What is Addiction to Wealth and Power?
Though most people would consider it luck or talent, wealth and power can also lead to addiction. It is pretty common knowledge that wealth tends to lead to power and vice versa. However, an obsessive drive for power and wealth can be as harmful to a person and their loved ones as an addiction to drugs and alcohol. For some people who are self-made millionaires or just those who are highly successful in their field. Each new win or achievement is accompanied by a euphoric feeling or a rush. Like that you get when using drugs or drinking. While there are definitely other benefits like a large house, cars, vacations, etc., it is that feeling of taking one more step that offers the high.
Addicted to Dopamine
When using drugs, it is often the dopamine that the body produces that creates the ‘high’ feeling. This same chemical release also occurs when people ‘win’ or are successful. This is the ‘high’ when it comes to power and wealth. Dopamine is natural and necessary. Without it, people would have no interest in eating or even sex and the human population would rapidly dwindle. While it is necessary, it is also the struggle in stopping an addiction to power and wealth. This addiction goes far beyond willpower.
When is it Unhealthy
Wealth and power in and of themselves are not unhealthy, it is when an obsession with continually gaining more of one or both takes over that a problem exists. Everything else in a power and wealth addicts life begins to take a back seat to getting more. This can include family, friends, health, and even meeting basic needs. Over time the person may only identify themselves with the wealth and power, losing all other identity. The addict will judge others on their achievement, not on merits.
Those who struggle with addiction to wealth and power tend to feel the most powerful, or ‘high’ when dominating others. They will have little patience for anything or anyone that stands in the way of their rise. They may become restless and even paranoid that others are in their way. When in extremes, the person may result to illegal or, in the least, unethical actions such as destruction of property, bribery, and manipulation. If that source of power is suddenly taken or lessened, the person may experience withdraw symptoms, just like when someone comes off of drugs or alcohol.
Since wealth and power are not necessarily a bad thing on their own, getting help may seem odd or even impossible. It may seem implausible that someone needs help to not achieve better and greater things, but this is partially the case. The aspect that really needs help and redirection is the fear of loss of control or powerlessness. As this type of addiction is often found to exist with things such as depression, anxiety, and perfectionism, it can and must be treated as an aspect of mental illness. This will require time, work, and commitment to treatment as the person learns to enjoy a healthy, rewarding life. They must learn to find balance.
If seeking treatment, DARA can help. An inpatient facility with individualized treatment, can help find that balance and help the person avoid turning to other drugs that may produce the same dopamine high. If you or a loved one needs help then high-end facilities are available to offer all you need.
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