Ep 121 When Stress Leads to Addiction with Dr. Courtney Barrows McKeown

All of us have some tendency towards addiction. It could be to achievement, it could be to sugar, it could be to alcohol, it could be to medications, it could be anything. 

Join my special guest today, Dr. Courtney Barrows McKeown, as she shares her experience of pulling it all back together and thriving after struggling with addiction, to spinning out of control, to having her medical license suspended and even being hospitalized after a psychotic episode.

I was trying to cover it all up. I certainly was too terrified to admit to anybody. And so they just thought I was having a ‘mental breakdown’ or whatever.” -Dr. Courtney Barrows McKeown


About Dr. Courtney Barrows McKeown

Courtney Barrows McKeown, MD is a board-certified general surgeon. She earned her medical degree at New York Medical College, graduating Alpha Omega Alpha. She completed her general surgery residency training in 2020 at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA, and received additional subspecialty training in hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB surgery) in the Midwest. She started her career as a community general surgeon in New Hampshire, and is excited for her next opportunity, where she will be moving to TN to join Dr. Vertrees' Columbia Surgical Partners as a general surgeon.

Dr. Barrows McKeown recently sat down for an interview and wrote a follow up article on Rethinking Residency, where she shared her story of struggling with perfectionism, mental health, and addiction during training - including the trials and tribulations she faced and the barriers she overcame to get her health and career back on track. She has recently partnered with the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes' Foundation to advocate, increase awareness, and identify solutions to promote physician health and well-being. She is grateful to be celebrating three years of recovery next month. Her mission is to provide hope and mentorship to other early career physicians who may be struggling with similar issues she faced, reduce stigma, and help drive systemic changes in order to make our professional climate better for the next generation of surgeons.

In her free time, Dr. Barrows McKeown enjoys spending time with her husband and their dog Buddy, golfing, kayaking, and is an avid Boston sports fan. 

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