Why Do So Many CEOs End Up Addicted?

Why Do So Many CEOs End Up Addicted?

It’s common to hear about CEOs and other high-up figures using drugs. You may not know exactly which ones do it, or which industries have the biggest problem with drugs, but this seems like common knowledge for many people. The biggest question you have to ask is why so many CEOs end up addicted to different substances. They have so much more than the average person, so why do they need drugs to get by in life?

CEOs Make “Good” Addicts

For most upper-level people like company CEOs, CFOs, or COOs, addictive substances are not about seeking out enjoyment or coping with a difficult life. Instead, CEOs are prone to addiction because the set of skills that makes them good at their job also makes them “good” at being addicted.

Most “C”-level employees have a high tolerance for risks, are personally driven, and want to succeed at all costs. These things work well for them in business, and usually bleed over into their personal lives as well, including addictions. The theory is that CEOs and other successful higher-ups may need more of a substance to get the same feeling of pleasure as other addicts have. Need for success drives them to drives them to take on this challenge to get high, while a tolerance for risks causes them not to mind the potential consequences of their actions.


The theory about personal traits seems valid, but the other theory is that CEOs and other top-level employees are more likely to self-medicate instead of getting treatment of any sort. Many people are driven to succeed because they faced hardship and difficult obstacles in their youth. This ingrained trauma or stress may affect the brain of a young person, so that even when they grow up they still feel the impact of it.

Permanent changes like these may causes CEOs to try to treat themselves. Hard drugs are not usually what this type of person gets addicted to. More commonly, prescription pain killers and alcohol are the substances used, which would stand to support this theory more.

Functioning in Society

It’s easy to see how addiction can affect people differently depending on their economic status. Low-income people suffer much worse when addiction strikes, versus high-income people like CEOs or celebrities. Many addictions are not talked about in high levels of business, even if treatment is easily available for those who would need it.

The social “shushing” and partial acceptance of CEOs using addictive substances makes it harder to the people to individually resist an addiction craving. If it’s something that’s accepted, and almost expected, why shouldn’t they also do it?

Unwinding and dealing with society can be difficult for those in positions of high power and authority. Drugs and alcohol might seem like to perfect solution to get more personable and to socialize with others more easily. These addictions almost never impact their work in the beginning, because of the teams of people available to assist the CEO at work. Since a good CEO is harder to replace than a normal worker, they are also less likely to be fired than the average employee, even if it is found out that they are addicted to any substance.

But, specialized and personal treatment programs are available for CEOs and the like. www.therecoveryvillage.com talks about how some of these programs work, and how they can improve your quality of life, no matter what position you hold at your job.

CEOs aren’t the only ones you suffer from addictions, but they do seem to get addicted more often than a lot of others. There are a few theories as to why, but it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what the cause is.

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