When it comes to addiction, you may think that doctors and healthcare professionals are at less risk. After all, they’ve been highly trained, they manage the health of others, and they’ve seen the consequences. Wouldn’t it make sense then that they’re not putting their mind and body at risk by misusing drugs or alcohol?
However, this isn’t necessarily true. There are many doctors across the United States and throughout the world who struggle with addiction. Many keep quiet because they are scared of losing their jobs. They also know the stigmas that often surround addiction and don’t want to admit that they suffer from a substance use disorder. But unless they come forward asking for help, or someone else recognizes they have a problem, it can be left untreated for years, putting them and others at greater risk.
When doctors are affected by addiction, it can make them more vulnerable to making poor decisions. They may not be thinking clearly or rationally because of the influence of drugs or alcohol. This makes it all the more important for patients to also be educated and aware of the signs and symptoms of addiction. If they have concerns about their doctor’s wellbeing or the choices they have made, they should speak up. Although it is a doctor’s job to do what is in the best interest of their patient and protect their health, all of the onus should not be on them, and patients should also be looking out for their own health. Addiction does not discriminate and everyone is at some level of risk.
What Increases a Doctor’s Risk for Addiction?
One contributing factor to addiction risk is stress. Being a doctor is a high stress job. Depending on the field they work in, they are required to make quick decisions or handle life-and-death situations .They often work long hours and see a wide range of situations. Changing schedules can throw off their sleep, eating, and exercise habits making them more stressed out.
Without the proper outlets to alleviate this stress, clear their mind, and relax, they may turn to drugs or alcohol as a temporary fix. Hitting the bar or heading home and having a few drinks after work becomes their go-to solution. Prescription medications can make it easier to fall asleep or feel more relaxed. They can also help to give the doctor the extra burst of energy they need to keep pushing through a tough day. But this can quickly become dangerous and make problems worse.
Another factor is access. Doctors have certain prescribing rights and access to a wide range of medications. It can be easy to write prescriptions for themselves or take advantage of patient prescriptions. They’re around medication supplies practically all the time, so a few missing pills here and there may go unnoticed for a while. They work with and prescribe medications on a daily basis, so they’re no stranger to what is available and the effects.
Treating Doctors Struggling with Addiction
There are many drug and alcohol rehab facilities in the Los Angeles area that offer professional and confidential treatment. Programs are geared toward executives and professionals who are used to a certain type of lifestyle and more upscale amenities. And there are security and privacy measures in place so that they can focus on their recovery without worrying that everyone will find out.
Just because a doctor has an addiction problem does not necessarily mean that they will lose their job. Completing an inpatient treatment program and developing strategies to manage their addiction and enter into long-term recovery can allow them to continue practicing. Regular monitoring is recommended to ensure that they reduce their risk for relapse and continue following through with their recovery plan. There are many physicians who are able to keep working without suffering a relapse. Or, if they do have a slip or relapse, they take the necessary steps to get back on track.
Some doctors choose to retire from practice or go into a less stressful field. They must decide what is right for them and whether they feel they can safely return to practice. Regardless of their decision, it is essential that they get the addiction treatment that they need for their own wellbeing. Addiction can be life-threatening and accidents or overdoses can happen in the blink of an eye.
Embracing a substance-free lifestyle can help doctors to make the most of their future and achieve better balance in their life. They are forced to be more aware of their own health and keep temptation and stress under control. They must make changes to reduce their risk of relapsing and support healthier living.
Executive rehab center Chapters Capistrano understands the needs of busy professionals and tailors treatment to support more effective and comfortable recovery. They offer private rooms and confidential care. Contact Chapters Capistrano today at 949-371-4198 for more information or to get started on a new chapter in your life free from addiction.