‘Forbes’ Highlights The Rise In Addicted Executives
This week, we’re applauding Forbes for taking a break from their usual financial news and shining the spotlight on addiction. In a very insightful article, the money-based publication outlined how drug dependency and alcoholism is harming senior business executives across America. It also outlined how the stress of a high-powered position can often spurn an addiction.
One key element they touched upon was the mistaken dependence of stimulants, such as cocaine. There are certainly occasions when running a business requires around the clock work. And sometimes those in charge will turn drugs like coke, simply because they believe it can help keep them going through a long week. Well as all of us in the industry know, that is a complete fallacy. One of the worst side effects of narcotics like cocaine are the “crashes.” No high can last forever and, inevitably, a stimulant will send you spiraling into sickness. Often times when that point arrives, the addictive tendencies have set in and the vicious cycle continues.
Another trigger point for executive addiction is stress relief. Forbes made a point to outline business leaders’ urges to drink or pop pills as a way to “unwind” from a hectic week. As author Brian Rashid wrote, “Leaders are typically built to take the brunt of the stress, but they are also human like the rest of us. Coping strategies may fail at some point, creating a vulnerable state. This vulnerability can cause a leader to turn to drugs or alcohol to provide relief from the mounting stress. This approach to stress relief causes more problems than creates solutions.”
The article went on to point key identifiers. One being the “High Functioning Addict.” These are executives who are able to juggle secret dependencies and (miraculously) continue business-as-usual along the way. Forbes identified this type of personality as one with a great deal of pride. These are senior leaders who are ashamed of their habits and fear appearing vulnerable. For that reason, they tend to be more averse to seeking treatment or any type of therapy.
Forbes emphasized that it is very important to call their addictions out and make sure they get help before it’s too late. If they are running a successful business, countless jobs could be on the line. Key signs to look out for are moodiness during meetings, argumentative behavior and irrational compulsions when it comes to company decisions. Rashid also emphasized looking for physical signs of a boss’ addiction, such as weight fluctuations or dark circles under the eyes.
Interestingly enough, the article wrapped up with pointers about how recovery can make someone an even better leader. Rashid wrote, “A leader can certainly benefit from new learning mechanisms taught in recovery. Treatment offers tools for handling future stress and recognizing emotional triggers. Being a leader is a tough job and so is just being a human being.”