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Dr. Steve
Dr. Steve, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 370
Experience:  19 years conducting therapy; book author; newspaper columnist; former co-host of radio show
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I have a masters degree and a postmasters in Nursing. I work

Resolved Question:

I have a masters degree and a postmasters in Nursing. I work as a Neonatal NP. I have never been counseled in the past for anything. I get excellent evaluations each year. I work some 10 & 24hr shifts. Recently I went out with friends from work and had 3 drinks. I took an Ambien around 12:30. I was suppose to be at work at 8:00 am. They began calling me when I did not show. They were about to come to my house because I have never called in sick. I finally answered the phone. I do not remember talking to them or driving to work. (I think I took another ambien later that night). I showed up at work crying & saying something was wrong with me. My co workers took me to the ER where they smelled alcohol. I had an elevated alcohol level 1.0. They sent me to HR who then referred me to IPN. I denied (i know most abusers do) drinking alcohol until I got home & found that I had indeed opened a bottle of wine. My employer believes me but I have to be evaluated by a Psych. What will he ask me?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 7 years ago.


An excellent question, and I know you are frightened to lose you license. I actually did a number of these evaluations in my home state a few years ago, so am familiar with the process. I will answer your question directly: The evaluation consisted of a SASSI (for hard data related to alcohol abusing tendencies), an MMPI (for personality evaluation), and then a structured interview that examined all aspects of substance usage, including a thorough family history with special focus on trauma and substance issues within the bloodline. I also asked a lot about stressors, and the manner by which that stress is managed (i.e., coping strategies).

But listen, here is what may hurt you the most, and the area that I would hit hard as your interviewer: If you DON'T have a problem with substance abuse, then why would you (as a health care professional with medical knowledge) allow yourself to drink on top of an Ambien (or vice versa, but you see where I am going with this)? And Ambien in particular has the reputation to create a lot of these type of side-effects if it is not taken immediately before bedtime and when you are in a safe environment (usually your home, or bedroom), so what was your thought process around this scenario?

I totally understand the behaviors once you were past the point of no return, but it was the series of events leading up to that point that would catch my ear.

I wish you well, but can also say that there are typically some rehabilitative requirements before your license gets revoked, so if you do not have a history of diverting or of other alcohol-related maladies (DUI, etc.), then you will come through this intact. Be careful in the future, and please follow through with treatment recommendations. If you are satisfied with the response, please hit "Accept." That is the only way I can receive credit for my answer. Thanks-

Dr. Steve

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