nurses and addiction

An Insider Tell All: Nurses Who Are Addicted

The topic for this month’s nursing blog carnival is LOADED! Nurses and our addictions.

Ten nurse leaders share their POV, including moi.
As I’m the host for this carnival, I’ll get the ball rolling.

Find out the little known #1 Addiction I discovered

At first blush, we automatically think drugs, drug diversion, opiates, alcohol.
Jeez! Even Oprah had a show recently featuring a nurse who got addicted to heroin. And she got clean 🙂

THE FACTS according to The American Nurses Association (ANA) state approximately 10% of nurses are dependent on drugs, making the incidence of drug abuse and addiction among nurses consistent with that of the U.S. population. With nearly 3 million RNs employed in the U.S., that means almost 300,000 RNs may be substance abusers; put another way, if you work with 10 nurses, one of them is likely to be struggling with addiction.

AND so, must of us already know this. Let’s move on to a far vaster array in the world of addictions. The good, the bad, the ugly, the fun, the enlightening.

Here’s my take. As a holistic nurse yoga therapist, I take a body-mind-spirit approach. My POV- CONCLUSIONS are based on my private, group and corporate training to over 6000 people, with the essential concepts I teach in YogaNursing®.

Here’s what I discovered– the #1 ADDICTION
for most nurses and indeed everyone else IS:

This creates stress, anxiety, pain and suffering.

Yep. We’re addicted to THINKING about–our stories OR other people’s stories.

Here’s The LIST, a long litany fueled by my work
with thousands of nurses, clients & patients:

These are the top 12 addictive thoughts.
Can you relate?

It all starts with FEAR. Fear of something happening OR not happening to YOU like…

your health– cancer, heart disease, PTSD, diabetes….
your weight– getting fat, beating myself up for being fat & not exercising,
your money– going broke, dreaming of being rich,
your house– oh my freakin’ mortgage, when will I pay it off, will I ever have a house?
your debt– guts churning on how to pay it all, will I ever be free?
your family– you love them – you hate them, war and peace…
love life or lack of one – should I stay or should I go? Oh the torment to decide!
your job– should I stay or should I go? Stuck between a rock and a hard place.
lack of sleep– tossing and turning’, tossing and turning all night.
food– what to eat, what not to eat, making smoothies, detoxing, eating clean,
betrayal– broken heart, broken trust, can I ever forgive and move on?
resentment– my boss, company, colleagues, didn’t get the gig I wanted.
injustice– what the fek is up? Brother against brother, sister, furry critters.
national security– what the fek is up with this crazy pants world? Homeland security, cyber attacks, constant threats, mass media fear mongering gone wild,
life and death– loss of loved ones, shootings, beatings, killing, bombing. Global warming. Threat of World War III. Sigh.
your purpose– how can I make a difference? Find the guts to take a risk and do what I love?
existential questions– is there a God, should I consider Buddhism, any ISM, deepen my Christ Consciousness, become more spiritual, find meaning in my life…
etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. aud nuaseum.

Do add to the list on what you obsess on- in the comment area below

In plan language, TOO MUCH thinking makes us sick.

We play out mostly imaginary stories about all that stuff. There is SHOCKING proof vis a vis our brain chemistry, (neuropeptides = the molecules of emotion) that we actually ‘get off’ on the feelings we create, a kind of habitual, hidden mental masturbation, which when out of control depletes our energy spiraling to a sense of hopelessness and depression. Mama Mia!!!

What to do?

By creating peace with your mind, you create peace with your life.

Consider learning mindful meditative practices like gentle yoga + learn how to meditate. I suffered from this addiction for years, torturing myself with the endless stories. After years of suffering, I learned the Sacred Remedy Rx. An easy, proven, treatment plan that anyone can practice. Now, I’m amazingly graced to offer these solutions to help nurses and nursing organizations internationally.

Tersigni-banner-975x322Consider the You’ll slow down your anxious, monkey mind and create beautiful calm. ” NURSES 28 DAY SPIRITUAL CLEANSE. You’ll slow down your anxious, monkey mind and create beautiful calm PLUS it’s pay what you can and an opportunity to give back to a worthy cause.


LEARN about the endless array of other substances and stuff we real life, human nurses are addicted to. CURIOUS? EXPLORE this intriguing list of posts from nurse leaders in the blogging world. Read their secrets and surprises-

Nurse Elizabeth Scala -Living Sublime Wellness
A simply sublime, surprising post.

Nurse Wayne Nix- Stress Free Nurses
Shares our global nursing addiction to the big C.

Nurse Keith – Digital Doorway
Shares 5 BIG addictions, I’m sure y’all can relate to.

Nurse Joyce- International Nurse Support
Experience in working with many addicted nurses, compassionate, thoughtful post.

Nurse Kevin Ross- Innovative Nurse
Comes clean on getting unplugged.

Nurse Lorie Brown-
Excellent advice + insights

Nurse Sarah Wengert – Travel Nursing Blogs
An upbeat spin on getting hooked.

Nurse Jamie Davis – Nursing Show
On being enslaved and role modeling

Nurse Jennifer Olin
What nurses have in common with movie stars

If you’re interested in participating in the NURSING BLOG CARNIVAL from clever Nerdy Nurse, Brittney Wilson- find out more details and sign up here.

“If you enjoyed this post, get email updates (it’s free)”

P.S. If you’re open to stopping your addiction to thinking, consider The YogaNursing Essentials. You can take the treatment at home in your PJs and even get Nursing Credits. Click here

Get powerful curated tips on the art of nurses teaching yoga

In spirit of our upcoming training: YNYTT (Yoganurse Yoga Teacher Training), we are giving away this jam-packed guide full of wonderful curated tips that will help you become a highly effective & highly influential nurse yoga teacher.

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  1. Great point about Fear, Annette. I read something I had not seen before (odd because I read this kind of self-help stuff all of the time): FEAR… False evidence appearing real.

    To me, another underlying cause of addiction seems to be unconscious life. I’ve only recently started to delve deeper into my own beliefs in the term ‘addiction’ (real or not real). Lately I think there is more to it, even underneath the addiction that is coming to the surface.

    It is living an unconscious life. Living with out conscious thought, unaware of feelings and avoiding being our authentic self. Living an unconscious life creates turmoil within the self, maybe leading to an addiction. A way to cope with a joyless life.

    Just an idea…

    You did a great job of compiling this work! Thank you, Annette. Really fantastic work. Enjoy the weekend.

    1. Yes, False evidence appearing real. Truth. Our path is to awaken from unconscious to conscious.
      My Tag Line for YogaNursing® is “Expanding Consciousness in Health Care.”
      Thank you for your own important work in adding to the expansion:)

  2. Annette,

    I’ve always been guilty of over-thinking things. When I became a nurse I was absolutely overwhelmed at how much thinking was involved with nurses. I found myself over-analyzing every experience and absolutely every detail of my day.
    It was exhausting and completely non-productive.

    Thank you for writing about this. It’s very helpful and sometime that I know nurses everywhere struggle with. I would have never considered it an addiction before, but it really is.

    1. AS one of my great teachers taught me, “our overdoing is our undoing.”
      Thank you for being the instrument to making this blog carnival happen and letting me get my message out there.
      Very happy it served you:)

  3. I have to admit that when I stepped out into my first entrepreneurial endeavor I was hooked, literally addicted. I wanted to not only put myself in every new opportunity that was presented to me, but I also wanted to be involved in every aspect. I was on that path and it was really the only thing that I did. I had no time for anything else, ever. No time for those roses.

    Of course with time, a lot of experience, and a very abrupt awakening that I couldn’t maintain any type of personal relationship, I started to learn how to say no and to also delegate. These two skills not only saved me from emotional and physical collapse, but they also helped my ventures grow exponentially.

    Thanks for hosting this round Annette.

  4. I like your point of view. I never thought of addiction as being addicted to
    thinking -but you are right!
    We think too much, create unnecessary fears, and look for something to numb those self-created fears.
    I like that you pointed out that the best medicine for our minds is creating peace.

  5. I find it ironic that people with ADD tend to find themselves set up for ADDiction. Having ADD thought patterns, one can find themselves depressed and feeling unaccomplished or just down right bored. Without any guidance on how to control thought patterns or a way to “calm the voices in their head”, they seek out a drug and our polypharm society willfully shoves it down their throats.
    I brought up ADD because I believe as nurses we all have some version of it. Unless you have one patient a day, I’d find your argument in-valid. How else could you manage the 10,000 tasks we have to accomplish each shift. I say this because I believe we bring these thought patterns back to our homes. We start to look at everything that’s wrong, what’s not done to standard vs what’s good and what we are blessed with.
    These negative and destructive thought patterns we wish to change. I am honored to have met other nurses like yourself and Elizabeth Scala who are working for the same shift in mentality. Plus I know from personal experience that Yoga is an excellent way to learn how to be calm and in the present. So once again, thank you for enlightening us with an actual solution.

  6. All the above mentioned addictions point to an addiction to perfection. Nurses are particularly guilty of this one. I’ve observed it especially regarding the nurses inability to ask for help.

    Asking for help is a strength not a weakness. If nurses learned to do this one thing alone, the profession would be self actualized.

  7. Addicted to thinking…I had never thought about that until reading your blog but now I think about it all the time. Uh oh! But seriously, you have a point I have never considered. And, I believe you are right. I have obsessed at some time my life over several of the topics on your list and I literally will get sick to my stomach at some point. I have been learning to let go for a number of years but it is still an exercise I must practice daily. Very helpful piece.

    1. Yes Jennifer. It is a practice. The first cure is to REALIZE the addiction to the stories we play out in our minds which cause suffering. Help is ever present as we practice ‘awareness” mindfulness, soften and create compassion for ourselves. Your comment is valued highly my nursing sister:)

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