I never thought it could possibly happen to me. As a practicing physician with an active chemical dependency to opiates and benzodiazepines, I fell down the rabbit hole with an intensity that I never believed possible. Although I am blessed and fortunate to have climbed out of that abyss, I have never forgotten some of the things that led me to the precipice.
Physician burnout has emerged as an increasingly concerning phenomenon in medicine. As high as 51% of physicians in a Medscape survey report symptoms of burnout. Doctors face higher demands with less time and support. Academic medical centers, which historically have been insulated from outside forces, are now seeing larger patient censuses, leaving less time for physicians to work through each patient’s case carefully.
“Locker room culture” is a common trope that has been used to describe medical community of the recent past. Current practitioners will say that culture is, unfortunately, still prevalent.