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Addiction in the C-Suite

Addiction is prevalent among C-suite executives. These employees' high-ranking positions mean there is a lot of pressure on their shoulders, and they often develop addictive habits as a means of escape.

Addiction is prevalent among C-suite executives

Article Contents

What is the C-Suite?

The term “C-suite” refers to high-ranking executives at a company, as their titles often start with C. However, the C-suite may include other titles or high-ranking officials. The high-ranking positions of employees in the C-suite mean there is significant pressure on their shoulders. These executives often develop addictive habits as a means of escape or self-medication for the stressful situations their jobs place them in.1

C-Suite Titles:

The C-suite titles include:

C-Suite Pressures and Stresses

C-suite executives deal with their share of pressures and stresses. These stressful factors include the following:

Performance and Accountability Pressures

Executives at the C-suite level are often required to reach certain goals within a given time frame. For instance, they may be required to hit a certain sales mark each month. If they are unable to do so, their job may be on the line.


C-suite executives must set a good example for those around them, such as their team or their superiors. As a result, these executives may become obsessed with being ‘perfect’, a goal that no one can attain.


For many C-suite executives, their job is all about climbing the corporate ladder. If they are unable to advance, they may disappoint themselves and fear disappointing the people they love. This aspect can be even more frustrating if their peers are advancing while they are staying at the same level.

Work Hard Play Hard

Individuals at the C-suite level are often about the work hard, play hard mentality. They become used to a luxury life that allows them to indulge outside of the office. The stresses of everyday life further fuel the need for this type of escape.

Time Demand and Family Issues

When you are at the C-suite level, you may not be able to enjoy a healthy work-life balance. Work-life balance can also be difficult if you are trying to bond with your family. C-level employees may start experiencing issues at home that add to the pressure from work.

Addiction on the C-Suite Level

Why Do Successful Professionals use Drugs?

Successful professionals are under stress when it comes to reaching goals, setting a good example for others, getting ahead, and making time for their families. They may also be tempted by their peers when it comes to living the work hard, play hard lifestyle.

On top of all the stress C-suite executives deal with, they may also be coping with burnout. Doing the same thing every day can get to them but taking a break can mean a shutdown of the entire system.

Rates of Substance Abuse in top Executives

The rates of substance abuse in top executives are shockingly high. In larger companies, it may not be unusual to find 15 of the 250 top executives dealing with addiction issues. Research has shown that approximately 10% of C-suite executives use drugs and alcohol regularly.2

White-Collar Workers Have 2-3 Times Higher Risk Then Lower-Income Workers

Although some may think that C-suite workers are fortunate due to their high incomes, this is countered by their high addiction rates. It has been shown that white-collar workers are 2-3 times more likely to become addicted to drugs and alcohol as compared to lower-income workers.

Drug use often comes with the stresses of a successful career, but it can also start earlier in life. A 2017 study showed that adolescents from upper-middle-class communities were more likely to grow up with addiction issues than those from lower-income brackets.3

What Drugs do C-Suite Executives Abuse?

Some of the most common drugs that C-level employees tend to use include:

Signs of Substance Abuse

Although the drugs listed above may provide temporary relief, they often have ongoing effects that cause more harm than good in the long run. Here are some behavioral and physical signs of addiction among those struggling with addiction.6

Behavioral Signs:

Physical Signs

How C-Suite Executives Hide Their Addiction

C-suite executives can usually hide their addiction at first. They may be used to a professional schedule, and they may be aware of what’s at stake if they let their habit show.

After a while, however, most executives are unable to keep things under control. They will experience difficulties that make it impossible to hide their symptoms any longer.

Treating Addiction in the C-Suite

Fortunately, there are ways to treat addiction with luxury rehab services that are suited to those who are used to upscale living.

Luxury Addiction Services

A C-suite executive may want a luxury rehab experience. This experience includes a personalized room, a specialized menu, upscale community areas, pools, stunning views, and a relaxing environment.

Working During Addiction

Those struggling with addiction may be reluctant to get help because they don’t want to miss work. They feel that if they take time off, they will miss out on income and their whole company may fall apart.

Fortunately, outpatient rehab is an option. If they go this route, they will be able to continue working while taking time to attend therapy groups. They may even temporarily live in a rehab facility while they are not at work.


Privacy is an issue for many C-suite executives who go into rehab. They may be concerned that the word will get out about their addiction and affect their professional reputation. A luxury rehab will make discretion a priority to ensure job protection.

If you or a loved one is dealing with addiction at the C-suite level, Iris Healing® can help. We offer end-to-end service that includes detox, therapies, and outpatient care to prepare you for sober living. We provide luxury accommodations that are up to the highest standards.

Don’t let addiction rule your life. Call Iris Healing® and get ready to enjoy a higher quality of living.


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