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Doctors And Addiction: A FAQ

What Is the Rate of Doctors Who Turn to Substance Abuse?

According to the LA Times in an article titled “Doctors and drug abuse: Why addictions can be so difficult”:

  • Doctors are addicted to alcohol, more than any other substance
  • Second to alcohol, doctors are most addicted to opiates, which they can easily obtain
  • Anesthesiologists, emergency room doctors, and psychiatrist have the highest rates of addiction issues
  • Women doctors are not as likely to be referred to treatment as male doctors
  • Physicians typically turn to drug abuse as a way to cope with being overworked and stressed
  • Since doctors are extensively aware of the symptoms of addiction, they feel they can hide the symptoms better and manage their drug abuse
  • Additionally, doctors have to be smart to make it into and graduate successfully from medical school. Many of the obvious signs of addiction do not stand out with doctors because they are keen to hide these signs
  • Doctors might self-administer harmful drugs, but with the knowledge of how to take just enough to stay away from overdose
  • Asking for help is difficult for doctors because they of the expectations and pressures a doctor has to live up to
  • Nurses and secretaries might be intimidated at the idea of reporting their boss due to the threat of job loss
  • Likewise, hospitals or medical groups might be hesitant to send a doctor to treatment if they are a high quantity doctor
  • Doctors are hesitant to report themselves for similar reasons, which could lead to lawsuits, loss of licensing, and loss of practices

What Happens When A Doctor Needs Help

Before asking for help, a doctor needs to confront a few people. First and foremost, doctors need to confront themselves and fully accept that their addiction has evolved beyond their control, threatening their lives, the lives of their patients, their practice, and their family. Second, doctors have to inform their state medical board and begin the process of rehabilitation. State medical boards might have their own programs, or affiliate programs. Through treatment programs like the Professional Treatment Program at The Center for Professional Recovery, doctors can recover without losing their license. Our staff acts as liaisons to medical boards, practices, and other entities whom need reporting on a doctor’s progress. With a full continuum of care, doctors can enter our program at any level of care needed, stay as long as necessary to recover, and exit treatment when they are ready to go back to work.

The Center for Professional Recovery offers individualized treatment programs for professionals in a range of industries. Call us today for information on our specialized treatment: 855-422-4129

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