How physicians professional socialisation and social technologies may affect colleagues in substance use disorders

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Often, discussions of physicians’ substance use (both licit and illicit) are framed in quantitative terms. The present article provides a complimentary qualitative and posthumanist perspective on substance use challenges illuminated through in-depth interviews with substance use disorder (SUD) recovered physicians’ about their experiences with substance use and SUD within their work culture. SUD recovered physicians’ experiences include descriptions of fears about being revealed as a substance user, self-medicating to enhance performances during operation or morning conferences and the like. The article draws attention to the role of physician work culture in the development and management of physicians own substance use and SUD. It reports results from my Danish study analysing how professional socialisation and social technologies affect physicians disclosure of their own SUD and their help seeking at work. The work-related aspects that in some cases affect the development of substance use and SUD include hierarchical pressure, emotional strain from critical patient cases and work-related competition. In the analysis a disciplinary paradox concerning the social technologies intended to normalise and standardise physicians’ conduct and ensure the quality of treatment. Ironically, the social technologies seemed to have an unintended consequence: to conserve and maintain SUD rather than facilitating treatment and recovery. For instance, I show how the fear of social sanctions in the form of a loss of certification and prescription rights keeps physicians in SUD from seeking external treatment. Rather than producing normalisation as intended, the social technologies in some cases seem to have an adverse effect of strengthening deviance.
TidsskriftAddiction Research and Theory
Sider (fra-til)1-10
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 12 apr. 2018

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