- Feb 26
When most of us think about people with addiction problems, few people imagine a white collar professional such as a well-groomed family lawyer or high-brow bank manager. Although it may come as a surprise to you and many others, addiction is widespread among white-collar professionals.
These people make good money and tend to have surplus amounts of cash to spend on alcohol and drugs. They also have high positions of power and can easily acquire illegal drugs. Some even go to the extent of paying doctors willing to do them drug favors. All of these make addiction very possible and very easy to hide for white-collar workers.
The following white-collar individuals are the hardest hit by substance abuse problems:
- Bankers and managers
- Airline pilots
- Salespeople and sales managers
- Public servants
Factors Influencing Addiction Among Professionals
Middle to upper class white-collar workers deal with a significant amount of stress, regardless of their profession. While many find healthy ways to deal with the pressure, others turn to drugs and alcohol. There are many reasons behind white-collar addiction, including:
- The work culture: Certain jobs encourage people to use alcohol and drugs. Jordan Belfort in his memoir TheWolf of Wall Street described the partying lifestyle of most white-collar workers on Wall Street. Binge drinking was part of the work culture and a form of socialization.
- Desire to boost performance: White-collar workers may use drugs to boost their energy levels the same way athletes use drugs to enhance performance. Most professionals and executives claim that it helps improve their memory and performance at work.
- High stress: Some jobs are very stressful, leading workers to use drugs to cope with white-collar problems. A good example of someone at risk is a doctor who must manage high-pressure situations and has very little time to relax and bond with family.
- Easy access: In certain professions such as medicine, drugs are readily available. Most doctors, for instance, can easily access prescription drugs and might get addicted as they try to self-medicate issues with pain or frustrations in their daily lives.
- Mental health problems: Some drugs, such as opiates and stimulants, carry a high risk of addiction. People may begin using these drugs to try and treat their mental health issues and may end up becoming addicted when they use more than the prescribed amounts.
Common Substance Addictions Among White-Collar Workers
The most commonly abused substances among white-collar professionals include:
- Alcohol: While alcohol statistics tend to vary between industries, alcohol is still the most commonly abused substance by white-collar workers.
- Pills: Opioids such as Vicodin, Xanax, OxyContin, and Fentanyl, along with sleeping pills such as Ambien, have been used extensively by white-collar workers. Their ease of availability makes many people resort to them for relaxation, stress relief and to induce sleep at night.
- Illicit drugs: Though less common, illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin have slowly made their way into white-collar professions.
Common Process Addictions Among White Collar Professionals
Aside from alcohol and drug abuse, white-collar professionals may also suffer from process addictions to:
Barriers to Treatment
One of the main reasons white-collar workers don’t get help for addiction is because of the stigma associated with alcohol and drug use. They may not accept that addiction can happen to them for fear of losing their jobs. Another reason is because they think that their addiction isn’t a problem because their work performance hasn’t declined.They may even believe that alcohol and drugs help them perform better at work.
It’s important to seek help if you see any signs of white-collar substance abuse, regardless of stereotypes about addiction. Getting assistance from a reputable treatment center can improve not only your work life but also your mental health and social life.
If you want to learn more about alcohol and drug treatment programs for white-collar professionals, feel free to call our qualified therapists at 877-352-9566 or reach out to us through our online contact page to get the help you need.