Impaired anesthesiologist: Signs

Basic, Special Problems or Issues in Anesthesiology

Signs of abuse:

• Increased time at hospital, signing up for extra call

• Increased requests for bathroom breaks

• Mood swings

• Withdrawal from friends, isolation. 

Anesthesia faculty, CRNA’s, and residents make up the highest proportion of healthcare providers seeking care for treatment, and the most commonly abused drug is fentanyl.  As many as 40% of abusers will relapse over time, and risk factors for relapse are as follows: presence of a coexisting psychiatric disorder, a family history of substance abuse, and major opioid use.  Only ~35% of anesthesia residents who survive drug abuse and seek help for their impairment successfully return to an anesthesia residency.


    Anesthesiology. 2008 Nov;109(5):762-4

    [PubMed: 18946304]

    JAMA. 2005 Mar 23;293(12):1513-5

    [PubMed: 15784868]


Answered correctly


Year asked

Josh Roach, MD