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With their knowledge about the effects and dangers of prescription drugs, it may be hard to imagine that individuals in this profession would struggle with substance addiction. However, pharmacists are just as vulnerable to substance abuse and dependency as the general population and sometimes even more so. The pressures of the industry, combined with knowledge of drug effects and accessibility, can make addiction a genuine hazard of the job.

Pharmacists struggling with substance abuse need to know they are not alone in their challenges. Many other professionals in this field and similar industries are dealing with related issues due to the pressures of balancing their personal lives and their careers. Help is available at the Center for Professional Recovery, where you will find yourself surrounded by your peers and a treatment program designed around the precise needs of licensed professionals.

Reasons Behind the Problem

There are a variety of reasons why pharmacists may be prone to substance abuse and addiction:

  • Culture of substance abuse in school leads some pharmacists to addiction after graduation
  • A natural tendency by professionals toward high achievement and perfection
  • High-pressure occupation where mistakes can lead to life-and-death consequences
  • Easy access to prescription drugs at work, often with lax controls that can make it easy for them to obtain addictive substances
  • High liability risk if the addiction is detected means many will not seek help for the problem until it is advanced, despite their clear understanding of the damage the drug can do

While seeking treatment might seem overwhelming, it is the best way to get you to optimal health and to avoid further damage to your personal life and your career. Studies have indicated that professional treatment for pharmacists boasts high success rates. In fact, one 2013 study published in US Pharmacist found that success rates among pharmacists that completed addiction treatment were as high as 87 percent.

Types of Substances Abused

Because of the easy accessibility of addictive prescription drugs, pharmacists have a high incidence of abusing these substances. However, they are not the only drugs that can lead to addiction within this group. The most common substances used by pharmacists include:

  • Alcohol – Like other professionals, pharmacists may turn to alcohol as a way of unwinding after a busy day. Unfortunately, this practice can become a habit and eventually an addiction over time.
  • Marijuana – Frequently used by the general population, pharmacists also tend to use marijuana in higher percentages than other drugs.
  • Cannabis use often begins in school and may carry over into their professional life.
  • Cocaine and Amphetamines – Cocaine and other stimulants are frequently abused due to the fast, intense high they offer, but these drugs are also highly addictive. Some pharmacists working long hours may also take the substances to focus better, but the solution often becomes the problem when prescriptions stimulants are taken for non-medical reasons.
  • Opiates – The accessibility and powerful effects of prescription opiates, have made them one of the most abused substances among pharmacists and other healthcare professionals.

Risk Factors for Substance Abuse

While a higher percentage of pharmacists might admit to using prescription drugs for non-medical purposes, a much smaller number battle addiction with those substances. Some of the factors that can increase your risk for substance dependency include:

  • The age at which you started using
  • Personal history of trauma
  • Personal or family history of mental illness
  • Stress; personal, professional or a combination of the two

The existence of a mental illness combined with substance abuse, known as a co-occurring disorder, can create additional challenges for addicted pharmacists. It is essential to choose a treatment program like the one at the Center for Professional Recovery that can treat both these disorders simultaneously for the best odds of recovery success.

Help Targeted to Pharmacists

While individuals in the pharmaceutical fields that are battling addiction may feel overwhelmed by the potential repercussions, treatment for these professionals can be highly effective. At the Center for Professional Recovery, we will develop a recovery plan that meets your needs and goals. You will be able to interact with your peers that are facing similar struggles, giving you validation and taking away some of the shame and embarrassment associated with addiction. Seeking treatment among other professionals allows you to focus entirely on your recovery process, increasing your odds for long-term sobriety and returning to your profession. To find out more, contact the Center for Professional Recovery today at 866.298.0056.

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