Do Healthcare Professionals Suffer from Addictions?

Addiction is something that can affect anyone. Even those who are healthcare professionals and addiction is more common among those in this profession than others. There are many factors that could influence a healthcare professional to use substances as a means of coping.

Even though it seems to be counterproductive, addiction does not discriminate. Anyone can be susceptible to struggling with addictive substances. Ambrosia’s program for healthcare professionals is geared to address addictions in those who work in the healthcare and medical industry. We help find healthy ways of coping with them so these professionals can be the best that they can be.

Addiction in Healthcare And Medical Professionals

Studies show that 10 to 15% of healthcare professionals, at some point in their lifetime, will misuse substances. Moreover, 20% of nurses struggle with drugs or alcohol. A common disciplinary action against nurses includes banning the use of substances or losing their licenses. Among physicians, abuse of prescription drugs is high. Especially opioids and benzodiazepines.

Healthcare professionals and addiction are common. This can be due to factors in work, home, and social environments that could lead them to using substances. Additionally, they can self-medicate stress, grief and burnout by easily accessing drugs around them at hospitals. The effects that these substances can produce within an individual can lead to abuse, and in turn dependence and addiction can become prominent. 

Why Are They Vulnerable to Addiction?

There are different social, home, and workplace environmental factors that could contribute to addiction among these professionals. Healthcare professionals and addiction are not indicative of one another, meaning that not all healthcare professionals will struggle with substances. However, the factors that contribute to those that do struggle turning to substances to begin with are often similar to things that nonprofessionals also turn to substances because of. 

Work Stress

Among healthcare professionals, it can be full of extreme pressure. Whether that pressure is to perform better, perform faster, or be the top professional in a given field. On the other hand, they are exposed to chronically ill and irritable patients, some who may be dying or suffering.

They are expected to provide exceptional care regardless of the emotional bonds they form with patients or their relatives. This can be stressful and emotionally difficult. Pressure on anyone is pretty hard to handle. But those who are healthcare professionals can potentially feel like that pressure to be the best leads to substance abuse so they can cope.

Patients Dying

Part of being a medical professional is losing patients. Families are devastated, and oftentimes doctors and other healthcare professionals may feel like they should have or could have done better or more to save their patient. While this is generally not true, being a healthcare professional with an addiction to substances taking over often stems from these feelings of guilt.

Working Long Hours

Anyone can attest to the fact that lack of restful sleep leads to unhealthy mental states. This also holds true for healthcare professionals and addiction can creep in when someone is working 24 hours straight. It can start with caffeinated beverages to caffeine pills. Then this can increase to legal stimulants.Sometimes, they can’t sleep and may cause sedatives for some form of release from the stress that lack of sleep is causing. 

Most Common Addictions Among Healthcare Professionals

Healthcare professionals and addictions that they may be struggling with commonly include substances such as alcohol, opioids and benzodiazepines. Healthcare professionals are widely revered as being healthy, and living positive and productive lifestyles. While this may be true, these medical professionals are not immune to experiencing the horrors of addiction.

The reason for prescription drug misuse being higher among medical professionals has no real cause. However, it is a common thought process that easier access to prescription medications contributes to this. Regardless of the contributing factors and substances being used, healthcare professionals and addiction to substances is something that is becoming more common and should be treated.

Mental Health Disorders, Addiction in Healthcare Professionals

People from all walks of life, social classes, and professions can struggle with their mental health. Mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and panic disorders are treatable and manageable with proper care. Anyone can experience the symptoms of mental health conditions, including medical professionals and addiction is commonly contributed to by these conditions.

Treating both mental health and addiction in healthcare professionals often has a stigma. This can be due to the thought process that these doctors, nurses, and other medical and healthcare professionals shouldn’t have these types of struggles. Treating mental health and addiction in healthcare professionals should have less of a stigma and more acceptance as they are human, and all humans are capable of developing these conditions.

There shouldn’t be a fear surrounding seeking help, if only for the fact that mental health disorders and addiction can both lead to fatal results. Proper professional care is vital to these professionals being able to continue doing the work they do, saving lives, and helping people to heal. Healthcare professionals and addiction struggles or mental health conditions can be treated.

Detox with A Center Who Understands Your Needs

Just because someone has a career within the medical field does not make them immune to struggling with substances. The stresses of working long hours, watching patients suffer and potentially pass away, and burnout often lead these professionals to turn to different substances as a means of coping. Fortunately, we offer programs to help these vulnerable professionals find care.

Call us today and begin healing. 

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