Executives in TV shows and movies are often shown struggling with alcohol or drug abuse. It turns out there’s some truth to what’s on the silver screen. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, substance abuse was reported by 12.1% of people who hold managerial positions. Of all the occupations that participated in the survey, managers had the third-highest rate of substance abuse.

After looking at this research, it’s natural to wonder if executives are more likely to struggle with substance abuse. In this post, we’re going to take a deep dive into this group of professionals to see if there’s a higher risk of developing a drug or alcohol addiction.

Substance Abuse Does Not Discriminate

The truth is that substance abuse can affect anyone regardless of their social or economic standing. It may seem that the most successful people couldn’t suffer from substance abuse, since they’re often confident and usually have a high salary. While executives can suffer from substance abuse like everybody else, there’s one main difference. Since they ually earn a high salary and have more flexible schedules, executives can hide their addiction for a longer period of time.

Substance Abuse Risk Factors for Executives

A False Persona

If you’re an executive, you know there are times when you develop a persona for your job. Higher-ranking members of a company are often expected to be upbeat, optimistic and charismatic. Over time, putting on this persona can be draining and add an extra layer of stress to your daily routine. In fact, some executives have said that developing this persona made it harder to stay in touch with their genuine feelings.

While having a persona might help you advance in your company, it also can get in the way of you forging meaningful connections with other people. As a result, you might turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with feelings of isolation.

The Pressure of Perfectionism

As an executive, people often expect you to have all the answers. Plus, your company expects you to follow the high standards they’ve set, and you want to reach them because the other employees at the business will benefit if you do. This mindset is prone to introducing more stress into your life, given the extra pressure put on you to succeed. Before you know it, anything less than perfect might start to weigh on you much more than it used to.

Over time, you can even get used to the sense of predictability and control of your job. However, the same rules rarely apply to our personal lives. You might turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with any uncomfortable or unpredictable emotions in your personal relationships.

Sensation-Seeking Behavior

Many executives are risk takers by nature. After all, you have to be ready to challenge the status quo and come up with new ideas to help your company thrive. Over time, you might find yourself craving the high stimulation that an imposing deadline or big business deal provides. This urge to seek out that sensation can lead you to drug or alcohol abuse.

Overcoming a business challenge and using drugs or alcohol both release the “feel good” chemical dopamine in your brain. While that same desire for a higher sense of satisfaction helped you succeed in your professional career, it can also increase your risk for substance abuse.

When you’re an executive, your professional status might give you the idea that hiding your substance abuse is the only way forward. The good news is that there are addiction treatment programs designed for executives like you.

Explore Premier Executive Addiction Treatment in Arizona

Fountain Hills Recovery is the top luxury addiction treatment center in Arizona. We got our start helping first responders heal from the daily trauma and stress that fueled their substance abuse. By applying what we learned from running that program for years, our executive addiction treatment was born.

We know the toll that years of climbing the corporate ladder can have on your well-being. Our five-star executive addiction treatment program is here to help you reach lasting recovery. Contact our admissions team today to learn how you can privately heal your mind, body and spirit from substance abuse.