The Scary Causes of Professional Addiction

Addiction and drug abuse can impact the lives of people from all kinds of backgrounds, occupations, educations and environments. For some professionals, however, the risk of abusing drugs increases substantially based on their work environment and other factors. Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals fall into this category of increased risk.

But why? Here are a few common causes of professional addiction among those in the medical industry:

1. Job stress
Physicians, nurses, surgeons and other healthcare professionals often work long hours and spend most of their time standing or walking. In addition to this, caring for the sick and/or dying can be mentally and emotionally draining. All of this combines to increase risk of turning to drugs for temporary stress relief.

2. Work environment
“It has been estimated that 10 to 15 percent of all nurses in the United States are addicted to some type of illegal or controlled substance,” explained Art Zwerling, MS, MSN, CRNA, FAAN, a nurse anesthetist educator and member of the peer assistance program at the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.

While the risk of addiction is not limited to any one specialty, the specialties with the highest prevalence of substance abuse uses are ICU, ER, OR, and anesthesia. These environments can be extremely high-stress, even more so than other medical work settings.

3. Easy access to prescription drugs
Another reason medical professionals are so susceptible to drug abuse is because they have much easier access to prescription medications like painkillers, stimulants and other drugs. They come into contact with these types of drugs on a daily basis when administering them to patients. The temptation to use the medications, therefore, is much higher than other occupations.

4. Personalities
Nurses and other medical professionals are hailed as being selfless, caring individuals. They are constantly putting the needs of other people before their own. They may turn to drug abuse to hide their own personal needs so they can better tend to patients and those around them. Abusing drugs may be considered a temporary solution to their own personal needs. In a sense, drugs can become a “quick-fix.”

The above four reasons explain why medical professionals such as nurses, medical assistants, doctors, surgeons and others may have a higher risk of developing a drug addiction problem. And sometimes the cause can be a combination of factors, not just one.

If you or someone you love is a medical professional with an addiction problem, the first step towards improvement is seeking help. Talbott Recovery offers a professionals program for nurses, doctors and other occupations who may be dealing with drug abuse problems. Contact us today for more information about this program.

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