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Physician Well-Being Hub

Your mental, physical, and emotional health are essential for you and crucial for optimal patient care. By exploring strategies to prevent burnout, manage stress, and cultivate a balanced lifestyle, you enhance your professional satisfaction, personal happiness, and the quality of care you provide to your patients.

Prioritizing your well-being is not a selfish act but a necessary one as you care for others. Investing in your wellness benefits you and strengthens the healthcare community, promoting a culture of resilience and compassionate care. Remember, you are an integral part of this system and your well-being matters.

As healthcare professionals, we share the same mental health concerns as the general population. However, the challenges of our profession can exacerbate these issues, making seeking help more complex. Some state licensing questions may remind you of the 'Miranda Rights' - anything you say may be used against you. Indicating treatment on a licensing application can be a requirement, adding to the complexity of seeking help.

This requirement deters physicians from seeking help. To be ADA-compliant, the Federation of State Medical Boards recommends that state licensure questions focus on current impairment meaningful to the provision of medical care. Further, such questions should not seek information about the distant past and limit historical questions to two years or less. Unfortunately, many state boards do not follow this guidance.

The AOAAM is committed to empowering its members to advocate for change in their respective states, even though this process may take time. Our Physician Well-Being Committee is here to provide more immediate assistance through this web page. We strongly advocate for self-care, including proper nutrition, exercise, quality sleep, and avoiding alcohol and other substances. We believe that addressing self-care should be a fundamental part of medical education.

We recommend these resources to address and prevent depression, anxiety, burnout, and unhealthy substance use.

Physician Support Line - - Call: 1 (888) 409-0141

Physician support line is a national, free, and confidential support line made up of hundreds of volunteer psychiatrists joined together in the determined hope to provide peer support for our American physician and medical student colleagues as we all navigate our professional and personal lives.

Tools to help physicians & medical students maintain a healthy body, mind & spirit

AOA's Wellness Tool Kit -

International Doctors in Alcoholics Anonymous (IDAA) - (This web page lists each states Physicians Health Program) This provides confidential assessment, referral from treatment, resources and monitoring physicians/healthcare professionals, and those in training who may be at risk from impairment from mental illness, substance use disorders, and other health conditions.

Maslach Inventory Burnout Inventory is considered the Gold standard for measuring burnout: Download the Burnout Self-Test Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI)


Spotify Physician Well-Being -

Recovery Stories

Would you like to share your story? AOAAM members use this link: Share my story 
Stories are posted after approval from the Physician Wellness Committee.

  • May 22, 2024 4:13 PM | Judy Pfeiffer (Administrator)

    I was very unhappy with my life when I applied to medical school. My decision to pursue a career in medicine was borne out of a desire to fix myself in equal measure with a desire to help others. I had a naïve notion that becoming a physician, with the high income and prestige I believed would follow, would remedy my discontent.

    Upon realizing my goal, I quickly learned the pitfalls of conflating my career with my identity. I took it very personally when patients had bad outcomes. I viewed my professional weaknesses as personal defects. My self-esteem declined, and I developed problems with addictive substances and even contemplated suicide during my residency training.

    My state's Physicians Health Program offered a crucial lifeline to help me address and resolve problems with substance use and self-harm. However, discovering a sense of purpose outside the workplace did not come easily. My job as a physician eventually acquired a sense of drudgery, and I aspired to nothing. This malaise bled into my day-to-day life at home, too.

    I discovered distance running during this period in my life. I embarked on a journey from a sedentary lifestyle to one that involved continuous training and running six full marathons over three years. The immediate benefit was that my work stressors suddenly seemed small when measured against the challenge of running 26.2 miles. I learned I was capable of more than I realized. Yet, the most valuable reward was the acquisition of self-acceptance and gratitude.

    Every marathon that I ran was a physical ordeal and a desperate struggle to make it to the finish line within the 6-hour course cut-off time. As much as I tried to improve, I needed to accept that my best effort involved finishing close to last every time. My most effective tool for coping with pain and exhaustion during a race was to remind myself to be grateful that my family would be waiting for me at the finish line.

    I no longer try to run marathons; my body appreciates that kindness. However, I still carry the self-acceptance and gratitude that I learned during those years into the workplace. When I receive constructive feedback about my job performance, I acknowledge opportunities to improve and accept my limitations. When I find myself dissatisfied working as a physician, I find it helpful to remind myself to be grateful that I have such a privileged job in the first place.

    Working as a physician might one day feel too much like the ordeal of running a marathon. If that day comes, I know I can treat my mind and body with enough kindness to step back from that, too. Being a physician is my job, but it is not core to my identity. The most essential things in my life today exist outside of the workplace. For that, I am grateful.
  • May 13, 2024 1:57 PM | Judy Pfeiffer (Administrator)

    Me, I am the last person who would ever develop an “addiction”. I never drank much in college, never took or felt the need to experiment with hard drugs. However, a few years into the practice of medicine, I got involved in a toxic relationship and in a moment of weakness, took a sample hydrocodone that had been in my medicine cabinet for years. I did not take it for physical pain, but for emotional pain and you know what, it worked. A little too well. I was amazed at how all of my problems just vanished. I was then off to the races. I tried the geographic cure, but we all know that doesn’t work. I brought my problems with me during my move, and my addiction as well. Eventually, I got caught and was sent to the PAP of my state where they tried to protect me from board action, but I was not ready and needed to hit my bottom, which I eventually did and a consent order later, I finally was able to get sober. At first it is difficult knowing that this information is out there for anyone and everyone to see, patients, employers, family, but I found humility at that time and have repaired all of my relationships. I was able to advance my career to a point where I never thought that I could be. My work is highly respected and sought out by many patients and employers now and have over 15 years sober. I credit my state PAP, friends, the AOAAM, and family (as well as the 12 steps) to helping me achieve over 15 years of sobriety. I’ve learned that life will throw adversity at all of us, several times throughout our lives, but you have to keep going no matter what.



As a membership organization, the AOAAM cannot provide medical advice or practitioner referrals.  If you need medical advice, please consult your healthcare provider. Resources on this page are provided for informational purposes only. The list is not comprehensive and does not constitute an endorsement by the AOAAM.

The mission of the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine is to improve the health of individuals and families burdened with the disease of addiction.

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