|Substance abuse issues aren’t reserved just for people with small incomes or no jobs. They aren’t reserved for the homeless and destitute. Substance abuse doesn’t just affect criminals. Professionals struggle with substance abuse too. Career stress is a leading cause for substance abuse among professionals
Drug of Choice
There isn’t just one drug that professionals seem to become addicted to. They can become addicted to any drug, just like anyone else. It is common, however, for professionals to become addicted to prescription medications. Their jobs are often stressful, which leads them to looking for something stronger than alcohol to help them relax.
Alcohol dependency can also plague professionals. A glass of wine with dinner can easily become an entire bottle daily – or more. Alcohol is also a substance. It’s one of the most abused substances in the world. For Professionals who suffer from substance abuse, it often starts with excess use of alcohol.
Declining Job Performance
One sign of a substance abuse issues with professionals is a decline in job performance. This can be instances of reduced commissions, loss of personal clients and missed promotions. It can also be a failed business or decline in sales. Professionals have everyday struggles just like anyone else, but their positions in their lines of work may be increased due to the pressure put on them to succeed.
Some companies may offer paid time off for substance abuse treatment for professionals. Executives or ownership may notice that there is a problem. Rather than relieve the employee from his or her position, some time off to get help may be offered. It’s a second chance that isn’t afforded to everyone.
Taking the time off to get help may also be a time to reflect on the pressures of the job and whether or not it is what the individual really wants to do. Changing careers is always an option, but it is typically better to maintain the current employment situation prior to taking a new position. Even if you still end up leaving the company that helped you get treatment for a substance abuse issue, show your appreciation and do your best to leave on a positive note. The company may be happy to have been part of your recovery process.
Re-Entering Everyday Life
A professional may feel embarrassed for having struggled with drugs and/or alcohol. It may be hard for them to go back to work and face people that thought they were invincible and at the peaks of their careers. It is important for them to be shown that everyone is human. It is important for that re-entry process to be as smooth and seamless as possible. When someone is freshly out of treatment and getting back to their normal daily routine, stumbles can happen along the way.
A reduced workload or assistance in completing projects may be a good idea for a little while. This helps the adjustment period go easier for them. The less stress and pressure someone in recovery feels when getting back to daily life, the more likely they are to be able to resist temptation and relapse.
Confronting a Professional About a Substance Abuse Problem
If you need to confront a hardworking professional about a suspected substance abuse issue, do so carefully. Denial, anger and volatility are likely going to be the first reactions. No one wants to admit that they have a problem that they can’t control.
It is important for the individual to know that they are supported. They need to know that their job is secure because providing for their family may be their biggest worry. It is important to know that they haven’t failed and that this is just a hiccup in their journey of success.
During the confrontation, it is important to point out the great success that the individual has had. Comment on when a decline in performance was noticed as well as when personality and mood changes started. Make sure the individual knows that the company cares about them and their health. This may help the professional be more open to seeking treatment.
It may be harder for a professional to admit that there’s a problem or agree to go to treatment. They may feel like they’re the only one that can do their job. It may be overwhelmingly stressful for a professional to give up control and allow someone else to do their job. It may be equally overwhelming to understand that they are powerless over their substance of choice and that getting help is the best way to get them back to being the best versions of themselves possible.