If surveyed people about who they imagine a typical person attending drug rehab might be, it is almost certain that a majority would describe someone who has come from a broken home, perhaps an abusive childhood or whose life has been one mired in poverty. That classic model of a typical drug addict probably comes from media depictions of drug use and abuse.
Whilst it cannot be denied that some people who have not had the most idyllic of lives do turn to drugs, it must also be pointed out, that many well-paid professionals have also fallen under the spell of drugs and require drug rehab services.
Although they do not account for the majority of drug users, and some surveys put the percentage of those who could be classified as ‘professionals’ who admit to using illegal drugs regularly is around 10%. That might not seem a huge number, but it accounts for over 250,000 individuals who have a drug problem in Australia.
One myth to dismiss immediately is that the main reason professionals with high incomes are regular drug takers is because they can afford it. Ask anyone who helps those addicted to drugs and they will tell you that, for their patients, the amount of money they have is not what drives their drug use, it is their addiction. Actually, those with little or no income are usually able to fund their habit whenever they need to, albeit some may turn to crime to do so.
So, if their high income is not what drives their drug addiction, why do around a quarter of a million professionals in Australia, turn to drugs? Here are five of the most common answers to that question given by high salary professionals who have entered drug rehab programs.
Workplace Stress: It is no surprise that professionals in high salary jobs experience considerable stress due to their significant responsibilities. Unfortunately, that stress can reach such a high level that some turn to drugs for the short term relief it gives them.
Huge (Often Unrealistic) Professional Expectations: Being in a high profile role possibly responsible for a whole team of people, huge budgets, or the success of an entire business, brings high expectations from all directions. Depending on the specific role it can include company directors, shareholders, employees, professional groups, and regulatory bodies.
Pressure From Peers: Whilst this happens within all demographics, it is especially prevalent amongst professionals. Even if being encouraged to try drugs to ‘take the edge off’ seems like a harmless one-off, it can also be the first step towards addiction.
Past Traumas: Whether in their professional lives when something has gone wrong with serious repercussions, or something in their personal life, professionals have issues too. Often their drug habit manifests by them trying to avoid their mind replaying past traumas.
Trying To ‘Fit In’: Younger and newly qualified professionals often say that they only started taking drugs to gain social acceptance from other professionals who were taking drugs. Not wanting to seem like the odd one out when all around are taking drugs can be difficult to resist.
As you can see some of these may be a consequence of the professional role they are in, but there are also some which prove that professionals can be as susceptible to human frailties, including drug addiction, as anyone else.