Veterinarians and Addiction

Veterinarians and Addiction

Veterinarians experience stress, anxiety, financial concerns and long hours, and they have easy access to narcotic painkillers, nitrous oxide and even Ketamine. The temptation to abuse these highly addictive drugs can be more than some vets can resist. Many other vets become addicted to alcohol instead.

Why Do Veterinarians Abuse Substances?

Veterinarians succumb to the addiction for many of the same reasons as do other doctors. Drugs and alcohol temporarily relieve stress, anxiety and emotional disorders. Some vets are born with a biological predisposition toward addiction that waits to be activated by an intoxicating substance. Others turn to mind-altering substances to self-medicate any of the following disorders:

  • Depression
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Dissociative disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Behavioral compulsions (eating, cutting, stealing, gambling etc)
  • Anxiety disorders

People take their animals’ health quite seriously. Veterinarians often put a great deal of pressure on themselves to help every animal they can. The stress linked to the loss of beloved pets wears heavy on many experienced vets. Those feelings fade away, even if only for a short time, when they get drunk or high.

As tolerance builds they will need larger and more frequent doses to maintain the desired effects. Ultimately they will become dependent on the drug and need a constant supply to function. The quality of work will suffer and if left untreated they will eventually be unable to work.

Addiction Treatment for Veterinarians

While veterinarians don’t require specialized treatment, it helps if they can speak to a recovery counselor that is familiar with their lifestyle and issues. Whether they are addicted or just concerned, veterinarians can call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline any time for personal service and advice. Here they will find confidential advice and answers to any questions about insurance or other logistical concerns.

The tools of recovery programs involve the following therapeutic options:

  • Personal counseling with mental health professionals
  • Support group meetings with fellow recovering addicts
  • Education about the causes and effects of addiction
  • Confidential advice about how best to communicate with friends and loved ones about the disease