Doctors have the highest rate of addiction out of all other professionals. More than 100,000 doctors in the United States struggle with drug abuse or addiction, and the most common drug of choice is a narcotic — oxycodone or fentanyl.
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Why Doctors Become Addicted to Drugs
Being a medical professional is not easy. There’s a lot of stress involved in caring for the health and lives of individuals. With long hours and consistent physical and emotional demands, many doctors turn to the numbing and adrenaline qualities of drugs. After all, those drugs are everywhere around them, so the temptation can be difficult to ignore.
The truth is that the medical field is one of the most stressful professions in existence. It’s not uncommon for doctors to work long hours, often missing meals and sleep. This type of environment can take a toll on anyone’s mental and physical health. When you add the constant exposure to sick patients and the potential for making life-or-death decisions, it’s no wonder that so many doctors turn to drugs.
The most common drugs that doctors abuse are alcohol, prescription drugs, and illegal drugs. While some doctors abuse multiple substances, others focus on just one. Regardless of the type of drug, the addiction can have an enormous effect on the doctor’s life, career, and family.
Many doctors are trying to self-medicate in order to cope with the stress of their job. Unfortunately, this often leads to abuse, addiction and a decline in the quality of care they’re able to provide. When a doctor is struggling with addiction, it’s important to get help as soon as possible.
The consequences of doctors suffering from addiction can be devastating. Not only does working under the influence put the doctor’s health and safety at risk, but it also puts the patients in harm’s way.
Clearly, an addicted doctor is more likely to make mistakes, which can lead to serious medical complications for patients. For example, a doctor who’s addicted to painkillers may make errors when prescribing medication. This could result in the patient taking too much of the drug and suffering from an overdose.
Seeking Addiction Treatment for Doctors
Unfortunately, doctors don’t run to a rehab center as soon as they realize they have a problem. They fear they will lose their license, they are scared of the ridicule they may face, and they simply don’t want to go through the suffering that often comes with withdrawals. With all of these reasons, many doctors continue their addiction for years.
Those who do decide to seek treatment for their addiction are at an advantage. Addiction treatment specifically designed for those in the medical profession is highly successful. This treatment includes:
- Drug Refusal Skills
- Improve Coping Strategies and Communication Skills
- Positive Work Environment Modification
- Occupation-Specific Interventions
- Management of Drug Access
Throughout treatment, doctors learn how to maintain recovery through:
- Cue, Trigger, Craving reduction
- Workbook Activities
- Experiential Therapy
Monitoring programs are an integral part of care. They are more than a support system because it provides advocacy. With it being separate from licensure and credentialing bodies, doctors receive continued assistance through recovery, which has shown to prevent relapse.
Combining drug management plus long-term contingency contracting is the gold standard in addiction care for doctors. It has made it possible for medical professionals to continue their medical careers even when they often need to handle the same drugs that have led to their addiction. It’s much like how recovering alcoholics can go to dinner with friends and family who are drinking but not drink themselves.
Benefits of Seeking Addiction Treatment as a Doctor
Even though doctors are often afraid of seeking addiction treatment because they feel it may be detrimental to their careers, not seeking treatment is much riskier. As tolerance levels rise, more alcohol or higher doses of drugs must be taken to achieve the same effects and ward off withdrawals. Not only is there a chance someone may notice the impairment, but there’s also an increased risk of not being able to perform as effectively while under the influence. Medical malpractice becomes a possibility, which could lead to disciplinary proceedings against the doctor’s medical license.
The benefits of seeking addiction treatment as a doctor are obvious. You can save your career, your health, and protect your patients’ wellbeing. With addiction treatment being highly successful for medical professionals, there’s no reason not to take advantage of it. Contact BoardPrep Recovery by calling 866.796.4720 today to find addiction treatment for doctors.