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Medical professionals, such as doctors and nurses, are still human beings. Like anyone, they can end up with a substance abuse problem.
They most commonly get hooked on narcotics, like Fentanyl and Oxycodone. The number of healthcare professionals in the U.S. who have an addiction is estimated to be over 100,000. In part due to their relatively easy access to drugs, they have some of the highest rates of addiction of any class of workers. On the upside, they also have very high rates of recovery when they do seek treatment.
This group is unusually adept at hiding their addiction and continuing to maintain a seemingly normal life. But there are clues that something is remiss, such as:
When medical professionals are struggling with addiction, they are at greater risk of making serious errors or causing an accident. Due to their responsibilities, this can have very serious consequences for the health and welfare of their patients. It can even be life threatening.
Medical professionals need to seek out programs specially tailored to their needs. Due to the position of trust they hold at work, their recovery process is complicated by special issues.
Some states offer programs designed to help such professionals recover without losing their medical license or medical practice. Because medical professionals typically get their drug of choice from work, such programs typically provide special guidance for coping with returning to work. They also typically work with them to help restore their professional reputation.
Keep in mind that medical professionals enjoy one of the highest rates of success in maintaining sobriety following a treatment program. The best outcomes are associated with being enrolled in programs familiar with the special challenges of this population.
If you are a medical professional struggling with addiction or if you know someone like this, seek help today. There is nothing to be gained from waiting. Meanwhile, there is a great deal to be gained from beating addiction.
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