Addiction Among Professionals: Is it Really a Problem?
The answer to that question is a resounding yes. Addiction among professionals is a very serious problem, although in the United States, we tend to think of addiction as applying to those with very low incomes and not many resources. If you are a professional who is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, it's so important for you to reach out for the help you need. Even though it may seem strange for you to think about getting professional help, drug and alcohol treatment for professionals was designed to specifically meet your unique needs and guide you through recovery.
Which Professions are at a High Risk for Addiction?
Addiction does not pick and choose, and it doesn't discriminate. Some of the most high-powered professionals you meet on the street are suffering from addictions, and they're doing it behind closed doors. Some of the professions that are at the highest risk for addiction, include:
While the stress of their social and family lives may be one contributor to their addictions, people who hold these positions also often face a great deal of pressure in their jobs. For them, substances like drugs or alcohol offer a way of escape, and research shows that addiction among professionals is only becoming more and more common.
Lawyers and Attorneys
Pilots and Truck Drivers
Addiction Myths or Stigmas to be Aware of
There are so many myths surrounding professionals and addiction, and this is why it's a topic many people don't really discuss. It's important to debunk these myths, and even more so if you are a professional in need of treatment.
Myth #1: Professionals know the dangers of drugs and alcohol, so they are much more likely to avoid using them.
While it might seem as though professionals would be much more immune to addiction than others, the opposite is actually true. Those in high-level positions will often believe that they have control over their use of substances, and so, they may be more willing to use them. Also, doctors, nurses, and others in the medical field usually have unrestricted access to pain medications that can become addictive if they are abused. Sometimes, professionals are tempted to use drugs to find out if they can increase their productivity on the job, as well.
Myth #2: You can easily tell a professional who is addicted because they're not as productive as they once were.
Many addicts are very good at keeping their addictive behaviors a secret. In the beginning of their drug or alcohol use, they may become more focused and even seem to be more productive on the job. As a matter of fact, in the beginning of the addiction, workaholism is a sign that a substance abuse problem may be present. As time goes on, the symptoms of their addictions may start to show through, but even then, it's fairly simple to do research on how to mask the signs of addiction.
Myth #3: Prescription drugs are much safer for professionals to be addicted to than illegal drugs or alcohol.
This could not be further from the truth. In fact, it's possible that prescription drugs are among the most dangerous of addictions because of the perception of safety regarding them. No matter what the addiction is, using any type of legal substance in excess, and using any type of illegal substance is extremely dangerous. The repercussions for using prescription drugs long-term are just as hazardous as using alcohol or illegal drugs. For these reasons, prescription drugs should never be considered safer.
Myth #4: Professionals should have an easier time recovering from their addictions because they have more knowledge, and oftentimes, more willpower.
When it comes to having an addiction, it is no easier for a professional to recover. Our bodies may be different, and we may all respond to addiction in our own ways, but once an addiction occurs, recovery is going to be very difficult. It takes more than willpower to overcome an addiction, and it always requires the help of a qualified addiction treatment center, or another type of drug or alcohol treatment.
Myth #5: Professionals should be able to stop using on their own because they're likely to be in much better health than those who aren't professionals.
Stopping the use of drugs or alcohol on your own is never recommended because of the medical complications that can occur by doing so. It's not necessary to have a prior medical history to experience some of the side effects that might occur when substances are stopped abruptly, outside of professional supervision. The following are all withdrawal symptoms that can be problematic:
- Depression that can lead to suicidal ideation
- Risk of heart problems
- Risk of a stroke
- Risk of a coma
- Poor appetite, which can lead to extreme weight loss
Finding the Help You Need for Addiction Recovery for Professionals
If you're a professional who has an addiction, it's so important for you to get the help you need to recover. There could be a number of reasons why you're struggling with addiction, which means there are probably underlying issues that need to be addressed at the core. Quite often, people suffer from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, and these conditions often go undiagnosed or ignored because they're being self-medicated away.
At NorthPoint Recovery, we provide hoprolistic addiction treatment that will address any co-occurring disorders you may be suffering from. Our goal is to treat you as an individual, which is why all of our patients receive personalized treatment plans upon admission. We want to help you reach your recovery goals, and we have an excellent track record of helping other professionals do the same.