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The Risks of a Work-Home Merger

Jul 30, 2020

For executives and other professionals who spend more than half of their week at work or thinking about work, the role they serve at the office typically gets brought home and overlaps with their personal life. This unintentional merging of a professional role and a personal identity can create imbalance and negatively affect one’s ability to focus on self-care consistently. Today, let’s look at the substance use and mental health risks associated with blurring the lines between a “work self” and a “home self.”

An executive with a substance use disorder who sets no boundaries on professional commitments may risk experiencing a relapse due to a lack of balance in their personal life. Strained family relationships, a lack of adequate sleep and self-care, and a need for sustaining high levels of energy over long periods of time can be factors in returning to substance use during the workday and during after-hours social gatherings. For the business professional needing treatment for an SUD and co-occurring mental health disorder, private and confidential residential treatment is available.

If you or a loved one need help, call our admissions team today at 561-270-1753.


Do any of the following apply to you?

  • I often work day and night as well as weekends.
  • I routinely sacrifice personal time for professional commitments.
  • I leave family events to respond to professional demands.
  • I always talk about business, even in my personal life.
  • I look for ways to sustain my energy over a long day.
  • I struggle to get adequate rest when I’m not working.
  • I have noticed work is having a negative impact on my health and well-being.
  • I have experienced periods of depression or anxiety related to work.

Work with no boundaries creates high costs in your personal life.

Based on your job title, it’s expected you’ll work long hours and make many personal sacrifices. The tipping point comes when your week consists of so much attention to professional responsibilities you’re missing valuable time nurturing your personal relationships and tending to your own self-care. The high cost of “limitless” work could include strained family relationships, increased risk for developing physical health conditions, and development of both mental health disorders and substance use disorders.

Working excessively could be a sign of other unaddressed issues in your personal life.

While ambition to grow a company and a career is an admirable quality, working excessively at the expense of your personal life may be a sign of avoidance of a particular issue. In this situation, the choice to work long hours is made to avoid dealing with the source of a specific stress at home involving your spouse, a partner, or your child. Part of that home-life avoidance may include tacking on extra hours to the workday by dining out or visiting a bar where routine drinking begins to take place.

Working without limits can exacerbate a substance use disorder and lead to burnout.

No matter how many months or years you have managed to “make it work” staying on this endless schedule of work, the threat to your career is always present. Working to a point of burnout in your field could cost you the career you have carefully built over time. Reaching a point where dependence on substances to cope with a stressful workday also could mean destroying your career if an SUD or co-occurring mental health disorder lead to you compromising your integrity on the job or lead to criminal behavior.

Private and confidential help is available for executives with SUDs.

Executives and other professionals whose reputations are integral to their career status and growth can find private and confidential help for a substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health disorder. These types of services are designed for a particular group of people working in high-profile positions and allows them to receive treatment at private locations and with an additional layer of privacy at personal suites to allow them to focus on their recovery without unnecessary distractions. Also, these residential programs can provide a “digital detox” for an executive whose constant use of devices is heavily contributing to their imbalanced professional life.

Headwaters is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 561-270-1753.

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