Dopamine, work pressure and success can lead to addiction

Research has shown that Dutch people with a high position in the business world are more often confronted with an addiction than 'ordinary employees'. This group not only has to deal with addiction problems more often, but the threshold for seeking help is also a lot higher for this group.

Success creates dopamine

You've probably heard of dopamine. It is also sometimes referred to as the 'happiness substance'. And that's not surprising, because dopamine plays a huge role in your brain when it comes to the reward system. The moment certain amounts of dopamine are produced in the brain, you get a wonderful feeling of joy and pleasure. This can already happen after certain physical exertion or after taking certain foods. 

Success also provides dopamine. Successful people are naturally very result-oriented, can easily work many hours a week and find it difficult to relax. For this group, achieving success is more than just a good result. It also provides a huge dopamine rush.

A recipe for addiction because it is not for nothing that dopamine is often associated with stimulants such as drugs and alcohol.

Reputation, shame and success turn out to be a dangerous combination 

In companies that focus on performance and success, addiction problems are more likely to occur. According to research by EWA (European Workplace and Alcohol) that drug use under managers is 40% more common than in other groups. The work pressure is high and you often work long hours. In addition, if you are successful, you often have more to celebrate. But having success also brings a lot of tension and stress.

Alcohol, drugs and other stimulants can provide relaxation in this environment. They give users the pep to continue or, on the contrary, they have an anesthetic effect. In this way, these resources are given a function in the daily work of the user. It does not help that the environment of the user often goes along with this and justify the use of substances. It is not seen as a problem as long as the person is successful. 

This can make the addiction worse. Feelings of shame and fear also grow. Fear of losing their good reputation. Successful people have prestige, a good position and are high performers. They don't want to lose that. The pressure to remain successful is increasing. 

'Coming out of the closet' is difficult

The threshold for seeking help is therefore very high for successful people. Fear of damaging their reputation and shame surrounding their use often make it difficult to "come out" about their addiction. 

That is why it is important for family members, but also for employers, to keep an eye on things and to be alert to the signals. Support from the network can lower the threshold to seek help. 

Do you recognize yourself in this article? Or are you worried about a colleague, employee or family member? At Castle Craig, we can help you without shame or prejudice. Sign up for a intake