Do we need to take drugs.. in order to do our job?

  1. Recent posts have brought up the question.. is it legal to take mood altering medication while on duty? ... and " I am so stressed out , I am now on an anti-depressant medication".

    I cannot think of any other profession facing this dilemma. Why are care givers driven to the point of self medication to perform?
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  2. 144 Comments

  3. by   ijuanabhappy
    I am prescribed Klonopin for anxiety and have been on a low dose for awhile now, a few years. I usually take it at night. I was wondering the same thing. I am starting a new job soon as a floor nurse, no floor experience or skills, and I am already an anxious person and pretty terrified. I wondering if taking half a dose of my prescribed medication will help me or hinder me
  4. by   lynnwerner
    I am a Hospice nurse and have been for about 5 years. I take Zoloft daily for anxiety. I believe that sometimes we do need a little help. There is a difference between anti-depressants and Benzo's. I do have Xanax for panic attacks. I mostly need it when I am working as my job is very stressful and dealing with death and the family is somewhat hectic. As long as it is used accordingly, I don't see a problem with it.
  5. by   Purple_Scrubs
    I have a tendency towards depression, and at times I have taken an SSRI for a while to get things on track. I absolutely refuse to do this for a job. Life circumstances (deaths, other loss, family troubles, etc), fine. But to have to medicate myself in order to function because of stresses at a JOB?!?! I just would not do it. I lasted less than 6 months in the hospital then got out and thankfully landed in school nursing, where I can do my job without taking mind altering medications. IMO, the strongest thing I should need in order to be effective at my job is caffeine (and that I admit to taking in high doses, lol!)

    If someone else makes a different choice for themselves, I fully support that, but for me I think no job is worth that.
  6. by   DroogieRN
    I've had to go on BP meds since I started my job; does that count? Never had HTN in my life until I started working as a nurse.
  7. by   helpingnurse
    I feel I am in the same predicament. I have been working nightshift for one year now in the neuro/surgical ICU and I am on a low dose antidepressant. I have never been the type to need meds and I am generally a very happy person but I feel the stress/anxiety of being a nurse has gotten the best of me. I have even gone to the extent of seeing a therapist and looking for a new job. When I graduated as a new grad I was so excited to be entering into this wonderful world of nursing, I just wonder now what happened? Any thoughts or advice are greatly appreciated.
  8. by   nurseprnRN
    you all do know that head-to-dead comparisons of meds and "talk therapy," basically cognitive therapy for reframing, showed that the therapy was more effective for depression and anxiety?

    of course, it takes longer, results in giving the person tools by which s/he can treat him/herself for life, and is provided largely by nonmds, all of which make it completely unacceptable to big pharma and the greater medical establishment. this is why your drugs (largely prescribed by primary care in the us, not psych) are paid by your health insurance but they deny you counseling. been there, done that, did self-pay, got better.
  9. by   sarah16493
    I think this is an issue for stressful jobs in general. I hear of a lot of people in stressful positions having to be medicated for anxiety, depression, etc. I've heard people talk about this problem not only in nursing, but also in administration, human resources, commercial fishing, etc. Its very disheartening that workplaces have became so stressful as if there were not enough stress in life.
  10. by   xoemmylouox
    Most of the people I work with are on some sort of medication. I was for awhile, but the side effects (mainly nausea) were too much. I do think that I may need to start back up on something..It is a shame that life/work is so stressful. I think now-a-days the pressure on one person is just unreasonable. We are handling a larger number/higher acuity patient population with less help than ever.
  11. by   nurseprnRN
    people, listen to yourselves. is popping a pill preferable to getting a handle on things? is this like tv, where every time you turn it on you hear some variation on, "i had a pain, i took a pill, my pain went away!"? are we so captivated by this marketing of urgency and convenience and entitlement that we can't slow the heck down and do something that's better for us? be bold. think about it.
  12. by   allysun1
    If only weed was legal?
  13. by   VivaLasViejas
    I'm with BTDT and several others on this one. What a sad state of affairs it is when so many caregivers have to resort to anxiolytics and other powerful psychoactive medications just to cope with the stress of our profession.

    I've often wondered how I've managed to avoid relapsing into active ETOH abuse again with some of the jobs I've had over the years; there have been countless times when I felt so hopeless and negative after a bad day (or series of them) that it took everything I had not to pick up that first drink.

    As it is, I've been on various antidepressants, as well as a small dose of lorazepam at HS for eons, only to learn recently that I actually have bipolar d/o and have been on the wrong stuff all these years! So now I'm analyzing how much the stress level has contributed to the progression of the illness......it used to be that my 'manic' episodes were basically just times when I had extra energy and was unusually bright and cheery. I enjoyed those; heck, they were not only productive, but fun!

    Then a couple of months ago, I had a 'mixed' episode in which I was irritable, agitated, couldn't sleep, couldn't eat, and didn't care. Not good. Thankfully, my PCP knows what I'm up against and forced me to get some help for all this, and I'm doing better now; but sometimes I get to thinking: if I'm having this much trouble staying on an even keel now, what will it be like in another 10-15 years? Even though I love my current job and can't imagine being anything other than a nurse, I know my mental and physical health have suffered as a result of my career choice. So has that of many, many other nurses I know. But......what can we do? :uhoh21:
  14. by   dishes
    I think in some cases the use of anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication is increasing because people are mistaking feelings of stress and sadness, as a psychiatric disorder and are asking their primary care provider to prescribe medication to help them cope.

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