Career Professionals Who Struggle With Addiction
Every hour across America there are approximately 15 people who are killed from a drug overdose. In 2017, over 70,000 deaths were attributed to drugs. These are only the unfortunate instances of life lost, the people actively abusing drugs and alcohol are drastically higher. Of all the individuals who struggle, less than 10% are seeking help. Around 1 in 10 of people aged 12 and higher are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. That is over 23 million.
Addiction touches all people in all social classes, it does not discriminate against race, status, background or religion. Think of how many people you may know who is secretly struggling with a drug or alcohol misuse disorder. If you think an addict may have certain attributes that give it away, that may be true- but most are highly functioning and quite well about hiding their illness.
We call that high-functioning addiction. For those who suffer from this disease and are high functioning, they need a way to support their expensive drug habit, so most maintain employment.
High-Functioning Drug or Alcohol Addiction
There are a large number of individuals who are categorized as high functioning addicts. Even in the presence of untreated or undiagnosed mental health issues such as bipolar or generalized anxiety disorder, there are many people who are still able to maintain relationships, jobs, and lifestyles many would deem a norm.
We know addiction is not a choice but a disease and it has nothing to do with whether or not one can keep their life together or not. Those who live an unmanageable life are easier to categorize- yes, but it does not mean there aren’t others suffering from addiction in silence.
According to the World Health Administration, 24-36% of lawyers struggle with alcoholism, and up to 15% of doctors have substance abuse issues. These are two of the most respected professions in our society and many of these individuals are suffering in peace. When the stigma surrounding addiction is so great, many of these individuals are not seeking the proper help they need to maintain their disease- the disease of drug and/or alcohol addiction.
What Causes High-Functioning Substance Abuse?
Many professionals start their addiction with occasional recreational drug and alcohol use. Overtime, just as any disease, the symptoms continue to get worse, what starts as casual fun, before you know it, can turn into a full-blown addiction. The daily habit could be a means of escaping stress or trauma of their intense careers.
For many professionals, drinking plays a role in the work culture. Casual invites to happy hour with coworkers at the end of a stressful day in the office could easily turn to a normalcy and expectation that can result in a full-blown dependence. Another common way many opioid or prescription pill addictions start is from an injury or disorder where medication is administered by a doctor that overtime develops into an addiction after abuse of the prescription begins. Many doctors do not carefully discuss all the risks of known addictive prescription medications so the individual is not properly warned of the potency of the prescription pill, we see this especially with pain medications (opioids). As opioids work to reduce pain signals in the body, they also have psychological effects such as euphoria and extreme relaxation. These alterations in brain chemistry can lead to compulsive use of the drug despite knowing the outcome could be addiction. This is also the case with central nervous depressants prescribed for sleep aid and high panic or bi-polar disorders these drugs are categorized as benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium and Klonopin.
The most damaging thing surrounding professions dealing with a drug or alcohol addiction is most definitely the stigma. The negative message surrounding addiction could be devastating to someone that most society view as having all of their “ducks in a row” and will typically discourage them from seeking addiction treatment help.
However, the greatest issue is the recognition of the disease in the first place.
Because many of those living with high-functioning addiction do not fall under the typical categories we associate with addiction, they may be unable to recognize their dependence. This delay in treatment can result in the loss of their high-functioning lifestyle and put them in a position in which they can no longer deny their problem.
Addiction Treatment at The Beaches
At The Beaches Treatment Center we offer confidential treatment for addiction for those who suffer from drug or alcohol addiction. Our small intimate setting for recovery is a luxury treatment program that encourages the healing of the entire individual- mind, body, and spirit. We help any professional struggling to live a life clean and sober of drugs and alcohol while transitioning them back into their life where they are able to go back to their lives happy, healthy and productive.
We are aware that seeking help for drugs and alcohol takes a good amount of courage and a willingness. We meet all of our clients right where they are in their recovery journey and have a judgement free setting so no one should ever be ashamed of seeking help, but be proud they are making the first step by admitting there is an issue.
We provide education about the effects of long term substance use, and how it can lead to their entire lives being taken over by addiction and all the damage that can go with that. Each client is unique and has specific needs, that is why we offer completely individualized treatment planning. We offer individual and group therapy with masters level therapists. They will be surrounded by others going through similar challenges, and most of our staff has been in their shoes. We know professional clients could have career issues, relationships and family situations that need worked through, and we make sure all these are addressed and resolved if possible- before completion of treatment.
We prepare each client who completes treatment at The Beaches with an organized treatment plan to prepare them for life back out in society. Our Discharge planning is an organized care plan that allows our clients to have all the tools needed in order to be successful in their new journey of living life clean and sober.
We understand that treatment and recovery does not end when a client leaves our program, but understand that recovery is a lifelong commitment. When the real recovery starts is actually when a client is out on their own again, integrated back into society, this is when everything they’ve learned in therapy is truly put to the test.