Ultra-High Net Worth: Addiction and Risk to Reputation

Addiction isn’t solely a problem of the poor, homeless or uneducated. It is a serious, life-threatening chronic disease that affects people from all walks of life and all socioeconomic levels – even extremely affluent, ultra-high net worth (UHNW) individuals.

Like folks in lower income brackets, people of extreme wealth become addicted for a number of reasons that may include mental illness, genetic predisposition and other factors.

UHNW, defined as a net worth of more than $30 million, is a designation belonging to the richest of the rich. To most people, it seems like life should be on easy street for people with this type of wealth, but in reality, extremely affluent people have a set of unique problems that can complicate drug and alcohol treatment and rehab.

In fact, many wealthy people suffer alone as they let their disease get progressively worse instead of risking potential damage to family standing or reputation.

Ultra-High Net Worth and Reputation

There’s much at stake for individuals of ultra-high net worth, including family reputation and an incredible amount of money and power. Most ultra affluent people are highly visible, and if word gets out that a family member is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, the impact on family wealth and security can be staggering, sometimes for generations.

Other addictions, including process addictions like gambling, sex, or overeating can be every bit as devastating to the health and wellbeing of the individual and his entire family.

In many cases, an addicted person may function at very high levels, but if left untreated, the illness becomes worse and the addicted person grows increasingly self-destructive. The family of an addicted person may go to great lengths to keep their loved one’s troublesome situation out of the public eye, but ultimately, even extreme wealth offers no guarantee of protection.

Are the Wealthy Immune?

In many cases, it’s hitting rock bottom such as a stint in jail or a mandated trip to rehab that helps an addicted person see the light and get much-needed help. Rock bottom, however, is a very different concept for UHNW individuals.

For example, extremely wealthy people have easy access to drugs, often purchased by a trusted member of the inner circle. There are plenty of people around to shield the addicted person from problems or to handle business issues if the person is indisposed, thus enabling them to continue the destructive behavior without limits.

Although friends and family are well-meaning, avoiding natural consequences removes personal accountability and actually puts wealthy addicts at higher risk.

It’s also true that substance abuse is often decriminalized for the wealthy, which provides an advantage for people with endless resources. Individuals of ultra-high net worth may seem untouchable and above the law. They are unlikely to go to prison for drug-related activities, and unlike most people, they are rarely compelled to enter drug and alcohol treatment or rehab to fulfill mandates of parole or probation. To protect their family name, families may bail them out of trouble time and time again.

Seek Treatment as Soon as Possible

Addiction is a difficult disease but with treatment, recovery is possible. Don’t wait to seek help for an addiction, as waiting only allows the problem to grow worse and presents a greater chance of damage to finances, family reputation, relationships and health. It may be tempting to white-knuckle your way through the process, but in reality, addictions never get better without help.

When money isn’t a problem, it’s possible to receive the best treatment money can buy without compromising your need for discretion. Seek a treatment center or rehab that places a high premium on privacy, but don’t automatically assume that you will be protected at a resort-like treatment center. In fact, spa-like rehabs may be more visible to the prying eyes of the media.

The right treatment center will offer you a high level of personal privacy, along with skilled treatment provided by experts who understand the unique needs of UHNW individuals.

Treatment at Paracelsus

Paracelsus is the world’s most exclusive treatment center for addiction and psychiatry. People of ultra-high net worth benefit from discrete and luxurious accommodation options, including a private, gourmet chef and a personal limo driver, butler and maid.

Most importantly, we treat only one client at a time, and our dedicated therapists and doctors come to the client’s residence. Our comprehensive treatment plans are 100 percent individualized for each individual’s specific needs and preferences.

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