Alcoholism & Drug Addiction Treatment Program For Doctors and Physicians
They’re some of the most respected individuals in society, and yet doctors often hear the old adage, “Physician, heal thyself.”
The disease of addiction, however, doesn’t have an easy cure. There’s no prescription that can be written, no diet change that can be implemented, no exercise course that can be started that will, on their own, “cure” a physician who’s struggling to hold it together externally but falling deeper into a pit of despair on the inside.
That’s where the Professionals Program at Cornerstone of Recovery can make a difference. Over the course of almost three decades, Cornerstone has earned a reputation as one of the best substance abuse treatment centers in the nation. Our Professionals Program caters to a range of workers in the medical field who have several things in common: easier access to prescription medication than the general population; demanding workloads that often mean long hours; a high degree of stress caused by treatment of individuals whose attitudes and behaviors are made worse by illness; and compassion fatigue caused by giving of themselves to others day in and day out.
Such stressors can take a deadly toll: Rates of addiction among the general population are estimated to be between 8 and 10 percent, but for physicians, the rate starts at 10 percent and may reach as high as 15 percent. And it’s not a new problem, either: In the late 1800s, Dr. William Stewart Halsted, credited as one of the pioneers of American medicine and surgery, was addicted to both morphine and cocaine. But because of the prestige the title of M.D. holds among peers and society in general, the problem is often not reported until it’s too late: A 2010 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that although 17 percent of the almost 1,900 physicians who responded personally knew of an impaired physician, only 67 percent of them reported that individual to the proper authorities.
The good news is that addiction treatment programs for physicians are often more effective than they are for the general population: A 2009 study by The Mayo Clinic revealed that physicians in recovery remain abstinent at a rate of 74 to 90 percent, and while some of that may be due to a determined effort to return to a rewarding career, we at Cornerstone believe that treatment in our Professionals Program provides something more.
At the heart of traditional 12 Step recovery is the idea that addiction isn’t about the alcohol and the drugs; it’s about the reasons individuals want to use those substances in the first place. Sometimes it’s to enhance pleasure, other times it’s to numb pain – both physical and emotional – but all of the time, it eventually stops doing either one and starts to slowly destroy lives, reputations and careers. Our goal at Cornerstone of Recovery is to stop that slide toward the abyss and return physicians to their families and communities as individuals who understand that self-care is as important as patient care.
As part of the Professionals Program, we’ll medically detox you, safely and slowly, from drugs and alcohol, and you’ll then be introduced into a community of peers from all walks of life. For the first time, you’ll be able to let down your guard and relax, allowing yourself to be the one who accepts care rather than giving it. We’ll help you unravel your identity from your career and find a place in your list of priorities for both, while at the same time addressing unique challenges you face as an addicted doctor. In addition to therapeutic processes designed to meet the needs of the entire treatment community, you’ll attend several Professionals Program groups every week, and in addition to local 12 Step meetings, you’ll be transported to Caduceus support groups designed specifically for impaired physicians. In addition, after treatment you’ll be enrolled in a specific Professionals aftercare group populated by individuals such as yourself who have returned to the field, and we offer both Professionals relapse prevention groups for you and family therapy groups for your loved ones.
Needless to say, our approach to treating addicted physicians is as comprehensive as the medical solutions you prescribe for your patients. Call today and ask to speak to Dr. Janet Hicks, Director of the Professionals Program, to determine if the Professionals Program at Cornerstone of Recovery is right for you – because you don’t have to heal yourself, by yourself. Let us help you do that.
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