Substance Abuse Among Doctors and Nurses

Jobs in the medical field can be some of the most rewarding, as well as the most stressful. And just like all other humans, they can get sick, too. In fact, studies have shown that those in the medical field, including doctors and nurses, suffer from substance abuse disorders just as often as the general population. The most significant difference is that people who work in hospitals and doctor’s offices have easier access to addictive prescription drugs such as opioids. And with the lack of sleep and other side effects of medical occupations, many co-workers, and family members won’t notice the addiction until it’s started causing consequences.

Between 10 to 14 percent of people who work in medicine will develop a substance abuse disorder. It’s most common, however, among emergency room workers, anesthesiologists, and psychiatrists. These are people who often have direct access to drugs in their daily jobs. They also work in an environment full of grief and emotional pain. It’s easy to want to medicate such extreme emotions away – or pop a pill to stay awake through long hours.

Why Do Doctors Experience Addiction?

Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are just like other human beings, except that they are forced to make life-or-death decisions every day. Working in such intimate settings and fast-paced environments can leave a person feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, or numb – yet they continue until the end of the day. Doctors and nurses in hospital settings also tend to work double shifts without a lot of sleep. These types of environments can be detrimental to mental health, and it’s easy to experiment with drugs in a place where you’re regularly exposed to samples and unfinished medications.

Addiction happens because of a change in brain chemistry, and it’s not something the addicted person will experience overnight. There will be signs and symptoms along the way.

For a person in the medical field, addiction can be dangerous and threatens the safety of others. If you or somebody you love is suffering from addiction, getting help can prevent them from losing their job or causing a devastating medical mistake.

Getting Help for Substance Abuse

As mentioned earlier, addiction isn’t a disorder that typically appears overnight. It takes a while for both the body and mind to get sick. Getting “well” can’t happen overnight, either. If you are currently using drugs and want to stop, there’s hope and help available.

Please give us a call at (877) 228-2401 to learn more about how we can help. The call is 100% confidential.


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