Professional Athletes and Addiction
The life of a professional athlete comes with an onset of expectations and pressures to perform to reach the full potential that is expected from them. While many athletes will turn to drug and alcohol abuse as a means to cope and manage the societal pressure and personal performance goals with no intention of developing a substance use disorder, the unfortunate truth is that many will fall into a cycle of addiction that will significantly impact their personal and professional life.
Professional athletes will turn to substance abuse for a variety of reasons, including:
- Cope with the pressure to perform to the optimal expected performance level
- Improve or enhance the level of athletic performance
- Pain management tool to treat injuries sustained while playing sports
- Self-medicating to treat presenting mental health disorders
- Peer pressure from other athletes and the social atmosphere surrounding the life of an athlete. From a young age playing in high school leagues to collegiate levels, the social status of an athlete is elite. It centers around a social scene of parties and games where others come to celebrate, often using drugs and alcohol.
- Personal or familial history with substance abuse
- Coping with entering into retirement
Addiction Statistics for Professional Athletes
Professional athletes living with drug or alcohol addiction at a high school, collegiate, or professional level impact many athletes. The following statistics demonstrate the prevalence and rising concern of substance abuse among professional athletes:
- Athletes using anabolic steroids include 0.7 to 6.6% of high school athletes, 9% of professional football players, and 67% of bodybuilders who have reported a history of anabolic steroid abuse.
- 71-93% of college athletes reported drinking alcohol within the last year
- Among college athletes, approximately 28% have reported using marijuana.
- Between 52% and 71% of professional football players have reported using opioids at least once within their professional football career.
- 23% of the student-athletes report using pain medication in the last year
- Since 2005, 47 MLB players have been suspended for abusing performance-enhancing drugs.
- Since 2012, the NFL has seen an uptick of athletes using performance-enhancing drugs, with 82 players receiving a suspension for being found with banned substances within their system.
- Over 30% of athletes that competed in the 2011 world athletic championships have admitted to using banned substances in the past.
Check out the list of musicians lost to drugs here:
How Athletes Get Addicted to Pain Pills
When playing professional sports, athletes give it their all to win the championship, push themselves beyond their limits to hit a new record or work to reach the ultimate goal of entering the Olympics. As you move your body to new heights and limits, injuries can inevitably be sustained.
Historically, the remedy to heal any sports-related injuries was a strict order from doctors to get lots of rest, take some Tylenol, and put some ice on it. Over the last 20 years, the world of sports medicine and sports-related injury has shifted to treating injuries sustained through sports with prescription opioids to help ease the pain and get athletes back on the field again as soon as possible. While doctors prescribe these medications as a quick medical treatment method, when you combine the additional factors and stressors of a professional athlete’s life, the allure of an escape through drug abuse can easily open the doors to substance abuse leading athletes into a spiral of drug addiction.
Professional Athletes and Alcohol
Professional athletes find their love of the sport from a young age. Joining sports leagues throughout high school and later continue into their college years with the hopes of entering into the professional leagues. Athletes that begin at a high school level are often exposed to alcohol from a young age through various high school parties, and eventually, become a means for athletes to cope with the stress of maintaining their athletic status and keeping their position on the starting lineup. High school athletes are focused on obtaining the goal of going professional. To get there, many will rely on obtaining scholarships and getting into the college of their choice that will propel them into the professional leagues. What once started as a social activity, alcohol then becomes a crutch and coping mechanism for young athletes carrying the weight of pressure to go pro and reach their ultimate dream.
Treatment for Athletes at WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab
WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab is the leading treatment center for athletes living with an active drug and alcohol addiction for the comprehensive approaches to addiction treatment that are provided to each patient. WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab has been ranked the number one addiction treatment center in Florida for the last two years based on the quality of care provided, the services provided to each patient, accommodations, amenities, and aftercare programs offered within all of our addiction treatment centers.
Healing from your drug and alcohol addiction requires a unique, personalized approach to addiction treatment that supports you in healing from the past emotions and traumas. It also helps patients discover a new way of life in sobriety and be equipped with the tools for relapse prevention to ensure long-lasting success in sobriety. Patients will be invited to participate in addiction therapy methods of behavioral therapy, dual diagnosis treatment, holistic treatment, and psychoeducational processes to develop the tools for life skills and techniques for relapse prevention. At WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab, we strive to provide each patient with an opportunity to heal from your drug and alcohol addiction within your body, mind, and spirit.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.