Doctors are just about as likely as the rest of the general population to abuse alcohol or illicit drugs. This is not surprising, seeing as doctors are people too. However, doctors are far more likely to abuse prescription medications, which proves a grim but predictable statistic given the increased prevalence of epidemic-proportioned prescription abuse that has rapidly spread across the majority of the country in recent years. Drug abuse is not new to the medical field, and the two in fact have a long history of companionship based both on ready availability and untreated emotional stressors. However, doctors are currently abusing opioid narcotic painkillers at a rate never before seen. Lisa Merlo, PhD and researcher at University of Florida’s Center for Addiction Research and Education recently interviewed 55 physicians who were being treated for alcohol and drug addiction. Out of the 55, a total of 38 (69%) were being treated specifically for addiction to prescription medications. Most of these men and women claimed that they were not using such drugs for recreational purposes, but rather to self-medicate physical and emotional pain.
Drug Addiction Among Those in the Medical Field
Of course doctors are no different than others when it comes to the reasons behind abusing prescription medications. People tend to turn to painkillers as a way of coping with physical and emotional discomfort and upsetting life struggles. What does set doctors apart, however, is their ability to access to highly sought-after and extremely potent drugs. Not only does access sometimes breed addiction, but also it undeniably perpetuates it. Interestingly enough, drug addicted doctors are often deemed the best workers by peers in the medical field. It isn’t uncommon for them to go over and beyond, perhaps attempting to compensate out of guilt or endeavoring to ensure continued accessibility to their drugs of choice. Because physicians are so calculated and intelligent, they are often quite skilled at hiding their addictions. And because they continue to perform so well in most cases, few of their colleagues will even question whether or not they are silently struggling with substance dependency.
Doctors Are Just As Susceptible, If Not More So, To Drug Addiction
It is highly unlikely for a medical professional to seek treatment if coworkers and friends do not first confront him or her. Merely expressing concern is seldom enough – a professional intervention is often necessary. For physicians who reach the point of acknowledging they both need and want (or are at least willing to receive) treatment for addiction, there are many completely confidential treatment programs available exclusively for doctors and other medical professionals. Physicians are able to seek professional addiction treatment without disclosing their problem to a medical board or to colleagues. Both inpatient and inpatient programs are available – for a comprehensive list of physician treatment opportunities please contact one of our trained representatives today.