Alarm at growing addiction problems among professionals

Experts are calling for urgent action to tackle the “significant challenge” of rising levels of alcoholism and substance abuse among professionals including doctors, dentists and lawyers.

At the first international conference of its kind, in Ireland this weekend, there were calls for the UK government to help the silent mass of professionals who were “functioning alcoholics”.

Rory O’Connor, the UK co-ordinator of health support programmes for dentists and veterinary surgeons, told the Observer that Britain was turning a blind eye to a huge problem. He said: “There are serious issues regarding health professionals accessing appropriate help for mental health issues and there are serious issues in the treatment that is out there for them.”

Research suggests 15-24% of lawyers will suffer from alcoholism during their careers, while the British Medical Association estimates that one in 15 healthcare professionals will develop an addiction problem. Doctors are three times more likely to develop cirrhosis of the liver than the general population.

One indicator of the growing problem is the rise in the popularity of “rehab tourism”. Reports from private healthcare companies indicate a growing number of “mental health tourists” – professionals seeking treatment abroad.

Read the full article: The Guardian