Substance abuse among nurses is quite prevalent and very dangerous. Not only do they put their own lives at risk, but they do the same for the patients they care for. Many nurses’ substance abuse problems begin because they are taking medications. They spend a lot of time on their feet, leading to physical pain. Their jobs may also be very stressful, which can lead to anxiety. Regardless, many instances of substance abuse go undetected. Few nurses are willing to step forward and admit that they need help. The high correlation between nurses and addiction shows the need for a specialized nurses’ addiction treatment program to help them recover.
If you are a nurse struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, reach out to the trusted professionals at Northpoint Recovery. Our nurses’ addiction treatment program in Boise, Idaho, can provide you with the appropriate care and support to help you heal from addiction. Call us at 208.486.0130 to learn how we help nurses regain their health and well-being.
Addiction and the Nursing Profession
Nurses deal with problems and issues that most people would have difficulty doing. They often find themselves having to take extra shifts, cover for colleagues, and rearrange their entire day to accommodate the needs of their jobs. They are trained to be quick, efficient, and effective multi-taskers. The nursing profession deserves to be honored and admired. So, why are nurses and addiction so often related?
Nurses and RNs are at high risk of addictions for many reasons, including:
- Their jobs are very demanding and require a high level of concentration.
- They often work long hours and have difficulty sleeping and waking up.
- The stress of spending so much time away from their families may be causing them to turn to substances.
- Hospitals, doctors’ offices, and clinics make medications and the tools to administer them very accessible.
- Many nurses suffer from mental illnesses, which they may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.
Are you an RN or a nurse with an addiction to drugs or alcohol? You need to know that you are not alone, and nurses’ addiction treatment programs are available to help you quit using.
Drug and Alcohol Abuse and Nurses: The Ease of Covering it Up
Nurses who have addictions may have an easy time covering their tracks. This is why so many of them continue to abuse drugs and alcohol for such a long time.
There are many ways for nurses to obtain prescription drugs while working. There are specific medication nurses on some nursing units who dispense all medications to patients during their shifts. They handle pills in pill form and provide patients with morphine injections, IV medications, and other necessary drugs. In other nursing units, nurses are responsible for giving medications to their patients as necessary. Either way, there are no barriers to nurses getting the prescription drugs they need when they need them.
Nurses can pocket unused pills for their personal use, and some will even give their patients partial doses of medications so that they can keep the rest for themselves. Or, they can put it in their pockets and use it themselves in the bathroom. In these situations, nurses can easily take a vial of unused medication home with them that should have been wasted.
This ease of access to substances can help fuel the temptation to misuse prescription medications and increase the risk of addiction in nurses.
Nurses and Addiction Signs
Your main concern may be a co-worker who you have noticed behaving unusually. You may be wondering if they have an addiction. Below are different signs you can look for if you suspect a fellow nurse is abusing drugs or alcohol.
Physical signs of addiction
- Shakiness or tremors in the hands
- Complaining of fatigue
- Exhibiting slurred speech
- Frequent watery eyes
- Constricted or dilated pupils
- Problems with balance and coordination
- Stomach problems, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Changes in personal hygiene
- Weight loss or gain
Behavioral signs of addiction
- Problems with concentration
- Sudden outbursts of anger
- Frequent mood swings
- Laughing inappropriately
- Wearing long sleeves in warm weather
- Complaining of insomnia
- Impaired judgment regarding their performance
Other signs of addiction in nurses
- Brief, unexplained absences during a shift
- Making rounds at strange hours
- Frequent medication errors
- Becoming isolated from others in the nursing unit
- Mood changes after breaks
- Patients may frequently report a lack of pain relief
- Many instances of wasted narcotics
- Altered telephone or verbal medication orders
If you notice any of the above, the chances are that your colleague may have an addiction. If you are a nurse and are concerned about a co-worker who might have an addiction, talk to them about getting help if you are comfortable doing so. Otherwise, enlist the help of a supervisor to prevent potential harm to their patients.
Northpoint Recovery: Trusted Nurses Addiction Treatment in Boise, Idaho
Your addiction likely began because of another condition you are dealing with simultaneously. Dual diagnosis treatment can help you recover from both of them, giving you a better chance of success. If you are an impaired nurse, the best thing you can do is get professional help for your addiction. When you choose Northpoint Recovery’s nurses’ addiction treatment program in Boise, Idaho, you are being proactive and taking the steps you need to ensure your safety, as well as the safety of your patients. Call us today at 208.486.0130 to get started on your path to recovery.