Drug addiction in Medical Professionals
People who abuse drugs are likely to harm their physical and mental health, their relationships with others, their performance at school or work, and more. Even with all of these dangers inherent to substance abuse, drug addiction can be so powerful that even some medical professionals would turn to the abuse of certain substances.
Those working in the medical field are more likely to experience higher rates of stress, and also correspondingly higher rates of substance addiction. There are even higher rates of suicide amongst medical professionals as well. But why is this so? Shouldn’t doctors and other medical professionals, who know more about drug addiction’s dangers, resist the temptation to abuse alcohol and other substances? The answers to these questions are complicated, which will be explained further in the rest of this article.
Why are addiction rates higher amongst medical professionals?
Statistics have shown that doctors and other medical professionals are more likely to become addicted to drugs and alcohol. But why is this so? Should not the people who are actively trying to heal the sick, be more resilient to addiction? Well, there are some different factors that work in concert, to motivate many medical professionals to turn to the use of illicit substances and alcohol. So here are the various reasons why medical professionals seem to have higher rates of addiction compared to the general population.
Working in the medical field is not easy. It is a high-pressure job that has got a lot of stress. And this combined with long work hours make it a hard job to do. This whole stressful environment that medical professionals work in could be one main reason why they are turning to drugs. Drugs could make it seem like their stress, anxieties, and work problems, are easier to handle. And this allure of relaxation and feelings of happiness could be the main cause for why so many people working in the medical field turn to addiction. In fact, stress is also one of the main reasons why people in the general population turn to abusing drugs and alcohol.
Easier access to substances
Psychoactive drugs, pain medications such as narcotics and morphine are easily available in hospitals. It means that the doctors and nurses, and even pharmacists, who work in hospitals have got easier access to getting their hands on these kinds of substances. They can easily steal these drugs, to get themselves the substances that they are addicted. And while there are many different kinds of controls and conventions in place to prevent this, there are always ways to get around them. If someone is smart enough, then they could easily steal drugs from a hospital, pharmacy or clinic. And someone working inside of those facilities would also find it easier to cheat the system and steal the controlled medications that they want. It means that the because of the easier access to all kinds of drugs within a hospital, people working there are more likely to steal those drugs and become addicted to them.
More knowledge about medications
Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other professionals who work in the medical field are more likely to abuse medications because they know more about each kind of medication’s effects. They may know how much of a dosage to take, and what kind of medications to take to achieve certain effects. It means that they are way more likely to know exactly which kinds of substances to use to achieve a state of euphoria or relaxation. This knowledge could be a motivating factor for why they would use drugs in the first place.
These are just some of the reasons why medical professionals could be more likely to become addicted to drugs. There could also be some other specific reasons, which are particular to one person. These other factors could be mental illness, socioeconomic status, genetics, and many other things. So there is no one clear reason why someone would become more likely to get addicted. However, it is clear that if someone is addicted to drugs, then they have to get help. It is because not only is addiction very dangerous to the individual, but it could also be dangerous to the patients of the medical professionals as well.
What are the dangers of drug addiction?
Drugs do not have the same effect on everyone. People might have a bad reaction for several reasons. After taking drugs, instead of feeling calm and relaxed, you may feel anxious, depressed, paranoid, and even nauseous.
The drug may interact badly with another medication, such as:
Prescription or over-the-counter medications, alcohol, or any other illegal drug. Any unwanted reaction may cause huge problems in the addict’s body, such as seizures and other complications.
It is also possible to overdose, which can lead to death. A lot of drug users, especially long-term users or drugs will need to use more and more of it, to achieve a high. And when they use too much of the drug, they can overdose. And this is the leading cause of death for almost all kinds of addicts.
Even if none of this happens, it is impossible to know the dangers of the next use of the drug. It is because the drug itself could be contaminated, or the drug apparatus is dirty, which can lead to disease.
What are some common addictive medications?
Narcotics – Morphine, Methadone, and fentanyl are all a class of drugs called opioids. These kinds of substances can be highly addictive. It is because when a user tries them out, they can create feelings of happiness, and cause a person to be in a dream-like state. Narcotic drugs are especially common in hospitals because they are strong medications used to deal with pain.
Alcohol – Alcohol is a depressant drug, which means that it relaxes the body. It is not that highly addictive, but drinking too much can cause severe physical and social problems. Doctors and other people working in the medical industry are found to have an above average number of people who are alcoholics.
Benzodiazepines – Alprazolam and similar medications, these are called benzos for short. They can make a body feel more relaxed, and they are very highly addictive prescription medications.
Signs of drug addiction in medication professionals
There are certain signs to look for when checking a medical professional. Signs of addiction are pretty common in almost every kind of addict, so it would make sense that addiction symptoms would also be common amongst drug-addicted nurses, doctors, etc. It is important to consider all of these symptoms in conjunction with one another to ensure that an accurate confirmation of addiction is present. The only true confirmation of whether or not someone is addicted is to check through a drug test. Otherwise, you can use these signs as a way to make a more accurate guess as to whether or not someone is addicted to any substance.
Anxiety about work
A medical professional who displays too much anxiety about working extra shifts may have some addiction. It is because the drugs that they are taking could be changing their energy levels. It is very common in people who are taking relaxant, depressant or barbiturate drugs.
Shifting jobs frequently
Someone is addicted to drugs may lack the concentration to focus on one task. So a medical professional who displays any sign of addiction may shift jobs frequently. It means that they will try to keep on volunteering for other kinds of work in the clinic or hospital, despite not completing the previous task that they set out to do.
Absentmindedness during work
If a doctor or any other medical professional is frequently absent-minded during clinical hours, and making a lot of mistakes, then it could be because they are under the influence of some drug. If you suspect that a person is abusing a specific kind of substance, pay close attention to how they work. And see if they are not making their patient rounds carefully.
Night shift preference
A medical professional may prefer to work night shifts in the hospital or clinic. It is because those are the times of the day wherein there is less supervision in the hospital. It gives them an opportunity to steal certain drugs because there are more time and chances at night to get the controlled substances in the hospital.
Glassy appearance in eyes
One physical sign of addiction in any person is a glassy appearance in the eyes. Their eyes could look more vacant, and it appears like it is empty or unfocused. Closer examination of the eye of an addict will also reveal bloodshot veins.
Errors in charting
Frequent errors in paperwork can be a sure sign that a doctor or medical professional is addicted to drugs. It is because paperwork or charting is an incredibly repetitive and dull task, which a person, while under the influence of drugs, may find difficult to do. A person under the influence of any substance is bound to make more errors when charting patient data. And this is also true for doctors who do a lot of paperwork. If there are more errors in the paperwork that they file, especially more errors than previously seen, then it may be a sign that they have been abusing certain kinds of substances.
Preference for administering narcotics
Some nurses, who are addicted to drugs, may suddenly volunteer more often in the administering of narcotic or pain medication to the patients. It is because it gives them an opportunity to try out the drugs themselves, with no one being the wiser. They may try to steal some of the narcotic drugs, and other kinds of substances because they always want to get high with that illicit substance.
Smell of alcohol
A very common sign of alcoholism in doctors or nurses is the smell of liquor. The smell of alcohol is pretty strong, so it is pretty hard to hide underneath perfume, mouthwash or even breath mints. So if a medical professional is drinking too much, especially during the day, then they could smell heavily of alcohol.
These are just some of the signs to look for in doctors, nurses or any other medical professional. Someone may have difficulties with drug addiction, and this is what should be checked. These are very common symptoms that even some non-medical professional addicts would also display. If you suspect that someone is addicted to drugs, then you must do something about it.
Is there a place for drug addicts to recover?
Addiction treatment, support and prevention centers, these are also commonly known as drug rehab facilities. These facilities provide an opportunity to take stock of the difficulties encountered by a medical professional and offer support for stopping, moderate to severe drug use or substitution treatment, which is applicable for Opioid addicts. The recovering addict can choose the support that suits them best. In particular, they may opt for outpatient treatment; this means without hospitalization, or hospital or clinical treatment while being. Inpatient treatment, or checking into a rehab center can be ideal for recovery. It is because support is provided throughout the detoxification, including addiction recovery, and beyond. Indeed, the addict after the detoxification process can go through further support in the form of drug and substance abuse therapy, and other kinds of similar programs, such as workshops, with the drug treatment center.
Rehab is the place for an addict
Drug rehabilitation facilities provide the ideal sort of environment for any recovering addict. It is because, within the walls of an addiction treatment center, an addict can gain the tools that they will need to beat back their addiction. Drug addiction and alcoholism are diseases that are treatable, and no one knows this better than a medical professional. However, to get addiction treated properly, the addict needs to be recovering in an ideal place. And rehab is just like a hospital stay for a recovering addict. It is because, within drug rehab, they would get the mental and physical healing that their bodies desperately need.