Professional Health Program
By Matthew Goldenberg, D.O., and Greg Skipper, M.D.
Doctors with substance use disorders need help finding their way back to health and to the safe practice of their profession. And how that help is given matters.
‘The challenge of being a professional [is that] you need to be the expert, you’re the go-to person, you’re the decision-maker and nobody wants their doctor to say, “Well, gee, let me call my AA sponsor and see if you have a heart condition or not.” They have to be right.’
Why do doctors, airline pilots, pharmacists, nurses, lawyers, clergy and other professionals need to be in an addiction program created just for them?
It has been suggested that about half of alcoholics can be described as high-functioning alcoholics. These are people who maintain careers, raise a family, and have plenty of friends – all the while drinking alcoholically. These people are very adept at disguising abusive drinking and because the outer trappings of their lives indicate success, they tend to have strong denial about the problem.