About nine percent of the U.S. workforce misuses or abuses drugs or alcohol and qualifies as having a substance use disorder. While work and meeting the demands of daily life can involve ongoing challenges, there are some jobs with high addiction rates. One recent study reveals that substance misuse is a particular issue among psychiatry interns.

Higher Risk For Substance Use Disorder Among Psychiatry Interns

A recent study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders reveals that psychiatry interns have lower vitality levels, higher rates of exposure to violence and increased risk of substance misuse behavior. The motives for misusing drugs or alcohol are often related to mental health issues, as psychiatry interns report engagement in self-medication and psychotherapy.

This particular study involved over 2,100 medical interns at 35 French university medical centers. Of those, 302 were in psychiatry, and the rest were in other specialties. Researchers collected data via online questionnaires related to drug and alcohol consumption, tobacco use, quality of life and motives for substance misuse.

The study found that psychiatric interns had higher rates of alcohol, cannabis and tobacco use disorders compared to interns in other specialties. Interns in psychiatry had a greater chance of consuming antidepressant and anxiolytic drugs and seeking counseling by a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Psychiatry interns also reported higher rates of psychostimulant experiences than interns in other programs. These include the use of LSD, ecstasy, amphetamines and mushrooms. In addition to the traditional reason to pursue these experiences (novelty or pleasure seeking), interns in psychiatry commonly reported seeking sedation, disinhibition, stimulation and dealing with feelings of anxiety through substance misuse.

How Common Is Addiction in the Medical Profession?

Many patients are surprised to learn that there are a growing number of addicted medical professionals, but this has been a longstanding problem in the healthcare industry. Roughly 10 percent of healthcare professionals misuse drugs or alcohol. Few, however, are doing so for sake of recreation.

The most common reason for prescription drug misuse among physicians is to deal with physical pain, stressful situations or emotional distress. The thing that separates healthcare professionals from everyone else seems to be access. Particularly in the case of prescription drugs, a physician, nurse or other health care provider can often get access to these drugs easier than someone else, making developing a substance use disorder more likely.

Nurses station in a hospital

Addicted medical professionals can seek qualified drug and alcohol addiction treatment.

Get Help Now for a Substance Use Disorder

If you work in the healthcare field and are unable to control your drug or alcohol use, there is specialized addiction treatment help available. The Recovery Village offers programs that cater to addicted professionals and will customize your care according to your needs and circumstances.

You may need to begin with a supervised detox, followed by either inpatient or outpatient care. There are also co-occurring disorders treatment, family therapy and aftercare services to give you the best chance at success in your new life in recovery.

Contact us now to learn more about admissions options to our addiction treatment programs for professionals.

Psychiatry Interns at Increased Risk for Substance Misuse, Study Finds
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