Substance Abuse (SA) and Chemical Dependence (CD) are major public health “issues”. Despite the growing knowledge about the pathophysiology of this disease which affects the brain, our society continues to look at this as a lack of willpower, a moral weakness, and something people choose to do to themselves.
I’ll touch on many things regarding SA and CD. The main focus will be on how this disease affects nurses, and bring current information for nurses dealing with addiction in themselves or a colleague.
If our culture doesn’t change the current paradigm regarding this disease, the rate of addiction will continue to rise. Education about addiction is sorely lacking in health care training programs at all levels. By focusing on the nursing profession, we believe the rest of our society will follow suit. Since nurses represent the largest number of health care professionals and spend more time with patients than any other discipline, they have the greatest opportunity to begin to lessen the stigma associated with this disease.