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The Quiet Epidemic of Nurses Struggling with Addiction

The Quiet Epidemic of Nurses Struggling with Addiction

Alcohol and drug dependence among nurses is a burgeoning challenge for the healthcare profession. Nurses are quickly becoming the backbone of the nation’s healthcare system as doctors become more burdened with paperwork and insurance issues, which leaves less time for patient interaction. Nurses are left to do more day-to-day tasks of caring for people and helping solve their health crises. High job stress along with access to medicines make nurses vulnerable to addiction. Learn more about this quiet epidemic and how the healthcare industry is addressing it head on.

Meeting Challenges

As physicians have become more pressured to meet increasing needs of patients, nurses also have become more burdened by tasks traditionally performed by doctors. This higher level of stress, including rotating shifts, and longer hours, leaves them vulnerable to coping with other things like drugs or alcohol. Unique to the nursing profession is that the vast majority are women, which can have risk factors as caregivers in a highly stressful environment. Nurses often have access to potent, addictive medications, which can fuel abuse in the workplace. Nurses are more familiar with administering addictive medications and may self-diagnose or self-prescribe medicine. Emotional demands of the job along with physical requirements can make this risk even greater.

Treating Nurses for Substance Abuse

Nurses are typically problem solvers in the patient care setting. They are the ones people come to with challenges regarding their health and questions on how to fix them. Nurses often have trouble accepting their own challenges with substance abuse and, when they do seek treatment, may find the role of patient or the one receiving help, quite challenging. Sensitivity to this need for nurses and healthcare providers can be essential to supporting them in seeking treatment.

Getting Help

Meeting a nurse’s need for treatment comes with unique challenges. When it comes to opiates and detox, nurses require treatment that does not use buprenorphine for maintenance treatment if they want to be allowed back to work. Buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, is widely used by treatment centers to address withdrawal symptoms and craving related to opioid abuse. Nurses may instead be asked to go on Naltrexone (Vivitrol), an opiate agonist, by the people responsible for ensuring successful engagement in treatment. They may also need to be monitored using urine tests at work as part of an outpatient program. Finding the right place to attend rehab is critical for nurses on the journey to recovery. Medically supervised detox can assist them in getting off of addictive substances, along with supporting their post-rehab plans of returning to work successfully, however that looks for them. Their recovery is the most important part of the journey. Seeking help and healing depends on making decisions about where to detox that is safe, effective, and a place that honors an individual’s journey.

Serenity is a safe, secure place to experience detox and rehab in a comforting setting. We provide space in a nonjudgmental setting where you can recover and heal from detox to recovery and beyond. We believe in providing the best care for individuals in recovery, supporting their long term goals, and helping them navigate detox so they can be more successful in recovery. We do not judge you for your past, present, or where you go in the future. If you want help, call us 24/7 at our toll-free number: 866-294-9401