Medical professionals are not exempt from experiencing addiction purely because of the work they do. Addiction can affect anyone. In fact, the reasons for addiction in medical professionals often differ from why people in the general population develop an addiction. That, in turn, means specialized addiction treatment for medical professionals provides the best path forward. Many addiction treatment providers now offer a physician health program (PHP) for medical professionals. Discover the benefits of BoardPrep Recovery Center®’s PHP for medical professionals by calling 866.796.4720.
Addiction in Medical Professionals
Most people think medical professionals are less likely to suffer from an addiction. However, doctors and nurses display some of the highest rates of addiction within the American workforce. One of the major culprits for addiction in medical professionals is narcotics like oxycodone and fentanyl.
The good news is that while medical professionals struggle with addiction at higher rates, they also have high rates of recovery once they access care. Some telltale signs of addiction among medical professionals are:
- Going out of the way to administer narcotics
- Frequent bathroom breaks
- Unexplained absences
- Poor charting or a pattern of paperwork errors
Reasons Behind Addiction in Medical Professionals
Three common reasons why medical professionals become addicted are easy access, job stress, and hubris. Each is explained in more detail below.
1. Easy Access
Doctors and nurses, by necessity, have easy access to many medications that are highly addictive. Normally, medical professionals will prescribe these medications to people in amounts that pose little danger. However, this level of constant, often unmonitored access to significant quantities of these addictive medications puts doctors and nurses at risk. Medical professionals with the best intentions may fall by the wayside purely because of the constant temptation offered by their access to substances like fentanyl or oxycontin.
2. Job Stress
Jobs in the medical profession are notoriously high-stress positions. Doctors and nurses often make life and death decisions on a daily basis. Unfortunately, all of that takes an emotional toll. In addition, the hours and shifts that most medical professionals keep can put an additional strain on their bodies and minds. The combination of overwhelming stress and exhaustion leaves people vulnerable to substance abuse. What differentiates medical professionals from other working people comes back to their access. Not all high-stress jobs result in such high levels of addiction. However, stress paired with access to drugs that do indeed relieve that stress at first can prove too big a temptation.
Being a medical professional naturally comes with deep knowledge about the human body and how medications affect the body. This knowledge can sometimes lend itself to hubris. Doctors may think they can effectively mitigate risk and safely use substances in ways that won’t lead to addiction. However, the more someone uses the drug, the higher the risk of addiction
Find Treatment at BoardPrep Recovery Center® Today
Anyone struggling with addiction should seek help. Entering recovery is even more critical for medical professionals because it is not just their own life they have to consider. Doctors and nurses are responsible for the care and wellbeing of their patients, who they may put at risk if they have an addiction.
Treatment programs regularly craft services and programs specifically for medical professionals. Elements like therapy, support groups, and aftercare planning remain the same as for other people in recovery. However, addiction treatment for medical professionals prioritize the following elements:
- Supporting people in restoring their career and reputation
- Addressing licensure and disciplinary issues stemming from addiction
- Helping people avoid the triggers and temptations unique to medical professionals
- Participating in monitoring programs as a form of accountability
- Establishing long-term care plans
Jumpstart your recovery at BoardPrep Recovery Center® by calling 866.796.4720 today.