When Professionals Get Addicted | Guest Post by Eva Benoit

We tend to think of drug and alcohol addiction as a problem for the lower class, but the reality is that drug and alcohol abuse takes place at all levels of society. When professionals and executives deal with addiction, the pressure is often higher because they have higher expectations and responsibilities placed on them. Dealing with this issue is difficult, so here are a few ideas about when and how you should seek help.


How Addiction Happens


Addiction is becoming tragically more common among busy professionals and executives. One study says that 21 to 36 percent of currently employed attorneys drink at a level consistent with an alcohol use disorder. Other studies have shown that workplace stress can be a trigger for abusing drugs or alcohol. Many business employees can also feel that grabbing a drink after work with their co-workers helps them unwind and helps strengthen their work relationships. If they do this too often, though, it can be a slippery slope to substance abuse. Or, if a busy professional is putting in a lot of hours, they may think they need to take uppers before a big meeting so they don’t seem tired from working so much. Then they have more drinks to unwind, and the cycle starts again.


When to Seek Help


The difference in many executives and professionals is that they think they can control their problem. They’re afraid they’re going to lose their job or they think things will fall apart without them, so they continue to hide their problem and function a fairly high level until it’s too late and their addiction overwhelms them.


Signs that the problem has eventually become too big to handle on their own include increasingly erratic behavior, difficulty making decisions and compromised judgment. Changes in personality and hygiene may also become evident, along with unexplained absences and abnormal financial transactions. If they are sleeping more or less than normal are withdrawing from social events or lose interest in activities they normally enjoy, they may be struggling with a substance abuse problem as well. If you see several of these signs in an executive, it may be time to approach them about getting some help to deal with their problem.


How to Get Help Without Derailing Your Career


One of the biggest fears executives face in addiction recovery is that they will fail in their jobs because of their issues. Many treatment programs have been designed with this in mind and provide treatment and therapy for executives flexible facility that allows them the time and space to continue working while receiving treatment. These executive rehab programs offer amenities that many other programs don’t, including access to private conference rooms with phones and computers, private catered meals, exercise facilities and more. Some of these facilities even create a spa-like atmosphere.


Executive rehab programs do cost more than typical recovery programs, but because of their high-powered jobs, many executives and professionals can afford to pay for them. Inpatient programs tend to be the most intensive (even with the accommodations mentioned above), but if their job requires them to actually be on site, outpatient programs are also available.


When people who perform at high level show vulnerability, we are often surprised. But the truth is that anyone can fall into substance abuse, no matter their job or standing. Finding a treatment designed specifically for their situation is vital for professionals and executives as they seek to put their lives back together in the wake of addiction.


Author: Eva Benoit, wellness coach. Learn more at www.EvaBenoit.com