“Functional Addiction” is Commonplace Among Workaholics and Silicon Valley Engineers
Functional addicts and alcoholics appear okay. They go to work every day, complete projects on time, and even drive well. Most functional addicts are workaholics. Most are well-respected by their peers at work.
In fact, functional addiction often appears to work great. Functional addiction works for the user…right up until the moment it stops working. That’s the moment when the user is on a stretcher, carried out of their home or workplace by EMS personnel.
Most functional substance abusers don’t think they have any issues with their ‘performance enhancing’ activities. But their damaged hearts, livers, and lungs always have a differing opinion.
‘Pressure Cooker’ Work Environments and Drug Use
Silicon Valley is one of the most productive work environments in the world. Employees describe tech companies in the Valley as fast-paced, driving, and incredibly demanding. This can include 70+ hour weeks and no time off.
In a 2015 Computerworld article, Silicon Valley’s ‘pressure cooker:’ Thrive or Get Out, the author describes Google’s environment as having ‘world-class chefs cooking free food for its employees; while also setting up nap pods, meditation classes and sandy volleyball courts.’
According to Megan Slabinski, district president of Robert Half Technology: “All those perks – the ping pong tables, the free snacks, the free day care – in the tech industry come with the job because the job is so demanding,” she said. “There’s a level of demand in the tech industry that translates to the work environment.”
These types of work environments heap pressure on employees daily. No surprise that some turn to drug use.
From Bio-Hacking to Drug Addiction
The temptation to ‘get an edge’ on the competition always lingers. In startups, workers are expected to work until projects are complete. This can mean working 24+ hours at a stretch.
Some tech workers bring in sleeping bags to catch a few hours’ rest at the office before deadlines. Productivity techniques called “bio-hacking” help them focus longer, work harder, stay awake for longer stretches. Some of these “bio-hacks” involve drugs.
How Silicon Valley Workers Progress from Performance Enhancers to Addiction
Many workers start out with caffeine, which includes coffee and energy drinks. If this goes long enough, the body develops a tolerance, requiring more caffeine for the same effect.
Because the body can only drink so much coffee or energy drinks in one day, workers often seek other substances. This kind of ‘substance progression’ we often see in our clients:
- Nootropics – Reputed to enhance brain activity for stamina and creativity. Most are legal but not well-tested.
- Adderall – Performance enhancer; amphetamine. Available by prescription only.
- LSD – Reputed to enhance creativity in ‘micro’ doses. LSD is a classified Schedule I drug by the DEA.
Schedule I drugs are defined as no currently accepted medical use/high potential for abuse.
Penalties for possession of Schedule I drugs are the most severe.
- Crystal Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth) – Stamina booster. Methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II substance by the DEA under the Controlled Substances Act. Possible side effects: paranoia, severe insomnia with possible hallucinations and induced psychosis.
- Opioids – Pain relief, relaxation. Available by prescription only. Often used to alleviate the side effects of meth use.
- Heroin – Euphoria and pain relief. Often used to alleviate the side effects of meth use. Heroin is classified as a Schedule II drug according to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.
Do You Work in Silicon Valley as a “Functional Addict” and Need Help?
Just making it to work every day is not an indicator of physical or emotional health.
For help in looking honestly at your lifestyle, take our online Addiction Self Assessment below.
If the self assessment indicates you may have a substance abuse problem, even if you don’t feel like you do, then you may be a functional addict. The good news – there is treatment to help you.
Support Systems Homes (SSH) is an internationally accredited, state-licensed substance abuse treatment program dedicated to the innovative and cost-effective treatment of chemical dependency (drug/alcohol addiction).
Based in Northern California’s Bay Area, our San Jose rehab facilities provide confidential recovery services with a comprehensive structure of addiction treatment programs, sober living environments, and services for those suffering from the diseases of alcoholism and drug addiction.
Support Systems Homes has drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs of the highest quality for the most affordable rates. We have a full spectrum of drug & alcohol treatment services…including custom programs for functional addicts.
How to Get Started: Assessment and Insurance Verification
please call us 24/7 at 408-370-9688. Or use the forms below.
Start Your Journey Home to Sobriety with Support Systems Homes.
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