As a dental professional, you know more than anyone how bad alcohol is for your oral health as well as the rest of your body. While you may screen patients for signs of an alcohol problem and talk to them about the risks associated with heavy drinking such as increased rates of oral cancer, you may also find that you struggle with putting down the bottle. Sadly, alcoholism affects many dental professionals throughout the world, and the combination of long hours and stressful working conditions can leave you vulnerable to develop a dependency. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of these signs if you believe you might have a drinking problem.
You Need a Drink First Thing in the Morning
For most people, having one or two drinks a few times a week is not harmful. However, you should be concerned if you crave alcohol at odd times. For instance, waking up with a need to drink is a sign that you have a physical or mental dependency on alcohol.
You Worry About Someone Smelling Alcohol On Your Breath
Your role as a dentist requires you to be in extremely close proximity to your patients. Although you may wear a mask as you work, you may also be concerned that one of your patients might notice the smell of alcohol on your breath. This is especially a concern if you cannot make it through the day without having a drink and hit the bar on your lunch break or on your way to work. Using mouthwash or obsessively brushing your teeth after you drink are signs that you feel as though you have something to hide.
You Have Made a Mistake When Treating a Patient
You have a special relationship with each of your patients that is based upon trust. One of the biggest consequences of alcoholism among dental professionals is the possibility of causing harm to someone else due to faulty thinking. For example, you might have prescribed the wrong medication to a patient, or you may have provided an inaccurate treatment plan. Even if you don’t drink on the job, you are still at risk of making a serious mistake if you arrive to the office exhausted or too hungover to think clearly.
You Have Concerned Loved Ones
You might be able to hide your drinking problem from your patients but it won’t take long for your family to notice. Your loved ones may make mild comments about their worries regarding your drinking, or they may stage a complete intervention. While every family reacts differently to a drinking problem, try to trust that the people who are closest to you only have your best interests in mind.
You Feel Shaky When You Try to Stop Drinking
Before you started drinking, you used to take pride in your steady hand. After all, being a dentist is a lot like being an artist when you are working with your tools. Shaking and tremors are a primary sign of alcohol withdrawal that you may experience after a night of heavy drinking, and this is another warning sign that your alcohol dependency is affecting your career.
You Start Drinking As Soon as You Get Home
Many people enjoy a drink in the evening with dinner or after they get home. However, you may have a drinking problem if you stay focused on the thought of drinking for the majority of the day. You could also have a problem if you drink far more than you had planned each evening.
You Try to Stop But Fail
At some point, you decided that you might be drinking too much. When this moment of clarity arrived, you swore off alcohol and tried to see how long you could go without having a drink. Unfortunately, you quickly discovered your motivation waning when you experienced cravings or withdrawal symptoms that were too difficult to ignore. Trying to stop drinking and failing is a huge sign that you need help overcoming your addiction.
Your career requires you to keep a steady hand and be capable of thinking clearly. Whether you notice one or all of these signs yourself, you need to know that there is no reason to be ashamed of seeking treatment. By making the decision to begin you recovery from addiction, you can look forward to continuing to provide high quality services to your patients in the dental field.
Healing is within your reach when you join us at New Vista Behavioral Health. A far-reaching horizon and new perspective toward addiction recovery, wellness and restoration. We are a national and renowned family of treatment centers focused on distinctive patient care, evidence-based treatment modalities and unwavering compassion. If you are ready to pursue a life committed to your health, relationships and emotional well-being, you have a team that is willing to walk alongside you and restore hope for your future.