How Nurses Treat Drug Users and Addicts

Nursing and Addiction

Within the past two decades, there has been an increased concern over a subset of psychoactive substances new on the drug scene. Some of these new substances like Salvia divinorum, MDMA (Methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine a.k.a. Molly) and Bath salts (A combination of legaldrugs mixed together which are categorized as “designer drugs”) have received plenty of media attention, some more than others. In many cases, only a small group of drug users know of their existence prior to the substances’ media exposure. These lesser known drugs have been known to cause the users to have very aggressive highs, which can result in harm to themselves or others and can last multiple hours.

Types of Nursing Care for Addicts

What you don’t hear about with these inebriated spells are the health care workers who are responsible for dealing with the recovering patient as well as the ensuing detoxification. Nurse roles vary when it comes to care for drug users, but they are crucial throughout the entire recovery process.  Those with a master’s in nursing provide qualified care for these issues since they possess a wealth of medical knowledge, hands-on experience and the kind, caring bedside manner patients will need in these dark times. A nursing assistant provides direct patient care in hospitals and other medical facilities. Essentially, these nurses will have to wear many hats, including a medical nurse, a psychology nurse and a correctional officer.

These different roles help nurses deal with a wide range of issues including out of control, dangerous patients, expectant mothers who are using, drug-dependent infants and innocent, yet impaired teenagers. All of these situations require an educated, experienced nurse who is able to accurately diagnose what drug the patient is on. Treatment follows diagnosis, and nurses execute proper ways to handle apparent addictions and remove the risk of relapse.

The specific treatments that nurses use for detoxification vary from patient to patient depending on the symptoms and usage amount. Older methods would involve cutting the patient off from their drug ”cold turkey”. This requires the patient to suffer through severe withdrawals, simultaneously putting them through detox and a painful reminder of the cost of drug use.

However, as healthcare has evolved, nurses now give patients medication that simulates the high and are slowly given smaller doses until their addiction subsides. These prescribed drugs allow the patient to decrease, and ultimately, lose their dependency on the drug. Normal physical and mental functions return, and the patient is now ready to seek out counseling and support groups.

As long as new drugs continue to infiltrate society, nurses will remain a key cog for those seeking recovery.

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Learn more about pursuing online graduate nurse education like a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from Loyola University New Orleans by calling 866-789-9809.