They’re the unsung heroes of the medical field, and they seldom get the credit they deserve.
Veterinarians, however, are no less prone to substance abuse than their professional counterparts. They face a unique set of challenges and problems, from compassion fatigue to the devastation of having to euthanize animals that, in many cases, are extensions of a family, and they bear that burden on a daily basis. Far too often, they turn to drugs and alcohol to anesthetize that pain, but what starts out as a balm for emotional wounds can quickly become a problem that affects all areas of their lives.
How prevalent is the problem of substance abuse and addiction in veterinarians? Five years ago, the American Animal Hospital Association conducted a survey about addiction in the veterinary field, and the results showed that more than half of AAHA members surveyed had worked with a veterinary professional who had a substance abuse problem. Of that number, 66 percent said that coworker used drugs or alcohol on the job. Of all respondents polled, 81 percent said their practice did not offer any sort of counseling or intervention services for substance abuse issues.
There are a couple of reasons for those numbers: One, veterinarians often have access to a wide range of controlled substances on hand, so it’s easier to access drugs than it is for the general public. Two, the stress of the job is such that it takes an enormous toll on those in the profession: A 2014 study by a Center for Disease Control researcher revealed that nearly one in 10 vets in this country may suffer from serious psychological distress, and more than one in six may have thought about suicide since graduating from vet school.
It’s a profession that can consume an individual, because they’re not just caring for animals; they’re caring for the owners of those animals as well. Every practicing vet can recount one story after another of having to euthanize a pet while the owner falls to pieces beside the animal, and it’s impossible for an empathetic human being to witness such a powerful display of emotion without being affected by it. Combine that with the family nature of small veterinary practices, and the problem can persist until financial and legal ramifications lead to ruined reputations and lost careers.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. At Cornerstone of Recovery, our Professionals Program treats veterinarians with a level of care unique to the substance abuse treatment industry. In addition to the standard drug rehab regimen – slow and safe medical detox from drugs and alcohol and entry into a treatment program with individuals from across the professional and personal spectrum – those who take part in our Professionals Program receive an added layer of therapy that allows medical professionals whose jobs give them a certain amount of prestige to separate themselves from their careers. You’re a human being first and foremost, and you’re a sick. At Cornerstone, we want to help you understand that it’s OK to be sick, as long as you’re ready to do what’s necessary to get well.
That’s where our Professionals Program comes in. We help you reprioritize your life, putting your mental, emotional and physical health first, because only as a stable individual can you be the best veterinarian you can be. With therapeutic tools like mirror imaging, peer support and three group meetings a week with other professionals in the medical field, you’ll learn to address the issues that predate and accompany your addiction. You’ll build a foundation for long-lasting recovery once you return to your lives and your career. And you’ll go forward with a healthy balance of mind, body and spirit that allows you to give care while caring for yourself.
Call Cornerstone today and find out more information about our Professionals addiction treatment program. It may change your life in ways better than you can possibly imagine while you’re in the trenches of your addiction.
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4726 Airport Hwy
Louisville , TN 37777