Medical Students Addiction Treatment (And Recovery)
It might be uncommon knowledge that medical students are susceptible to drug use while attending school. Substance abuse among healthcare professionals has been on the rise purely because stimulants are an appealing way to increase productivity. A survey conducted by Medscape found that nearly 15 percent of medical students use stimulant drugs to perform better in their schooling. They also found that 20 percent of medical students have used stimulants over their lifetime. Nearly 52 percent of the students who reported that they had used stimulant drugs said they didn’t have a prescription for them. Two of the most common drugs used by medical students include methylphenidate and amphetamine salts. What is the draw of drug use by medical students and medical professionals?
If you are struggling with drug use, please call us at 614-502-6247 today. You don’t need to go through treatment alone. When you call, you will get connected to a treatment center to overcome drug addiction. Having the right treatment is essential to recover appropriately. There is no reason that you have to continue to rely on substance use as a medical student.
The Cause of Substance Abuse by Medical Students
Substance abuse among healthcare professionals has increased in recent decades. There has been an increase in student debt and overall pressure on those getting involved in the field. Unfortunately, the pressure on students to perform well has led them to use different substances to function at a higher level. Surveys of medical students who do use substances are also reporting they have high levels of depression and anxiety playing a role in their usage. Studies by the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) found that another reason for substance abuse in the medical field comes from the negative mistreatment students endure from training them. This creates a burnout, which leads to drug use to cope with the mistreatment.
Due to the pressures now present in the medical field, schools are now trying to reduce substance abuse. The beginning of this change has begun with the grading system. Some medical schools are no longer using an A, B, C, D, F system but have changed to a basic pass/fail. More studies conducted by the NLM found that medical students consistently have worse quality of life than the general public because of the intensity of keeping up with the changing medical industry. Not every student will undergo mistreatment from medical professionals, but those who do cover up that treatment using substances. Research has shown that some of the common drugs used by medical students include stimulants, opioids, tranquilizers, alcohol, and illegal drugs.
Understanding the Substances
Medical students may experiment with different drugs because of the stress faced during school. However, there is also a past factor involved. Some students may have a history of using substances they picked up before college or during their undergrad years. It is possible to overcome addiction in the healthcare field, but it’s important to remember it will take time. It’s also important to know what kind of impact medical students should expect if they continue using substances to reduce school stress.
The association of stress and addiction in medical school is becoming closely relates. In fact, the drugs that many students are misusing are frequently medications they can use to treat their patients with after graduation.
Types of Substances
Stimulants, opioids, tranquilizers, alcohol, and illegal drugs are primary substances abused among healthcare professionals and students.
- Stimulants – Stimulants are one of the most popular kinds of drugs used by medical students and professionals because of boosting performance. There is a temporary boost in energy and the ability to stay focused. The NLM found that Ritalin is by far one of the most popular stimulants among medical students due to its easy accessibility.
- Opioids – These prescription drugs affect the brain and make it so the user has a lower level of pain and stress. Opioids are becoming more popular because of their ease of access through prescriptions.
- Tranquilizers – Tranquilizers are another common drug that medical students misuse because it is a common prescription. Tranquilizers are a nervous system depressant that is for anxiety and depression. Due to the stress that medical school creates, tranquilizers are to help decrease the feeling of anxiety.
- Alcohol – Medical students often use a well-known depressant, alcohol. Alcohol abuse has become popular for coping with stress because of the way it interacts with the brain. Many students like to use alcohol because it is easy and cheap to buy but also suppresses stress and anxiety.
- Illegal Drugs – More medical students and healthcare professionals have become addicted to illegal drugs like cocaine and marijuana. Cannabis products have become more common and easier to obtain than ever before. Illegal drugs like cocaine are common on test days because they are a stimulant and allow for bursts of energy. Cannabis, on the other hand, is a depressant that is for limiting stress, anxiety, and depression.
Need further assistance with understanding these substances? Contact our professionals today. We can assist you in getting the help that you need.
Substance Addiction’s Impact on Medical Students
Medical students approaching graduation face other challenges than just finding work. They also have the challenge of dealing with substance abuse in their professional career. According to NLM, it’s common that professional healthcare workers still have problems with substance abuse. Entering the professional field will only make life more stressful. Working a new job and dealing with school debts make it so that healthcare professionals and drug abuse are commonly combined.
The rate of medical students using addictive substances will impact their work ethic and hurt their ability to treat patients. Healthcare professionals can go through withdrawals, hangovers, and other side effects of addiction, impacting their ability to provide proper care. If a healthcare worker doesn’t recover from their medical school addictions, it’s common they will handle prescriptions wrong. The NLM found that physicians who are still addicted to drugs while working are likely to overprescribe medications to their patients.
As medical students enter the workforce, they are likely to remain addicted to whatever substance they’re addicted to. Many physicians abuse their access to prescriptions, making treatment harder to reach. The credibility of a physician is also at risk if someone cannot give up. If a professional’s coworkers know about their problem, it can ruin their career. If their environment doesn’t care about addiction, professionals will not get help. There are ways for medical professionals to handle coping with stress without turning to drugs. Treatment options like detoxification, inpatient treatment, and outpatient treatment extist to help medical professionals with substance abuse disorders.
Types of Treatment to Consider
Medical students and professionals need to seek treatment. If you are a student wanting to overcome addiction, knowing what is available is essential. Three common treatment forms that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) emphasize are detoxification, inpatient treatment, and outpatient treatment. Considering treatment shouldn’t feel embarrassing. It will make your future work more successful.
- Detoxification – Detox is the process of putting the body through a controlled withdrawal. The OPM suggests this procedure be done at a medical location to ensure the treatment is successful. The organization says this can last anywhere from two to seven days.
- Inpatient Treatment – This form of treatment is more traditional. It has the patient attend a formal in-person program. This form of treatment is good for learning about addiction and its kind of damage to the body and mind. There are also support groups and counseling that help keep the patient accountable. Timelines for this form of treatment depend on the person but can range from two to six weeks.
- Outpatient Treatment – This form of treatment is more casual than inpatient treatment. Counseling and support groups tend to be in a doctor’s office rather than a dedicated rehabilitation center. Outpatient treatment can be both primary and secondary treatment depending on the severity of the addiction. More often than not, outpatient treatment is a follow-up treatment for inpatient. This format is best to keep a patient accountable during recovery.
Treatment will vary from person to person. It should be personalized to your needs and teach you everything you want to begin and finish recovery. Do you need help deciding what treatment option is best for you and your needs? Then call us today. Our specialists can help you figure out the best road to recovery.
Going to medical school is a considerable achievement. It takes hard work and determination to make it to this point but becoming overwhelmed and stressed is extremely easy. Stress and addiction are too commonly associated and will not make your school life any better. Using substances will create an illusion of stress-free work. By opening the door to drug and alcohol misuse, future career success will be harder to maintain. Addiction will follow you through your professional life until appropriately treated.
Knowing which drugs to avoid will make medical school less likely to be a place of addiction. Also, knowing the reasons that can cause you or fellow students to use addictive substances can reduce the chances of using them.
Not everyone knows that substance abuse among healthcare professionals occurs. However, it is a real challenge that medical students can face. If you, a loved one, or a fellow student are already using addictive substances and want to break the habit, call us at (614) 502-6247 today. As a medical student or professional, you know the importance of support during recovery. Please don’t do it alone and begin the path to recovery today.
Written by Tristan Kutzer
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