Discover your dream Career
For Recruiters

Just Say No: Drug Abuse Doesn't Cure Stress

"In the 1980s cocaine and heroin were widely used on Wall Street," says Dr. Alden Cass, a psychologist who makes his living counseling bankers. "Now that drugs can be purchased over the Internet, it's much more about prescription medications."

According to Cass, drugs of choice include Adderall, a stimulant prescribed to people with attention deficit disorder. It "gives them focus and energy and revs them up," says Cass. On the other hand, "it's addictive, and if you have underlying heart problems it can cause heart attacks."

Another favorite is Vicodin, an opiate prescribed for back problems. Bankers "use it to numb themselves from the stresses of a job in which they are constantly expected to perform," Cass explains.

Of course, prescription drug abuse isn't restricted to bankers, Cass points out. It's a phenomenon he compares to doping in sports, and is prevalent in all well-paid, stressful, performance-focused jobs, including law and entertainment.

Instead of turning to drugs, Cass advises developing other coping mechanisms. "The first goal is figuring out how to be efficient and have the natural energy to get through the work day," he says. "You need to sleep enough, eat right and be prepared from a scheduling standpoint, so that you know what needs prioritizing. Adderall might help you get through the day, but it's not going to do you any good."

AUTHORAnonymous Insider Comment
  • DM
    26 October 2007

    I am sure many Traders and Investment Bankers look at this sort of article and laugh. There is no more drugs in this profession than any other highly paid profession. There is also a vast majority who do not touch drugs and are exceptional at what they do. Honestly, the big Investment Banks have stringent sport like drug tests and sack those who fail it. When joining an Investment Bank of any repute, you HAVE to take a drug screen.

  • Be
    Been There, Done That
    14 September 2007

    For the louse that thinks those that use these drugs are whiners for making their seven figure salaries, let me explain one thing. We make more because we work more. If you wanted to make seven figures and actually could do it, you would. I don't believe anyone was complaining. It's just bad for you. Those folks in China make a buck a day and btw, live in a communist country.

    Listen, I don't advocate drugs, but I've been there. You don't do it because you want to be cool, but because you want to be better than the guy sitting next to you with seven figures AND a yacht. Its not the right thing, but those who work for money do just that, work for money. You work hard, and you do everything to beat the guy/gal next to you. Its reality. If drugs were sustainable in the long run, it would be effective. But for everyone who has been there & done that, it's a short term fix and in the long run can really run your body, and everything you work for.

    This is a competitive market, especially if you want to be in the financial services sector. It's not for the faint of heart and anyone who thinks working in this field is picking daisies, should go on drugs.

  • An
    21 August 2007

    It's irresponsible to mention Adderall without noting that its use is NOT synonymous with "abuse" of the drug. For individuals with legitimate ADHD diagnoses, Adderall can be a useful tool - not a crutch - whether an individual works in the high stress world of investment banking or in a profession with fewer demands.

  • Wi
    20 August 2007

    I guess I do not feel sorry for investment bankers that have a lot of stress. If you perform well in that field, you should be making a seven figure income. It is not like there are secrets about the amount of work involved or stress of the job.

    I work in structured finance at a regional firm. The reason I do so is because I only have to work 70-80 hours per week, and the stress level is quite low compared to a major Wall Street firm.

    My advice is to quit complaining and deal with it. If it is too stressful, you are not under any contractual agreement to stay. Take your seven figure bonus in February and work somewhere else for low six figures.

    Uses the crutch of drugs and/or alcohol is a cop-out. If you cannot take the 24/7 environment, it is too bad for you. There are plenty of other candidates that will work 100 hours per week and not have a life. There are about 500,000 in India and China that would gladly have your job.

Sign up to our Newsletter!

Get advice to help you manage and drive your career.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Latest Jobs
Northern Trust
Lead, SW Full Stack Eng
Northern Trust
Chicago, United States
Northern Trust
Lead, SW Support
Northern Trust
Chicago, United States
Northern Trust
Sr Lead, IT Risk and Controls
Northern Trust
Chicago, United States
Northern Trust
Associate Portfolio Advisor
Northern Trust
Cleveland, United States
Northern Trust
Private Banking / Commercial Lender
Northern Trust
Fort Myers, United States

Sign up to our Newsletter!

Get advice to help you manage and drive your career.