Drug and Alcohol Addiction in Pilots
Pilots that serve the transportation industry cover an array of jobs: commercial airliners, private companies, logistics transport services and more. A commonality amongst them is the stress that arises from the responsibilities associated with being a pilot. In fact, stress is the strongest risk factor for drug and alcohol abuse. We offer rehab for pilots.
Airplane passengers and companies from continent to continent put their personal safety and corporate livelihood in the hands of pilots every day. The pressure can be overwhelming.
Irregular hours and time spent away from home can also be difficult, luring some pilots to drug and alcohol use to cope with the stress of the job. It’s no wonder that substance abuse is more common among older pilots than younger pilots, perhaps due to the long-term stress.
Drug and Alcohol Addiction in Pilots
Alcohol and marijuana are the most widely abused substances by pilots which may coincide with a more “lax” public perception about consuming each. However, even recreational use creates substantial dangers as it compromises decision-making and the ability to respond quickly to changes or hazards during takeoff, flight time and landing.
- 15% to 20% of aviation accidents are tied to substance abuse
- 25% of pilots fatally injured in a crash tested positive for substances in the past
On average, more than 1,000 pilots are investigated for suspected alcohol or drug addiction each year and of them, many test positive for illicit drugs resulting in job termination and revocation of their license to fly.
Pilots Can Overcome Addiction with the Right Treatment
Air Line Pilots Association Supports Addiction Recovery with HIMS
The Human Intervention Motivation Study, or HIMS, was launched by the Air Line Pilots Association representing more than 59,000 pilots in 33 airlines within the United States and Canada. This ongoing project began in the 1970s and its objective was to study alcoholism in airline pilots but evolved into a substance abuse treatment program for pilots, still in effect today. It coordinates addiction assessment, drug rehab for pilots, and the support needed to return to work after recovery.
How to enter the HIMS Program:
- Self referral
- Pilot manager referral
- DUI report
- Formal intervention
The program begins with an initial substance abuse assessment, which can be done at Scottsdale Recovery Center. After entering in to treatment (inpatient residential or intensive outpatient) many pilots continue with some form of recovery aftercare for continued support and sobriety success.
HIMS has a criteria checklist for alcohol and drug rehab centers to protect its members from unethical rehab facilities. Some of the criteria includes:
- Credentialed counselors and a full-time addiction physician
- 12-step program
- Total abstinence approach
- Acknowledgment of addiction as a disease
- Counseling therapy from psychologists and psychiatrists
- Emphasis on family treatment
- Separation of addiction patients and primary psychiatric patients
Scottsdale Recovery Center follows the HIMS guidelines and criteria to ensure that our program for pilots helps them recover safely and return to their careers.
How Pilots Can Avoid Addiction Relapse
Recovery for pilots can be complex because the goal is to eventually return to your career. Since the career is the source of the stress, which led to the substance abuse, how can a pilot effectively return to work without it engaging an addiction relapse?
Scottsdale Recovery Center takes a comprehensive approach to its pilot program. In addition to detox and other medical treatments and holistic therapies, positive life skills are learned to promote better coping mechanisms to use in the face of stress, minimizing the triggers for relapse.
Co-Occurring Disorders Are Common with Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Depending on substance addiction and the length of time used, mental health is impaired. Anxiety and depressive disorders often arise or may have been present initially, driving the pilot to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. This is referred to as a co-occurring disorder, or dual diagnosis, when a mental disorder coexists with a substance addiction. Leaving dual diagnosis unaddressed further engages both illnesses, increasing health risks and the potential for injury and death. Scottsdale Recovery Center provides treatment for dual-diagnosis disorders to include depression, anxiety, PTSD, or suicidal thoughts.
It may seem difficult or impossible to overcome an addiction, but recovery is always possible. The highly-accredited, treatment professionals at Scottsdale Recovery Center understand the challenges exclusive to pilots, and offer the comprehensive care needed to engage recovery for a lifetime.
All PPO Insurance Policies Accepted. Often Times You Can Enter Our Executive Health / Addiction Recovery Facility With Little or No Deductible or Co-Pay (All Policies Vary). Call Scottsdale Recovery Center Today @ 1-888-NODRUGS