Alcohol abuse and addiction span all demographics; these issues are not limited to those who live in poverty. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports that over 15 million adults in the United States battled an alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2016. People from all walks of life are impacted by alcohol abuse and addiction. The stress of a high-powered profession, such as a career in politics, may contribute to problematic drinking as a coping mechanism.
Politicians also face the difficulties of being a public figure and having their private lives exposed for all to see, which can be extremely stressful. Stress is a well-known contributor to both excessive drinking and the onset of addiction. High stress and a lack of social support can increase the amount, and how often, a person drinks, Psych Central publishes.
While money may not be an object, politicians and public figures can face specific barriers to treatment. The stigma that often accompanies behavioral health concerns, including addiction, can make it more difficult for someone in the public eye to seek treatment for drug or alcohol concerns. A politician may worry that their personal struggles with alcohol abuse will negatively impact their campaign or tarnish their image. Public figures and celebrities may also require personal security around them at all times in order to keep them safe and protected from fans and the general public who are constantly vying for their attention. As a result, privacy, security, anonymity, and other special considerations need to be taken into account for a public figure to attend an alcohol use treatment program with peace of mind.
Getting a Politician into a Treatment Program
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) publishes that only 9 percent of alcoholics fit the traditional stereotype of someone struggling with alcohol addiction, as they fall into the "chronic severe" alcoholic subtype. This is probably what comes to mind when someone thinks of an "alcoholic" – someone who may be homeless, drunk more often than not, and unable to function normally in society.
Alcoholism can impact anyone in any profession or socioeconomic status, however – famous or not – and some people who battle alcohol addiction may even show it overtly. Just over 20 percent of those battling alcohol addiction actually fit into the "functional" subtype. These individuals are likely to be educated, have families, and boast successful careers. They may be able to continue to do their job and give the impression that everything is fine and there is no problem with alcohol.
A functional alcohol is liable to compartmentalize their drinking. While they can keep up with work production, they will also drink to excess regularly and potentially experience blackouts. Family members and those close to them often enable them to continue their drinking by making excuses for them on a regular basis and helping to clean up any messes made by their drinking.
Politicians may often fit into the functional alcoholic subtype. Therefore, they may not consider their drinking to be problematic, making them less likely to seek treatment for alcohol abuse. A loved one or family member may need to stage an intervention, often with the help of a trained professional interventionist, to convince them that treatment is necessary.
To get into a rehab program, a public figure (or their assistant or family member) can contact the desired facility directly to set up an admissions interview and determine whether or not the program will be optimal for them. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers an anonymous Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator tool that individuals can use to find and learn more about available treatment services. The site is secure, and all personal information collected remains confidential and anonymous. Individuals may also obtain referrals from their personal medical providers who may know of specific rehab facilities that may be suitable.
A politician may choose to go to an alcohol rehab facility that is far from home and removed from their local constituents for maximum privacy and anonymity. Individuals can call a facility directly to find out what types of services are offered, to determine whether or not the program will be the best fit, and to assess availability.
Information on Other Professions
Private Alcohol Use Treatment Programs for Celebrities
Someone with financial means, a desire for privacy, and who is used to a certain quality of life, like a celebrity, will usually choose a private addiction treatment facility when seeking out an alcohol use treatment program. A private alcohol rehab center can provide anonymity, private rooms and accommodations, enhanced security, luxury surroundings, and a wide range of amenities to help a person heal and recover in peace.
Most treatment programs are entirely voluntary, meaning that individuals are able to leave whenever they choose to; however, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) publishes that addiction treatment should last at least 90 days to sustain recovery. The longer a person stays in treatment, the better the odds are for sustained abstinence and fewer instances of relapse. By providing a calm, serene, and inviting environment where a celebrity can feel more at home, private luxury alcohol rehab facilities encourage individuals to remain in treatment.
Politicians and public figures are often accustomed to a certain degree of luxury in their environment, and private rehab facilities may strive to ensure the comfort of their guests as much as possible. These facilities often feel like an upscale hotel. A private luxury alcohol rehab center may offer the following:
- Private lodging
- Spa treatments
- Landscaped grounds and gardens with space for quiet reflection
- Luxury accommodations
- Massage therapy
- Nutritious and balanced gourmet meals
- Yoga and mindfulness meditation
- Equine-assisted therapy
- Saunas and sun rooms
- Maid service
- Fitness programs and equipment
- Nutritional counseling
- Art and expressive therapies
- Extra security
- Low client-to-staff ratios
- Access to private conference rooms
- Swimming pools
- Life coaching
- Anger management classes
- Comprehensive alumni programs
A luxury alcohol rehab facility may be located in an exotic and private location, where it is appealing for public figures to relax in relative comfort and peace while in treatment for addiction. Politicians may need to continue working and maintain their connection with the outside world while attending rehab, and a specialized treatment facility can accommodate this by providing access to computers, phones, and conference rooms when needed.
Generally speaking, private rehab programs combine holistic and traditional methods of addiction treatment. Rehab programs can be residential, or services can be provided on an outpatient basis, but generally speaking, an inpatient program can provide the most comprehensive and highest level of care. Celebrities in rehab programs may be offered more leeway than traditional rehab programs offer, and public figures may have the ability to come and go as they wish even if enrolled in an inpatient rehab program. The visitor policy may be relaxed for this clientele as well.
Individuals who are significantly dependent on alcohol will first go through a medical detox program where medications are commonly used to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings while alcohol safely processes out of the body. A private facility can provide a high level of care and comfort to ease the discomfort of alcohol withdrawal during medical detox.
After detox, addiction treatment programs offer group and individual behavioral therapy sessions as well as educational and relapse prevention programs, life skills training, and other therapies. Specialized programs for public figures may include group sessions and support groups made up of peers who can understand the public pressures that go along with being a celebrity. Individuals will learn how to cope with the pressures of life in the public eye as well as with the demands of a high-powered job. Any co-occurring mental and/or medical health issues are addressed and managed through a specialized alcohol use treatment program.
Private rehab programs generally offer extensive aftercare programs for individuals after they have completed a treatment program. These alumni programs may include meetings, interviews, and follow-up visits to ensure that recovery is going well, and to address any potential issues that may come up.
Complete anonymity, privacy, and security measures are typically very important for this demographic. A private rehab facility will be sensitive to these requirements.