Society has a very particular idea of what an addict should look like, they portray addicts as either hedonistic or destitute with no in betweens and this view is further reinforced across the media.
Whilst there are, of course, people who struggle with addiction who fit into one of these categories, they are by no means the only types of people who suffer from addiction. The media will rarely feature a well-dressed, well-heeled professional struggling with addiction, which causes them to fly under the radar for far longer meaning they don’t get the help as quickly as they should.
In fact, a number of well respected professions have alarmingly elevated rates of addiction, from doctors misusing the prescription drugs that they have access to, to lawyers relying on certain intoxicants in order to cope with their intense schedules.
Why Addiction Rates So High In Professionals?
There are a number of causes attributed to the higher risk of addiction in high-earning professionals. One of the most common is stress. High earners tend to have punishing schedules, as well as a lot of responsibility and anxiety that they have to deal with day in, day out. Facing intense pressure every day can mean that those predisposed to addiction are more at risk of becoming dependent on whatever they use to cope with stress.
Doctors and nurses have some of the highest rates of addiction in the entire workforce. Whilst, in the general population, addiction rates run from around 8% to 10%, in the medical professional this starts at around 10% and runs to 15%.
There are a number of contributing factors to this, including the need to stay alert on long shifts, as well as trying to cope with the emotional strain that comes from working with vulnerable people and making to make life or death decisions on a regular basis.
One of the most prominent causes for addiction in the medical profession is the access that doctors have to prescription medications. It is just that much easier for those working in hospitals and pharmacies to fuel an addiction without actually drawing attention to it.
In a 2016 study funded by the American Bar Association and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, it was found that lawyers commonly experience “problematic drinking that is hazardous, harmful, or otherwise consistent with alcohol use disorders at a higher rate than other professional populations.” The same study found that mental health problems in this profession were also very common.
According to a 2007 study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), around one-fifth of alcoholics in America are described as high functioning, with many of these working in respected professions, such as doctors and lawyers. For the most part, these people believe that their drug or alcohol use is simply helping them to deal with the stresses of their jobs and that they have their issues under control.
Why Does Addiction Remain Undetected For So Long?
The problem with addiction for those in professional occupations is that the addict has, what they would consider, a valid reason for relying on the substance that they use. This means that they may not even understand the gravity of the situation that they are in until they have lost control altogether, making it harder for them to seek help.
On top of this, those who work in these sorts of professions are usually very intelligent, well-respected and at the top of a business hierarchy that makes it difficult for others to question them. The problem with this is that by the time the addiction is uncovered, they may already have caused serious damage to themselves or the people that rely on them to do their job properly.
Luckily, for those in high-earning positions who require help with addiction, their access to money and support is often better than those in other types of jobs. They also often have the resources to focus on their recovery once they have made a commitment to do so.
Doctors, for example, have a high rate of addiction, but also a very high rate of recovery. The idea of losing their licence to practice medicine may be the motivation that they need to move ahead with their rehabilitation, and they also have a strong support network of other medical professionals offering them the very best help available.
The best way to help yourself, if you are a professional suffering from an addiction, is to speak to a doctor and get booked into a rehabilitation programme. Rehab is important as it takes you away from the day to day stress that pushed you into addiction in the first place, and allows you the time and support you need to focus on recovery.
If you are worried about a professional who you believe is suffering from an addiction, this may be a little harder. An intervention is often the only way to reach people who haven’t yet accepted that they are suffering from an addiction.
At Cassiobury Court we can support you through getting a loved one into treatment, offering advice and providing useful resources. You can also self-refer onto our service if you believe that you are suffering from a substance abuse problem.
Once admitted, you will be able to go through a medical detox to ensure that you get clean and sober safely and without dangerous side effects, and then work on the foundations of your addiction during a rehab programme that can last up to 90 days if necessary. There are individual and group therapy sessions aimed at helping you to understand yourself and your needs, and you are able to speak candidly with others who are suffering from the same issues.
Not only this, but Cassiobury Court provides a range of wellness and recreational activities that help you to understand how you can go back to everyday life free of your addiction. You are offered a great degree of privacy and support, ensuring that your professional life remains unaffected when you are ready to return to life outside of the centre.
Call Cassiobury Court on 01923 369161, or you can text HELP to 83222