Some occupations have higher rates of addiction than others. Among the most vulnerable are lawyers, food service workers, manual laborers, and medical professionals. It’s strange to think medical professionals, including doctors, surgeons, EMT workers, and nurses, would be more likely to struggle with addiction. Many of them see first-hand the damage addiction can do to your life, and yet many of them still get caught. What makes people in the medical field so prone to addiction? First, the medical field can be incredibly stressful. Often too little staff are responsible for too many patients. On top of that, mistakes can be very costly, as lives often depend on attention to details and making the right decisions. The hierarchical organization of most hospitals compounds the stress the workers feel. Hospital staff are exposed to many difficult situations–severe injuries, terrible pain, and death. Sometimes you do everything right and a kid still dies of cancer. That’s tough to live with on a regular basis. Patients aren’t always grateful for their care and burnout rates are high among caregivers. People who work under these conditions often feel chronically stressed, often unable to relax or sleep. That can lead to excessive drinking or taking drugs to help them unwind or sleep. Second, hospital workers often have erratic sleep schedules. Swing shifts, night shifts, and hours that change regularly make it hard to consistently get quality sleep. Once you get used to one pattern, your schedule changes and you have to get used to something else. Poor sleep quality has a variety of negative consequences, including depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, poor decision making, lower willpower, and more frequent illnesses. Depression and anxiety in particular increase one’s risk of addiction. Taking sleep medications or drinking to try to deal with changing sleep cycles can also lead to dependence and addiction. Finally, hospital staff have easy access to drugs. The hospital is full of drugs and there are a variety of ways to get them. The more accessible the drugs are the more likely someone is to use them. Doctors and surgeons are also likely to fall into the overconfidence trap. Since they have had a lot of medical training and experience, they assume they will be able to handle their drug use better than others. They often believe their expertise will allow them to quit before drug use turns into addiction. Unfortunately, whether you become addicted has little to do with how much you know about medicine and overconfidence often leads to unwise risks. That same overconfidence can make it hard to get help for addiction. Healthcare professionals are often afraid to lose their jobs or reputations if they seek help for addiction. They may feel they can handle it on their own. Addiction doesn’t care how smart of competent you are. The sooner you get help, the better.
If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, we can help. Recovery Ways is a leading addiction treatment provider with an excellent recovery rate. Our expert staff includes masters and PhD level therapists and board certified addiction psychiatrists. Our comfortable facilities will help to make your treatment as enjoyable as possible and our therapists use proven techniques like sensory integration and recreation therapy to help to engage the world without the assistance of drugs or alcohol. Call us today at 1-888-986-7848 or email us through our contact page to learn more.