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nursing alcoholism & codependency

Nurses   (11,620 Views 28 Comments)
by LoveActually LoveActually (Member) Member

LoveActually specializes in MICU/SICU.

2,688 Profile Views; 51 Posts

Such a high rate of codependency, alcoholism and downright dysfunctional thought patterns and behaviors among nurses...

thoughts?

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hawkfdc has 9 years experience.

157 Posts; 4,303 Profile Views

Yeah-a friend just lost their license ("voluntarily surrendered"). I guess there was some diverting going on. I'm so disappointed. But we hand out narcotics like its M&M's, in the Pixis 30 times a night....I guess it just depends on what you will and won't let yourself do.

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Jules A is a MSN and specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

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I think most of the issues nurses face can be chalked up to just people in general. The whole world has problems. I'm sure if you polled a large amount of waitresses, secretarys etc. the same issues would be there. With regard to co-dependency what better career for someone so inclined than nursing?

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Tweety has 28 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

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Actually I think nurses are very good at detachment and not getting co-dependent. Don't know about alcoholism.

Any research to back this up?

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LoveActually specializes in MICU/SICU.

51 Posts; 2,688 Profile Views

I'll have to look for some statistics. I have always heard there's a high rate of alcoholism and drug abuse in this profession. Codependency is a pattern of dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns and such a complicated subject that is much, much more than 'attachment'.

I still would like to hear thoughts though, as this is a subject that hits very close to home for me.

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Saifudin specializes in Home Care, Primary care NP, QI, Nsg Adm.

234 Posts; 5,054 Profile Views

Alcoholism and drug abuse are huge problems.

I am DON in an addiction facility in Saudi Arabia. When I was first offered the job back in 1995, I refused when I learned it was an addiction hospital. I was in NY at the time and looking to work overseas. As a Muslim convert, I only knew of Makkah and Madina, the two holy cities in Saudi Arabia and could not fathom that there were drugs and alcohol in the 'holy land'. I did take the job and over 13 years later I have learned that illicit substances (and Islamically we include alcohol as it is forbidden in Islam by God in the Quran), is truly an 'equal opportunity destroyer' sparing no place or society.

Alcohol has been in the Arabian Pennisula long before Islam and in fact, after the establishment of Islam, it wasn't until 17 years later that the revelation forbidding alcohol was revealed.

Currently, we are seeing a surge in amphetamine use with high numbers of patients being admitted with drug induced psychosis.

To the question of why nurses have problems with alcohol, codependency and dysfunctional thought patterns; actually, these issues need be broken down into seperate parts, however, I'm not sure why dysfunctional thoughts is included. Seems such a generalization that it is just too broad to deal with.

Alcoholism is one issue and codependency is another. As to codependency perhaps the instinctual nature of nursing to 'save' is part of the reason. We are often very maternal/paternal people and want to help whenever we see suffering. Maybe easy for some to get 'addicted' to saving the addict, but this is a widespread problem particulary in families and close relationships with addicts.

Alcoholism as we all know is widespread and impacts huge numbers of people and in many ways.

One problem I find is with alcohol being legal and control left up to each individual, the problem will never be contained. We are a free market society and within this paradigm big business seeks to make profits, often at the expense of health and general societal welfare. I don't want to argue this point. I was once very much part of it although never addicted to substances but did my share of use. It just does not make sense to me that things so potentially harmful are left up to individuals to control. Again, I know this statement is a 'can of worms', especially for many who do control ETOH intake, don't smoke, etc.,

Regarding nurses and drinking, drugging...stress is likely a big factor. Just look at the stress levels in many threads. Some down and out nurses, so what do some people do when under stress, anesthetize. And, we know that brain chemistry impacts on abuse and addiction, as well as psychosocial factors, etc. The current times are also not much of help for those predisposed to substance abuse and addiction. Another added set of stressors.

Anyone interested in addiction nursing can check out the International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA). There is also a certification for addiction nursing (CARN).

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Tweety has 28 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

2 Followers; 28,921 Posts; 47,708 Profile Views

I'll have to look for some statistics. I have always heard there's a high rate of alcoholism and drug abuse in this profession. Codependency is a pattern of dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns and such a complicated subject that is much, much more than 'attachment'.

I still would like to hear thoughts though, as this is a subject that hits very close to home for me.

Understood. Easy access to drugs doesn't make it any easier.

Are you talking about co-dependency in our personal lives, or co-dependency with patients? I don't know about my coworker's personal lives, but they don't seem too co-dependent. Many of them are the opposite and don't have any patience for their whining husbands...."I just saved a life today, I don't want to hear you whine about your upset stomach...." LOL

Anyway, it's a good topic of discussion for this forum.

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Free2bmevt has 1 years experience.

11 Posts; 821 Profile Views

I have come to realize in the last few years that i have a tendency to be co-dependent in my personal life, but I am not at all professionally. I am a strong, confident, capable nurse, I would love to be able to be as strong in my personal life.

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Dalzac is a LPN, LVN, RN and specializes in CCU,ICU,ER retired.

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Melody Beattie wrote a book called Codependant No More. there is a chapter that talks about nurses being at risk just because of the nature of codependantcy. I think there are 3 occupations that have such high risk, Cops, firefighters and nurses.

IMHO if the nurse doesn't have a drinking or drug problem then someone close to them does. Caretaking comes from taking care of others from a very early age of taking care of drunks and addicts.

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edmurse77 specializes in ED.

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WOW! What a can of worms this is going to turn out to be! Statistics as we all know can say whatever we want them to say. There are so many factors involved. I have worked with a few nurses who lost their license for diversion. At some point or another they will get caught. Now the question is do nurses turn into addicts or do addicts turn into nurses. Like was said previously nowhere else is it easier to get. Whether based on pure morals, religion, or just your own conscience! Some people just can't, won't, and/or wouldn't. Statistically you could take that back to upbringing, the persons personal history, demographics, or just about anything else you want. The trouble is none of it really matters. You are not capable of stopping it. Other than keeping yourself safe and attempting to educate those around you about abuse. Abuse in its own will never end. You can change the laws, make punishments more severe, make substances harder to get to, but it will never end. I would recommend that everyone on this post study not only current theory on substance abuse, but the history of substance abuse. Since the beginning of time man has found a chemical way to escape. No matter what has or was ever done to stop it, nothing has nor ever will.

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Saifudin specializes in Home Care, Primary care NP, QI, Nsg Adm.

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Your right edmurse77, but, knowledge about the problem, its causes and its effects, early recognition along with sincere, nonjudgmental, and ongoing advice is one means to try to at least reduce the problem and to help those who can't (initially) help themselves.

In my experience working in addiction, chemically dependent people can spot BS a mile away and respond to sincerity.

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