They’re trusted to rid us of our ailments, of our migraines and hypertension and depression and broken bones and, yes, even of our addictions, but very few of us ever stop to think about the effect that the profession itself has on the doctors who treat us and the likelihood of their own drug and alcohol addiction demons. The truth, however, is that the very nature of the healthcare field is one loaded with stress and rigor as the decisions that physicians make in treating their clients weigh heavily on their psyches. Considering the day-to-day ups and downs that healthcare professionals face, it is of little wonder that “One in 10 physicians develop problems with alcohol or drugs at some point during their careers.”

Treating Addicted Physicians in South Florida

Drug and alcohol addiction in physicians and other such healthcare professionals may be hard to detect and subsequently treat. Addiction remains taboo in the minds of many, which limits the ability of the recovery community to treat it as the disease it truly is. This disconcerting reality coupled with the notion that doctors are trusted, respected, and often held to an unfair standard of infallibility works to further conceal any issues with substance abuse that may be afflicting healthcare professionals. The situation becomes such that, “Since doctors, physicians and nurses are held to the highest standards of medical ethics, [the healthcare industry] imposes an even greater amount of duplicity in order to keep the abuse hidden or worse, in denial.”

To diagnose and treat physicians suffering from addiction, you must keep vigilant.

Whether a coworker, a client, family member, or friend, you should look for any warning signs that may allude to substance abuse and addiction in healthcare professionals. And, though we may have established that physicians tend to go that extra mile toward covering up their addictions, there are still warning signs that will work to betray the secret they are so feverishly trying to keep. Among the numerous indicators of a need for drug and alcohol addiction treatment, “look for: long breaks, odd or unusual behaviors (i.e. slurring, tremors, inappropriate laughter, agitation, anger or defensiveness – especially when questioned about their behavior), working odd hours, using breath mints/mouthwash.” Coworkers should be especially watchful of odd behaviors with medications usually prescribed for clients, e.g. the “incorrect” administration of medication, which may point to a healthcare professional’s “pocketing” of painkillers and other such prescription drugs.

If you suspect that a physician in your employ or in your immediate circle of friends and family is abusing drug and/or alcohol, do not hesitate to give voice to your concerns. Doing so may not only work to save the life of an addicted physician, but the life of a client in his care as well. Contact the appropriate personnel or consult with a drug and alcohol addiction rehab facility for further information and the options at your disposal toward the recovery of an addicted healthcare professional.