MD Drug Abuse; Medical individuals; Gender in trance therapy

Is drug use among doctors increasing?

Some evidence suggests that drug use may be on the rise among doctors after the pandemic. About 51% of physicians believe that substance abuse has “increased” in their practice since the start of COVID-19, while 48% report it at the same level as in the years before the pandemic, according to Medscape’s Substance and Opioid Abuse Report 2022.

Others argue that evidence is mounting that such abuse is on the rise, although data is still elusive from physician health plans, where substance abuse referral statistics are assessed and managed. Problem drinking and drug use increased among the public during the pandemic.

Seeking treatment: “The increase we saw [in physicians seeking treatment for addiction] definitely increased in March 2020 and shortly thereafter into the summer, and that has continued,” said Michael McCormick, MD, director of the health care staff assessment program at Caron Treatment Centers in Pennsylvania.

More pressure: COVID-19 has put doctors under a lot of pressure over the past 2.5 years, leading to overtime and overworked doctors.

Problems surrounding the professional character of a doctor

What is an appropriate personality for a medical professional? And who calls it? Doctors grapple with questions such as the diversity of medicine and the overlap of work and leisure, challenging assumptions about how doctors manage their clothes, hairstyles, make-up, social media presence or communication.

Some standards of professionalism reflect a narrow view of what a doctor should be, yet such guidelines can be changed and can exclude the expression of personality or identity, critics argue.

Bias called: The hashtag #medbikini captured reactions to a 2020 study in Journal of Vascular Surgery which called out what it considered unprofessional content on social media among young surgeons. The journal eventually retracted the study and issued an apology, admitting to “conscious and unconscious bias.”

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

Gender differences in trance treatments

Children who were assigned female at birth and seek gender-affirming care have outnumbered those assigned male at birth in recent years. The difference is a reversal of historical trends and has occurred for reasons that are not well understood, reports Reuters.

The difference has emerged as a growing number of children receiving care at more than 100 sex clinics in the United States are opting for medical intervention: contraceptives, hormones or surgery.

Differences of opinion: The excessive proportion of young people who seek treatment to transition from female to male has raised concerns. Some gender experts urge caution to ensure that only adolescents deemed suitable for treatment after a thorough evaluation receive it. Others argue that delaying treatment unnecessarily prolongs a child’s distress and puts them at risk of self-harm.

Irreversible side effects: Experts agree that treatment should be supportive. But some question whether peer groups and online media are unduly influencing patients to pursue medical transitions with potentially irreversible side effects at a time when identities may be in flux.

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