Addiction among hospitality and food industry staff has been a long held open secret for many years. The long hours and tough work environments required in food service take their toll on people’s health. Eventually, they run the risk of getting involved in drinking a lot, using drugs, and seeking opportunities to numb themselves any way they can. On top of this, it can take many years to get to the top of the food chain, so to speak, to have even a chance at running a restaurant. The pressure to perform can become intense and lead some to drink or use drugs to cope. Find out more about the struggles chefs face and how to find support.

Why it Happens

Chefs who work in the food industry love to provide excellent service for their customers. They are driven by their passion for food and bringing joy to others through it, but often end up not taking care of themselves in order to take care of others. Sometimes chefs go to rehab several times, only to end up back in food service jobs and continue to find they struggle with triggers and relapse. Cravings are always there, too, which make it difficult to not use when it seems everyone else is doing it, too. A few notable chefs in recent years have talked openly about addiction in the kitchen and fighting back against a trend towards using drugs or alcohol as a way of coping with work, life, and trying to find balance.

Mental Health in the Kitchen

One of the challenges for people with addiction is they do not know or see they have a problem until they are forced to see it through their behavior’s impact on loved ones. Often, it is those closest to them that suffer. Mentally, a chef can become depressed or struggle with anxiety and other mental health issues working in this environment. Not only this, but they may already struggle with those issues coming into the work environment and decide to use drugs or alcohol as a means of coping with the struggle every day at work.

Education is Key

Young service professionals who are coming to work in the food industry may be hungry to achieve the status and acclaim of many chefs they see on television, in the media, or simply in their circle of friends. To achieve that level, it takes a lot of hard work, long hours, and determination. Educating young people from older chefs who have been there can help them find hope to overcome their mental health and addiction issues before they even start. Once people become addicted to drugs or alcohol, it is hard to quit. It may be even harder to quit while working in the food service industry. No matter the age, it does not discriminate. The key is to learn as much as possible about addiction and mental health to know the signs someone is in distress. Chefs and other food service personnel are not immune to the ravages of addiction. They need support and help from loved ones who care about their well-being and will help them navigate work and life in balance without turning to substances. Seeking treatment can be helpful, but it may mean finding a new environment in which to work that better supports a person’s overall health to they can thrive in recovery.

A Step in the Right Direction provides quality care for clients seeking support for addiction recovery. We understand the food service industry is difficult when it comes navigating addiction and mental health issues. Our professional staff are here to help anyone seeking help for addiction or mental health issues that is ready to get clean and sober. For more information sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702.