Silicon Valley Burnout: When Stress Leads to Self-Medicating

 stressed out silicon valley worker

You’re a highly paid, successful professional working in Silicon Valley’s legendary tech industry. You regularly work 80 + hour weeks because:

  1. Everyone in your firm does it.
  2. Your bosses expect it.
  3. Elon Musk does it, Jeff Bezos does it, and Steve Jobs did it.

At this point, your mom would ask you this question:

If Elon Musk jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?

To which you might answer:

Yes, because I’ll land in the electric flying car I designed during my marathon weekend work sessions. It’s synced with the altimeter app (the one I designed) on my smartphone, and will catch me at just the right moment.  

All jokes aside, have you thought much about your work habits?

Granted, when you signed on the dotted line or took the plunge and launched your own startup, you knew exactly what you were getting into. You knew full well the dominant cultural paradigm in the Silicon Valley tech world is like Max Weber’s Protestant Work Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism on super-sized doses of Adderall. You knew there’d be fierce competition to succeed, and once you achieved success, you knew you’d have to turn yourself inside out to stay on top. You knew you’d get emails after midnight and your manager would expect you to reply immediately. You knew half the employees in your company would compete to see who’d stay at their desk after 6:00 p.m. on Friday, and the other half would compete to see who’d arrive at the office before 5:00 a.m. every other day of the week.

You knew you’d have to sacrifice to make it.

So, perhaps a better question for you is this: have you though much about your relaxation habits?

Stress Management and Self-Medication

Since you work in a high-stress environment in an industry characterized by obsession with profit and progress, it makes sense that at the end of the day – even if the end of your day is technically the middle of the night – you may have a hard time winding down. It makes sense that front and center in your mind is the project you’re working on. It makes sense that all you can think about is the product review meeting you have bright and early the next morning.

It makes sense you pour yourself a stiff drink when you get home.

You need something to help turn off your brain. Something quick and effective that doesn’t require more work on your part. You don’t have time for yoga or meditation. Your company has napping pods but you have no idea what the inside of them looks like. Your company has a gym but you’re not even sure if your key card works on the door. The only new-age extras you take advantage of at your cutting-edge company are the free lunches and the espresso machines, and you only use those because they help you maximize your productivity.

Besides, typical stress management techniques just sound like another thing to add to your to-do list, which – paradoxically – stresses you out.

The stiff drinks work much better, anyway. And the fact you need to take a sleeping pill every so often is no big deal, because it helps you get the rest you need so you can get your shoulder back to the wheel the next day.

The thing is, the drinks and the sleeping pills aren’t a big deal until they are. And when you finally realize what you’ve been doing all along is called self-medication, as opposed to stress management, it might be too late. You might be smack dab in the middle of a toxic Alcohol Use Disorder or an unexpected benzodiazepine addiction. You may have become a daily marijuana smoker without even realizing it. A functional drunk, a pill-popper, an accidental pothead: it’s hard to imagine any of those things were on your list of long-term life goals.

Get Help at Summit Estate

We understand why you work as hard as you do. We understand you’re driven to succeed. We get that there are million and one reasons you spend so many hours at the office. Maybe you’re striving to provide for a family. Maybe you want to retire early and travel the world. Maybe you have a sick relative you need to care for. Or maybe you want to make a name for yourself and leave your mark on the world.

All that makes sense – and all we’re asking is that examine your work habits and your relaxation habits sooner rather than later. We want to make sure you’re not slowly working yourself into a set of self-destructive patterns that have the potential to consume you, sabotage all your good work, and have negative effects on your health and well-being. We want you to understand that if your work has driven you to extremes, and those extremes include an unhealthy relationship with alcohol or other substances of abuse – we’re here for you.

We offer full service luxury addiction treatment services convenient to the Bay Area and San Francisco Peninsula. If you need help, you have options: you can choose the level of care that works for you and your specific situation. From our state-of-the-art Medical Drug and Alcohol Detox Center to Residential ProgramsDay Programs, and Outpatient Programs, we’ll work with you to create a custom treatment program that meets your needs. We’ll help you find your way back to a healthy, sustainable life, free from the cycles of addiction we’re sure were never on your to-do list in the first place.

Call Us Now. Our counselors and psychotherapists are standing by, ready to listen to your story.