HomeHealthMedicineMD Drug Abuse; Physician Personas; Gender in Trans Treatment

MD Drug Abuse; Physician Personas; Gender in Trans Treatment




Is drug abuse among doctors on the rise?

There is evidence of substance abuse may increase among physicians since the pandemic. About 51% of doctors think so substance abuse has “increased” in their occupation since the onset of COVID-19, but 48% report it at the same level as in pre-pandemic years, according to Medscape’s Substance and Opioid abuse Report 2022.

Others argue that there is growing evidence of such abuse on the rise, though data remains anecdotal from physician health programs, where statistics on substance use disorder referrals are evaluated and managed. Problem drinking and substance use increased among the general population during the pandemic.

Seeking Treatment: “The increase we saw [in physicians seeking treatment for addiction] definitely increased in March 2020 and shortly after that in the summer, and it has continued,” said Michael McCormick, medical director of the Healthcare Professionals Assessment Program at Caron Treatment Centers in Pennsylvania.

More pressure: COVID-19 has put a lot of pressure on physicians for the past 2.5 years, resulting in overworked and overburdened clinicians.


Problems surrounding a doctor’s professional personality

What is an appropriate persona for a medical professional? And then who calls? Physicians grapple with questions as medicine diversifies and work and leisure overlap, challenging assumptions about how doctors handle their clothes, haircuts, makeup, social media presence or interactions.

Some standards of professionalism reflect a narrow view of what a doctor should be, but such guidelines are slow to change and may exclude expressions of personality or identity, critics argue.

Bias shouted: The #medbikini hashtag met with backlash from a 2020 study in the Journal of Vascular Surgery that called out what it perceived as unprofessional social media content among young surgeons. The magazine eventually retracted the investigation and issued an apology, acknowledging “conscious and unconscious bias”.

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Unprofessional or not: Expectations for conservative appearance can disproportionately affect women, people of color and LGBTQ+ professionals. “Why is it ‘unprofessional’ to have a visible tattoo? Why is it ‘unprofessional’ to wear bright colors and patterns?” asked Blair Peters, plastic surgeon and assistant professor at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon.


Gender inequality in trans treatments

Children assigned female at birth and those seeking gender-affirming care far outnumbered the number of men assigned at birth in recent years. The inequality is a reversal of historical trends and has occurred for reasons that are not well understood, Reuters reports.

The difference is reflected in the fact that a growing number of children receiving care in the more than 100 gender clinics in the US are opting for medical intervention: puberty-suppressing drugs, hormones or surgery.

Divided opinions: The excessive number of adolescents seeking treatment for female-to-male transition has raised concern. Some gender care specialists urge caution to ensure that only adolescents deemed fit for treatment after thorough evaluation receive it. Others argue that treatment delays unnecessarily prolong a child’s suffering and put them at risk of self-harm.

Irreversible side effects: Professionals agree that treatment should be supportive. But some question whether peers and online media are unnecessarily influencing patients to pursue medical transition with potentially irreversible side effects at a time when identities can be in flux.

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