Every day, the roads are full of heavy duty trucks. Truck drivers are responsible for nearly 80 percent of America’s freight. Being a truck driver is not an easy job and it is not for everyone. Trucking can be hard on an individual both physically and mentally. Suffering from mental health can put truck drivers in a dangerous situation. To safely operate a heavy duty vehicle, drivers need to be physically and mentally healthy. Mental health issues are common in truck drivers. Check out below the four common mental health issues that truck drivers face.
Why Mental Health Issues Are Common in Truck Drivers
Truck driving is a demanding job and can be very stressful at times. A stressful work environment leads to anxiety and depression. In addition to a stressful work environment, truck drivers spend a lot of time alone in their truck. Constantly being alone can affect one’s mental health. Although many truck drivers suffer from mental health issues, some are afraid to get help because they fear losing their job. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires drivers to be in good health before receiving or renewing a commercial driver’s license.
The trucking industry is predominantly male. A study by RAHM states that men are less likely to get treatment for their mental health than women. It is important for drivers to take care of their mental health as much as their physical health.
Common Mental Health Issues in Truck Drivers
Depression: Depression is an illness that affects you mentally, physically and emotionally. It is very common in the trucking industry. Being alone and away from friends and family contributes to depression. It is important to know the difference between feeling down and having depression. If you feel that you are experiencing depression, seek out help. Depression is serious and can affect your ability to operate your truck.
Anxiety: Because of how stressful trucking can be, anxiety is very common for drivers. This is especially true for new drivers. Many experienced drivers have reported having anxiety and panic attacks while on the road. It is important to know the difference between new driver anxiety and generalized anxiety. If you are often experiencing anxiety while working, take the necessary steps to get help.
Chronic Sleep Disturbances: A good night’s rest is crucial to truck drivers. Not having enough sleep can make it dangerous to operate a heavy duty vehicle. Because of a truck driver’s living and work situation, good sleep can be difficult. A NCBI study reports that 20% to 28.6% of truck drivers have unspecified sleep disorders and 27.5% of truck drivers are diagnosed with insomnia. Sleep is extremely important for your mental and physical health. If you are experiencing problems sleeping while trucking, consider seeking professional help.
Loneliness: Truck drivers spend many days and weeks isolated in their truck. According to Business Insider, nearly a third of drivers say being alone is a significant issue affecting their mental health. If you are experiencing loneliness on the road, check out our blog Mental Health Tips For Truckers.