part of your day in rehab for treatment. It is as effective as inpatient treatment. 

Outpatient Treatment To Work Around Your Flight Schedule

Outpatient treatment is a rehab program that lets individuals attend other duties part-time and spend a few hours in rehab. You have the chance to go to work or school while getting treatment. However, pilots may not be able to go to work, especially if they are under strong withdrawal medication. 

Aftercare & Ongoing Treatment

Aftercare is an ongoing treatment program to help pilots and other patients maintain sobriety. Some forms of aftercare include individual therapy, family therapy, support groups, taking up new hobbies, and more. 

Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment in California

Pilots can get drug addiction treatment in California from Coastline Behavioral Health. We offer personalized care to help you meet your treatment and recovery needs for addiction and mental health issues. Call us today at (714)842-2260 to get addiction and mental health treatment.

Read our reviews or Leave A Review On GoogleYelp or Facebook
chevron-down Skip to content