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Drive Podcast: Supporting Truckers With Mental Health & Substance Use Disorders

June 28, 2024

Don't Let Stress Steer You Wrong: Keeping Your Head Clear on the Road and Where to Turn to if Your Mental Health or Substance Use Prevents it

As a truck driver, your mental health is just as important as your physical health and sharpness behind the wheel. It’s critical for those behind the wheels of America’s big rigs for hours upon end every day. As the open road stretches out before you, so can the long hours, tight deadlines, and the loneliness of the cab.

Scott Busby, Admissions Director for Sunrise Detox Centers, talked with Zac Elsts and Chelsea Faulkner about truckers’ mental health. Busby shares his expertise on how to keep your mental health strong and avoid the temptation to self-medicate with substances. He also discusses what resources are open to those in the trucking industry. Listen to this episode of the Drive podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform.

Truckers Can Be Prime Targets For Mental Health And Substance Abuse

Truckers are some of the toughest people on the road, but that doesn't mean they have to be invincible. By taking charge of their mental and physical health, they can stay focused, avoid risky substances, and keep their rigs—and lives—on the right track. Busby gave an hour of informative advice based on his experiences, seeing so many find recovery from mental health and substance use disorders at Sunrise Detox and its parent organization, Praesum Healthcare.

Here's the breakdown of what Busby probed with Elsts and Faulkner:

  • The Trucker's Tightrope: We explored the challenges that can lead to mental health issues and substance abuse – stress, fatigue, and feeling disconnected from the world.

  • Mind, Body, and Road: The podcast emphasized that mental well-being is linked to physical health. Skipping healthy meals and battling exhaustion can mess with your mood and make you more likely to reach for unhealthy coping mechanisms.

  • Warning Signs on the Road: Busby noted the red flags to watch out for, like constantly feeling on edge, having trouble sleeping, and relying on pills or alcohol to get you through the day.

  • Stay in Control of Your Ride: The podcast offered quality tips and access to resources to keep your mental and physical health in the fast lane.

Sunrise Detox stands as a beacon of hope and a leader in medical detox. We are focused on providing each client with the most precise, customized, and personal care.


In this episode, Busby and his team highlighted simple tips for all of us in addition to these hardy road warriors. We’re all susceptible to the same substance use and mental health challenges truck drivers face. Here are some recommendations:

  • Call Your Crew: Don't let isolation be your co-pilot. Chat with family, friends, or fellow truckers to stay connected.

  • Catch Those Zzz's: Prioritize sleep! Develop a sleep routine that keeps you feeling rested and alert.

  • Healthy Habits: Eat right, exercise when you can (even a walk around the truck stop!), and find healthy ways to de-stress, such as meditation, deep breathing, or listening to calming music.

  • Seek Help if Needed: Feeling overwhelmed? Don't be afraid to reach out! Mental health hotlines and support groups are there for truckers, and SDC has stellar detox programs available to help with substance use recovery. There's no shame in asking for help.

More About the Drive Podcast

Drive by HandledNow is an acclaimed podcast for truck drivers looking to enhance their lives both on and off the road and for carriers seeking a driver who might be a perfect fit for their operation. Its latest season began with a topic on everyone’s minds, whether stationary or traversing the country.

Co-hosted by Elsts and Faulkner, “Drive” has a unique platform for conversations that keep us moving forward in every area of our lives. Their principal guest to begin season 5 brought a whole new dimension for the legions of listening truckers.

The unique stress of this line of work, with its isolation and pressure to deliver on time, can make that truck stop beer or "stay awake" pill seem mighty tempting. This celebrated podcast explored the reasons why mental health struggles and substance use can be a real danger zone for truckers and, more importantly, how they can stay on the straight and narrow.


Busby was able to showcase the range of accredited programs that cater directly to truckers, including an intricate support system in person and online, the mental health challenges truck drivers face, and the interconnection between substance abuse and mental health.

Among the profound trucking topics they covered were the connection between substance abuse and mental health, how drivers can fall into the trap of addiction, and what steps they can take to recover. Included was a focus on the importance of understanding medication effects and the need for better education to prevent accidental violations.

SDC is a national leader in medical detox for addiction, driven to provide the most precise, customized care filled with healing, growth, and unwavering support for those on the journey to a healthier life free from substance use and mental health disorders.

Busby shared real-life stories from truckers and comments from those who successfully completed the detox program and advanced their recovery in Praesum Healthcare’s continuum of care. He noted the importance of employer support and outlined the steps truckers can take to ensure they get the help they need.

Just as there are many types of addictive drugs, there are several types of detox for drug and alcohol addiction, and Sunrise Detox addresses them all. And It’s not only truckers but all road warriors who have immediate access to a full continuum of rehab programs and services. If you need an excellent place to connect and assess your mental health, try our Facebook group, Safe Harbor.

Contact Us Now to Take Your First Step to Recovery

SDC provides healing, growth, and unwavering support for those on the journey to a healthier life free from substance use and mental health disorders. Contact us for more information about our programs for professionals like truckers, our values, and the diverse treatments we offer. If you’ve decided to start alcohol or drug detox, we're standing by to help. Dial <<m:phone>> today.
Stephen Cook Head Shot
Born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, Stephen Cooke brings over a decade of experience in international and American healthcare communications to Praesum. A prolific writer and published author, Stephen has dedicated his career to promoting health and recovery across various organizations.