Characteristics of physicians presenting for assessment at a behavioral health center

J Addict Dis. 2000;19(2):59-73. doi: 10.1300/J069v19n02_05.


Physician health and impairment have been of considerable interest in recent years. This study contributes detailed clinical data to the existing body of knowledge, by drawing from a sample of physicians assessed at a behavioral health center over a two year time frame. Demographic, referral, and clinical data were gathered using a systematic medical record review procedure, based on 108 physicians who were evaluated within an intensive multidisciplinary assessment program. The majority suffered from active substance use disorders (52.8%), with other psychiatric disorders (29.6%), and substance use disorders in remission (17.6%) the other largest categories. Of those with an active substance use disorder, primary drugs of choice were alcohol and prescription opiates. Over half had comorbid psychiatric disorders (Axis I, II, or both). Significant relationship, employment, and emotional problems were found in all three groups. The significant increase in presentation and/or detection of psychiatric and behavioral problems, both comorbid with and not substance use related, confirms the need for a revision and expansion of views about physicians' behavioral health concerns.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation
  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Comorbidity
  • Diagnosis, Dual (Psychiatry)
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Middle Aged
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Personality Assessment*
  • Physician Impairment / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation


  • Illicit Drugs