Impaired professionals

Despite the numerous technological advances of the 21st century - which promised to make life easier and increase the amount of time at our disposal for leisure, family and friends - more people than ever before are experiencing professional stress and burnout in the workplace which can lead to alcohol and drug addiction.

It's difficult to pinpoint any specific reason why the number of casualties continues to rise, but some causes may include corporate competitiveness, high expectations of staff performance, long hours, relentless pressure to “stay ahead of the game” and the dreaded knowledge that there is always someone waiting to take your place if you don't come up with the goods.

Often, the professionals who appear to have it all are the ones who are struggling hardest to cope. Despite their high-flying jobs, big salaries, beautiful homes and all the trappings of a successful lifestyle, they can easily feel they no longer have the resources to maintain it all. In their desperate attempt to keep all the balls in the air, it's not unusual to resort to alcohol, drugs or other addictive behaviours.

People from all walks of life can be victims of burnout, severe stress and addiction. However, it seems that those working in certain professions - such as healthcare, the media, finance - are more vulnerable. The good news is that the recovery success rate is extremely high.

Because of the nature of their work, some people benefit from specialist treatment or other support to help them to get their lives back on track. For example, there are some Alcoholics Anonymous meetings specifically for doctors - see www.idaa.org.

For further information call 0800 081 0700