Last updated: 02/13/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Professionals are a group of individuals engaged in specific professions, such as law, business, or medicine, and are often considered to be successful in their field. Unfortunately, these individuals also have a high rate of substance use disorders, which can negatively affect their lives in many ways.
How Are Professionals Impacted By Addiction?
No one factor can predict if a person will become addicted to drugs. Certain factors, though, can increase one’s chances. The most well-known factors are associated with biology, enviwell-knownnd development. However, many individuals also see success as a potential factor.
When a person has a fair amount of success, they can sometimes experience immense pressure. Job fields like the ones mentioned above can also create monumental stress for those who engage in them. Studies have reported that individuals exposed to stress are more likely to abuse alcohol and other drugs or undergo relapse.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms that a Professional Is Using Drugs?
Many professionals fall into the category of functional drug addicts or alcoholics. These individuals are able to function at work and home but still abuse substances in copious amounts. Eventually, though, the façade will often start to crack, leading the individual to sudden outbursts, problems at work and home, and severe physical and mental issues. It can be hard to recognize when someone we love is abusing drugs and that their use has become dangerous, but especially in the case of functional addiction, we often say to ourselves
- His job is stressful. He’s fine.
- She just needs to blow off steam.
- They aren’t experiencing problems so their drug use isn’t one.
These are all types of enabling, which encourages a person to continue their use of dangerous substances. Noticing that you are engaging in this behavior is a strong sign that your loved one needs help and that their drug abuse has become harmful to them and you.
In many cases, though, a person in this position will attempt to hide their substance abuse, often because they don’t want to experience problems with their job. If they exhibit secretive behavior, hide medications or drugs in places they think you won’t look, or become hostile when you bring up this issue, it is very likely that they are using.
When Should I Seek Help?
It is important to spring into action when you think there is a problem. You may want to ask your friend or family member about their substance abuse before you try to find a rehab program for them, but if you feel that you would be in danger, it is best to just seek out help first.
If you are a professional individual who has been abusing drugs to get by, ask yourself how much longer you can continue to do so and not experience severe consequences. It is important to realize that your drug abuse is likely a coping mechanism for the stress you deal with every day, but because it is not a healthy one, you will need to learn a new, safer behavior that will allow you to handle your day-to-day life.
What Treatment Options Exist for This Group?
Treatment for professional individuals is often similar to that applied to other groups. In some cases, patients may be able to attend outpatient care and to keep working as they do so, but in others, the pressure of work may have helped lead to substance abuse, which may require them to take time away from their job. Inpatient care may be necessary for those suffering from severe addictions and/or comorbid mental disorders. Behavioral therapies and medications are often used together to create a strong treatment program for professionals.