There is a stereotype of an executive with addiction that they seem to function normally so why consider treatment when they can go to work, handle family, and other obligations in their life without seeming impacted by drug or alcohol use. Oftentimes executives who struggle with addiction are like ducks on a pond: paddling wildly under the water to stay afloat while on top of the water they seem calm and at peace. There are people in the management sector struggle with hidden addiction or alcohol use. They need to admit a problem exists and seek treatment, but often feel the stigma and shame of coming out to family and friends with the struggles they face.
Potential Risk Factors
To understand addiction among executives, it is important to look at risk factors. Risk factors are things which elevate the risk of a person struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol. This can range from myriad factors in their life including genetics and environmental issues. Here are just a few of the challenging risk factors an executive may contend with:
- Family history: any family members who struggle with substance use may have an impact on other people in the family. The closer the relationship, the greater the risk. This can be parents, aunts, uncles, or close relatives. This ranges from genetic components to environmental risk of being in a space where drugs and alcohol are abused
- Mental health issues: the more a person struggles with mental health, the higher their risk of abusing substances. Managers and executives are at elevated risk for obsessive-compulsive traits, depressive symptoms, and stress than people in the general population
- Social influence: people who are around more drinking and substance use can increase their risk of becoming addicted. This includes executives and managers who spend time entertaining ,hosting, or deal with substance use issues in their own lives.
- Stress: risk factors for substance abuse go up for people who experience a lot of stress at work or in their lives. This may include pressure to succeed at work, or people in management, who need to learn how to cope differently at work and struggle to do this without substances
Signs of Abuse
There are many ways a person may exhibit signs of drug abuse on the job or away from work. Some of these signs can include losing interest in what they used to love doing, feeling guilty or ashamed when using substances, and sleeping more than normal for their schedule. Eating habits may change as well as behavioral shifts like being more irrational, not able to perform as well at work, or starting to exhibit highly emotional traits like anger and impatience more often. When confronted, the executive is likely to deny use, make things up, or flat out lie and say they never abuse substances and it is not impacting work (even if evidence exists to the contrary). Using drugs or alcohol first thing in the morning is definitely a sign a person is struggling with addiction or substance abuse issues when it happens with any frequency. The more a person exhibits signs, the harder it may be to get them to seek help. However, executives are not exempt from needing treatment to assess and support recovery from addiction. Depending on the individual, they may simply not be ready to admit a problem exists and work a program the way it needs to be worked in order to heal. Don’t give up on a loved one who is struggling. Keep persisting in seeking ways to support their journey of healing and don’t be afraid to reach out to seek help to do this so the loved one can get help as soon as they’re ready.
The Last Resort provides a safe, supportive environment for men in a retreat-like setting. Nature is an important component of recovery and healing. We strive to provide a place of enrichment that cultivates the inner as well as the outer journey of recovery. However you find your way to the Last Resort, we endeavor to provide a haven where you can journey through recovery feeling like your life and story have meaning and a purpose. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.