Nursing Roles in Addiction Care: Case Study

Subject: Nursing
Pages: 4
Words: 833
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: Master

Patient History

The patient history offers specific information on the client’s current situation. It is evident that the 21-year old female has been feeling weak and unwell for the past several weeks. In addition, she smokes an average of two packs of cigarettes a day, has a single meal a day, and is unemployed. Her lack of a source of income is evidenced by the fact that she goes through waste to find items to sell. The client also admits to using drugs, which she often shares with other users.

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Review Questions

It is vital to ascertain the extent of the patient’s illness during the interview. Some of the questions I should ask myself include whether or not the patient is able to describe her illness and the factors associated with her weakness. For instance, does she have a fever or feel nauseated? Has she experienced any loss of consciousness since the start of her illness? What medications has she taken to relieve the symptoms? In addition, what type of substances does she abuse? Does she share needles when using drugs? This will help rule out common illnesses associated with intravenous drug use. It will also help clarify the severity of her addiction and facilitate the formulation of an effective treatment plan.

With regard to the patient’s mental state, it is vital to establish the possible cause of her addictive behavior. This can be accomplished by asking if the patient is aware of past events that may have contributed to her current state. Did she experience a traumatic event that may have forced her to use drugs to cope? Is she aware of the detrimental effects of illicit drugs on her health? Has she taken any steps to address her condition? Has she had prior episodes of substance abuse in the past? In addition, do her peers support her maladaptive behaviors? Is she willing to make the necessary changes to improve her life? These questions are instrumental when deciding aspects of the patient’s history that need to be pursued in detail to yield a diagnosis.

Helping the Patient

Nurses play a central part in patient care during the planning process. Designing an intervention plan to help the client improve her life is vital. The short term goals during therapy include building trust to allow her to share her problems and conducting psychoeducation to inform the client about the harmful effects of drugs (Mumba & Snow, 2017). It is necessary to evaluate the client’s early experiences to identify potential issues that aggravate her addiction.

Positive reinforcement is essential because it allows the patient to feel accepted. Using the cost-benefit analysis technique allows the patient to write the advantages and disadvantages of drug addiction and current lifestyle. Reviewing the detrimental effects of her choices will allow her to dedicate her energy to getting better. It is crucial that nurse practitioners help their patients understand unresolved conflicts and analyze various options available to resolve them. Ensuring that the patient is referred for professional care is vital (Mumba & Snow, 2017). Finally, it is important to help the patient develop practical coping skills to avoid relapse. For instance, skill training and functional analysis are effective techniques that help patients avoid abusing substances.

Potential Strategies

There are several strategies that can be used to help the client cope with her condition. Relapse prevention techniques help clients handle high-risk situations and make lifestyle changes that eliminate the desire for substance abuse. It is essential to explore events and scenarios that have contributed to drug abuse in the past. This is necessary to help the patient avoid the identified situations, thus limiting the probability of drug use. It is imperative that the client sets goals that will motivate her to avoid engaging in harmful behavior. This will enable her to prioritize the healing process and focus on getting better.

The ABC model is a useful tool that nurses can use to help patients regain control of their lives. It outlines how to help the patient navigate the irrational and negative attitudes that contribute to the challenges she faces. Beliefs about specific events affect how individuals react to the situations in question (Nunez, 2020). The client should be shown how to restructure cognitive distortions and develop healthy responses to life’s complexities. Applying the aforementioned strategies will help the patient develop the skills necessary to get her life back on track.

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Helping patients develop a trust circle facilitates the establishment of the support structures necessary for recovery. Identifying individuals and institutions capable of ensuring that the patient stays away from harmful substances is essential. In addition, the client creates an avenue through which she can discuss thoughts, feelings, and emotions that could trigger a relapse. The most salient factor to consider is the intimate circle, which includes the patient’s closest people. These are individuals with whom she shares her problems and dark secrets. Ensuring that the client maintains strong bonds with her parents, siblings, or close friends is essential for adequate recovery.


Mumba, M., & Snow, D. (2017). Nursing roles in addiction care. Journal of Addictions Nursing, 28(3), 166–168. Web.

Nunez, K. (2020). ABC model of cognitive-behavioral therapy: How it works. Healthline. Web.