Substance Abuse Help for Physicians

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Addiction is a disease and chronic behavioral disorder than can impact anyone and everyone, from teenagers to the elderly. It’s especially prevalent in those with high stress careers, however, such as lawyers and doctors. Despite being health care professionals, doctors are not safe from the dangers of developing an addiction to cope with the demands of their careers. With the wellbeing of their patients on the line, healthcare professionals struggling with drug or alcohol abuse may find themselves feeling just as trapped with their addiction as anyone else suffering.

If you’re a health care professional struggling with substance abuse or addiction, you may be having difficulty keeping up with the same demands that drove you to substance abuse in the first place. Addiction can drastically decrease your ability to perform your role as a healthcare provider. Don’t keep putting yourself and your patients at risk. There are treatment programs out there designed specifically to help those like you to end their addiction without giving up your career, and we can help you find the best one for you.

Substance Abuse Treatment for Doctors

Healthcare professions are often put on a pedestal of sorts. People look up to them as the prime examples of health, both physical and mental. It’s important for everyone to remember that medical professionals do advise us on the best choices to take concerning our health, but they’re just as human as we are. They too struggle with stress, family issues, illness, genetic predispositions, and addiction. They’re just as human as the rest of us.

It’s fairly common to see addictions and substance abuse develop in careers that include the three highs — high stress, high stake, and high profile. These positions also have a trend of being low down-time, meaning these people rarely get to decompress. Business executives, lawyers, and doctors are just three examples of these types of careers. A drug or alcohol dependency can start out as an attempt to cope. Sometimes a drink or two after a long day evolves into severe alcoholism or those benzos prescribed to help with their anxiety slowly take over their non-stop life.

Demanding careers can take their toll on anyone, regardless of your race or socioeconomic status, but health care professionals have the added disadvantage of ease-of-access. They are, at times, surrounded by substances that can help take the edge off or help them stay more alert during their day-to-day routines.

We can help you find an addiction treatment center specifically designed to help healthcare professionals take back control of their lives and careers. Call us today to get help finding the addiction treatment program best suited to help you seek confidential and anonymous treatment facility so you can get healthy without jeopardizing your reputation or career.

Healthcare Professionals and Addiction

Roughly 10-12% of healthcare professionals develop issues with drugs or alcohol or an addiction over the course of their career. Some of the most at-risk medical disciplines include psychiatry, emergency medical care, anesthesiology. In the case of drug addictions, it’s relatively common for the drug of choice to be related to a professional’s specialty. Anesthesiologists are more commonly addicted to opioids, since those substances are both familiar to them and easily accessible.

Overall, physicians are at a 30x higher risk of developing an addiction to narcotics compared the the general population. Furthermore, over 50% of physician suicides are related to substance abuse — 40% for alcohol and 20% for drugs.

In any approach to addiction treatment program, it’s important to keep a patient’s individual situation in mind when coming up with a treatment plan, but this is especially important to take into consideration for healthcare professionals who have demanding jobs and schedules. It’s not uncommon for those responsible for helping others to set aside their own wellbeing in order to fulfill that role.

Causes of Addiction in Doctors and Healthcare Providers

Irregular and Demanding Schedules

Healthcare professionals often work long weeks with inconsistent schedules depending on their specialty. Many health care providers work 50-70 hours a week. This puts excessive physical and emotional strain on their bodies, as well as limiting the time they have to relax, spend time with family, exercise, and keep themselves healthy. Even those with above-average stress management skills can end up falling victim to substance abuse and addiction under such strenuous circumstances.

Healthcare Service Standards

Serving patients and administering care is, by nature, both a very rewarding practice and a very stressful one. Their job can be excessively demanding one day and maddeningly difficult the next. Dealing with patients directly adds another layer of complexity and strain, depending on patient behavior and the issues they have to address. All of these things can become a huge source and trigger for anxiety and adverse reactions to stress.

Substance Availability

Doctors and other healthcare professionals like pharmacists have a range of availability and access to all sorts of prescription drugs and substances. During treatment, these individuals will require help learning to cope with and control addiction triggers and temptations so they can make healthier choices when (or if)  they return to the environment that originally enabled their addiction to develop.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

It can be tricky for signs to be spotted given the high-demand nature of working in healthcare, especially considering doctors in a hospital setting have readily available access to medication. But there are still signs loved ones and co-workers can be on the lookout for if they suspect someone around them may have a drug or alcohol abuse problem.

Behavioral Changes

  • Mood changes (especially after meals or breaks)
  • Decreased social engagement/Increased isolation
  • Medication errors
  • Unexplained absences
  • Frequently reports a lack of pain relief from their assigned patients
  • Wasted narcotics attributed to a single medical personnel
  • Medication detail discrepancies on patient records
  • Decreased quality of care
  • Arriving late/Leaving early
  • Defensiveness when confronted
  • Lack of concentration
  • Altered medication orders
  • Decreased quality of care, documentation arriving late to work and leaving early

Physical Changes

  • Fatigue
  • Dilated pupils
  • Shakiness
  • Unsteady gait
  • Slurred speech
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Runny nose
  • Change in appearance or grooming routine

Find an Addiction Recovery Program Today

Seeking treatment from a reputable treatment center can help you overcome your addiction. In one of the largest studies on healthcare professionals recovering from addiction, 78% of participants had no positive drug and alcohol tests after 5 years, and almost all of the those who desired to continue practicing medicine returned to their careers.

There are treatment options and support programs available to help medical professionals overcome their addictions. Most of the U.S. (around 40 states) offer some form of treatment assistance program to help them overcome their addiction, return to work, and move forward in their careers addiction-free. There’s a myriad of options available for anyone ready to get started on their path to recovery.

Taking care of people is your job, but in order to be the best healthcare provider you can be, you need to be healthy too. Let us help you find an alcohol and drug addiction recovery program that can help you meet your recovery goals, get your life back on track, and continue your career.

Please call us today to learn more and find an addiction treatment plan that works for you. Our specialists are available 24/7 for your convenience, so why wait?