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.
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:
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:
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:
Pilots are prone to the physical and psychological effects of stress. They include:
Substance abuse and other effects of stresses in pilots could lead to more severe effects, which include:
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:
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 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 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 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 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.
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.