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Doctors and Addiction

Though we often try to forget about it, health care professionals are not immune to addiction by any means at all.  Truthfully, a lot of factors make them more likely to become addicted than the average American has weighing over him or her.  In fact, an estimated no less than ten percent of health care workers are alcohol or drug addicts, and they are just as likely as the rest of the population to suffer from addiction if not more so in some situations.

Most health care workers go into the field with the desire and underlying want to basically help people.  The health care field is not easy though and is sometimes not very pleasant, but people go into the field with the intention and the desire to help others, and that is why they are willing to roll with the punches that the field sends at them.  The truthful reality is that these individuals work long hours under very stressful conditions. It’s not unheard of for some of these professionals to turn to alcohol or readily available prescription drugs in order to combat stress and fatigue that they actually get from their jobs. Stealing drugs from a clinical or hospital setting or directly from patients is very specifically called “drug diversion,” and it happens more often than you might think in the American medical field.

The Consequences of Substance Abuse Within the Medical Field

When doctors, nurses, techs, and other health care professionals and workers are addicted to drugs and alcohol, the consequences can be very serious indeed.  This is one field where it is immensely dangerous and worrisome to have individuals who are addicted to drugs and alcohol working in the field.  The truth is, instead of helping patients, the workers who are in this field become a health threat to one degree or another. Health care workers who divert drugs from patients put patients at risk to one degree or another. Those who are drunk or high on the job are likely to perform poorly and make mistakes of their own, also putting patients at risk of mistakes that could even be fatal.

If you suspect to one degree or another, but aren’t completely certain of the truth on this, that a health care professional charged with your care is under the influence at work and on the clock, you must start by taking steps to protect yourself first and foremost.  Initially, you can and should make an anonymous call to the medical board and report your concerns or suspicions about these conditions. The board will take immediate and direct action to get to the bottom of the concern.

Because it has become such a big issue in recent years, clinics and hospitals are now highly tuned into employee drug diversion and drug use on the job, and many of them now have employee education programs about drug use and abuse, as well as policies on how to handle employees suspected of having a substance use disorder of one kind or another. These policies help doctors and nurses get the help they need in a safe, effective, and step by step manner and fashion.

The Severity of Addiction: Why We Need Doctors and Nurses Who are 100% Sober

Drug and alcohol abuse statistically speaking causes more health problems than any other type of ailment.  It also causes more mental difficulties than anything else too.  That’s why doctors and nurses are so involved in treating addiction.  It’s a mental problem and a physical one too.  For example, just a handful of the mental effects of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction have been listed below:

• Paranoia
• Aggressiveness
• Hallucinations
• Addiction
• Impaired Judgment
• Impulsiveness
• Loss of Self-Control

Listed below are highlighted some of the key aspects of addiction in the United States today and why we need doctor who can help and provide assistance at the blink of an eye:

• Addiction makes a big impact on the family of the addict too.  These family members seek help and advice from their doctors, hence why doctors and nurses need to always be clean and sober so as to provide the necessary information and data to their patients.  The progressive and ever occurring nature of addiction can lead to the development of enduring patterns that only perpetuate the addiction and enable the addict to one degree or another.

• Many families who end up having to deal with this attempt to manage the addiction by avoiding conflicts and confrontation with the individual addicted.  In these situations doctors are often called upon to help mediate the situation, so they definitely need to be themselves clean and sober to provide any real help.  Instead though, if they are addicted they either ignore the issue or try to solve the problem for the addict without really involving the addict, ultimately shielding the addict from the actual consequences of his or her actions.  As the almost literal, “elephant in the room” continues to grow, families become hyper-vigilant, imbalanced, and full of guilt and shame to one degree or another.  Enabling and codependent behaviors become the norm, and the family falls into dysfunction of greater or lesser degrees.

• Addiction has spread very quickly in the United States, and to a large degree it is up to doctors to try to help and stop it where it stands.  There is a contagion that occurs with addiction. It is very rare that an individual simply seeks out drugs on a whim and starts abusing them. More often they are pressured or convinced into using them by someone else who uses them. Then, once addicted, they will often go on in turn to get others to start using drugs too. Addiction spreads rapidly in this way, with the nation’s addicted now exceeding twenty-five million.

• As if to make matters worse and really make it even more important that doctors be involved in trying to stop addiction, substance abuse in the United States has worsened to a whole new level in recent years too. The economic crisis of 2008 and 2009 contributed to it in a big way, and other aspects have added to it as well. Factors like heavy increases in trafficking of narcotics into the United States from other countries coupled with increases in teen drug and alcohol abuse and increases in pharmaceutical drug abuse have all contributed to this spike in addiction in general.

How to Help Your Doctor if an Addiction Really is Present

If you are aware that your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or medical practitioner is addicted to and is abusing drugs and alcohol then you need to stand up and make it clear to them that they need to get help and clean up their act as soon as is possible.  It needs to become apparent to them the exact and very severe future that faces them if they don’t seek help quickly.

Medical staff can get in a lot of trouble and have a lot of difficulties if their habit is found out to their medical board.  They can lose their license, sometimes permanently.  But they can bounce back from it, and this option is always open to them, because this nation needs its doctors, and doctors and medical staff, in general, are without a doubt some of the most valuable people on this planet.

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