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Business executives know the buck stops with them. While they can take credit for many of their company’s successes, they are also held accountable for shortcomings and failures. To keep the balances in their favor, they face long work hours, hostile competitors and co-workers and constant pressure to perform at the highest level. All these factors can increase an executive’s risk for substance abuse and dependency. Unfortunately, those in the C-suite often don’t feel like they can open up about addiction issues because everyone depends on them to hold it together and keep the business in the black.

Addiction among those in management is a prevalent problem. According to a 2015 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), as many as 11.4 percent of business executives and other managers were diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder in the year prior to the survey. This number is not likely to reflect the full scope of the issue since many in this line of work keep their substance abuse hidden for as long as possible before seeking a diagnosis. These statistics indicate that if you are a professional struggling with addiction, you are by no means alone. Help is available to you at the Center for Professional Recovery, where we specialize in treating patients like you that have have been struggling with addiction and possibly co-occurring mental health issues as a result of the pressures and stresses of the job.

Reasons Behind the Problem

Business executives find themselves in unique, high-profile and high-pressure situations that can contribute to the likelihood of substance abuse. Specific factors might include:

  • Long work hours that can be exhausting, prompting some executives to turn to substances to maintain the necessary level of energy to perform sufficiently
  • Time away from family and friends that can create additional pressure as spouses and others often grow frustrated with the frequent absence
  • Competition from other businesses and pressure to produce positive results daily
  • Hostile competitors and coworkers that exacerbate the stressful environment
  • A higher than average occurrence of mental illness within this community, which can also increase the risk for substance dependency

Like other professionals struggling with addiction, including physicians, lawyers and pilots, business executives are hesitant to seek help for their disorder for a variety of reasons. The stigma of substance abuse is one of the primary reasons for trying to keep the problem hidden. Other reasons might include worries over handing over control of the business to colleagues during the treatment process and risk of losing their position at the company.

Because executives want to maintain the highest level of discretion, they often try to stop using substances on their own. This choice can be nearly impossible and sometimes dangerous, as withdrawal symptoms can be both uncomfortable and life-threatening in some cases. Supervised detoxification and a professional treatment program are usually necessary for successful recovery and long-term sobriety.

Types of Substances Abused

Alcohol is abused most often among business executives. However, prescription drug abuse is also frequent within this community, as some begin taking a drug for a medical reason and then continue to use it because of the effects it produces. Stimulants are a common substance of choice to help execs maintain the long work days and often nights necessary to be successful. Opioids are abused for their sedating effect that lets executives come “down” after a stressful day. Benzodiazepines like Valium as well as alcohol are also misused for this purpose.

Help Targeted to Executives

Executives battling addiction may feel like they have nowhere to turn to get the help they need discreetly and comfortably. The Center for Professional Recovery is geared toward individuals in high-profile positions and provides treatment programs for all types of professionals in a safe, comfortable and non-judgmental environment. Our programs are geared toward the individual, ensuring your needs are addressed directly to provide you with a successful treatment plan and the best chance for long-term recovery. To learn more about our facility or our programs, contact the Center for Professional Recovery today at 866.298.0056.

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