In the past, few physicians who were addicted to drugs or alcohol admitted their problems openly for fear of losing hospital privileges or medical licenses. With more support systems than ever today, doctors have a place to turn for help to fight the disease that is addiction.
Once back at work, Haroutunian soon received inquiries from other physicians who wanted to know about recovery. "I fully understand that it is a disease. My dad died from this disease, plus one brother and a couple of uncles," he says. "It's not anything to be ashamed of, and until we accept the totality of the disease and understand that there is hope, we remain cloaked in a shroud of denial. People hide out, go without treatment, and die for fear of retribution."