While there is no field that has not been infiltrated by drug and alcohol dependency, health care professionals are at especially high risk for substance misuse. A study in the Global Journal of Drug Policy & Practice (2010, Gold & Teitelbaum) notes that 15% of physicians will struggle with drug dependency at some point in their careers, while the American College of Surgeons (2012) reported that 13% of surgeons are misusing alcohol. These statistics are not surprising, given the industry’s long hours, intense stress, unpredictable sleep patterns, and easy access to medications.
According to Dr. Ethan Bryson, anesthesiologist and addiction expert from Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, substance abuse disorders impact every branch of medicine—but emergency room staff are most likely to seek treatment. Operating room staffers with regular access to anesthesia are also likely to develop an addiction. And, while health care professionals may start out abusing common narcotics like Percocet, they can quickly move to highly addictive, more dangerous medications like Fentanyl and Propofol. Doctors who become entangled in these drugs are “dead or in treatment in a matter of months,” says Bryson.
Dangers of Addiction & Health Care Service
Alcohol and drug abuse disorders in the healthcare industry are particularly frightening because of their broad impact on patients and colleagues. Impairing a doctor’s ability to diagnose, treat, or operate on patients, illicit substances put welfare and lives on the line. Surgeons suffering from addiction can make mistakes even when they are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, since intermittent sobriety may present with withdrawal symptoms like shaking, poor judgment, or impaired thought processes.
The good news? Substance abuse programs report a lower rate of relapse among health care professionals than the general public. When physicians, nurses, and other practitioners enter a recovery program that specializes in the needs of licensed professionals, they engage in evidence-based treatment that teaches them to live differently: restoring their careers, practices, and reputations.
PA Addiction Recovery for Health Care Workers
Providence Treatment is an attractive option for health care professionals because of its small, “boutique” approach to professional substance abuse recovery. Blending comfort with rigorous accountability, we provide detox, outpatient and inpatient treatment programs, aftercare guidance, and alumni programs that help doctors and nurses achieve sustained sobriety. Benefits of our licensed-professional addiction program include:
- Uncompromising confidentiality
- Treatment from board-certified counselors & practitioners
- Holistic therapies, including acupuncture & biofeedback
- Spiritual guidance
- Couples & family therapy programs
To request admission to our Philadelphia substance abuse center or inquire about our program for health care professionals, call (866) 247-3307 or fill out a confidential form today.