Doctors and Drug Abuse : LUSENET : ER Discussions : One Thread

I'm being vague on my name to protect someone's anonymity. I hope this will still be allowed on the board.

Drug abuse is a very serious problem among medical professionals. The actual name of the drug treatment center Carter is going to in Atlanta is Springbrook (Springbrook West, an affiliated center, is near Portland). The center, as they said, specializes in treating medical professionals w/ drug and alcohol problems. They almost always have a waiting list. About 18 months ago someone I love was admitted to Springbrook. Her stay was one of the shortest any of the other patients had ever heard of, and she stayed about 3 months.

And, in response to all the other posts that said something like "Abby should have asked Carter about it first." I dissagree. His behavior had been erratic. She needed to tell someone who had authority and new him well. Although the intervention scene was a little shaky (one usually does a little more touchy feely stuff bfr confronting a person--give more examples of their strange behavior), the episode did a great job showing how to deal w/ drug abuse by a friend.

-- K.P. (, May 19, 2000


I have heard of this rehab facility and have read articles about it. I think this is a bigger problem than some people realize and I am glad people in the medical profession have a place to go for help.

-- amanda (, May 19, 2000.

Thanks for sharing that KP. I am sorry something so difficult happened to someone you care about. I also think drug abuse is probably more common amoung doctors than we really like to think about. It makes sence though stress, access to drugs, and the doctor mentality that they know how to "handle it"

-- Cara Noblitt (, May 19, 2000.

Could someone who knows about drug rehab treatment please give us an overview? Presumably Carter will be talking with therapists about his experience and how he has reacted to it. The therapists must have a lot of experience with people who are in denial or sorting things out. They'll look at the drugs he has been taking in order to get him off the ones that are causing trouble. Probably part of the treatment is to have some time during which he is not responsible for patients but only for himself. Corrections and more details would be welcome.

-- Driad (, May 19, 2000.

First things first: Physical withdrawal, which can be very difficult. I know a guy whose job required him to pick up men who were going to treatment. On more than one occasion he stopped for alcohol for them to get them through the withdrawals until they could get to the treatment center for help. Withdrawals can actually kill a person if not done under the right conditions.

Group and individual therapy. Probably lots of time to work the 12 steps, if it's a treatment center based on them. Breaking through his denial. They'll look at his family of origin and have someone come during family week (Gamma probably though I'd prefer his parents). Because he's a doctor there will be a special emphasis there. Most people are told to stay away from the places/people that encouraged/assisted their addiction...obviously a doctor cannot do that, but it's something like a bartender going back to work in the bar. It can be done though. Food addicts can never get totally away from their "drug of choice" yet they can make it. He'll probably make 90 12-step meetings in 90 days when he first gets out too (maybe Narcotics Anonymous though I know that some people with drug addiction go to AA because there's more recovery experience there and there's often dual addiction).

-- Diana (, May 19, 2000.

Speaking of pysical withdrawal from the medication,how would drug rehab handle the issue of Carter's back pain? Obviously, he can't stay on painkillers, but what do they do for someone who is hooked and who also is suffering from serious physical pain? I know there are alternatives - TENS units, etc., but they don't always work. Will Carter just have to suck it up and live with the pain?

-- Beth (, May 20, 2000.

I wondered that too, but surely, he is getting to the point where the pain isn't so bad (except for being kicked across the room and landing on his back) and he could live without pain medication. The surgery was three months ago! I had a c-section (I know - different thing, but still a major surgery) and was fine within 10 days.

-- amanda (, May 20, 2000.

Supposedly Carter had a hematoma on his spine, which was causing the pain and which takes some time to resolve itself. He probably still really is in pain.

What he needs is some PHYSICAL THERAPY for that, not just psychotherapy for his other problems.

I doubt the writers will deal with this next season, so I suppose it's up to the viewers to fill in the blanks.

-- debbie (, May 20, 2000.

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