Drug dependence, and addiction, affects many people from all walks of life, irrespective of socio/economic background or age group.
Over the past five years, we have witnessed the changing face of addiction, with patients presenting with increased usage of combinations of drugs (polysubstance abuse) resulting in more complex withdrawal, and negative impact for both the patient and the families.
The most difficult decision for patients to make is admitting they need help.
Admission to hospital can be a frightening experience, as they confront the negative consequences of their drug use, on both themselves, and their families.
It is important we as caregivers are empathic and reassuring, to both patients and their families, as establishing an early positive relationship, not only alleviates anxiety, but can contribute to a more successful engagement with the program, an overall outcome.
I am privileged to work as part of an exceptional multidisciplinary team in the Richard Pampuri Unit, facilitating safe medical withdrawal, followed by engagement in the three week inpatient program, then referral to the after care program.
It is important for patients to remember that people can, and do, recover.
About the author
Julie has worked in Drug and Alcohol in many capacities over the past 20 years and has been at St John of God Burwood Hospital for the past 11 years as a Clinical Nurse Consultant in the Drug and Alcohol Unit.