Leadership Stress Leading to Addiction in the Workplace

Addiction in the workplace

Leadership Stress Leading to Addiction in the Workplace

Individuals of all different types, ages, nationalities, and walks of life can potentially fall into addiction. It is a very unforgiving condition and can consume the life of virtually any person. Addiction has been categorized as many different things over the years. Some have labeled it as a behavioral issue, a brain condition, disease, etc. But, a commonality when it comes to many individuals developing addiction is that they begin to use drugs or alcohol to cope with a difficult or stressful situation within their life. Life can be full of stressful situations. Leaders of businesses and groups often receive a large brunt of stress. They are often subject to large amounts of stress because they are holding a whole group together. They are ensuring things are running smoothly, handling barriers, and much more. And for some, this can become too much at times, causing them to reach for a substance to try and relax or ease the stress for a moment. But, once this becomes a regular habit, addiction in the workplace can be quick to follow.

Addiction in the Workplace

Of course, not every stressed out leader is going to end up falling into addiction. Some may be able to handle the pressure or even thrive in it. However, it can be overwhelming for others. There are many who experience less stress than other leaders and still reach for substances to ease it. Every person can have a widely different threshold of what is bearable or tolerable for them. With a leader, they face the obstacles of ensuring everyone is on task. Leaders have to make sure there are no stops, the company is running as it should be, and services or products are being delivered. All of this, in combination with high stakes and short deadlines, can be enough to make many individuals reach for something to take the edge off. Addiction in the workplace is becoming more common today than ever before.

Methods for Better Managing Leadership Stress

Learning how to manage stress without needing to reach for substances is key. A person needs to be able to recognize when it is becoming too much for them. They need to take a step back or have a way to better cope with it. It could include actions such as:

  • Taking a break and stepping away from the job for a minute to collect oneself
  • Learning to identify when it is too much and what causes this type of stress
  • Sorting out how to better address the stressful situations, whether it be delegating some of the load to another team member, or practicing other methods of stress relief

If this situation becomes too severe, a leader may need to reach for help to overcome their addiction. This could come in the form of another team member or loved one that they can confide in, and talk to about the situation. But, it could also include seeking professional addiction counseling or attending a rehab center. Many large (and not so large) companies carry insurance coverage to treat addiction in the workplace. A large concern when it comes to this is the reputation of the leader, as attending treatment could be damaging in this avenue.  At the same time, this is not a good reason to not seek help, as the addiction will tend to only get worse if left alone. Many leaders and other high caliber individuals are often quite good at hiding addiction because they are high-functioning individuals, but it will show more the longer it continues. There are many treatment centers and counselors that know and understand the necessity for privacy and discretion and can make treatment work with this.

The Leadership Management of Per Wickstrom of Behavioral Rehabilitation Services Rehab Center

Per Wickstrom is the owner and head of several different rehabilitation centers, as well as a recovering addict himself. He understands what leadership stress can impose upon an individual, and helps many individuals in this position to overcome their addictions every year through his centers. Determining the balance of leadership, stress, and maintaining one’s recovery can seem difficult at first, but it is doable. As mentioned above, delegation is an important point in avoiding addiction in the workplace. Hire diligent employees that can help to ensure that operations are running smoothly, as this takes a large load off of the leader. Per Wickstrom, is an excellent example of this, as he has set up his numerous centers to be individually run by qualified and trusted individuals, while he still runs the overall operation without detriment to his stress level or recovery.


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