Addiction Knows No Bounds
With an estimated 23.5 million Americans addicted to alcohol or drugs, we know that addiction knows no bounds when it comes to race, religion, economic status, ethnicity, gender or background. While we often emphasize addiction’s lack of boundaries, there’s still a tendency for many to believe that people with high-powered positions, such as lawyers, doctors, nurses, or business executives don’t endure struggles with substance abuse or mental health disorders.
Often times, people with a drug or alcohol addiction find they lose control of many areas of their life: jobs, finances, family and relationships. In fact, for many people, addiction isn’t typically diagnosed until the person’s troubles from substance addiction spill over into different areas of their life. This is largely in part because consequences of addiction – such as arrests, DUI charges, failed relationships and lost jobs – lead people to a point where they are ready to accept help, and make a positive change in their lives.
Professional Job, Professional Addiction
Addiction is a master manipulator. The disease often affects people in a way that builds extreme skills when it comes to hiding their drug or alcohol use use, and in denial about their health and behavior. Many people in active addiction are secretive about their drug and alcohol use, but possibly none more so than the high-powered professional.
People with high-paying or high-powered, professional jobs that struggle with substance abuse and mental health often wage a secret war within themselves – rather than taking the measures to treat or prevent it. Many people – especially those who suffer with the addiction – believe that highly educated and successful individuals, who own their own business, earned a higher degree, or hold an executive title – are immune to drug or alcohol addiction. It is a large misconception that higher education, occupational power, and socioeconomic stature are not traits of those who are addicted. Unfortunately, professionals who wage this secret war or addiction, wait until it becomes too much to manage – and their job, their reputation, their business, family or finances are damaged.
High-Powered Positions: Stressful Work and Substance Abuse
If you ask a random person on the street what they believe an “addict” or “alcoholic” looks like, the common answer is often someone who is down and out – perhaps homeless, divorced, or jobless. However, the majority of people – an estimated 96% – actually function quite well most of the time: They are leaders in the workplace, medical doctors, attorneys, dentists, executives, entrepreneurs and high-performance salespeople.
With the tremendous pressure that professionals face in their careers and workplace, it isn’t a far stretch to see how some people in these positions turn to drugs or alcohol to relieve some stress or enhance their energy.
In addition to stress-relief, recent scientific research conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that some of the qualities that provide for a strong business leader, can be the same qualities that lead to addiction. The study suggests that successful leaders tend to be compulsive risk-takers, and also have a high degree of novelty-seeking behavior. The research goes on to conclude that the pleasure attained through success and risk taking can be delivered in a fashion identical to that as from drugs and alcohol: meaning, the pleasure from success and the pleasure from substances arrive through the same neurological pathways.
Much like business professionals facing addiction, professionals in the medical field who turn to drugs and alcohol are often looking for a way to either escape the emotional pain of a day of difficult decisions, or as a way to stay alert and energized through long daytime or overnight shifts.
Do Professionals Need Professional Addiction Treatment?
Like many people in active addiction, people who hold powerful positions, titles and successful careers within their community may experience tremendous fear of being outed for their drug or alcohol habit. With addiction comes the potential to lose everything: careers, family, friendship, financial status, and marriage. When addiction is paired with a high-power profession, those damages can be of even greater magnitude.
Addiction treatment for addicted professionals is crucial for healing. Because being discovered as having a drug or alcohol problem can damage a reputation, business or career, it’s paramount for a rehab program for professionals to protect the individual’s privacy.
Professionals programs for addiction also provide accommodations for continuing professional duties while away at treatment – meaning most professionals will still be allowed to continue work while in the program. In addition, the focus on professionals in the program provides clients a peer group that they can best relate to, which enhances the treatment experience. Professionals programs also address:
- Restoring careers and reputations
- Licensing issues that may have occurred
- Potential triggers in the workplace
- How to return to professional practice after treatment
- Participating in continued aftercare
Committing to a Professional’s Treatment Program
Leaving work for an extended period of time may seem daunting – and may give you even more anxiety than the thought of continuing drug and alcohol use. However, without addiction treatment, as a professional – every aspect of your life will be affected – including your career.
We know that you’ve worked hard to reach great accomplishments in your profession and education. Because of this, we know that you have the will and the way to fight this addiction and achieve a healthy, balanced life – along with your professional career.
Vertava Health is proud to introduce our first treatment program for professionals: AC Pro at Vertava Health Texas. For more information about the program, talk to one of our professional treatment specialists at 888.761.3001.