The medical profession is constantly evolving, burdening the new-age physicians with skyrocketing education loans, extreme competition of getting into a medical school and a desired internship, working inhumanely long hours, rigorous reporting, administrative workload and an ever-pervasive guilt of neglecting their personal lives. A physician is expected to be highly resilient, but when agonies refuse to go away, they can give rise to problems like depression, anxiety and even suicidal ideation. However, a physician is hardly encouraged to talk about his or her own mental struggles, therefore, to continue surviving in this highly demanding profession, he or she might turn to alcohol or any other substance.
One of the doctors who came out unapologetically about his recovery from depression and alcoholism is Dr. Adam B. Hill, a palliative care physician from Indianapolis, United States. Dr. Hill struggled with depression and alcoholism and when he could take it no longer, he charted out his own recovery route and successfully completed that journey. He shared a few groundbreaking insights through his self-enabled recovery, which have been discussed hereunder. These are priceless pieces of wisdom reinforcing the fact that mental illnesses and addictions can affect anyone, regardless of their profession or stature and that attaching a stigma to such pressing concerns acts as a serious impediment to recovery.
Developing and mastering an extreme self-care plan
A physician is first a human and then a medical professional. If a physician remembers this simple fact and takes pride in the fact that he or she is extremely dedicated towards self-care, the chance of recovery would be quite high. It is inevitable to develop a sincere understanding of what one wants, both personally as well as professionally, and once the priorities are set, one should stick to the boundaries they have set for preventing a relapse. One should indulge in meditation, yoga, self-counseling or mindfulness to live in the present moment completely.
The society is mercilessly unforgiving and indifferent to people struggling with a mental illness and an addiction and if the sufferer is a physician, then the shame and indifference could be unthinkably severe. In addition, people dependent on alcohol are stereotyped as abusers and skivers, however, one must be highly intolerant to such stereotypes. Dr. Hill shared that he was a regular at recovery meetings where he met people from all lifestyles.
It is highly ironical that medical institutions across the globe acknowledge that physicians are constantly facing a serious burnout and that their mental health is being compromised, yet, nothing concrete is being done to address the issue. Further, a majority of physicians prefer self-medication to seeking support for fear of being shamed, losing referrals and privileges and a sharp dip in their credibility. The stigma attached to the mental health of medical professionals must be curbed so that more and more mentally distressed doctors can come out in open and seek support.
Accepting the vulnerability
Being vulnerable is often associated with fragile willpower. Physicians always encourage their patients to be completely honest and the same should apply to them as well. Dr. Hill shared that he became completely honest to himself that yes, he had some problems and he was working towards recovering. He allowed himself to be vulnerable by opening up to people with whom he interacted and surprisingly, many people expressed empathy, compassion and a connection with him.
Fostering strong sense of professionalism
A physician is involved in an extremely critical environment of life and death on an everyday basis. Therefore, an undeterred focus and healthy mind are the prerequisites to their proper functioning and these are the attributes of strong professionalism. However, a physician appearing to be healthy and internally struggling with a mental distress might falter at some point.
Building and strengthening a support system
A support network is indispensable to one’s overall well-being. Dr. Hill emphasized that one should take baby steps in building a strong network of people whom a common thread of empathy, solidarity and compassion binds. A support network can ensure that a person does not falter and if that happens, the members are there to help.
Road to recovery
Physicians are flustered with a hoard of responsibilities in the wake of a screwed up physician and patient ratio. On top of this, neglected personal life and health can have a strong bearing on their mental health and propel them towards an addiction.
If you or someone you know is suffering from co-occurring disorders, it is imperative to look for dual diagnosis treatment centers. One can visit the California Dual Diagnosis Helpline to know more about various treatment options. You can call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1736 to get information about state-of-the-art rehabs in California or join our mental health executive for an online chat session to know about one of the best dual diagnosis treatment centers in California.