Why Public Officials are Prone to Addiction

addicted government leadersThere are many factors that contribute to addictive behavior, ranging from genetics to psychology to environment. It has been noted that high profile individuals, such as government officials, are more prone to addictive behavior than other groups of people. This is due to the stresses of high profile positions and the neurological make-up of bold, successful people.

The performance pressure put on high profile individuals can be astronomical. The higher the position is, the heavier the weight on the individual’s shoulders can be. Certain personality types are better equipped to deal with stress than others, but many working professionals reach their limit with stress and do not know how to cope past a certain point. This is often when individuals turn to drugs or alcohol to alleviate stress. Substance abuse as a maladaptive coping mechanism is very common through out all types of addiction, but hits this particular group of people very hard. When the substance abuse turns to dependency, the addict can seldom find their way out of addiction without professional intervention.

When approaching addiction as a neurological disease, we find that the brain actually rewires itself to initially enjoy a substance and eventually depend on the substance when it is overused. Neuroscientists have discovered a link between risk taking personalities and addictive behavior, proving that certain chemical make-ups are more prone to the neurological disease of addiction. High profile persons fall into the category of risk takers, which can be observed in the choices they make that keep them in a position of power. Dopamine is the brain chemical associated with pleasure, and risk taking persons have largely been found to have inhibited dopamine production in their brains, causing them to seek more extreme pleasures and stimulations, such as risky financial ventures or experimentation with substances. This does not change the fact that substance addiction is agreeably the unhealthy expression of this neurological quality.