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Why Dentists Are At High Risk Of Addiction

Karen Vertigan Pope

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There are several factors associated with the practice of dentistry that can lead to substance abuse. Dentists:

  • Are most often in a single-practice setting
  • Feel isolated in their practice
  • Are usually the owners of the practice
  • Have very little supervision from colleagues
  • Have perceived demands by patients for perfection, empathy and availability

Also, if employees suspect drug abuse, they may be very reluctant to approach the boss about it the problem. Employees may justify their silence by saying their boss works really hard and they deserve some concessions. They may feel the dentist is a good person and they don't need to be hassled by interfering employees.

The percentage of dentists who are addicted to alcohol is the same as in the general population - about 14 percent. It is the same for drug addiction - about 7 percent. Dentists are human beings first and dentists second. Addiction is a human disease.

Dentists tend to become addicts for a number of reasons. Dentists:

  • Are dissatisfied with their career choice
  • Struggle with the fear of causing pain
  • Have low professional esteem
  • Have obsessive-compulsive and perfectionist behavior
  • Have a need to be in control while feeling out of control
  • Frequently have difficulty in interpersonal relationships, especially if they fear rejection

The reasons a dentist becomes a drug or alcohol abuser are many. Fortunately, addictive disease is a treatable disorder. The outcomes with health care professionals including dentists are particularly good. Resources for assistance include:

  • Dentist well-being programs
  • Peer support networks
  • Specialized treatment programs

These measures are used as alternatives to discipline agreements with licensing boards.

Dealing with addiction is a difficult process for many. Not only are there psychological factors and the physical addition, there is the social stigma attached to drug addiction or alcohol abuse. There is a persistent idea that use of drugs or alcohol is a failure of will and a lack of moral character. However, education on the subject by everyone will change attitudes and dentists, as well as others, will learn to teat themselves and others with compassion and accountability, saving practices and lives from ruin. Give the folks at The Williamsburg Place and the Farley Center a call at (877) 389-4968 to learn how you can get the help you desperately need if you are a dentist with an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Karen Vertigan Pope writes for Ciniva Systems, an award winning Virginia web design company. Ciniva specializes in web design and SEO. Ms. Vertigan Pope is an SEO Specialist with Ciniva. Ciniva Systems is in charge of SEO for the Farley Center and Willimasburg Place .


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