Nurses and physicians are at a much higher risk for developing a substance use disorder (SUD) than the general population due to the life-or-death nature of their jobs, the intense pressure, and the demanding schedules. There is also a delay in identifying addiction among healthcare providers, meaning their SUD is often further advanced and of greater longevity than others seeking recovery treatment. Addiction treatment for healthcare professionals involves numerous unique aspects.
Why Is Addiction Treatment for Professionals Available?
Dependence on substances is relatively common among many in high-stakes professions where there is much public exposure, significant risks to self or others, or other intense stressors. They may use addictive substances like alcohol or sedatives to calm their cortisol and adrenaline-fueled nervous systems and manage stress. They may also rely on stimulants to stay awake and alert during critical job-related periods.
The use of drugs and alcohol as coping measures invariably backfires. Some of the fallout professionals experience due to substance abuse include:
- Damaged work and personal relationships
- Loss of professional licensure
- Malpractice, which can lead to legal troubles
- Performance issues
- Poor health
These consequences can escalate and leave once high-powered professionals without work or prospects. Before it gets to that state, addiction treatment can help professionals change the course they are on.
Our team provides uniquely designed, multidisciplinary treatment programs to professionals in high-stakes, safety-sensitive occupations, such as healthcare providers.
Addiction Treatment for Healthcare Professionals
Medical professionals are at greater risk for addiction due to a combination of factors, such as:
- Access to pharmaceuticals
- Constant exposure to trauma
- Intensely stressful jobs
- Long shifts or other factors that require them to stay awake for many hours
They are also more knowledgeable about medications, symptoms, and drug interactions than the general population. They are thus more able to create a drug regime for themselves that helps them cope with the intense stresses of their jobs without being caught. At least, not for a long time. Their ability to mask their drug or alcohol abuse often means that no one knows what’s going on until they are in crisis or make a mistake with a patient.
But there are signs to look out for that may indicate that a healthcare professional is struggling with addiction. For example:
- Changing from a day to a night shift
- Going missing for long periods while at work
- Incomplete charting
- Increasing absences from work
- Making mistakes that may or may not affect patient care or safety
- Personality changes such as irritation, mood swings, unexplained outbursts, or lethargy
- Poor communication with staff and patients
Addiction treatment for healthcare professionals is the best way to help this population safely return to providing top-notch medical care to their patients.
Learn More About Healthcare Professionals’ Addiction Treatment at CeDAR
It is vital to offer addiction treatment specifically to healthcare professionals as most states require a higher level of intervention for this group due to the consequences of substance abuse to their patients. In addiction treatment for healthcare professionals, treatment is intensive, and therapy can focus on factors uniquely pertinent to this group, such as medical licensing, professional reputation, patient-provider trust, and more.
While we recognize that relapse rates are higher among health professionals, they also exhibit a high success rate in recovery over time. At CeDAR, we know that our work with healthcare professionals is meaningful and helps them redirect their lives toward a healthier, safer future. To learn more about our addiction treatment for professionals, how we design our healthcare professional addiction treatment, and the evidence-based therapies we offer at CeDAR, call us at 720.848.3000.