Book Review of “Addicted Healers” by Ethan O. Bryson, MD
By Sylvia Cochran – Parenting by the Book
By Ethan O. Bryson, MD
Publisher: New Horizon Press
Publication date: 9/11/2012
Self-help/Substance Abuse & Addictions/Alcoholism
The author of Addicted Healers works from the premise that addiction is a medical disease and not a choice. If the reader can accept that there may be a predisposition to addiction in some, which is not necessarily found in others, it only makes sense that those who work daily around easily available uppers and downers may find it harder to resist temptation. Add to this availability the grueling work schedules so many health care professionals have to adhere to as well as the stresses inherent to the profession, and it makes sense that some look to chemicals for relief.
Addicted Healers further reveals how drug impairment adversely affects patient care. At the same time, the topic is taboo within the profession that thrives on patient trust for repeat business. Dr. Bryson purports to help readers identify addicted health care providers, but unless the patient is in consistent contact with the doctor or nurse, it will be difficult to figure out if there are truly the types of behavioral and professional changes occurring that point toward drug abuse.
With the help of fascinating case studies, the author succeeds in highlighting the need for planned approaches in treating addicted health care workers and limiting access to triggers and drugs in the course of employment. A tall order indeed, especially considering that there are plenty of cutbacks in the medical field already. Readers of Addicted Healers learn that about 10 percent to 15 percent of health care workers are dealing with addiction, which further drives home the point of urgency.
While the book does not claim to have the answers, it lays solid groundwork for the consumer who is concerned. By challenging the taboo and speaking up about suspected drug abuse they witness, patients can protect themselves and others. Within the medical community, there must be processes in place to promote sobriety in the health care field with its unique challenges.
I highly recommend Addicted Healers to the reader who still thinks of physicians as the infallible “gods in white.” It is also a good read for the average consumer who may not have given much thought to the topic of addiction within the health care system.
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