One point in drug abuse concerns the relationship of the nursing staff with the patient during care. The success of treatment depends on this relationship and, therefore, professionals should show attitudes of:
- Concern with the integrity of the person.
Investigation on the problem
When a patient arrives at a drug addiction treatment center, one of the first steps includes investigating their problem. Only in this way is it possible to understand clearly what the person’s needs are and how to help them. Using the proper drug rehabilitation process is essential here.
Research questions include:
1. What substance is used?
2. How long? How often and how much?
3. In which environments does the use occur?
4. What are the ways of using the drug?
5. What social support (family, friends, community) does the person have?
6. Has the person developed emotional and physical problems related to use?
Are there any other health problems?
Research also includes identifying behavioral and physical signs related to drug use, such as: depression social and economic prejudice poor hygiene intoxication weight loss.
As we have mentioned, specific conduct and treatment will depend on each person’s particular situation. In this process, it is very important that the nurse listens to the patient, their needs, their fears and the motivations for treatment.
Some important points of conduct are:
Counseling for the person: the team helps the patient to reflect on treatment, cope with abstinence, take responsibility, find solutions.
Motivations: It is the team’s role to also find a way to motivate the person in their self-care, minimizing barriers and facilitating access to treatment
- Integration of care with other health professionals (psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, occupational therapists).
Social aggravating factors in treatment
Addiction care can in many cases be a long and difficult process, mainly because it involves a social problem that includes the patient himself, his family and the community in which he is inserted. The nurse needs to be aware of the social aggravating factors that can make treatment difficult, such as:
- Economic losses the person has caused to the family, which undermine payment for treatment and alienate family members
- Manifestations of antisocial behavior to obtain the drug or as a consequence of its use, which alienate the person’s family and community
- Treatment of new dependents, which make the community want to remove the user from all social life
- Other more serious social problems that may be related to drug use, such as prostitution, theft and violence against themselves or others.
Finally, we list some important care for the nursing staff during the care of people with chemical dependence, especially at the beginning of treatment:
- Clarify to the patient the reason for his hospitalization, the institution’s rules and what is expected of him
- Be prepared for moments of irritability and aggression on the part of the abstinent person
- Control visitors to prevent them from bringing drugs or other substances
- Prevent patients from having access to the medication room
- Always pay attention to hygiene and food aspects.
The successful treatment of addiction depends on the performance of a dedicated and qualified nursing team that understands the special needs of patients in this situation.