Addiction a growing problem amongst executives says wellbeing boss

26th June 2019 | Dave Leverton | Coaching & Mentoring

Addiction a growing problem amongst executives says wellbeing boss

Alcohol dependency and drug addiction are becoming increasingly common among high powered company executives, according to Unlimited Wellbeing boss Dave Leverton, who says many choose to suffer in silence rather than seek help, often with catastrophic results.

"Nobody ever sets out to become an addict," explains Unlimited Wellbeing’s Chief Operating Officer. "There is a general expectation that company bosses are fearless, confident leaders with impeccable judgement and boundless energy. The reality though is that executives are human beings like everyone else and can often turn to alcohol or recreational drugs to help them cope with the pressures and demands of their roles."

A recent US study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), revealed that more than 12% of those employed in the management sector reported having used drugs within the past month whilst one in ten reported heavy alcohol use. Here in the UK, drug related deaths have increased by 26% according to UK Addiction Treatment (UKAT) with the BBC reporting that spending on drug and alcohol treatment has reduced by more than 18% since 2014.

"People suffering from addiction are often portrayed as being uneducated, or uneducated, underprivileged and unemployed but this simply isn't true," says Leverton. "You are more likely to find someone with drug and alcohol problems in the boardroom than asleep on a park bench. Leverton says that whilst huge progress has been made in terms of mental health awareness in recent years, addiction remains a taboo and leads to many executives being reluctant to seek help which can have a devastating effect on their lives. "Dependency and addiction doesn't just damage physical health," he explains, "It bleeds into every area of an addicts life, affecting relationships, decision making and creating legal problems.”

Successful organisations need their best talent performing to their full potential," says Leverton. "It's all too easy to pack someone off to rehab in the hope that they will come back' fixed' a few weeks later but the reality is that their addiction will run much deeper than just the physical dependency. At Unlimited Wellbeing we think that better practical support is needed so we have created our range of addiction services in such a way that every treatment plan is totally bespoke to the individual. For some rehab clinics are a good option, for others counselling, coaching and support are far more effective and successful.

Interestingly Unlimited Wellbeing offer all their addiction clients legal support as part of every package. "Almost invariably, people suffering with addiction will need some legal help," explains Leverton. "Mortgage payments go unpaid, relationships break down and bills can stack up as the addiction takes over lives. Clients often won't even realise they have legal problems until they spend an hour with our in house solicitor who is an expert at helping them resolve complex legal issues.”

The decision by Unlimited Wellbeing to introduce its addiction services has been described as 'timely' after the NHS recently announced that the number of people dying from alcohol related illnesses has risen to record levels with 5843 deaths in 2017 alone and one person being admitted to hospital every 30 seconds where drinking is recorded as a factor.

Dave Leverton says that It's time to face up to drug and alcohol addiction to ensure people can get the support they need to get their lives back on track. "Failing to do so at executive level can have catastrophic consequences for the individuals themselves, their families and the organisations that they work for.”

Unlimited Wellbeing are a fast growing end to end health & wellbeing provider based in the East Midlands of the United Kingdom.

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