Airline pilots consistently deal with high levels of stress due to tight flying schedules, safety concerns, and their responsibility for hundreds of lives every day on the job. This stress can build and lead to a number of physical and psychological problems including a reliance on drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. This drug and alcohol use, in turn, can quickly descend into dependency and addiction if left unchecked. For pilots facing alcohol or drug addiction, early treatment at an airline pilot rehab is essential.
Although enrolling in a rehab at the first signs of alcoholism or drug addiction is the best route to a successful recovery, many pilots have trouble with even admitting that they have a problem. There are many reasons for this, including concern about their job security or a tendency to think they have everything “under control.” The airline industry tends to attract the type of individuals who have a hard time admitting problems or seeking help for those problems, and this is especially true with pilots. Oftentimes, pilots see every problem as something they can handle through strength of will alone. However, alcohol or drug abuse rarely lends itself to this kind of “do-it-yourself” approach.
Successful recovery from alcohol or drug addiction is almost always the result of participation in a structured program of detox and treatment. For airline pilots, the effectiveness of treatment is also increased substantially if the pilot enrolls in a specialized airline pilot rehab. By addressing the specific issues that many pilots face in their descent into and recovery from addiction, these customized programs can give pilots the best chance at long-term recovery. Oftentimes, they are also staffed with individuals who have worked in the industry and understand its unique environment and stressors. Many of these staff members have been through treatment themselves as well, and can advise you on the pitfalls to avoid on your road to recovery.
When choosing one of these airline pilot rehab programs, there are a few things to look for. First off, make sure that any program you consider is certified by the Joint Commission (formerly the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) and has a medically supervised detox component. Also, although each program has its own unique elements, time has shown that those based on the 12-step model are the most effective. In addition, make sure that any program you are considering has been certified in the state where it is located. This will insure that you receive the best and safest treatment possible.