5 Questions Every Nurse Should Ask Patients in Addiction Recovery

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It can be difficult for nurses to know how to best care for patients who are recovering from addiction. In order to provide the best possible care, it is important to ask the right questions. In this blog post, we will discuss five questions that every nurse should ask patients in addiction recovery.

Addiction is a complex disease that affects people in many different ways. Before we get into the questions let’s cover some signs of early addiction recovery. Early addiction recovery is a time when patients are learning how to cope with their sobriety and make lifestyle changes. They may still be adjusting to life without drugs or alcohol and may be dealing with the trauma they had been trying to erase, signs of this are:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • Irritability
  • insomnia
  • fatigue

While yes, treating individuals possibly going through such emotional instability can be infuriating, nurses must remember to put themselves in the shoes of the patient and not single them out. If any of these signs are noticeable in the patients, it is important to ask questions and get to the root of the problem. Here are five questions that every nurse should ask patients in addiction recovery:

1. Are you suffering from any withdrawal symptoms?

It is important to ask this to gauge how long they have been sober and if this could be why the patient is seeking medical attention. Symptoms of withdrawal are:

  • Cold sweats
  • Body pain
  • fatigue
  • Headaches
  • insomnia
  • Irritability

If the patient is displaying any of these symptoms, it is important to ask follow up questions about what makes them feel better or worse and if they have ever went to rehab and experienced withdrawal before. It is also crucial to know if the patient has detoxed before and if so, how long ago that was.

2. What is your typical daily routine?

By getting an understanding of what the patient’s day looks like, nurses can better understand if there is something about their regular schedule that could be causing the medical issue.

3. Do you have any triggers that make you want to use drugs or alcohol?

If the patient is aware of their triggers, they can be more mindful of avoiding them. However, if the patient is not aware of their triggers, this question can open up a dialogue about what may cause a relapse. It also helps nurses know what procedures or comments to avoid when treating the patient. Some triggers could be:

  • Someone screaming in pain
  • Seeing a needle
  • Being around people who are ingesting drugs
  • Feeling stressed or anxious

3. Do you have any other medical conditions that we should be aware of?

Many times, patients in addiction recovery are also dealing with other medical issues. It is important for nurses to be aware of these conditions so that they can better treat the patient as a whole. Common medical conditions individuals in recovery also have:

  • PTSD
  • depression
  • Chronic pain
  • heart disease
  • lung disease
  • anxiety

4. What are your thoughts on your current treatment plan?

This question allows nurses to gauge how well the patient is responding to their current treatment. If the patient is not receptive to their treatment plan, it may be necessary to make changes. However, if the patient is doing well, this question can help nurses understand what is working and why.

Nurses play a vital role in the addiction recovery process. As an individual on the front lines nurses have a unique opportunity to help patients in a way that other health care professionals cannot. By asking these five questions, nurses can gain valuable insights into the lives of their patients and help them on their road to recovery.

Joe Gilmore Joe Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for nearly half a decade and currently works for Renaissance Recovery, at an evidence-based treatment center in Southern California. Joe GilmoreLatest posts by Joe Gilmore (see all)

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