The number of medical professionals struggling with addiction is alarming. And so are their stories.
“I’ve lost my house, I’ve lost my bank account, my pension plan, I lost my business, I lost my license, I lost my wife,” said an addicted doctor quoted in an Olympia, Washington, newspaper in 2009. At that time it was estimated that 10 to 15 percent of doctors battle addiction during their careers.
A published study conducted by the University of Washington said that 13 to 15 percent of physicians receiving drug addiction treatment are anesthesiologists. Two potential reasons for this: ample opportunity and exposure to high potent opioids.
A study done by the American College of Surgeons showed that addicted doctors shared two characteristics: emotional exhaustion and loss of identity associated with burnout. Most doctors work in high pressure positions and with all the attention focused on patients, many lose their sense of self in their profession.
The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) reported that the incidence rate of chemical impairment among nurses ranges between 7 and 24 percent, with emergency nurses three times more likely to use drugs such as marijuana and cocaine. Many nurses may enter a drug monitoring program after drug addiction treatment.
By: Mark S. Gold, MD & Dr. Drew W. Edwards, EdD, MS 1. What Drives the Onset, Progression, and...
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