Health and Wellness

Addicted to Addicts: Survival 101

Denise Krochta

Addicted to Addicts: Survival 101 – Addiction and the Nursing Profession

When we are sick and in need of nursing attention we expect focus and professional care. But, what if our caregivers are prone to substance abuse and misuse?  In this week’s Addicted to Addicts, host Denise Krochta gets an inside look at this intriguing topic from the author of From Unbecoming a Nurse to Overcoming addiction, Paula Scimeca, RN, MS.  The topic is addiction and the nursing profession. Paula and Denise discuss accountability in the profession, the pressures and expectations specific to nurses, and explore addiction and accountability in the general population.

“I saw [nursing] not only as a way to support myself, but as a way to give back to society,” says Paula.  So, what went wrong?  For her, not much; however, for thousands of other nurses, there was an ongoing chemical dependency that turned their lives upside-down.  Paula discusses the numerous stresses unique to nurses and the treatment process she goes through to help rehabilitate them when they finally realize that they need help.

Paula goes on to explain that this is a common enough occurrence, not only in the medical field, but just about everywhere.   It’s no longer heroin that people are clamoring for: it’s prescription drugs–the kind dished out by doctors and dentists.  “The mindset is, ‘it’s not illegal if it’s prescribed,” notes Denise.  When drugs are readily available and not illegal to take–are they more tempting than ever?

“Substance abuse, including alcohol and prescription drugs, crosses all barriers these days and the more we talk about it and recognize that it exists, the quicker we can talk about possible solutions,” says Denise.  Are you a nurse seeking help to overcome your substance abuse addiction?  Or do you know and love someone who falls into that category?  Then this episode is definitely for you.  And for anyone else who has ever loved an addict and wanted to see them well.