Patients going through drug rehab can suffer devastating physical symptoms such as withdrawal, which is caused by the body's response to going without a substance it's depended on for so long. During withdrawal, patients might suffer from everything from nausea and vomiting to sleeplessness. In addition, patients addicted to painkillers might see a recurrence of their pain when they cease taking the drug. Substance abuse nurses must be prepared for these physical effects, and must administer treatments to ease the symptoms so patients can concentrate on breaking their addictions. The physical effects are sometimes so severe that patients return to drugs to ease the discomfort, something nurses can help prevent by helping them manage their symptoms.
Mental Health Counseling.
As detox progresses, patients are also seen by a psychiatrist. Withdrawing from drugs and alcohol can impact symptoms of mental illness such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder and depression, so it’s important that medication is carefully monitored and adjusted as needed, Harris explained.
The Role of Nurses at Bluff’s Drug and Alcohol Rehab.
Rehab nurses provide medical care, support and education.
Substance abuse nurses care for patients on both an inpatient and outpatient basis, working at drug treatment centers, psychiatric facilities, methadone clinics and hospitals. Many also work at primary care physicians' offices. Though many work at facilities in metropolitan and urban areas, they're also in demand in rural areas, some of which offer limited options for drug treatment and rehabilitation. They work with patients of all ages, from teenagers undergoing rehab at residential treatment centers for juveniles to adults seeking outpatient services through their primary care physicians.
“Their mental state when they get here is also not good. Many people are humiliated that their drinking or drug use has come to this. Some are coming in as a last ditch effort to save marriages or get their kids back. They’ve lost a job or are fixing to lose a job. Their spouse has told them, ‘Get help or this is it.’ Some people were arrested for DUIs and are coming here from jail. Some people are grateful they’ve gotten here before they died. But most people aren’t there yet. They’re in pain and in despair.”