Print

Resources >> Browse Articles >> How to

+1

How to Care for Patients Who Abuse Alcohol

How to Care for Patients Who Abuse Alcohol

Terri Polick | NursingLink

Nurses often find themselves playing detective when caring for patients. You thought your patient was being straightforward with you when they shared their health history, but when unexpected physical and psychological symptoms cropped up, you wondered if they were telling you the whole truth.

Keeping secrets with their medical history is an unfortunate reality, making it tough on the patient to get the care they need, and challenging for you to get all the pertinent information. Especially when you’re dealing with someone who is hiding an addiction. Unfortunately, many patients are reluctant to tell medical professionals about their alcohol use, which can lead to serious consequences. Patients who are addicted to alcohol are at high risk for withdrawal during their hospital stay and may have grave medical issues related to their drinking.

According to the National Institute of Health, nearly 27% of the American population between the ages of 18 and 64 meet the criteria for alcohol dependency, making it the most prevalent addictive disease in the United States. It’s estimated that 17.6 million adults in the U.S. are alcoholics or have alcohol-related problems, and that up to 25% of hospitalized patients are alcohol-dependent.

Additionally, when patients enter the hospital for alcohol-related illnesses, the sudden drop of alcohol in their system puts them at risk for developing alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS). Nurses must be able to pick up subtle clinical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal as they develop at the bedside in order to prevent life-threatening complications related to the condition.

Accurately screening patients during the admission process is the first step to identifying patients with an alcohol problem, who are also at risk for developing AWS. Ben Cahna, RN, MSN, an author, and psychiatric nursing instructor at the University of Maryland, is a nursing expert in the field of addiction. He said that nurses sometimes rely too heavily on patient self-reporting when doing their initial assessment of the patient. Of course, it doesn’t help that patients may try to intentionally cover up their dependency issues, or they may be in denial about their drinking problem.

“Patients may not realize the extent of their drinking problem," said Cahna. "They might view an alcoholic as a skid row bum and they aren’t. They see themselves as functional. They have a job and they aren’t begging for change to buy a bottle of wine.”

Next: Assessment >>


+1
  • Photo_user_blank_big

    genman

    over 2 years ago

    62 comments

    It really a good article.[url=http://www.sunglassbrand.com/oakley-sunglasses-c-18.html]cheap oakley sunglasses[/url], [url=http://www.oakleyshub.com/oakley-flak-jacket-sunglasses-c-11.html]Fake Oakley Flak Jacket[/url], [url=http://www.oakleysshadestore.com/fake-oakley-half-x-c-15.html]Oakley Half X sunglasses[/url], [url=http://www.sunglassbrand.com/oakley-sunglasses-c-18.html]oakley eyewear[/url], [url=http://www.oakleysshadestore.com/fake-oakley-antix-c-18.html]Oakley Antix sunglasses[/url], [url=http://www.sunglassbrand.com/oakley-sunglasses-c-18.html]oakley sunglasses[/url], [url=http://www.oakleyshub.com/oakley-fuel-cell-sunglasses-c-12.html]Fake Oakley Fuel Cell[/url],

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    topwowgogo

    almost 3 years ago

    8 comments

    Max Azria its lotus daphne's case (Herve Leger) is dedicated to portray a woman is beautiful, shows a woman is tender and has the silhouette of line feeling. By daphne's case (Herve Leger) clothing each place to cut the body, thus image, to get the "bandage dress" name. Whether on the red carpet in attendance or participate in a small party, lotus daphne's case (Herve Leger) clothing will create memorable for you the image.
    By daphne's case (Herve Leger) 2010 chun xia women's clothing series continue consistent style, using big hot outfit naked color as main, on the design to join the hollow out effect, make models have lithe and graceful body appearance more sexy and moving. In material on, except for a suitable for the party in sequins small formal attire and walked along the street can upper-body clear thin fabric, the emergence of the denim for ladies bring more hale and individuality choice of the gas.If you interested in Herve Leger Bandage Dresses Please check from Herve Leger cheap,The Herve Leger Outlet It’s free shipping.
    By daphne's case (Herve Leger) in the clothes of line arrangement is very exquisite, or horizontal or vertical have rules, these grasp details are makes girls figure appear exquisite piece carry reasons. Most make posters nets make up make up coveted or body comes fourth from the bottom, have like a fish scales are just a little have administrative levels feeling out their exercise selfcontrol small formal attire, concise and easy. BaoYou also are to see which of the mind of it, welcome in the following message and share with everyone well.Buy Herve Leger Discount from Herve Leger Sale Very Cost Effective

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    topwowgogo

    almost 3 years ago

    8 comments

    ESPN.com TOP10 this issue is the list of the active ten quarterback, Tom brady and peyton manning, peyton west pressure before the two super bowl MVP drew-Boris and aron-top Rogers. Eight experts six people will Tom brady row in the first place.
    Payton-besides peyton manning scored two of the first votes, also got four tickets to the second vote, and Pat Yasinskas and Kevin Seifert is will the row in the third.
    Share a resource Cheap NFL Jerseys.I had visited this Wholesale NFL Jerseys already,and have gained.Guarantee you will like NFL Jerseys China.And this company do Custom NFL Jerseys,have own Authentic NFL Jerseys is a personality.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    topwowgogo

    almost 3 years ago

    8 comments

    ESPN.com TOP10 this issue is the list of the active ten quarterback, Tom brady and peyton manning, peyton west pressure before the two super bowl MVP drew-Boris and aron-top Rogers. Eight experts six people will Tom brady row in the first place.
    Payton-besides peyton manning scored two of the first votes, also got four tickets to the second vote, and Pat Yasinskas and Kevin Seifert is will the row in the third.
    Share a resource Cheap NFL Jerseys.I had visited this Wholesale NFL Jerseys already,and have gained.Guarantee you will like NFL Jerseys China.And this company do Custom NFL Jerseys,have own Authentic NFL Jerseys is a personality.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    msaiwn

    almost 3 years ago

    8 comments

    Many patients feel ashamed for their addiction.My father was so afraid that people would judge him that he lied when he checked in the rehab,even though going there was his choice.It took him two weeks to understand that the staff was there to help him and not to judge him. He was in a non 12 step drug rehab program that helped him kick off the addiction.He's been sober for 4 years now.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    lennya

    about 3 years ago

    12 comments

    Unfortunately alcohol abuse is so common that nurses should get a special attention on the sings and symptoms, a lot alcoholics hide their habits and some of them wouldn't even admit to themselves they are alcoholics. In these situations I do believe nurses should have the authority to recommend an alcohol rehabilitation program, maybe it will be easier for the people to accept the directions when they come from a medical professional.

NursingLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a nursing or healthcare degree program. Use NursingLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.