Struggling with a substance use disorder in any profession can be challenging, but more than one in ten healthcare professionals entrusted to deliver quality care are on the job with a drug or alcohol problem. It may be interfering with their ability to perform at the high standard their practice or their employer has established, and it’s likely taken a toll on their lives in other ways. Today, let’s talk about how doctors, nurses, and others in the field of medicine are getting help identifying their own addiction and finding help in treating it.
Doctors, nurses, and others working as healthcare providers are no less susceptible to developing substance use disorders than people in other professions. In fact, some research concludes primary care physicians may be more prone to developing an addiction, and between 10-15% of all healthcare professionals live with a substance use disorder. For these professionals, finding addiction treatment with successful outcomes means setting aside the role of healthcare provider to become a patient-focused on their own recovery, first in a facility ensuring the confidentiality they need to protect their reputation and career.
Healthcare providers focus on helping others first.
Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals devote their lives and build their careers on the care of others. Many of them treat patients with substance use disorders and see the effects of drug and alcohol use daily on the job. It is unrealistic to think this awareness of addiction would somehow prevent them from developing a substance use disorder of their own, however.
Substance abuse by healthcare professionals is more common than you think.
Working in the field of healthcare makes a substance use disorder no less of a critical threat to one’s health and well-being. In fact, some research shows primary care physicians may be at a higher risk for problem drinking. In addition, some estimates put the number of healthcare professionals with a substance use disorder between 10-15 for every hundred people.
Healthcare professionals may attempt to “manage” substance use.
At a job where judgment is a critical skill, hiding substance use may feel like an essential choice for a healthcare professional. That might look like missing a shift, using drugs or alcohol excessively between shifts, or showing up for work under the influence. The goal of concealing its use to not face consequences can add to the normal amount of stress associated with the work.
Healthcare providers need confidentiality in treatment.
Thinking about the investment of time and money (from education) to build a career and the reputation a physician has earned, you can see the challenge a substance use disorder can present. It’s imperative a treatment program offer healthcare professionals a private setting to work on their plans for a long-term recovery with a program customized to meet their therapeutic needs alongside some work-related interface, as well as providing time for relaxation and recreation between intensive clinical sessions. This kind of confidentiality in treatment allows a patient to focus solely on recovery goals without constant distractions.
Some healthcare professionals may need dual diagnosis treatment.
Working in the medical field can be stressful and exacerbate existing mental health conditions or lead to the development of new ones. Although they work as doctors, nurses, therapists, or in other roles, they may have mental health disorders undiagnosed for years. A treatment facility with a program for co-occurring disorders can help a healthcare provider address a mood disorder, anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorder that appears alongside the use of illegal drugs or the excessive use of alcohol or off-label use of prescription drugs.
Headwaters at Origins in Florida is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance abuse, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 561-270-1753.