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medical professionals
August 14, 2020

Addiction Treatment for Medical Professionals

While the disease of addiction can affect people from any walk of life, some vocations are uniquely vulnerable to developing substance abuse issues. Those who have chosen to work in the health care industry fall into this category, accounting for one of the highest rates of addiction in today’s workforce. 

Not only do medical professionals have a high-pressure career with long, demanding working hours and difficult decisions to make, but they also have easier access to addictive drugs such as opioids. How does substance abuse affect medical professionals, and how can people struggling with this issue get help?

The Effects of Addiction in the Workplace

It can be challenging to recognize when doctors, nurses and other people in the health care industry have been abusing drugs and alcohol. These professionals often meet the criteria of so-called “high-functioning” addicts – people who manage to plaster a veneer of accomplishment over the dark realities of their substance misuse disorder. On the surface, they have it all together, but behind closed doors, it’s a different story. 

Because medical professionals appear to have achieved success in various aspects of their lives, their friends, family members and peers may overlook the warning signs of addiction, such as erratic behavior, dishonesty, self-isolation, depression and financial troubles. Health care practitioners who routinely self-medicate with drugs and alcohol are putting their well-being at risk, while simultaneously jeopardizing the health of patients in their care. They may neglect to perform essential duties in their pursuit of their substance of use, fail to show up for their scheduled shift or cause on-the-job accidents because they’re high or drunk at work. 

Why Do Medical Professionals Abuse Substances? 

Many aspects of the health care profession make practitioners more susceptible to substance abuse than people who choose other vocations. One reason is the pressure-cooker environment of their jobs, which often force them to make life-or-death decisions during physically and emotionally demanding shifts. Regrets about choosing a specific path can affect their mental well-being, spurring them to reach for the oblivion of substance abuse. 

Medical professionals may also feel drawn to misuse powerful prescription medications due to their extensive understanding of the side effects that produce a euphoric feeling. This knowledge, coupled with their ready access to these drugs, provides all the necessary ingredients for an addiction to take hold. 

Addiction Treatment for Health Care Workers 

Anyone can become overly reliant on intoxicants, even people in well-respected professions. As a medical professional, you may be reluctant to admit you have developed a physical and psychological dependence on drugs or alcohol, but the sooner you seek help, the better off you and your patients will be. It’s crucial to find an evidence-based rehab program that recognizes the challenges accompanying this type of addiction and tailors treatment to your needs. 

In inpatient treatment, you will safely detox from harmful chemicals, undergo one-on-one counseling to help you uncover the underlying causes of your substance abuse and learn healthy coping strategies to manage cravings and avoid a relapse. You’ll also have the full support of a loving, compassionate community that remains intensely focused on the goal of helping you recover. 

How Long Does Addiction Rehabilitation Take?

At Beach House, we recognize the correlation between longer stays in treatment and better outcomes for clients. That’s why we recommend a minimum inpatient time of 35 days. This span allows you to fully focus on your health and well-being, without the distractions that characterize the “real world.” 

If an active addiction is making you unfit to fulfill your job responsibilities, you can rely on the Family and Medical Leave Act to take a 12-week, unpaid leave of absence from work and have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ll still have a job to return to after your discharge from treatment. 

You can also use your health insurance plan to cover the costs associated with your rehabilitation. Beach House accepts insurance from more than 20 major providers, including Cigna, Aetna, Humana and AmeriHealth. Contact our admissions counselors today to learn how to make a new start.

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