Stress and Addiction: For Executives
Misconceptions about addiction are unfortunately widespread in the professional world. A strong tendency to vilifying the individual suffering from addiction is present. Addicts are often pictured as uneducated, unmotivated, or irresponsible. This leads to the assumption that the situation is the fault of the addicted individual.
The truth is that addiction is far more complex and unpredictable than the stereotypical idea of an addict would lead one to believe. Addicts should be looked on more as victims than perpetrators. The truth is that anyone can be an addict.
One of the number one strategies for successfully avoiding addiction is understanding the risk factors. Stress- an all too common issue in the executive world- is a major risk factor for addiction development.
Understanding what it is to be addicted
Being addicted means having a disease that can gradually develop in at-risk individuals over time. Unfortunately, it is an insidious disease. Those suffering from this disease often have trouble realizing that they are gradually becoming addicted to substances such as alcohol and other drugs.
Recognizing addiction for what it is and what its major symptoms are is important. When an individual is addicted to a substance, he or she will have trouble functioning without it. The affected individual will probably experience cravings and struggle to give the substance up successfully despite having tried multiple times. Eventually, being addicted starts to tear apart an individual’s personal and professional lives if it is allowed to progress unchecked.
Companies should adopt policies for recognizing risk factors and preventing problems with substance abuse. The following are three major risk factors to be aware of:
- Having an overly liberal attitude toward drugs and alcohol- While consuming alcohol and using prescription medications can be healthy and normal, it’s important for individuals to understand the risk involved. Individuals who don’t take the risks seriously are more likely to become addicted to a substance like alcohol. It’s a good idea to make staff members aware of the potential dangers of using any drug like alcohol. This keeps staff members on their guard and encourages them to consume responsibly.
- Being in a high-stress situation- The other major risk factor is working under high-stress situations. Those experiencing stressful situations on a day to day basis are likely to look for a release and an escape. This, unfortunately, puts them at risk of relying on substances such as alcohol to fight the feeling of being overwhelmed by anxiety. The only way to deal with this risk factor is to find a way to address stressful scenarios and minimize them at the office for the well-being of executive staff members.
- Associating with those who consume high amounts of alcohol and/or drugs- It’s best to avoid hiring those who are heavy consumers on to the staff of a company to minimize the risk that staff members with becoming addicted to and develop substance abuse issues. Associating with heavy drug consumers is a huge risk factor. Therefore, instituting drug testing practices and discouraging excessive drug consumption is a good way to reduce the chances of substance abuse problems among staff.
Avoiding addiction by preventing or mitigating stress
Obviously, it’s important to manage stress in the workplace and to pay attention to the risk factors to ensure that executives avoid becoming addicted and falling victim to substance abuse.
Training staff members to be on the lookout for risk factors is important. Another important thing to do is to keep communication channels open between staff members so they can have discussions about stressful situations and remediate them accordingly.