Addiction treatment for medical professionals can be absolutely imperative not only for their own wellbeing, but for the wellbeing of others.
Professionals working in the medical industry face a challenging career field. They typically put in years of arduous training before being licensed to work as medical professionals. Expectations to keep their certifications updated and attend training must be consistently met. The hours required for a pressure-filled career like this often prove to be long and sometimes tiresome.
When addiction treatment for medical professionals becomes necessary, the burden of seeking it can overwhelm a person. Doctors, nurses, and licensed counselors may feel they have to hide their substance use disorders or risk blowback to their careers and reputations. Fortunately, it is possible for them to receive the help they need without it ending their careers.
Pressures of the Medical Care Industry Can Contribute to Developing an Addiction
Medical professionals endure the expectation that they must not only succeed in their careers but flourish. They face pressure to treat high numbers of patients, all while providing thoughtful and flawless care.
Therapists regularly treat patients who are involved in volatile living situations. They may present in appointments while dealing with unstable moods. The hallmarks of mental illness can cause erratic behavior that takes its toll on treatment providers.
The Occupational Information Network (OIN) ranked the three most stressful mental health careers. They are health care social workers, art therapists, and advanced practice psychiatric nurses. OIN reports that mental health professionals are at higher risk for burnout when the following conditions are present:
- Less job experience than others
- Lack of a social support network
- Difficulty in using boundaries
- Lack of confidence in skills
- A tendency towards perfectionism
COVID-19 Created an Epidemic of New Patients
The past year of a world living under the pressures of the coronavirus created an increased need for treatment from the medical community. People experienced a multitude of mental health issues, including anxiety, stress, and depression.
The lockdown that affected many in-person appointments complicated the need to seek mental health treatment for many. Telehealth appointments have helped meet the need, but the pressure of learning to do them caused a lot of stress for therapists. Now they are facing the dilemma of whether to offer hybrid appointments (both telehealth and in-person) or go back to only seeing people in their offices.
A true uncharted dilemma arose regarding patients who naturally seek the advice of medical professionals to help them handle pandemic-related issues. Often, the medical professionals themselves experience mood-related reactions to living in the age of the coronavirus. They juggled trying to help themselves, along with their patients.
The American Heart Association reported that the past year drove alcohol sales up dramatically. Online sales alone increased almost 500%. People who were already teetering on the brink of developing an addiction to alcohol found themselves pushed over the edge. Many who were already in recovery lost their footing due to the overwhelming stressors of life during a pandemic.
Medical Professionals Often Use Their Careers to Hide Their Addictions
Anyone who has developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol finds themselves in a position of wanting to hide the evidence. Medical professionals may attempt to use their professions to help keep their addiction a secret.
The need for addiction treatment for medical professionals may be hidden by their very lifestyles. Often someone like a busy doctor or therapist attempts to write off certain symptoms of a problem as just part of their careers. They use their busy schedules as an excuse to justify certain behaviors. These include being tired, feeling frazzled, or having mood swings. Often family members don’t feel comfortable questioning this. Colleagues who deal with similar stresses may not be able to see past the symptoms their co-workers experience.
Many medical professionals have easy access to drugs. Medications stored in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and pharmacies can provide a temptation to those who have developed an addiction. People are not quick to question these professionals when they are in possession of prescription drugs. The professionals may tend to lean on colleagues who can provide prescriptions or samples of medications. All of these situations add up to a person working as a medical professional having easier access to their drugs of choice than the average person.
Past Addictions May Resurface During Times of Stress
Many people who choose medical professions do so for personal reasons. A lot of addiction-related doctors, nurses, and counselors chose that field because of their own previous experiences with addiction. The old adage that a former addict can understand and treat a current addict better than anyone can be true.
The flip side of this situation is that sometimes even the most seasoned medical professional risks relapse. Treating patients who suffer from addiction to drugs or alcohol may take a cumulative toll.
USA Today reported that more than 100,000 medical professionals abuse or are addicted to drugs. The most common ones are oxycodone and fentanyl. It is estimated that ten percent of practitioners will experience drug or alcohol abuse at some point.
Addiction Treatment for Medical Professionals
The good news is that addiction treatment for medical professionals can be a reality for anyone who needs it.
USA Today reports that physicians who receive addiction treatment and participate in ongoing monitoring enjoy a lower relapse rate than others. After five years, 71% of physicians in the study counted themselves as still sober. They are licensed and continue to work in their fields.
Medical professionals in need of addiction treatment need not fear seeking it. They can find a program, complete it, and return to their careers. Key components to achieving these goals include:
- Being honest with themselves that they need help
- Consulting with their insurance company about treatment options
- Remembering that treatment programs feature confidentiality as a key focus
- Taking advantage of accrued time off to put towards residential treatment
- Looking into using the Family and Medical Leave Act, which covers time off for addiction treatment
- Searching for support groups for fellow medical professionals who deal with addiction
Addiction Treatment for Medical Professionals in Texas
If you need treatment for an addiction to alcohol or drugs, we offer a program that helps you enter recovery and stay there. Our residential treatment center near Dallas features luxury accommodations suited for our professional patients.
Contact Casa Colina for more information by clicking here.