By Jennifer Garrett, APRN, FNP-C


Members of the “helping professions” such as in the healthcare or legal industry are at great risk for substance use and abuse. These professions can create physically and emotionally exhausting stress. With these high-stress careers comes the increased possibility of job burn-out and increased drug and alcohol
use and abuse potential.

Professionals are required to maintain a level of communication, competency, consistency, and creativity to perform as experts in their fields. Frequently, addicted individuals, professional or non-professional, will keep their work-life functioning while their home and family life deteriorates due to the addiction. Eventually, their addiction will negatively impact all areas making life unmanageable within the addiction.

It is estimated that eight to twelve percent of medical doctors have a substance abuse problem with emergency medicine and anesthesiology being the highest risk specialties. Thirty-two percent of nurses abuse substances such as marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, and prescription drugs. It is also estimated that attorneys are almost twice as likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol with one in five lawyers addicted to alcohol.

Duration of residential substance abuse treatment may vary by patient and severity of use disorder. However, there is a strong argument that professionals generally require a full 90 days of inpatient treatment. Forty to fifty percent of addicted professionals have comorbid psychiatric conditions such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Recovery success rates increase to eighty-two percent when both the substance abuse and psychiatric disorders are treated simultaneously. Added to this extensive treatment, in collaboration with
the treatment facility, further monitoring and support by professional monitoring programs such as the Louisiana based Recovery Nurses Program (RNP), Healthcare Professionals’ Foundation of Louisiana (HPFL), and Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (JLAP) increases sobriety success rates from 40-60% to 89- 94%.

Contact Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center Today

Successful completion of addiction treatments like we offer here at Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center, along with monitoring and support from professional recovery programs such as RNP, HPFL, and JLAP give addicted professionals the assistance and tools they need to return to practice safely with the coping skills to maintain sobriety and succeed personally and professionally.