Impaired Physicians

Prim Care. 1993 Mar;20(1):209-19.


The prevalence of chemical dependency among physicians in the United States is probably the same as for the general population, about 8% to 12%. Organized medicine has responded to this problem by establishing programs to help these impaired physicians. Chemically impaired physicians can be treated and followed by structured programs with favorable results. To prevent the tragic outcomes of untreated physician impairment due to chemical dependency, nonimpaired physicians must learn about this problem and take the appropriate actions. Impaired physicians need not fear treatment, for it can help them return to a productive career. To further lessen the tragic effects of substance abuse among physicians, proactive strategies of prevention should be adopted by medical schools, residency programs, hospital staffs, and similar physician organizations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / prevention & control
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs*
  • Licensure, Medical / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Physician Impairment / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Physician Impairment / psychology*
  • Psychotropic Drugs*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Illicit Drugs
  • Psychotropic Drugs