The world of health care can be extremely stressful and intense. Many are able to cope with this, while some simply cannot. These particular doctors and nurses have been known to turn to substances in order to deal with the affects of their jobs and I’m not talking about a drink after work.
Though alcohol is the most commonly abused substance among health care professionals, amphetamines, opiates, sedatives, tranquilizers and even inhalants are being used as well. These drugs are not only used to relieve occasional stress, but are used on a daily basis, as many doctors and nurses have become addicted to them. This may be disturbing to hear because the lives of patients lie in the hands of these doctors and nurses.
Obviously, if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on the clock, they are doing a less than optimum job taking care and making decisions for their patients. Many even steal medications that are supposed to be administered to patients, often using saline in their place or by cutting back the dosage.
A Vicious Cycle
Though those struggling with addiction would like to get help, many are too ashamed to come out and ask for it. This is because doctors and nurses are held up to higher standards because of their professions. When it comes to knowing the dangers of addiction, they have no excuse and should know better.
Could they ever be trusted and taken seriously again? Thus, the vicious cycle continues: They don’t want anyone to know, so they try to handle their addiction themselves or worse, they don’t even believe they have a problem. They’re professionals; they know what they’re doing, right? So, the addiction not only continues, it becomes worse.
The Warning Signs
Though it may be difficult to know whether or not your doctor or nurse is abusing drugs, there are several red flags that may give them away. For example, any odd or unusual behaviors should be noted, such as slurred speech, tremors and un-called for laughter, agitation, anger and defensiveness. Unusually long breaks or strange working hours should be noted as suspicious as well. These behaviors along with the persistence of using breath mints or gums to cover up the smell of drugs or alcohol are also a telltale sign.
It is also common that the patients of these addicted doctors and nurses often complain of being in a lot of pain, even after they have been given medication. If you notice any patterns in this, inform someone right away. Co-workers are probably the ones who take notice to these types of behaviors, but are too afraid to say anything in fear of jeopardizing their jobs. Without out concrete evidence, it may be hard to convince people that the doctor everyone admires is abusing drugs. The best way around this problem is to require random drug testing for hospital staff. Unfortunately, this is not a regulation that is commonly applied as of yet. So, what can you do?
As a patient, pay close attention and ask lots of questions.
If you notice that someone is abusing drugs report it to the right person. If you have a family member or loved one in the medical profession who is abusing drugs get them immediate help.
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