Understanding Chemical Dependency/Abuse
Chemical dependency, like all addictions, is a chronic, progressive illness that can be treated effectively. As with all chronic illnesses, the earlier the identification, the better the prognosis.
Chemical dependency can be simply defined as the continued use of alcohol, prescription drugs, street drugs, or other mood-altering substances even after negative consequences have been experienced. Negative consequences can be in the form of work-related problems, damaged relationships, legal charges, break down of physical and/or mental health, and many others.
Approximately one out of every 10 health professionals has or will develop serious problems with some form of substance abuse or addiction at some point in their professional career.
Health professionals face a higher risk of addiction/dependency due to their knowledge of medicines, dosages, and effects, the stress of the job, the tendency to self-diagnose and self-prescribe, and the constant focus on other peoples' needs instead of their own.