Why Addiction Occurs Among Medical Professionals

Drug addiction is an epidemic that goes through a cross-section of the population. One would think that people in the medical professions would be the least likely to become addicted to substances because they see first-hand, every day, in hospital emergency rooms and clinics, how drug abuse can ruin the lives of individuals and their families. But the fact is, a surprising number of people in the healthcare field suffer from drug and alcohol addiction.  Below are some facts that explore the subject of medical professionals with addictions.

Prevalence of Medical Professionals with Addictions

Some of the statistics on substance addiction in the healthcare industry may surprise you.  Take a look at the following statistics about medical professionals with addictions:

The Numbers:

  • In 2014, USAToday published a report indicating that in a given year, more than 100,000 medical professionals in the U.S., ranging from nurses, doctors, and healthcare technicians abuse prescription drugs.
  • The American Nurse Association says that about 10 to 15 percent of all nurses in the U.S. reportedly suffer from addiction to drugs or alcohol.
  • Harvard Medical School states that one out of ten doctors develop a drug or alcohol problem some time in their career practicing medicine.

The Causes:

There are a number of reason behind this high number of addiction cases.

  • Healthcare workers are often under a tremendous amount of pressure on the job, and drugs often provide them with a “quick fix” for handling this pressure.
  • Medical professionals have easy access to prescription drugs.
  • Many falsely believe that because they have professional training about drugs, they “know what they are doing” when taking more than they should.
  • They have a false sense of confidence that they can control their addiction. However, drugs do not discriminate. If a person abuses it, it traps him.

The subject of addiction in the medical industry is often avoided.  No one wants to think of the possibility that their trusted physician or nurse is under the influence of mind-altering substances.  But, the fact is, these individuals are only human and are prone to making bad choices just like the rest of us.

The Urgency of Proper Treatment

Because a medical professional is responsible for the health and well-being of his patients, if his judgment is impaired by drugs, he can endanger the lives of his patients. Therefore, once a substance abuse problem is indicated in a healthcare professional, time must not be wasted in seeking the proper treatment for him.  The most highly recommended method of addiction treatment is an inpatient recovery program.

Inpatient Recovery Programs:

The most effective treatment approach for medical professionals with addictions is admitting the individual into an inpatient treatment program. There are many advantages to this method.

  • An inpatient program removes any distraction from the recovery effort.
  • There is no risk of the individual using his position as a healthcare worker to gain access to drugs.
  • Support is available around the clock to help the individual through the toughest moments.

One of the main benefits of an inpatient program is the secure, nurturing environment.  Recovering addicts can relax knowing that someone is always available when they need encouragement or support.

Emotional Support

The emotional toll on addicts who work in the medical industry can be intense because they may feel like they have failed their profession and that they are no longer fit to work in the career that they have chosen. Deep depression can sink in. But, in an inpatient facility, the individual will be in a supportive environment 24/7 which will keep him or her from becoming depressed.

Medical professionals often hold the lives of patients in their hands. Therefore, intense inpatient recovery programs are needed to make sure that the individual is fully recovered before he can go back into practice again. This is the most effective and efficient approach to recovery.

If you would like more information about medical professionals with addictions, please contact About Addiction at our toll-free number.

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