Contributing Factors to Alcoholism in Business Travelers and Expats

Stress, anxiety, loneliness and homesickness coupled with the ever present bar or pub are just a few key factors which cause some business travelers and expats alike to develop alcoholism. As someone who has extensively traveled for both work and pleasure throughout the world, I can fully attest to the reality of these pressures.  


The Risky Side of Traveling Business Assignments

Traveling for business, be it for short or long term, is not as great as it may seem. Let’s face it, going across the continent on extended flights means achy muscles, swollen ankles and jet lag. If you’re in a new environment where the local language is completely foreign to you, you’ll encounter a real life “Lost in Translation” experience. And of course, if you have a family back home, mixed emotions of loneliness, sadness or guilt may likely occur. 

That’s just the basics; there is also the pressure of the business assignment at hand, deadlines, meetings and important tasks that must be carried out. 

Apart from the obvious, business travel typically includes dinners with an unlimited supply of drinks where contracts are negotiated and relationships are strengthened. Saying “no” to a bottle of wine provided by the head boss is most likely not a wise move. Back at the hotel, you get to help yourself to the in-room mini bar or head downstairs to the lobby bar for exclusive cocktails. 

If this combination of intense pressures and stress goes ignored, it can create an unbalanced mind and body which may lead to alcohol abuse and addiction.

The Harsh Reality of Living Abroad

Apart from the traveling businessman or woman, there are expats which choose to live abroad for purposes of retirement, affordability or that little piece of paradise. As the sun goes down and the evening approaches, many of these expats become eager for the regular meet up at the local bar. It’s a time to socialize in your native tongue, meet new friends or chat with the pretty bar maids. Perhaps it’s a way to escape the boredom which has set in, alleviate feelings of culture shock and isolation or ignore daily stressors.

All are contributing factors, which a majority of expats face and that may lead to an increase in drinking, which when ignored, can open the doors to abuse and addiction. 

One expert on addiction, Dr. Gonzalo Vega of Holistic Light Rehab, suggests “Expats tend to have fewer commitments such as a job or family compared to their life back at home. Things which had grounded them before no longer exist; thus there is nothing to hold them back from drinking.”

The All Too Common Social Scenes for Business Travelers and Expats

Costa Rica, Panama, Thailand, Germany, Switzerland and Bulgaria are leading countries for expatriates to settle down in. They’re also popular destinations for international business assignments. Although oceans apart, the social scenes tend to revolve around drinking and for those involved in certain industries, having a drink is part of the job. The ease of access, affordability and lax view of alcohol makes drinking an easy habit to pick up and a difficult one to break. 

Breaking the Habit, Losing the Desire to Drink

If you are a business traveler or expatriate, there are several resources which may be of a significant benefit to you. From self-help books and local addiction meetings to inpatient rehab, help is available and does have a profound effect on restoring the mind and body while eliminating the desire to drink.

Costa Rica is already known for its medical tourism. Holistic Light Drug and Alcohol Rehab is one facility that has been included in the list of a growing niche market known as ‘rehab tourism.’ 

Business executives and expats local to Costa Rica and neighboring countries make up the majority of clients. Holistic Light has treated wealthy businesspersons working in Brazil or Panama who have been sent by their employers to receive help as well as celebrities and retirees. 

Holistic Healing in a Luxurious Tropical Environment

The center offers a luxurious atmosphere and a multitude of holistic therapies to treat the whole person not just the addiction. With a cutting edge approach to treatment and a cost affordable program, Holistic Light has gained an exemplary reputation amongst medical professionals around the globe. 

Vladimir Kogan, founder of Holistic Light, says “Being in rehab in Costa Rica has a positive effect on clients. With us, clients feel safe and relaxed; away from triggers and surrounded by magnificent scenery in a tropical climate. The hospitable nature of staff and local people also contribute to our guests’ recovery."

For help or more information on alcohol abuse and addiction, contact Holistic Light.

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