Addiction can affect everyone. That even applies to medical professionals who have dedicated their careers to supporting people’s health and wellness. Addicted professionals need help just like anyone else struggling with addiction. An awareness of the unique dangers that present for medical professionals can help avoid addiction altogether or at the very least support in accessing the right help if addiction does occur. Call BoardPrep Recovery Center® at 866.796.4720 to learn more about our specialty evaluations for health professionals to help with addiction recovery.
Addiction in Medical Professionals
Most people believe healthcare providers have healthier lifestyles and habits compared to the general population. While that is true to an extent, it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Healthcare professionals do tend to smoke less and exercise more than other people. However, it doesn’t stop them from expressing similar rates of substance abuse as the rest of the population. In fact, opioid abuse rates are higher among medical professionals than they are among other populations.
Addiction in doctors comes with some obvious dangers. Perhaps the biggest is that patients being treated by someone under the influence put their safety and health outcomes unknowingly at risk. Overall, as many as one in five nurses struggle with addiction, and one in ten physicians engage in drug or alcohol abuse at some point in their lives.
Dangers of Addiction in Medical Professionals
Doctors and nurses work in a high-stress profession, which is a risk factor that can leave them open to developing an addiction. One reason for substance use may involve trying to stay alert for a double or overnight shift. Addiction in nurses can also be the result of trying to cope with a difficult work environment or a string of poor patient outcomes that they may blame themselves for.
Another factor driving addiction in doctors and nurses is their access to restricted substances. They have a level of accessibility the general population does not. That makes it easier to acquire or feed an addiction. Warning signs of addiction specific to medical professionals include:
- Volunteering to administer narcotics to patients
- Frequent, unexplained absences
- Changing jobs often
- Taking night shifts to avoid higher levels of supervision
- Poor charting or recurring paperwork errors
Other dangers that may drive addiction among doctors and nurses are expert knowledge and hubris. Medical professionals know how drugs and prescription opioids work. As a result, they may believe they can use the drugs and manage their usage without becoming an addiction.
In the end, addiction professionals compromise patient safety and care. Addicted doctors and nurses are more likely to neglect patients and cause medical accidents resulting in severe injury or even death than their non-addicted peers.
Contact BoardPrep Recovery Center®
Addiction recovery programs geared specifically to medical professionals are widely available nowadays. Just like the set of warning signs is unique to healthcare providers, their treatment programs are unique. Notably, medical professionals achieve sobriety at much higher rates compared to others, particularly when they engage in treatment designed with medical professionals involved.
BoardPrep Recovery Center® in Florida understands the challenges healthcare professionals face in pursuing sobriety. Multiple programmatic options are built with physicians in mind. These include our evaluation services, physician health program with housing, physician health program intensive outpatient, transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy, and medically-assisted detox. All our treatment programs for addicted professionals also utilize:
- Proper assessment
- Special drug screening protocols
- Return-to-work planning
- Guidance related to and knowledge of regulatory bodies, monitoring agencies, and administrative rules
Serving in the medical profession is a noble calling that comes with many challenges. Addiction is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is worth addressing without delay. Call us at 866.796.4720 to reclaim your health and your profession.