Alcohol abuse and addiction are very common throughout all demographics and socioeconomic classes. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) publishes that as many as one out of every 12 American adults struggles with alcohol abuse or dependence.
For people who run companies and have high-level jobs, such as executives and those in management, alcohol consumption is often part of the job culture. Going out for business lunches and dinners often means drinking. This in and of itself isn't necessarily a cause for concern; however, the more often a person drinks, the more likely there is to be a problem related to alcohol. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) publishes that between 2008 and 2012, among adults ages 18-64 who were gainfully employed fulltime, 10 percent of those in management reported past-month heavy alcohol consumption.
These professions often come with high levels of stress, which can increase a person's vulnerability to alcohol abuse and addiction. The journal Annals of the New York Academies of Science reports on the close correlation between high levels of stress and an increased risk for substance abuse and addiction. Alcohol can be a method of self-medicating anxiety and may temporarily relieve stress.
As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol minimizes the body's stress response while active in the bloodstream. When alcohol wears off, however, anxiety and stress are often amplified, which can cause a person to want to drink more; this may then lead to compulsive alcohol use, physical dependence, and addiction.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) publishes that close to 10 percent of alcoholics fall into the "functional alcoholic" subtype, which means that they are likely able to hold down jobs, families, and a semblance of a normal life while still battling alcohol addiction. A functional alcoholic may be able to compartmentalize their drinking, and keep it separate from other aspects of their lives, allowing them to maintain a professional life and keep up with work production. Families and loved ones of functional alcoholics likely enable them to keep up with appearances while they continue to deny a problem exists.
Like any person struggling with an alcohol abuse issue, functional alcoholics can benefit from alcohol rehab. There are certain concessions and specialized alcohol abuse treatment services that cater specifically to professionals and executives.
Information on Other Professions
Specialized Alcohol Rehab Programs for Professionals
In general, there are two main types of alcohol rehab programs: those that offer outpatient services and residential programs. An outpatient program can provide flexibility to schedule sessions, workshops, and meetings around work and family obligations. These programs may be ideal for individuals who need to continue working while in rehab. Residential programs often offer the most comprehensive level of care, however, and there are specialized programs for working professionals.
Individuals who hold high-powered jobs often need to continue working in order to keep up with demand, maintain clients, and deal with work-related issues while addressing their struggles with alcohol. A private executive alcohol rehab program can provide specialty services for this demographic. In addition, executives and people in management roles often require a high level of confidentiality and privacy during rehab in order to maintain their business reputation, connections, and obligations.
A private executive alcohol rehab program may offer the following:
- Private lodging and accommodations, including private bathrooms
- Catered, nutritious, and healthy meals
- Confidentiality assurances
- Detox services
- Security services, when needed
- Access to computers, phones, and even private conference rooms
- The ability to travel and leave the facility for work-related needs when necessary
- Recreational and fitness programs, equipment, and opportunities
- Travel support
- Therapy and counseling services, including specialized workshops and group sessions focusing on the specific demands of executives and high-level professionals
- Peer support groups made up of other executives
- Seclusion and privacy
- Medication management
- Holistic and alternative therapy methods
- Transitional and aftercare services and support
An executive rehab program may feel like a retreat, with plush accommodations to help high-powered professionals feel more at home. The locations of the facilities are often secluded and private, and they provide a high level of confidentiality.
Clients can receive care and support to develop healthy coping mechanisms, and tools for managing triggers and minimizing potential instances of relapse. Fitness programs and recreational opportunities, as well as holistic measures, can help to alleviate stress and promote overall health.
Providers at a private executive alcohol rehab program understand the pressures that these professionals are under on a daily basis. Treatment will be personalized to address these issues, which are unique to this demographic.
How Employee Assistance Programs Work
Alcohol abuse can lead to workplace accidents, injuries, loss of workplace production, and many other concerns. NCADD publishes that, according to national surveys, nearly one-quarter of the working population in the United States drank during the workday at least once in the past year.
Many companies offer Employee Assistance Programs, or EAPs, to help workers with issues related to alcohol abuse. An EAP is a confidential and free service offered to employees. An EAP can offer short-term counseling, and provide referrals to local treatment and rehab programs and peer support groups, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports. EAPs can provide help for a variety of concerns, including:
- Dependent services
- Financial assistance
- Legal troubles
- Mental health issues
- Alcohol and drug abuse and addiction
- Conflicts in the workplace
- Marital, elder, and family issues and concerns
- Grief counseling
- Transitional services from a rehab program back to work after an absence
Many companies provide EAPs for their employees; however, only a small percentage of individuals actually make use of them. Employees can use an EAP for alcohol abuse concerns without fear that the employer will find out. These services are entirely confidential, and privacy is legally protected. An employee has to give consent in order for employers to receive any information regarding their use of an EAP. In this way, jobs are protected.
A company's human resources department is a good place to learn more information about how to access EAP services and what these services entail. Family members may also be covered under an employee's EAP, making them eligible for support and counseling services as well. EAPs may be included as part of a person's behavioral health services offered through health insurance coverage.
Counseling services offered through an EAP may be on site at the workplace, over the telephone, or contracted out through a private provider. Crisis hotlines are often open and available to employees 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
To access EAP services, a person will generally only need to call the EAP service number, provide their company name, and request services. Employees do not need to inform their employers that they are accessing these confidential services. When contacting an EAP, individuals can request short-term counseling sessions, either in person or over the phone, and usually coverage allows for 3-12 of these sessions each year. Employee Assistance Programs are staffed by certified counselors who can provide free short-term help and also referrals to rehab programs for additional and further services.
An EAP can help a person get immediate help for alcohol abuse and addiction, and provide information on additional treatment options when needed. An EAP can be a great place for an executive or manager to start when seeking help for alcohol-related concerns.