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Suffering from Addiction in the Top Position: How to Start Recovery

4 Mins read


People using psychotropic drugs, cannabis, cocaine, heroin at the workplace do not consider themselves to be drug addicts but cannot resist consuming addictive substances to stay at work, sleep well at night or boost their performance. Sometimes, they use substances or alcohol in the office, one to several times a day; sometimes, they share them with their colleagues or prefer to keep it in secret. Consumption that is commonplace, in particular for executives, worries doctors and researchers and is a considerable public health problem.

What addiction has to do with one’s occupation?

Contrary to common thought, the problem of substance and alcohol abuse concerns not only homeless and/or unemployed people. Unfortunately, the issue under consideration is widespread in employees who can be representatives of various professions or even top managers and business owners.

Hundreds of doctors, addictologists, and occupational psychologists have set a goal to pool their knowledge on the subject and to work together in the future. However, the data is still little due to the fact that most employees and people of business abusing drugs either do not consider it to be a serious concern or keep it private and avoid consulting state facilities. What we see, though, is a trend toward increasing drug use at work, and special attention should be attached to senior executives in order to create special conditions for their recovery in executive drug facilities ( – for more info).

Alcohol and drug abuse depends on the profession, established the US Department of Health and Human Services. According to their report, workers of heavy physical labor (for example, miners and builders) are most often attached to alcohol. In their study, sociologists considered having consumed five or more servings of liquor at a time for five days or more per month. One serving is 14 grams of pure alcohol contained in a glass of beer, wine or a strong alcohol. In such a way, the specialists found that 17.5% of miners abuse alcohol. Builders with their 16.5% occupied the second line. In the third place in the list of threats to the development of alcoholism was employment in the hotel and restaurant business. The employees of these fields of activity occupied the first line on drug abuse – more than 19% of them take illicit drugs. Managers, as it turned out, are more often addicted to drugs than alcohol. More than 12% of managers take illegal drugs, while less than 10% use high doses of alcohol on a regular basis.

Main reasons for which executives use drugs and alcohol

In order to comprehend the essence of the issue and develop efficient executive rehab programs, it is crucial to find out which are the root causes. The fact is that people with top management positions may seem to be calm, efficient, and successful, that is why it is difficult to suspect that they can have an addiction. The latter is usually associated with unemployment and homelessness. So, why high-profile workers and people of business sometimes stuck in the problem of addiction?

First of all, alcohol intake can be conditioned by the requirements of business partners or influential clients. It is not surprising that in business trips executives tend to entertain themselves with their colleagues, that is why it is often impossible to say no to a person who has a considerable impact on the future of a single deal or the whole business.

Secondly, executive jobs are associated with a high level of stress. Though some research stated that leaders experience lower levels of cortisol, it is applicable only to employees who developed perfect skills of self-control. It is evident various executives may have a different sense of control, and, added to the high probability of stress-causing situations, they tend to find the less time-consuming way to relieve the stress. Smoking marijuana may help such persons to decrease their cortisol level.

Finally, a great variety of tasks set before high-profile workers result in the lack of resources (energy, time, concentration). Executives can use stimulants with the aim to compensate for this lack of their internal resource.

Getting helped

Suffering from addiction in the top position may be caused by various reasons cited above that are different to those that make representatives of other professions or unemployed persons use substances and alcohol. What is even more important, is that executives may want to start recovery while continuing to work to save their position in a company. From that follows that a particular approach should be applied to such individuals by the staff of executive rehab centers.

The concept of customized drug treatment is central in executive alcohol treatment centers, as well as executive drug rehab centers. Many people suffering from addiction or mental breakdown are too concentrated on their work; it seems to them that the problem is not that big in comparison with issues they solve at the workplace. At the same time, men and women executives may not consider addiction treatment because of stigma. Special programs for executives are designed to meet their requirements in what concerns time dedicated to the treatment and surrounding.

Rehab services for executives are situated in secure locations to make sure that patients are at low risk of meeting their colleagues. What is more, the list of clients is never shared so that former addicts can stay anonymous. The environment of a patient undergoing treatment in a CEO rehab facility is comfortable enough so that an individual should not interrupt the working process.

To sum it up, people in top positions tend to abuse alcohol and substances because of a high-stress level or a need to entertain their clients or business partner. For such people, it is difficult to recognize that their addiction can cause problems. Once an executive agrees to undergo addiction treatment, it is essential to make sure that conditions in the facility are appropriate for this person. For instance, people in top positions may not want to interrupt their working activity not to lose their job.

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