Addiction to drugs or alcohol affects a significant number of health care professionals. Limited data is available on the rates of incidence because abusing or addicted health professionals rarely report abuse or addiction accurately for fear of disciplinary action against their license to practice. Available statistics estimate that between 10% to 15% of health care professionals are afflicted with alcohol or drug addiction, but most suspect that number to be higher. It occurs at least at the same incidence as the general public, but ease of access to substances and high stress occupations most likely make it occur at a higher rate.
Addiction was classified as a primary disease by the American Society of Addiction Medicine in 2011. It has specific symptoms, genetic, psychological, and environmental components
Addiction is progressive, if left untreated the symptoms will worsen
Addiction is a chronic, relapsing order and it cannot be cured. Like other primary diseases the symptoms can be stopped, but without significant lifestyle changes and continued recovery maintenance, the symptoms will reoccur.