Substance abuse in Nurses

People are sometimes surprised to learn that nurses can have a drug or alcohol addiction. Especially when they’re in the field of taking care of others. Sadly, it’s a fact. The American Nurses Association estimates that six to eight percent of nurses abuse drugs or alcohol. Why do nurses struggle with addiction? For the same reasons others do. It might be anxiety, depression or unintentional — caused from taking a prescription medication. However, unlike everyone else, nurses and other healthcare professionals are at higher risk for substance abuse due to the nature of their jobs. Here are some reasons why.

High-stress jobs
Nurses have a higher susceptibility to substance abuse because their jobs are stressful and intense. They work long hours. They’re on the frontlines dealing with sick patients. And, many work in facilities that are understaffed. Not to mention, they’re expected to be happy, friendly and compassionate 100% of the time. As a result, many nurses cope with the stress by self-medicating.  

Accessibility to drugs
Nurses are often handling powerful painkillers and other prescription drugs. This accessibility increases the temptation to use. In fact, a study showed that nurses who handle drugs are more likely to have an addiction than nurses who do not. 

Fatigue
Most nurses work 12-hour shifts or longer with little recovery time to get fully rested. After a while, the hours take a toll, causing physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. In fact, many nurses early on in their careers experience burnout. To deal with daily fatigue, nurses will abuse prescription stimulants like Ritalin.   

Emotional strain
Spending as much time as they do with patients, nurses grow attached to them. While many patients recover and go home, some do not survive. Nurses turn to drugs and alcohol to help deal with feelings of loss and grief.

Bradford helps nurses recover
Bradford’s Healthcare Professional Program was designed to help nurses and others in healthcare. This extended treatment program focuses on providing nurses with strategies and tools, so they can overcome their addiction and remain successful in their careers.

Learn more or get help
Bradford has a proven track record helping nurses recover from substance abuse. To learn more about our program or if someone you know needs help, call us today: 888.577.0012

 

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