While doctors are not any more likely to suffer from addiction than the general population, new research suggests, however, that they may be prone to misuse prescription medication at a higher rate. According to a study published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, physicians with addiction issues use their position to gain access to narcotics. The study also found that doctors seem to be using these drugs not to get high, but to deal with stress and emotional pain.
A research team from the University of Florida interviewed a group of 55 doctors who were already facing disciplinary action from their state's medical boards because of previous substance abuse issues. Of those surveyed, 69 percent said that they exclusively misused prescription medications – mostly narcotic painkillers. When asked why they used the substances, most of the doctors said that they were "self-medicating" for physical pain, depression and anxiety.
The University of Florida investigators say that because of their education and knowledge, some doctors may think that they don't need to seek help for their issues.
"The primary message is that we need to do a better job educating doctors about the dangers of self-medicating and self-prescribing," said Dr. Lisa Merlo, the study's lead investigator in a press release. "Medical students get minimal training in addiction, which is pretty ridiculous."
There isn't a typical drug or alcohol abuser. If someone you love is dealing with addiction, contact Intervention Services today to learn what an experienced interventionist can do for you and your family.