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Home > Alcohol misuse and the family.

Latham, Linda (2014) Alcohol misuse and the family. World of Irish Nursing & Midwifery, 22, (5), pp. 55-56.

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Nurses are ideally placed to spot the signs of alcohol abuse and should be prepared to open a conversation about the issue with family members.

Starting a conversation about alcohol misuse, whether it be with a spouse, a family or with friends, is a culturally awkward endeavour in Ireland. Despite the fact that Irish society tolerates a high level of alcohol consumption, it is a conversation that should be encouraged well before children start experimenting with alcohol.

This conversation should be initiated tentatively by nurses, whether at work, in the community or in their own homes. Some estimates suggest that nurses misuse drugs and alcohol at nearly the same rate (10-15%) as the rest of the population. The American Nurses Association estimates that 6-8% of nurses use alcohol or drugs to an extent that is sufficient to impair professional performance. It may be very uncomfortable for us to consider that a nurse can be high functioning and high achieving though suffering from a substance-use disorder such as alcoholism. Therefore, it makes sense that the conversation starts with us.....

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