Substance abuse rates for professionals are high when compared to the general population, but why is this? There are several reasons why professionals may turn to substance abuse. The long hours worked, the high levels of stress, and the need to be extremely competent and in control all contribute to the substance abuse rates for this group. Doctors, lawyers, pilots, and other professionals often spend long hours in the office or cockpit, and they are under a lot of pressure to be perfect and competent all the time. If a pilot makes a mistake lives can be lost, the same with doctors and nurses in the medical profession. If a lawyer errs then an individual could lose their freedom or their ability to recover a financial award from a court.
Substance abuse rates for professionals shows that this sector has a need for treatment opportunities, but the stigma attached to substance abuse is also an obstacle to substance abuse treatment. Professionals have spent many years receiving an education and training in their fields, and many fear that admitting they have a problem and seeking substance abuse treatment will make this effort a waste of time and money. The best substance abuse treatment facilities for professionals are those that offer complete confidentiality. Access to the outside world during treatment may also be necessary, so that a physician can still manage their medical office or a lawyer can stay on top of cases while getting the help that they need. Professionals need help with drug and alcohol use just as much as the general population, but this group is less likely to seek treatment for substance abuse due to the negative associations involved.