People can judge addiction harshly, including those among us who are addicted high profile individuals. A common criticism of this group of addicts is that they already have a great deal of money and power, so why should they need to numb themselves with alcohol, drugs and sex? The fact of the matter is people of all demographics, high profile and low profile, become addicted because of serious underlying psychological factors, and all cases of addiction deserve compassion and the benefit of a doubt. In fact, it is possible for high profile individuals to reap harsher consequences and greater risk due to addiction.
The nature of a high profile person’s position holds them to a different standard of expectations than other people. People in lower professional positions do not receive as much attention or scrutiny as a high profile person receives. The decisions and choices a high profile individual makes are held under a microscope, both in their professional and their personal lives. This means they are at higher risk of criticism, consequences and ramifications for their actions.
When a person has more to protect, they also have more to hide if they have skeletons in the closet. For many high profile individuals, addiction is the skeleton in the closet and they will go to great lengths to keep it hidden. Leading a double life is a hallmark of high profile addiction. Those in high profile positions are expected to maintain that they are respectable, stand up members of society, and a great deal of their wealth and power depends upon protecting this image.
The trouble with this is, of course, people who hide their addictions can die from them. Particularly those who are addicted to an intoxicating or mind altering substance. So many addictive substances are lethal at a certain dosage, and those who use them secretly have no one looking out for them or encouraging them to stay clean. The more fiercely a person keeps their addiction secret, the more at risk they are of serious consequences. Someone in their right mind would understand that the value of life is much higher than the value of wealth and power, but addicts are not in their right mind and they frequently do not know when to reach out for help. If you or someone you care about are a high profile person struggling with addiction, reach out to your support system or to addiction treatment services right away.