Help is Available for Doctors Suffering From Substance Use Disorder

We hear about the consequences of substance use and abuse frequently. From news reports, television shows, podcasts, and anecdotal stories, the prevalence of substance use and abuse is difficult to avoid. Unfortunately, substance use can develop into something debilitating: Substance Use Disorder. 

Substance Use Disorder, or SUD, is actually a neuropsychiatric disorder defined by the American Psychiatric Association as the recurrent use of a drug or alcohol that causes significant functional impairment, including the inability to fulfill responsibilities at work. For physicians this is extremely dangerous as impairments at work can affect patient safety and medical outcomes, possibly even resulting in patient death. It simply becomes unsafe and unethical to continue practicing medicine when suffering from SUD.

If you are unable to continue your medical career due to SUD, there is help out there for you. SUD is a real disorder and you can receive medical treatment and help to overcome this disorder and improve your quality of life and health. The American Medical Association is making improvements and changes to licensing and policies to encourage doctors to seek help and support when it comes to substance use, substance abuse, and addiction. The intent here is to remove the stigma associated with seeking help for medical conditions, especially psychiatric and psychological impairments so that doctors can receive the treatment they need without judgment.

Being out of work places a financial burden on doctors unable to practice medicine due to a disabling condition. Disability insurance benefits can bridge the financial gap left by being unable to work in the medical field due to Substance Use Disorder. Disability insurance benefits are a financial planning tool that will replace lost income due to a disability preventing you from working. There are some complexities to the claims process, especially when the disabling condition is linked to substance use or mental conditions, so it is best to work with an experienced disability insurance lawyer to protect your financial interests. Seltzer & Associates has decades of experience representing clients nationwide as they pursue the disability insurance benefits they are owed. We also have vast experience working with insurance companies and third-party administrators to achieve results for oil clients. Do not hesitate to seek help for Substance Use Disorder. You do not have to travel this road alone. Contact an experienced long-term disability lawyer to discuss your disability insurance benefits for Substance Use Disorder.

Understanding How Substance Use Disorder Affects Medical Careers

Substance Use Disorder has a significant impact on the ability of doctors and physicians to continue practicing medicine. This impairment can prevent physicians from making accurate observations when examining patients and ultimately result in misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis. Impairment can lead to mistakes in reports and paperwork that could cause improper treatment or medication to be administered.  

Doctors Face Additional Risk of Substance Use Disorder

The rate of SUD in physicians is 8-15%. This is due to a number of risk factors that are prevalent in the medical field:

  • Workplace stress
  • Suffering from depression
  • Suffering from anxiety 
  • Cumulative effects of working through the Covid pandemic 
  • Access to drugs such as psychoactive drugs, opiates, and benzodiazepines 
  • Misplaced confidence in self-medicating for other health concerns 

These risk factors may be more commonplace in certain practice areas such as emergency medicine or psychiatry. It is important for doctors to be aware of these risk factors for SUD experienced in their profession and be aware of the help and resources available to combat SUD and other substance use concerns.

Substance Use Help is Available in Your Community 

There is still a significant amount of stigma surrounding substance abuse and mental health which prevents physicians from seeking treatment, but efforts to change these attitudes are underway. For example, physician health programs allow physicians to seek support in a confidential manner. The American Medical Association is emphasizing the need for doctors and other medical and healthcare professionals to have access to substance use and mental health resources. Through the promotion of programs to help doctors address their own mental health and psychiatric concerns, acceptance of these disorders and a reduction in stigma for seeking treatment should rise. This is an ongoing effort and the hope is to make the medical profession safer for doctors and patients alike.

Many local communities also have resources for help with substance use concerns. Your local health department or community center may be able to provide guidance on available resources such as confidential support groups for you or loved ones or community hotlines should you need assistance. It may be daunting to take these initial steps, but your health and well-being are of the utmost importance. 

Your Disability Insurance Lawyer is Here to Help

In addition to seeking help for SUD via treatment and support programs, your disability insurance lawyer is here to help you during this difficult time. Just as the medical community is finally beginning to embrace positive support for those suffering from SUD, there is a lag in insurance companies and insurance policies recognizing SUD as the disabling condition it is and preventing doctors from practicing medicine. These obstacles in obtaining your disability insurance benefits do not need to be dealt with on your own. 

Seltzer & Associates is well versed in the challenges facing doctors and other medical professionals both in their careers and when disability takes them out of the workforce. We can explain the specific requirements and nuances of your career to the insurance adjusters evaluating your claim so that they understand how your SUD disability meets the requirements of your disability insurance policy. Your policy may include limitations or definitions that make it easy to deny or terminate your claim for disability insurance benefits. An experienced disability insurance attorney can navigate these pitfalls and appeal unfavorable decisions to secure your disability insurance benefits.

Discuss Your Disability Insurance Benefits Claim for Substance Use Disorder for Free

In the midst of addressing the concerns of Substance Use Disorder, do not neglect to claim your disability insurance benefits. You can schedule a free consultation to discuss your claim with a disability insurance lawyer at Seltzer & Associates by completing our online contact form or calling our office at 888-699-4222.