What Does Substance Abuse Treatment Look Like for Dental Professionals?

Dentists are susceptible to addiction issues the same as any other profession. A small percentage of dentists will have drug and alcohol problems sometime in their lives. Substance use disorders are part of the human condition as a means of dealing with stress for some people, trauma for others. There are risks associated with this in that dentists can lose their license to practice or may cause harm to patients. Other dental professionals who provide support services are also susceptible to addictive behaviors.

Drinking Behavior

People who drink moderately may be at lower risk for addiction, but they may still develop dependence issues. When it comes to drinking levels, men should have no more than 4 drinks in a day and, women, no more than 3 drinks in a day. Even within limits, there are issues that may arise when people are slowly drinking away their feelings and not able to process them without alcohol. Taking medications that interact with alcohol can be dangerous, along with women who are pregnant.

High-Risk Drinking

For healthy adults, heavy drinking means consuming more than the single day or weekly amounts listed. Around 1 in 4 people who drink more than they should have dependence and addiction problems. This includes binge drinking behaviors. Binge drinking means any drinking that leads to consecutive drinks that elevate blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08g/dL. This may occur after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men.

Impaired Dental Professionals

While dental professionals are more likely to drink than use other drugs, they are also less likely to ask for help. Services for dentists or at-risk professional dental assistants must be:

  • Confidential
  • Flexible to allow time for work (for some professionals)
  • Support mental and physical health needs
  • Address underlying trauma or unresolved grief and other things which may keep a person stuck in addictive behaviors

While men and women differ in how they experience substance abuse issues in the workplace, dentists and dental professionals are more likely to drink than use other types of drugs. They may be experiencing stress, burn out, and other issues related to their job or managing work and life balance. The key is to figure out how to support a loved one with the best resources possible, including treatment and rehab solutions that allow professionals to keep their licenses while seeking treatment.

The Last Resort knows professionals need a different level of care. We provide the next levels of care for you and your situation. We provide flexible solutions to your needs and support your desire to heal from addiction and move forward in your career. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.