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Drug and Alcohol Rehab for Healthcare Professionals

 / Healthcare Professionals
Addiction Signs and Symptoms in Healthcare Workers

Even medical professionals are not immune to the dangers of alcohol and drug use disorders. As with their patients, doctors, dentists, medical lab technicians, pharmacists, nurses, and other professionals can also have problems with drugs or their mental well-being. Unfortunately, these professionals work in highly stressful situations and have easy access to prescription medications.


Helping people in the healthcare sector overcome addiction is a priority at Rolling Hills Recovery Center, where they may find access to evidence-based recovery programs tailored to their needs.

Medical Professionals and the Struggles With Substance Use Disorders

Working in healthcare is stressful for many reasons. Every day, you must make tough choices for other people that significantly impact your life.


In addition to the familiar strains of life, you now have the added weight of legal responsibility and financial worries. Worse, it's not always easy to leave work and forget your concerns about your patients.


According to the Critical Care Medicine Journal, it is projected that 10% to 15% of all medical staff will grapple with drug or alcohol misuse at some point in their careers. The Harvard Review of Psychiatry adds that those who work in the medical field have a higher risk of abusing prescription pharmaceuticals, with the misuse of narcotics and benzodiazepines being the most prevalent.


It should not come as a surprise that substance addiction is at the center of many disputes between medical professionals and the bodies that employ them. For example, based on data gathered by the Texas Tribune, almost one-third of all disciplinary actions against Texas nurses involve drug usage.


Like those in other fields where addiction is a problem, medical professionals may use drugs or alcohol to deal with the pressures of their jobs or help them get through the long, demanding shifts they often work.


However, one of the most important aspects that separate addiction among healthcare workers from that seen in the general population is their greater access to addictive medications. It shouldn't be surprising that healthcare workers, such as nurses and doctors, have far more access to addictive drugs like fentanyl and other opioids than the general public does.


Researchers also have additional hypotheses to explain why those who work in the medical field may have a greater risk of developing an addiction. One of these hypotheses is that medical practitioners may be more likely to self-medicate, which often results in abuse of the prescription.

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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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Addiction Signs and Symptoms in Healthcare Workers

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Addiction among healthcare workers can go undiscovered for a while. However, drug abuse quickly escalates into a significant issue when it is discovered. In this industry, a person who is addicted to drugs has to work extremely hard to conceal their habit so that they may continue to provide for themselves and their family because their jobs are always in jeopardy.


However, addiction is a chronic condition similar to diabetes, and it is impossible to conceal it for long. Therefore, if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, it is essential to be aware of the hallmarks of addiction.

Here are some of the most common signs of addiction that medical practitioners see:

  • Taking many breaks while working.

  • Inaccuracies or omissions in the charting, etc.

  • Pinpoint pupils.

  • Taking up too many night shifts (or working hours when there's less stringent supervision).

  • Unreliability (for example, missing deadlines and not keeping appointments).

  • Being absent without explanation.

  • Using breath fresheners and mouthwash inordinately.

  • Spending an excessive amount of time close to a source of drug supply.

  • Disorientation, forgetfulness, and inability to focus.

  • Problems in relationships with coworkers.

  • Changes in temperament and character.

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Medical professionals and the struggles with substance use disorders
In What Ways Do Patients Feel the Effects of Medical Staff Drug Use?

In What Ways Do Patients Feel the Effects of Medical Staff Drug Use?

The danger drinking and drug addiction pose to medical workers depend on their job. For example, alcohol consumption poses an exceptionally high risk for surgeons because of the importance of completing surgeries with few or no complications. Despite this, one out of every six surgeons has a problem with alcohol consumption. The outcomes might be disastrous if, for example, a surgeon was misusing alcohol and intoxicated or going through withdrawal while on the job.


Other dangers that might arise in the workplace for medical professionals who misuse alcohol include:


  • Inaccurate medical diagnosis.

  • Accidentally dosing a patient with the incorrect amount of medicine.

  • A lack of professionalism in one's demeanor.

  • Shift absence.

  • Surgery goofs caused by botched incisions.

  • Lack of concentration.

  • Committing acts that endanger the lives of patients.

  • Being accused of professional misconduct and being sued for it.

  • The risk of contamination and infection.


The impacts of drug abuse on medical practitioners may extend well beyond the physical, such as in their demeanor and dealings with patients and their loved ones and the quality of treatment they provide. In addition, the possibility of reduced therapeutic response in a patient is another risk associated with medication diversion (or administering drugs not intended for that patient).

Rolling Hills Recovery Center offers free 24/7 addiction support for healthcare workers. Call today and confidentially speak with our addiction specialists at 855-559-8550.

Rehab Services for Those Working in the Healthcare Industry.

Rehab Services for Those Working in the Healthcare Industry.

Unfortunately, some people in the medical industry may be hesitant to disclose their drug use or addiction for fear of losing their license to deliver or prescribe medicines or controlled substances.


This may ultimately limit a professional's ability to work in some areas of their field, especially in environments where highly restricted medications are readily available, such as in an intensive-care unit.


Is it possible for those in the medical field who are dependent on drugs to stop taking them? Addiction can be addressed, but not by quitting cold turkey. Long-term treatment is required to overcome drug addiction and reclaim one's life.


Addiction treatment should assist you in the following areas:

  • Stop using drugs.

  • Maintain your drug-free status while being productive at home, work, and society.

  • Mend any broken relationships at home and work.


Get professional treatment if you have a problem with drug abuse or addiction; doing so is for everyone's benefit, including your loved ones, co-workers, and patients.


While in treatment, rehab centers provide the necessary counseling and attention to aid medical professionals in getting clean. In addition to ensuring that the people do not have their license to practice taken away, they also assist the individuals in establishing a reliable support network for themselves.


Each program, like other addiction treatment programs, has the following components:


  • Motivational interviewing.

  • Individual (one-on-one) and group counseling.

  • Evidence-based therapeutic approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement therapy (MET), and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).

  • Diagnosis and treatment of co-occurring diseases simultaneously.

  • Peer support groups.

  • Aftercare services.


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Let Rolling Hills Recovery Center Walk with You on Your Journey to Recovery!

Let Rolling Hills Recovery Center Walk with You on Your Journey to Recovery!

Help is available for you or a loved one who works in the medical field and is struggling with substance abuse. Participating in a recovery program will help you overcome your addiction and give you the tools you need to prevent relapse. Please get in touch with our 24/7 helpline at 855-559-8550 or visit our facility right away.


Our experienced staff is available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have. Call today and change your tomorrow.

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