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Thilo Beck at WEF Roundtable - A Roadmap to Sustainable Health and Better Well-being in the Workforce and Society

Goals House Roundtable, World Economic Forum, Davos – Thilo Beck

A Roadmap to Sustainable Health and Better Well-being in the Workforce and Society: Elaborating on Key Points.   We are living through a historical period defined by uncertainty, which is having a profound impact on our mental health. Research shows that – on average, 15% of working-age adults live with a mental health condition globally,…

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Affluent Neglect

Society expresses great concern for poor, underserved children and the increased likelihood they may lack access to health care and education, or that they may turn to drugs or crime in adulthood. Less attention is paid to children of affluent parents who have their own set of problems. Emotional neglect often goes unnoticed or unreported, which may…

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What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), developed by Marsha Linehan, Ph. in the 1980s, is a type of talk therapy originally designed for high-risk, suicidal people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Today, DBT is used to treat people struggling with a range of complex and intense emotions, including substance abuse and addiction, PTSD, bipolar disorder, eating disorders,…

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The Pandemic-Push: Why are so Many People Suddenly Buying Prescription Drugs Online?

Prescription-med sales skyrocket due to the pandemic, but when does use become abuse? Paracelsus Recovery’s experts weigh in. More and more people are illegally purchasing prescription medication such as anxiety or sleeping pills online as the pandemic takes its toll on our wellbeing. The pandemic has left a mental health crisis in its wake. Rates…

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Elite Athlete Support, Therapies and Treatment Programmes

Data shows that over 45% of former elite athletes struggle with depression, anxiety or substance abuse issues after retirement. At Paracelsus Recovery, we want to help you make that transition without such difficulties. You have achieved an unfathomable amount of success in your life, and we want to help you feel proud of your past and excited for your future. 

That's why we have gathered together some of the world's leading experts in sports medicine to create a bespoke treatment programme tailored to you. We only ever treat one client at any given time, which means you will work with a multidisciplinary team of 15+ doctors focused exclusively on you and your health. 

One Client at a Time

Unparalleled staff to patient ratio of 15:1

Specialised Treatment Programmes for Pro Athletes

While each treatment programme is individually curated for each client, it will typically include varying degrees of:

Physical Wellbeing

i. Physical Health

  • Our Michelin-star chef and dietitian team will tailor-make a nutrient-dense plan to replenish any lab-identified inflammatory or immune system-related issues. 
  • As exercise is typically a pro-athletes primary coping mechanism for stress, your programme will also contain regular exercise times to help you regain your strength. If desired, we can also provide a team of personal trainers to help you create a training routine that works for you. 
  • While we will ensure your diet and exercise regimes are tailored to your needs, the physical health restoration part of your programme will typically focus on helping you heal any injuries, stress-related conditions or other areas that might need extra attention.

ii. Cellular Health

  • Individualised formulas of nutritional supplements and IV solutions based on comprehensive laboratory testing. Supplements and IVs include varying degrees of minerals, amino acids, vitamins, and other substances. 
  • We can use various functional medicine modalities to facilitate your body's natural healing process. 
  • Bio-resonance treatment is also provided. Our trained physician places two electrodes on your skin connected to a specialised machine during bio-resonance. These electrodes will scan the body's energy wavelengths, identify any imbalances or issues, and restore your electromagnetic frequency to its optimal state. 
Psychological Wellbeing

iii. Emotional Health

  • If you have recently retired and are struggling to adapt to this new phase of your life, our priority will be helping you ease into that transition effectively. To do that, you will work with our specialised psychotherapists, who will help you process any emotional distress contributing to your present challenges. The form of that work can range from psychodynamic psychotherapy (i.e., talk therapy) to cognitive behavioural therapy, person-centred therapy, existential therapy or acceptance and commitment therapy. This intensive psychological work will help you process the change, reconnect with other parts of your identity, and find ways to mourn and honour your career.

 

  • In addition, many pro athletes struggle with low self-esteem or anxiety issues in early retirement as they struggle to figure out their new purpose or ‘value.’ We will also address these concerns within each of our specific treatment modalities. If deemed beneficial, our psychological team might provide psychoeducation so you can learn the tools and skills needed to handle these stressors effectively.

 

  • If you are still at the height of your career but are struggling with burnout, anxiety or any other emotional difficulty, your psychological work will focus on helping you develop skills and coping mechanisms for handling these difficulties. You will still work with our specialised psychologists and psychotherapists, but the emphasis will be more on building resilience, processing any underlying trauma that might contribute to the mental health issue and developing an effective strategy for dealing with stress.

 

  • If you have experienced any traumas in either your career or life that are contributing to your suffering, we can also provide EMDR sessions to help you confront and overcome those challenges.

 

  • If you have developed any substance abuse dependencies or other mental health issues during your career, our psychological team will also tackle these issues using treatment modalities specific to those conditions.

 

  • Any other related conditions, such as sleep disorders, eating disorders or stress-related illnesses, will also be treated with specific modalities.

 

  •  A live-in therapist will also be available to provide you with emotional support 24/7. They will help you implement the tools you acquire in your psychology sessions and help you address any underlying emotional difficulties.

What Issues Do Pro-Athletes Face?

There are many interrelated factors, and it always depends on the individual's unique genetics, background, and personality. However, in our experience, common mental health issues include the following: 

The pressure to perform in the most optimal and even superhuman manner is immense in professional sports. Because of that pressure, many athletes develop tunnel vision, where they are all focused on pushing their bodies to their limits. Combine that with the normalisation of performance-enhancing drugs, and you find people feeling like they need to do or take anything so long as they can perform.

A growing body of research also shows that high-achieving athletes are more than 30% more likely to meet the criteria for exercise dependence. As a result, we often see athletes develop chronic and severe substance abuse issues in their retirement as a replacement for that original exercise addiction. This is particularly common when someone has to retire early due to an injury, as it makes them unable to train like they used to.

Opioid dependency is also a common issue amongst pro athletes. Usually, the individual starts taking over-the-counter painkillers for a relatively minor health issue. However, because of that pressure to keep going and training, they cannot give their bodies enough time to heal. As a result, the issue worsens and becomes chronic. Now, they need stronger prescription medication. At this point, a dependency can start to form. This is compounded by the anxiety that comes with regular drug tests, career risks, worsened health, and the feeling that they cannot perform without the substance

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Studies show that eating disorders, anxiety, and burnout are far more common in pro sports than most people think. These issues are not only highly co-occurring with substance abuse; our lack of understanding about their pervasiveness can worsen the problem.

 

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a highly pervasive condition among athletes, yet it remains relatively unknown and undiagnosed. An estimated 8-10% of all pro athletes have ADHD, compared to 4% of the general population.

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Studies show that 45% of pro athletes will struggle with mental health issues once they retire, while another 50% will feel like they've lost control of their lives. Many underlying factors are at play in these disproportionately high statistics, ranging from chronic stress, burnout, health issues brought on during one's career (e.g., chronic pain) and the loss of purpose and identity.

In our experience, pro-athletes are extra-vulnerable to a phenomenon known as 'identity foreclosure' once they enter retirement. Identity foreclosure is a term coined by the German American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst, which he defined as "making a commitment to an identity without having [the opportunity] to explore other options."

In other words, pro-athletes typically must commit to their profession in their early adolescence and then will spend the next 20 years focused on this goal. In fact, more than just focused, most pro-athletes will live in a highly stressful and pressurised environment where everything in their life is focused on this one part of their identity. As they climb the ladder, they will also become accustomed to a certain level of success, notoriety and purpose.

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Substance Abuse
Mental Health Conditions
Identity Crisis in Retirement

Substance Abuse

The pressure to perform in the most optimal and even superhuman manner is immense in professional sports. Because of that pressure, many athletes develop tunnel vision, where they are all focused on pushing their bodies to their limits. Combine that with the normalisation of performance-enhancing drugs, and you find people feeling like they need to do or take anything so long as they can perform.

A growing body of research also shows that high-achieving athletes are more than 30% more likely to meet the criteria for exercise dependence. As a result, we often see athletes develop chronic and severe substance abuse issues in their retirement as a replacement for that original exercise addiction. This is particularly common when someone has to retire early due to an injury, as it makes them unable to train like they used to.

Opioid dependency is also a common issue amongst pro athletes. Usually, the individual starts taking over-the-counter painkillers for a relatively minor health issue. However, because of that pressure to keep going and training, they cannot give their bodies enough time to heal. As a result, the issue worsens and becomes chronic. Now, they need stronger prescription medication. At this point, a dependency can start to form. This is compounded by the anxiety that comes with regular drug tests, career risks, worsened health, and the feeling that they cannot perform without the substance

Read more

Mental Health Conditions

 

Studies show that eating disorders, anxiety, and burnout are far more common in pro sports than most people think. These issues are not only highly co-occurring with substance abuse; our lack of understanding about their pervasiveness can worsen the problem.

 

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a highly pervasive condition among athletes, yet it remains relatively unknown and undiagnosed. An estimated 8-10% of all pro athletes have ADHD, compared to 4% of the general population.

Read more

Identity Crisis in Retirement

Studies show that 45% of pro athletes will struggle with mental health issues once they retire, while another 50% will feel like they've lost control of their lives. Many underlying factors are at play in these disproportionately high statistics, ranging from chronic stress, burnout, health issues brought on during one's career (e.g., chronic pain) and the loss of purpose and identity.

In our experience, pro-athletes are extra-vulnerable to a phenomenon known as 'identity foreclosure' once they enter retirement. Identity foreclosure is a term coined by the German American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst, which he defined as "making a commitment to an identity without having [the opportunity] to explore other options."

In other words, pro-athletes typically must commit to their profession in their early adolescence and then will spend the next 20 years focused on this goal. In fact, more than just focused, most pro-athletes will live in a highly stressful and pressurised environment where everything in their life is focused on this one part of their identity. As they climb the ladder, they will also become accustomed to a certain level of success, notoriety and purpose.

Read more
Programme Specificities
  • One Client at a Time

At Paracelsus Recovery, we always treat only one client. We do this in order to provide our clients with absolute confidentiality and care. By focusing the attention and care of an entire team on you and your needs, we can provide the most comprehensive treatment in the world....

  • Customized clinical residency

We treat clients in an exclusive setting with absolute privacy and discretion. Our inpatient treatment programs typically last four to eight weeks, depending on your needs. We also offer one-week Detox programs.

  • Tailor-made for you.

We believe that for treatment to succeed, it must be tailored to your needs.

To achieve that, we use a multidisciplinary approach (our 360-degree treatment model) to address each underlying problem, not just the symptoms of your condition. A thorough assessment is performed to identify these imbalances, and based on the results of these tests, we create an individualized treatment program.

FAQs

Athletes are not necessarily more prone to mental health issues than the general population. However, competitive sports' high-pressure and demanding nature can contribute to stress, anxiety, and depression. Athletes may also face unique challenges related to injury, performance, and identity that can impact their mental health. 

Professional athletes can safeguard their health by taking a comprehensive approach that includes physical, mental, and emotional well-being. For example, we would encourage all present and former elite athletes to prioritise a healthy diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep to maintain their physical health. We would also encourage you to prioritise your mental health by seeking professional help when needed. Coping mechanisms to manage stress and anxiety, such as mindfulness practices, therapy, and other mental health resources, are also crucial. 

Yes – absolutely. While we will also try to tackle each underlying issue so that you can feel as strong as possible, our aim with each treatment programme is to help you in whatever area of your life you need support. If that is just one specific issue, then that is all we would focus on. 

Again, it depends on your needs. If you need treatment for a substance abuse issue that requires a detoxification period – such as an opioid or benzodiazepine dependency, then yes, you will need to detox from the substance during your treatment. We will provide a medically supervised detoxification process for you that is as comfortable as possible. However, we adopt a harm reductionist approach to substance abuse issues, which means whether recovery means absolute sobriety, sobriety from this substance but not others, or using in a more manageable manner is a decision that remains with you. We provide you with the tools needed to regain control over that decision. 

We are flexible and will always try to adapt to each client's unique needs, circumstances, and preferences. However, to access the full range of transformative change, our pro-athlete treatment programme can provide, we highly recommend staying for at least one month.