Every day, hundreds of thousands of Americans head off to jobs where their physical and mental health is put at risk. You can probably think of several such tasks, such as firefighters and law enforcement for example. These forms of employment can be hazardous, and those who work in such fields can experience severe trauma from the things that they witness. Traumatic experiences can lead to the development of conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression; left untreated, people with those types of affliction often resort to drugs and alcohol for relief. Such quests for comfort can develop into alcohol and substance use disorder which, like other form of mental illness, requires treatment.
Heroic acts like rushing into a burning building, confronting an armed suspect, and comforting victims can have a lasting effect even on the strongest of individuals. However, there are other lines of work that demand a particular kind of individual, which can leave permanent scars on people’s psyches. In fact, people working in the field of medicine see things that they wouldn’t wish for others to see; emergency rooms workers across the country regularly attend to horrific injuries, some of which end fatally. While nurses and doctors undergo extensive training for learning how to handle uncomfortable situations, many are unable to cope with the trauma.
Nurses Living With Addiction
About 63 percent of nurses experience physical or mental side effects of job-related stress, according to a Nursing Times survey. Of the 4,011,911 professional nurses in the U.S., 10% to 15% may be impaired or recovering from substance or alcohol addiction, according to the American Nurses Association (ANA). The number of RNs struggling with addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder may be a lot higher. If you consider the nature of the work calls for doling out prescription drugs, so asking for help may lead some to believe that it is tantamount to career suicide. While those caught diverting meds from the hospital may be at such a risk, it is unlikely that one’s career will come to an end for seeking treatment.
Most people struggling with mental illness, such as addiction and PTSD, do not work in an environment where they have to handle narcotics. Nurses and doctors prescribe and administer mind-altering drugs daily. When people dealing with stress, trauma, and sleep deprivation can divert medication relatively easily for relief, the practice is a slippery slope to a use disorder. Of course, most nurses are not engaging in illegal activity to calm their nerves; some people return home from work and imbibe alcohol instead. In either scenario, the outcome can be the same.
It is vital that people who are dealing with mental illness seek assistance in the form of treatment. Both the addiction and the co-occurring psychological illness require simultaneous care if long-term recovery is to be achieved.
Addiction Treatment for Heroes
Last week, people around the country acknowledged the 4 million plus heroes working in the nursing field during National Nurses Week. At HVRC, we know first-hand the vital role that professional nurses play in helping others find addiction recovery. What’s more, we have created a program that is specifically tailored to those working in fields where trauma is a common occurrence.
If you are a nurse who is struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorder like PTSD, our Heroes Program can help you begin the journey of recovery. Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat to learn more about our program.