Information on Substance Abuse Treatment for Executives

Created On Thursday, 04, February 2016
Modified On Friday, 17, September 2021

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Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers for executives and professionals are like any other program but typically provide more amenities and services to accommodate certain professional needs. Sometimes the programs are more luxurious and expensive providing things like catered meals, private rooms, comfortable furnishing, exercise facilities, outdoor recreational areas, access to computers, conference rooms, and other amenities. Substance abuse and addiction impact business owners, professionals, and CEO's or executives. The most common reason for these individuals to not attend treatment is being away from their business or work. They cannot walk away from certain responsibilities, despite their addiction, making their professional life unmanageable.

Most professionals, business owners, or executives feel they do not have time to get treatment because of their business or the projects they are working on. Some may hesitate to seek help because of how it could reflect on their reputation and among their colleagues. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, among people aged 12 or older, 1.5% of the 20.4 million people struggling with addiction received substance use treatment. Anyone could become addicted to drugs or alcohol and does not matter whether someone owns a business, has a family, or works a regular everyday job. There are countless reasons why someone would become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Also, no one form of rehabilitation works for every person, so there are numerous options available across the nation.

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Executive substance abuse treatment programs are designed to help business professionals, executives, or business owners to keep up with their busy work and family lives while attending treatment. Unfortunately, this is not ideal because all the focus should be on rehabilitation; however, it is essential that some form of help is gotten. These programs cater to the specific needs of people in these positions and provide the person who is being treated with the freedom to keep working, see clients, and even travel if needed. Individuals attending these programs are usually able to maintain work duties and relationships while in treatment.

The Effects of Substance Abuse and Addiction within the American Workplace

Substance abuse and addiction have a significant impact on business, and casual drug or alcohol use at work increases the likelihood of accident or injury. According to a short report talking about substance use disorders by industry—data taken from 2008 to 20120 indicates that an annual average of 8.7% of full-time workers age 18 to 64 used alcohol heavily in the past month. Also, 8.6% used illicit drugs in the past month, and 9.5% were dependent on or abused alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year. Some of the highest rates of past month heavy alcohol use among full-time workers aged 18 to 64 occurred within the mining and construction industries.

The highest rates of past month illicit drug use were found in the accommodations and food services industry. People who worked in the accommodations and food services industry had the highest rates of past year substance use disorders. These problems occur with various drugs, such as opioids. The opioid crisis impacts an employer's bottom line, safety, and employee health and wellness. Employers face significant healthcare costs associated with opioid misuse. According to Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, an estimated 70% of individuals with alcohol or illicit drug use continue to maintain employment. Overall, addiction costs businesses and organizations an average of $81 billion in lost profits every year.

These losses occur due to lost productivity, high turnover rates, theft in the workplace, increases in absenteeism, utilization of sick time, and decreased quality of work. Approximately 42% of the 70% of workers misusing drugs or alcohol report feeling a decrease in productivity. Also, alcohol and drug use at work increases the number of occupational injuries and fatalities. Unfortunately, these are issues that business owners and executives must manage, and this is done through pre-employment drug screening. Moreover, employers provide their employees with Employee Assistance Programs to ensure the correct help and support is available.

When is Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation the Best Option for Executives and Professionals?

Drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs for executives are excellent options when extensive amenities are needed. On top of the treatment provided, these facilities usually offer comfortable surroundings and amenities that help clients feel more at ease. For example, some of these amenities include private rooms with comfortable furnishings, seclusion, discretion, and privacy, ability to have contact with colleagues and family members, access to computers and phones for work, catered healthy meals, and state of the art exercise facilities, outdoor recreation, and swimming pools. These facilities are either residential or outpatient and deliver evidence-based rehabilitation and counseling.

Additionally, these programs are excellent options for professionals because of confidentiality. Like most other treatment centers, information on treatment cannot be released without the client's permission. Most executive rehabilitation facilities have other measures in place when providing privacy, discretion, and protecting clients' personal and professional lives. Some of these facilities are secluded and away from the spotlight, helping to keep careers and reputations intact when this is a concern. Outpatient treatment centers are often more accessible because the client can maintain a certain degree of normal activity and still full fill responsibilities at work.

There are many reasons why someone becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, and stress and inability to cope with stress is a common one. The stress of running a business or managing a large company or organization does become a lot. Being responsible for only a few or thousands of employees adds a lot of stress. Employers also have to manage the implications of drug use among their employees, which also contributes to this stress.

According to The National Safety Council, the typical worker misses about two-weeks annually for illness, injury, or reasons other than vacation and holidays. Workers with addiction miss nearly 50% more days than their peers, averaging nearly three weeks per year. Someone who is addicted to pain medication misses nearly three times as much. Additionally, the average cost to employers of recruiting and training replacement workers at 21% of a worker's annual salary. Of workers currently employed, approximately 25% report having had more than one employer. Also, 36% of workers with any substance disorder and 42% of workers with pain medication addiction report having more than one employer in the previous year.

How Does Executive Drug Rehabilitation Operate?

Rehabilitation programs for executives operate in the same way as most other programs with differences such as more amenities, increased confidentiality, and cost. For example, inpatient executive programs allow professionals to seek treatment in a private, secure environment while still working. Outpatient programs allow professionals and executives to discreetly continue treatment after residential drug rehabilitation or attend outpatient care while still fulfilling work responsibilities. There are many options for executives, but the rehabilitation process is the same, beginning with detox, therapy or counseling, and aftercare support.

Initially, there is an assessment to determine what level of care is needed. Some professionals or executives may require medical detox and withdrawal management, whereas standard detox is other options. Detoxification is essential because it manages withdrawal symptoms and the initial cravings. Medically supervised detox could also be done at a secluded location, and there are detox programs for executives providing medically supervised detox services. Most inpatient rehabilitation programs provide conventional detox services on site.

The types of treatment and counseling used varies depending on the programs. For example, rehabilitation could involve adventure or wilderness therapy. Standard and traditional approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy could be used. Programs may offer individual and or group counseling, dual diagnosis care, life skills courses, holistic drug treatment, trauma therapy, and stress management techniques. The length of time needed in treatment depends on the person and the facility. Long-term rehabilitation usually lasts three to six months, whereas short-term programs last three to six weeks. However, most executives choose intensive outpatient or inpatient services because of maintaining their business or job.

Outpatient treatment options are appealing options because the individual does not have to leave work or home. The programs often take place in accessible locations, but not every outpatient center is a perfect fit. Most problems with substance abuse require inpatient care; people with substance use disorders have a wide variety of needs across the range of symptom severity. According to the Journal of Substance Abuse and Treatment, citing a study of inpatient withdrawal and residential rehabilitation, —59% of patients successfully completed treatment within 12 months. Also, they did not require more treatment within six months, and a longer duration of treatment and provision of structured continuing care is associated with better treatment outcomes.

Health and Safety Issues with Drug Abuse in the Workplace

The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses and the American College of Occupational and Environment Medicine did a study of workplace health and safety issues associated with worker impairment from the use of marijuana and other drugs. Drug abuse costs employers $81 billion annually, and 70% of the 14.8 million drug users in 2014 were employed. Drug and alcohol abuse among employees and their family members can cause expensive problems for business and industry.

For example, these problems range from lost productivity, absenteeism, injuries, fatalities, theft, and low employee morale. Also, there is an increase in health care needs, legal liabilities, and workers' compensation costs. The after-effects of substance use, such as withdrawal, affect job performance—preoccupation with obtaining and using substances while at work interferes with attention and concentration. Illegal activities at work, including selling drugs to other employees, causes a ripple effect of problems. Finally, the psychological or stress-related effects due to drug use by a family member, friend, or co-worker affect another person's job performance.

Anyone struggling with addiction, such as executives and business professionals, will show signs of addiction and a change in behavior. Some of these indicators include job performance, inconsistent work quality, poor concentration and lack of focus, and lowered productivity or erratic work patterns. Also, there are problems with increased absenteeism and unexplained disappearances from work. Those struggling with addiction become careless and make mistakes or errors in judgment and struggle with frequent financial problems.

Someone with a significant level of responsibility may no longer want any more responsibility and then being to self-sabotage their own success. According to an article titled Impact of Alcohol and Other Drug Use: Observational Field Studies, the author states, "Alcohol and other drug use and abuse do not occur as isolated events, but rather seem to be components of a cluster of behaviors and attitudes that form a syndrome or lifestyle referred to as a problem behavior or deviance" (alcohol and other drug use and deviance). Many of these problems begin with avoiding work, abuse of benefits, irresponsibility, and lose workplace rule abidance.

Common Terminology with Executive Drug Rehabilitation

Term Definition
Executive Drug Rehabilitation substance abuse treatment for executives is the same as any other program. However, they usually offer more amenities, accommodation, and higher levels of discretion for executives and business professionals.
Drug Seeking Behavior is a term that encompasses behavioral patterns involved in the intent of searching for a drug when it is not readily available. For example, it could involve behaviors that have dangerous outcomes.
Professional Substance Use Intervention is a process involving a professional interventionist who helps family and friends confront the drug-addicted loved one to convince them to attend rehabilitation.
Employee Assistance Program an EAP is a confidential, short-term counseling service for employees with personal difficulties that affect their work performance. Most employers provide this program to employees as part of a health care package.
Co-Occurring Disorders people who have a substance use disorder as well as mental health issues. For example, this could include addiction and the person struggling with anxiety created by drug and alcohol use.
Medical Detox medically supervised detox with doctors to help addicts or drug users experiencing difficult withdrawal symptoms that could also be dangerous. Medical detox typically uses withdrawal management, which is a process of administering medication to control withdrawal symptoms.
Rapid Detox is a detoxification process that requires the patient to be sedated before undergoing an accelerated withdrawal process. Someone struggling with opioid addiction may proceed with this method of detox under proper medical supervision.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the most common forms of therapy and is a psychosocial intervention that aims to improve psychological health. The therapy process focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviors.

CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ARTICLE

Marcel Gemme, DATS - Author

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Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.


Michael Leach, CCMA - Medically Reviewed on September 17, 2021

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Michael Leach is a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant, who has over 5 years of experience working in the field of addiction. He spent his career working under the board-certified Addictionologist Dr. Rohit Adi. His experience includes working with families during their loved one’s stay in treatment, helping those with substance abuse issues find treatment, and teaching life skills to patients in a recovery atmosphere. Though he has worked in many different areas of rehabilitation, the majority of his time was spent working one on one with patients who were actively withdrawing from drugs. Withdrawal and the fear of going through it is one biggest reason why an addict continues to use and can be the most difficult part of the rehabilitation process. His experience in the withdrawal atmosphere has taught him that regardless of what approach a person takes to get off drugs, there are always mental and emotional obstacles that need to be overcome. He believes having someone there to help a person through these obstacles can make all the difference during the withdrawal process.