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

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

Widespread belief would state that doctors are the least of concern when it comes to substance abuse, but the reality is that they are just like anyone else – and they have their own concerns, too. A doctor wrote about his experience with substance abuse on the Los Angeles Times; he stated,

“My access to prescription medications was virtually unlimited. Drug companies send doctors free samples. Patients bring in their unused painkillers for disposal. Colleagues freely write a scrip or two as a professional courtesy. And I foolishly made illegal use of my own prescription pad.”

This easy access to prescription medications makes it very tempting for healthcare professionals to begin abusing substances – especially if they don’t have much time for therapy and are looking for a “quick fix” to their symptoms of fatigue, stress, anxiety, depression, irritability, chronic pain, and more. A 2017 review titled “Substance Use Disorders in Physicians: Epidemiology, Clinical Manifestations, Identification, and Engagement” argues that when alcohol and other drugs (including prescription medications) are abused, patients’ safety is at risk as the doctor’s ability to perform becomes compromised.

Modern Healthcare claims that many doctors do not come forward in fear of retaliation in the medical world; with little support for their own mental and physical health, they fear they will lose their job if too much time is spent on treatment and not enough in the field. Signs that a doctor is is abusing substances include:

  • Preferring night shifts where there is less supervision and easier access to medication
  • Falling asleep on the job or between shifts
  • Volunteering to administer narcotics to patients
  • Anxiousness about working overtime
  • Smelling of alcohol
  • Repeated errors in paperwork
  • Usual friendliness with doctors that prescribe medications

If you are a medical professional and have been abusing substances, seek the help you need today. Your personal and professional life depend on you being healthy and adequately in-tune to your interactions – substance abuse can certainly jeopardize this. Treatment for substance abuse typically includes detoxification, medication, and psychotherapy, which can all be done in a very secluded area to meet your needs.

If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center to learn more about treatment programs for doctors and other upper-level professionals. It’s never too late for you to begin your journey to recovery.

Created by professionals for professionals, our Professionals Treatment Program utilizes industry proven practices for fully restoring professionals back to better health. We serve multiple industries with our specifically catered programs and services, providing life changing care for addiction and co-occurring issues. Call us today to book an appointment: 855-422-4129

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