Find Out What Factors Help a Doctor Recover from Addiction and Find Healing

Find Out What Factors Help a Doctor Recover from Addiction and Find Healing

Generally speaking, physicians feel as if they are healthier overall than the general population. This may be true for some doctors. In spite of their education, nutrition, and lifestyle, they may feel invincible to the ravages of addiction. Perhaps they are in denial or they feel they are handling themselves rather well, but whatever it may be, there are various factors which can help a physician realize they are struggling with addiction and how to work through this time while still maintaining their job. 

Why Addiction Happens

Many factors may contribute to the development of addiction for physician. Having access to drugs and self-prescribing is one pathway to addiction. In spite of the fact that physicians are less likely to smoke cigarettes or use alcohol, rates of prescription drug use go up for physicians. Not all physicians who have addiction disorder abuse prescription drugs. Work-related stress is one factor in physician addiction. Physician typically are less likely to admit a problem exists or continue trying to hide their substance abuse and drug use from family, friends, and co-workers, to maintain their status and job. Chronic exposure to addictive substances can be one reason physicians begin using drugs while others may be that opioid use and dependence are higher due to the stress of the job. Family history, genetics, and co-occurring disorders are also other reasons this may occur. 

Receiving Treatment

To be the most successful at receiving treatment, physicians often thrive in programs where they are able to get help for addiction and not feel punished at work. Many states protect the confidentiality of physicians who participate in treatment programs and do not require a report to the Board of Medicine. The first step in getting healthy treatment is key to helping them move forward into recovery. The following are helpful in supporting a physician to seek treatment for addiction:

  • A substance abuse program that cares for healthcare professionals and is able to foster the correct environment to help them navigate the pitfalls of addiction.
  • Treatment outside the area where they typically treat patients is advised to prevent interference from disclosure or professional conflicts
  • Maximizing treatment dose and duration to improve effectiveness and reduce relapse risk
  • Getting them involved in therapeutic activities, working through the layers of addiction to find out the root causes and compelling them to participate in group activities to confront denial and learn from others
  • Professionals often benefit from being in other professional meetings, moderated by an addiction specialist, who can find physicians who completed treatment and offer their experiences as a source of encouragement

When returning to work, physicians should complete physicals and performance-based assessments to determine fitness for work. Providers should collaborate to develop conditions around retaining license to practice and keeping up with their ability to perform on the job. Continued support will be needed in aftercare, including life and stress management skills. With the right treatment and approach, recovery rates are high for physicians who are willing to keep doing the work and stay focused on their recovery. 

Contact Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center Today

The Palmetto Center is based on a Therapeutic Community model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.