When you are diagnosed with cancer, the dental community at large will be supportive and understanding. When you have an ADDICTION, be prepared for significantly less compassion and questions of your worthiness. This is not right. We are now faced with the need to act decisively in support of dentists who face addiction. We all need to understand that addiction is a disease as bad as cancer. Medical illnesses account for 90% of the etiology of disability for dentists. Addiction should be treated WITH RESPECT, and our concern for its victims should be the same as those afflicted with other medical illnesses.
After a severe illness or accident, your friends bring by food and send you “Get Well” cards or flowers. After your admission for addiction, you likely will be alone and frustrated. Is this right? Absolutely not, and we need to change the perception that is held by far too many. Recovery and rehabilitation are long roads that have to be followed after your initial survival. Addiction is never cured, and constant vigilance and reinforcement are necessary for long-term survival.
We have previously discussed addiction survival and please review our post on ADDICTION AND DENTAL DISABILITY for solid recommendations on recovery and prevention. Perhaps this is such difficult topic because it is unpleasant. We tend to avoid situations that make us feel uncomfortable. That knowledge gives us the strength to fight back. Knowing that many will withdraw and avoid helping; gives us the opportunity to reach out and encourage those same peers to get involved. Surprisingly, most of us want to be of real help to others. That is why we got involved in healthcare to begin with.
After extensive review and looking at the issues with care, one can only come to the conclusion that addiction is the same for dentists as everyone else. We are all human and have the same weaknesses. Why would we expect that we are immune to the same disease of addiction as the general population? We are all in the same boat and need to make good decisions on our careers and health.
Review this attached brief TED talk for encouragement and ideas for addiction survival. TED talks are short concise presentations that “get to the point” right away. They avoid the boring Powerpoint presentations that put you to sleep. They are engaging and have taken the world by storm. They cover numerous topics and are personal and motivating. Go to Y-tube to see all that is offered after reviewing this video.
You can be addicted to most anything and drugs/alcohol are frequently over concentrated on. Choose your poison and the debilitating effects on dentists are the same. Addiction, no matter the topic/source is a disease and medical problem. Go to the Wellness section of the ADA website. Detailed recovery and treatment resources are available. Significant efforts on the part of ORGANIZED DENTISTRY at the national level has been initiated. The Medical community has long known of the seriousness of Addiction and speaking confidently with your physicians is recommended as soon as you recognize an issue.
Unfortunately, you may find out that you have an addiction problem from others before you have the chance to “deal with it” yourself. We all would rather solve our own problems, but this is one where professional help is needed. Not only needed but required. Your life and the well-being of your family is at stake. The resources are readily available and all you have to do is ask. Your ultimate survival will depend on the level of commitment you have to recovery and long-term rehabilitation.
You are not alone in this ordeal and many others have survived Addiction by taking the right steps early in their crisis. Use their knowledge and experience to survive. We are strong believers in group support efforts. Fighting addiction as a team is so much more effective than trying to “go it alone”. Use the compassion and human interaction that come from just talking with other survivors. It is unbelievably strong and to many the “silver bullet” needed to destroy ADDICTION.
As dentists we are just as vulnerable as everyone else to disease. With respect to ADDICTION, maybe more so. We know that the determination exhibited by dentists in their careers and training can be used to their advantage in Addiction survival. Use this to your advantage and live. See our posting on the ten steps to survive disability. TEN STEPS TO SURVIVE DISABILITY We are ready to help you in your recovery journey. Please contact our team for real encouragement and support.
WE ARE DENTISTS HELPING OTHER SICK AND INJURED DENTISTS, WE CARE.