Nurses are some of the most overworked professionals in the United States. Not only do they work long hours, but they must endure physical and emotional demands that most other professionals do not. Unfortunately, with easy access to prescription medications, many nurses find themselves in the throes of addiction.
Nurses Who Struggle with Addiction
Nurses who suffer from addiction not only deal with their unrelenting cravings, but they must also keep up appearances while under the influence. When they begin to experience withdrawals, they have to use to feel well enough to perform. If they don’t, they end up being distracted by their withdrawals, which can lead to treating patients incorrectly.
The other side of the addiction is treating patients while under the influence. The affects of drug use can cause the impaired nurse to make rash, poor decisions that risk their patient’s health. The chances of medical malpractice are high, which could ruin their career. So, there’s the stress of that weighing heavily on their shoulders.
Addiction Treatment Programs for Nurses
Nurses and other medical professionals with substance use disorders require addiction treatment for healthcare professionals that includes a comprehensive approach. The first part is thorough evaluation by a qualified expert using ASAM Criteria. Secondly, treatment of adequate intensity and duration is required to arrest the illness and reduce relapse risk dramatically prior to returning to the workplace. Thirdly, since nurses work with drugs, especially sometimes their drugs of choice, nearly every day, they must learn how to be around it without using it. An effective treatment program for nurses helps patients acknowledge and manage environmental cues and triggers while also improving their drug refusal skills. Some components include participating in:
- Cue Exposure
- Workbook Activities
- Experiential Therapy
There are also work environment modifications and occupation-specific interventions that can be implemented for long-term addiction recovery success.
After primary treatment is accomplished, a monitoring program is essential to solidify the gains made during treatment for nurses. With a combination of support and advocacy, nurses receive encouragement to continue their recovery. This program is independent of licensure and credentialing. This makes it more likely nurses will decide to seek addiction treatment for nurses and continue their recovery throughout their careers.
Making the Decision to Start Addiction Treatment as a Nurse
The most common reason nurses don’t seek addiction help is because of their fear of ruining their careers and reputation. The problem is that nurses who don’t seek addiction help often find themselves without their careers because of their drug or alcohol use. They either quit or commit or get in trouble for violating the nurse practice act. This is why it’s important that nurses understand that seeking addiction treatment for nurses won’t ruin their careers, but potentially save them. In addition, they will be saving themselves from health-related issues, and protecting their patients.
Addiction treatment specifically designed for nurses has been shown to be highly effective. If you’re a nurse suffering from addiction, get the help you need to recover. Contact BoardPrep Recovery Center® by calling 866.796.4720 for treatment.