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Addiction and Mental Health – Business Executives

Business Executives and Mental Health 

Some people say that they flourish on stress and adrenaline in their work environment. But for others, it's extremely detrimental to their mental health. Stress can lead to something known as “burnout,” which is defined as mental and physical exhaustion.

Because business executives usually have the most stressful jobs, the most responsibilities and the greatest tendency toward perfectionism, they're most likely to experience a burnout.

Burnout can manifest as:

  • Irritability
  • Lack of energy
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Overeating
  • Not eating enough

Many who experience a burnout cannot function without drugs or alcohol to help them get through the day. This self-medication may help the short-term symptoms of anxiety and performance issues, but there are long-term consequences.


Alcohol & Drug Abuse: How Business Execs Try to Cope

Cocaine is a common drug of choice for those wishing to use its temporary stimulant properties. However, cocaine is a highly addictive drug, and increased amounts are required over time for the same effect. Many users become functional addicts, a situation that can go on for years. Exposure to the drug for a prolonged period of time can lead to bad judgement and risky decision-making-poor characteristics for an executive to display.

Alcohol is another form of self-medication that is prevalent among business executives. Alcoholism can begin as just a way to unwind after work or social lubricant during a lunch meeting with a new client. A social drinker can easily slip into drinking before any meeting, or even a way to face the day, which turns into alcoholism.

According to the health insurance company MetLife, nearly 14% of short-term disability claims for white-collar employees are psychiatric in nature. More than half are depression-related, and almost a third are for stress and anxiety. Substance abuse covers more than 7%. A surprising 20% of adults have a psychological disorder that can be diagnosed. Unfortunately, many of those adults use drugs but are not treated for either the addiction or the mental illness. As a result, employers spend about $80 to $100 billion per year due to employees’ drug abuse and psychological disorders.


Finding a Solution

Nearly 40% of people treated for depression and/or substance abuse say that a large part of their illness arose from work-related stress. So how can you stop the stress cycle before it goes too far?

The best way to combat mental illness in the workplace is to promote an environment that's cognizant of, and strives toward, good mental health practices. To combat addictions, business executives should seek help from a reputable drug rehab facility.

Attempting to recover on your own rarely works. In fact, most people who try relapse within 30 to 60 days. Your career is too precious to leave recovery to chance. Professional rehab is the most effective way to protect your job and your life.

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