The Showtime series “Nurse Jackie” addresses the life and struggles of an emergency department nurse in recovery from prescription drug addiction. However, real life often imitates art and the story-line behind the series is a common occurrence in the medical profession. Substance abuse is more widespread among doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals than most people care to think. In fact, statistics suggest that 1 in 10 medical professionals have drug and/or alcohol addiction. Easy access to medications and the ability to hide their problem make this an issue of great concern to everyone.
There are a number of reasons why healthcare professionals may turn to substance abuse. One of the foremost reasons is the schedules they keep. Most nurses work twelve hour shifts, which by the time they finish charting can be fourteen to fifteen hour work days or nights. Independent studies reveal that nurses are more likely to abuse prescription drugs as opposed to marijuana or other illicit drugs such as cocaine. One of the reasons for this is the easy access they have to medications at work.
Stressful Work Conditions
Healthcare professionals also listed the amount of stress in their jobs as reasons for their substance abuse. Those professionals working in high risk or critical care units such as operating or emergency rooms or intensive care units were more likely to have drug addictions than those working on general care floors of hospitals or in doctors’ offices.
Another contributing factor that may lead to substance abuse by healthcare professionals is injuries. As is the case with non-medical professionals, they do not stop taking the medication when there is no longer a need for it. Again, the easy drug access for medical professionals make continuing the abuse opportunistic.
Self-Medicating with Alcohol
In addition to drug abuse to help them deal with their jobs, many medical professionals self-medicate with alcohol to help them unwind at the end of the day. Like with anyone else, the combination of alcohol and drugs make for a dangerous recipe that can be deadly.
There is a dark side to prescriptions drug abuse and addiction among healthcare professionals which includes forging prescriptions, altering patient medications for their own use and theft from their pharmacies.
Reluctance to Get Help
As they try to conceal their addiction, most medical professionals will not seek assistance for their substance abuse for fear of reprimand or losing their license to practice. The same may be said of their co-workers who notice that something is not right, but they do not want to get their friend or colleague in trouble. Admitting that there is a problem takes courage. But entering a medical detox or rehab facility to overcome their abuse or addiction is the safest thing they can do for the sake of their health and their patient’s health. If you or someone you know are struggling with a drug addiction and are in need of detox, Gallus Detox Centers can help. Gallus Detox Centers specializes in IV therapy medical detox, a safer and more effective method for detox from drugs and will provide you with a customized plan to meet your individual needs. Call Gallus Medical Detox Centers today at 855-338-6929, to see if our treatment program is right for you.