What Puts Anesthesiologists At Risk For Addiction?

Anesthesiologists Risk For Addiction-www.physicianhealthprogram.comWhat surprises and worries many people is that their doctors, the very people they trust for their well-being, are at a high risk for substance abuse and addiction. The problem is at its worst in anesthesiologists, those physicians responsible for putting patients under for surgery.

Doctors with the highest addiction rate are anesthesiologists, but why? What makes doctors vulnerable to substance abuse and why are anesthesiologists at greatest risk?

Drug Abuse In Health Care Professionals

There are a number of reasons cited by researchers for why doctors and nurses have higher rates of substance abuse and addiction than the general population. For doctors, the problem begins in medical school. The years of study are stressful and intense. It is easy for these students to learn to relax by abusing substances. For many it never goes past drinking to relax on a day or night off, but for others this style of winding down can easily escalate.

By the time a person becomes a working doctor, much of the stress and intensity first experienced in medical school has failed to subside. Many work long and tedious hours with little time to take a break for sleep or any kind of down time at all. A lot of doctors also work with a huge amount of student debt to pay off, which adds to the stress of working.

Doctors with drug habits are also abusing substances in response to the life-and-death decisions they make every day. Doctors carry a great burden of responsibility. One wrong choice, no matter how small it may seem, can mean a patient dies. Living with that kind of stress is challenging, and it is not unusual for doctors to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.

Anesthesiologists bear a significant portion of that life-and-death burden. They are responsible for making sure patients are adequately sedated without being over-sedated. It is a fine balance and one that can lead to the death of a patient if not achieved.

Anesthesiologists And The Problem Of Access To Drugs

In addition to the stress and being overworked and the fateful decisions required every day, doctors have access to drugs that the rest of us do not. Doctors are not allowed to write their own prescriptions, but they have drug samples and stores on hand in most cases. Access to drugs is especially easy in a hospital setting, which helps to answer the question as to why anesthesiologists are most vulnerable to drug addiction.

Not only do anesthesiologists bear the burden of protecting patients during surgery, but they have the greatest access to the kinds of drugs that are susceptible to abuse. The sedatives that these doctors use on patients are the drugs that can get them high and help them forget about the stress of work.

The anesthesiologist drug addiction problem is related to both stress and access and it is a problem that needs a solution. With physician health programs in nearly every state, these addicted doctors have a solution. They have a place to go to get better with the hope of being able to work again.

Read More About Addicted Health Care Professionals

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