No one is immune from the possibility of developing an alcohol use disorder. Addiction can affect any group of people — even those with the training and dedication to help care for others.
Nurses are constantly under stress and are often overworked. Their challenging schedules leave little time for positive self-care, which may increase the risk of turning to alcohol for temporary relief.
Alcoholic nurses not only put their own health at risk, but addiction may also compromise their ability to provide safe, competent care to their patients. A nurse recovery program can help nurses stay healthy.
How to Help a Nurse Go in for Treatment for Alcoholism
Getting alcohol treatment for nurses can be a special challenge. Alcoholic nurses understand the symptoms of addiction better than most people and may be able to mask their drinking problem more effectively.
Understanding the signs of an alcohol use disorder is the first step. Once you know what to look for, you can make an informed decision on the right steps to help.
Keep in mind that it will probably take more than one conversation to convince a person they need treatment. Let the person know you love them and only want what is best for them. Avoid arguing about their alcohol use, blaming, or saying things that might make the person feel judged.
Have a plan in place before you intervene. Being able to present options is more productive than just pointing out a problem. Ultimately, your loved one has the final word on whether they will seek treatment, but having options ready for them may make the decision easier.
Depending on your relationship with the person, offering to attend family therapy or other types of family support services might also encourage them to accept help.
Benefits of Alcoholism Treatment for Nurses
Nursing interventions for alcohol abuse offer a number of benefits. To start, it may save the individual’s life. Long-term alcoholism can cause irreparable damage to the organs and increase the risk of brain damage as well as some cancers.
Other benefits of treatment for alcoholic nurses include:
Better overall physical and mental health
Improved nursing care
Reduced patient risk
Whether it is through a residential or outpatient treatment program, participating in rehab gives the person an opportunity to focus solely on their health for at least several hours a day. That’s a luxury most busy nurses don’t have.
In drug rehab for nurses, nurses can learn how to take care of themselves in positive, constructive ways, so they can continue to take care of others.
What Are Signs of Alcoholism in Nurses?
The signs of alcohol addiction among nurses may result in physical, social, or emotional changes. They can include:
Being unable to control the amount of alcohol they drink
A strong scent of alcohol on the breath
Needing a larger amount of alcohol to attain the same sensations or effects
Experiencing withdrawal symptoms between drinking episodes
Making mistakes at work or failing to show up for shifts
Yellow eyes or a yellowish cast to the skin
Using alcohol in risky situations, such as at work or while driving
Poor personal hygiene
Red splotches on the face from broken capillaries
It is normal for people who are abusing alcohol to go through periods of being intoxicated and experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Not drinking every day or waiting until the end of a shift before drinking does not “prove” that a person isn’t addicted. Periods of abstinence are normal and will get shorter as the disease progresses.
What Are Some Risk Factors for Alcohol Abuse in Nurses?
There are many different reasons why people develop an addiction to alcohol or other substances. Some of the risk factors include:
High levels of stress
Mental health concerns, such as depression or anxiety
Drinking itself is a risk factor. Females who consume more than 12 drinks per week and males who consume more than 15 drinks per week have a higher risk of developing a dependency on alcohol.
What Percent of Nurses Have Alcohol Abuse Problems?
The percentage of alcoholic nurses is roughly the same percentage as in the general population. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that around 10% of adults in the U.S. have had an alcohol use disorder within the last 12 months.
Types of Rehab Programs
There are three main types of programs that can help alcoholic nurses recover their health. They are:
There are advantages to each type of treatment program, and no single approach is best for every person. Each individual must consider their own needs to select a treatment option that will be most effective.
How Acqua Recovery Can Help
The relationship between nurses and alcoholism is not new, but it does potentially affect anyone who needs nursing care. Alcohol use disorder can devastate the individual and the people who love them if it goes untreated.
Acqua Recovery offers comprehensive treatment programs that consider each individual’s needs. We provide a balance of evidence-based addiction treatments and experiential therapies, including peer support and family therapy. To learn more about our programs, contact us today.