Is Addiction Common In The Marketing Industry?

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Working in the field of marketing can be fun and highly creative. However, it can also be high stress. To cope with stress, some marketing professionals may turn to alcohol or drugs. Fortunately, there are supports in place to help marketers start on the path to recovery.

Is Addiction Common In The Marketing Industry?

The marketing industry specializes in communicating information about products or services to businesses or consumers. The goal is to generate sales, represent the business, and forge partnerships.

A majority of businesses, especially large corporations, have their own marketing departments. More than 20 million people work in sales and marketing, and the industry is growing.

There are many types of marketing strategies, from content marketing to digital marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, making it a field that companies strongly rely on.

Working in marketing can be fun, creative, and ever-changing. However, it can also be overwhelming, with a seemingly endless stream of high-priority tasks to accomplish.

To cope with feelings of overwhelm, some marketing professionals may turn to drugs or alcohol. Nearly 12% of these workers abuse drugs and 8% abuse alcohol.

Read more about careers with high rates of addiction.

Rates Of Addiction Among Marketing Professionals

About one in 12 marketing professionals have alcohol use disorder (AUD). However, heavy drinking in this industry is on the downswing.

The perception of an alcohol-centric workplace culture in marketing began during the ’50s and ’60s, in what has come to be known as the Mad Men era of marketing.

At this time, alcohol and drugs were prevalent in the industry as a way to mingle, forge relationships with potential customers, and even remain competitive by working longer hours.

Alcohol is still common at industry events, especially in marketing agencies. However, its popularity is decreasing, particularly among young adults.

Drug Use In Marketing

Though details on drug use in marketing are lesser known, a percentage of these professionals use illicit substances.

The most commonly used illicit substance in the U.S. is marijuana. However, because of its widespread legalization, it’s no longer considered illicit in some states.

Some people use marijuana because they believe it boosts creativity. However, over time, regular marijuana use can lead to cannabis use disorder and progress to other substance use as well.

Prescription Drug Abuse In Marketing

There is an absence of data about the use of prescription drugs, such as opioids and stimulants, in marketing. However, one study found that 75% of employers in general say that opioid use has affected their workplace.

On a positive note, there are many marketers who specialize in treatment marketing. This type of marketing includes marketing campaigns to improve public health by raising awareness about substance dependency.

Type Of Drug Use Rate Of Addiction Trend
Alcohol Use 8% Decreasing
Illicit Drug Use 12% Marijuana is the most-used drug in this industry and nationwide
Prescription Drug Abuse N/A N/A

Signs Of Addiction In Marketing Workers

If a person is abusing drugs and/or alcohol, there are typically telltale physical and behavioral health signs. These signs may be more or less apparent depending on the extent of substance use.

Common signs of substance use disorder (SUD) include:

  • bloodshot, glossy eyes
  • pupils that are pinhole-sized or oversized
  • shakiness or tremors
  • uncharacteristic mood swings, i.e., paranoia, aggression, fearfulness, giddiness, etc.
  • change in complexion
  • sudden weight loss or gain
  • reduced concern for personal appearance and/or hygiene
  • unusual smells on their clothes or person

There are also signs of addiction that may be particularly noticeable in a workplace setting.

Common signs of SUD in marketing professionals may include:

  • reduced productivity
  • increased lateness and/or rescheduled meetings or compromised deadlines
  • increased absences or disappearances during work hours
  • more frequent trips to the bathroom
  • impulsivity
  • reduced coordination
  • increased incidence of work-related errors
  • reduced motivation
  • problematic relationships with colleagues, clients, or managers
  • poor memory recall

Possible Contributing Factors To Addiction In Marketing Professionals

Every industry has demands and stressors, but in marketing, there are particular contributors that may affect the rate of substance abuse among this demographic.

Job Security Concerns

No matter how successful marketing professionals are, they often face a greater level of job insecurity than coworkers in other departments.

In the event of a recession, marketing and sales professionals are often among the first to be laid off. The thought is that fewer sales are made during this time.

Although this may not be a concern year-round, it can become more pressing depending on the state of the economy, such as during the coronavirus pandemic.

Availability Of Alcohol At Events

People who work in marketing are often at the backend of production. While sales teams meet with prospective clients, marketing handles production.

However, if and when there are events such as happy hours, networking luncheons, and team-bonding opportunities related to production, they are often focused around alcohol.

When meeting with prospective clients and/or business partners, some people may use alcohol as a way to loosen up and feel more comfortable.

There is also a cultural acceptance of drinking, especially among overworked teams. In these instances, non-drinkers can be made to feel like outsiders.

High Workload

While some companies may have an entire team devoted to marketing, small businesses may employ one or two people to perform all their marketing services.

Depending on the nature of the work, this dynamic can place a lot of responsibilities on these workers. Workers may feel pressured to fulfill tasks on time while maintaining high quality.

Working in a fast-paced, demanding environment, whether in marketing or in another industry, can cause workers to feel compelled to seek relief after work hours.

Keeping Up With New Technologies

Every few years, and even more often as of late, new opportunities to market content, especially digitally, are developed. With these new developments comes the push for workers to master them.

One of the more recent developments came with the social media platform TikTok. Marketing professionals may need to learn how to use these platforms for advertising as well as lead generation.

Each new platform carries different requirements for marketing visual, audio, video, and written content. What works on LinkedIn, for instance, may not work on Instagram.

To keep up with demands, marketers must remain on the cutting edge of new technologies and seek to educate themselves on how to utilize them successfully.

Supporting Marketing Professionals With Substance Abuse Issues

Anyone can develop an addiction, regardless of their age, education, or career.
Fortunately, there are ways for employers to support marketing professionals with addiction issues.

Marketing companies can enforce a culture of health in the workplace, which emphasizes healthy behaviors that are conducive to well-being. This culture can include a drug-free work policy.

Companies can also provide their employees with information on treatment providers if they were to experience an addiction. Support should be clear and thorough, and void of shame.

Some employers provide workers with employer-paid health care. If such is the case, employers can offer a list of detox, inpatient, and outpatient treatment options that are available in their plan.

Employee assistance programs (EAPs) can be made available to help employees who are dealing with substance abuse, as well as mental health issues and other personal matters.

Other Options Available To Professionals

In addition to workplace support and information on addiction treatment centers, marketing professionals with addiction issues can seek support through therapy and counseling services.

Professionals also have the option to attend peer-led recovery groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Meetings are held at some rehab centers and, in some cases, online.

Start On The Road To Recovery Today

Dealing with an addiction is hard, but you don’t have to work toward addiction recovery alone.

If you or a loved one is dealing with a drug or alcohol addiction, contact to get connected with a treatment facility today.

For 24/7 Treatment Help Call:
(888) 859-4403

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