Nursing Care Plan and Diagnosis for Substance Abuse - 24/7 Nursing Care

Nursing Care Plan and Diagnosis for Substance Abuse

Substance abuse turns into a disorder over time, making a person unable to abstain from it on their own. People who have fallen prey to substance abuse may try and fail to control their addiction repeatedly. It takes not only the will to change but also strong coping skills and immense support. Thankfully, there are established methods to support a person’s decision to stop substance use and help them overcome the hurdles they encounter in this journey. With proper diagnosis and the right nursing care plan from a reputed 24 7 nursing agency, coping with the change can be a lot easier.

What is substance abuse?

Substance abuse is the use of a drug or any other substance without any medical prescriptions or in a way that is inconsistent with social norms. Substance abuse can harm a person’s physical and mental health, while also impacting their personal and social relationships.

When substance abuse spirals beyond a person’s control with persistent drug-seeking and drug-taking behavior, it turns into a substance abuse disorder. A person suffering from substance abuse disorder may not be able to stop using the substance despite knowing the negative consequences. They develop a sort of dependence on the drug along with tolerance and withdrawal symptoms.

There are many symptoms of alcohol abuse and addiction. The best way to know whether a person is in immediate danger, or is just trying to avoid social sanctions, is through a test called the Grug Method. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to determine whether your friends or loved ones could be struggling with alcoholism. A single question can provide the answer: “Have you ever been treated for alcohol or drug abuse?” Now, you can join a grug testing program and get rid of your addiction.

How can nursing services and nursing care plans help with substance abuse management?

There are various causes why a person may be unable to withdraw themselves from substance abuse or cope with the associated effects of withdrawal. A comprehensive nursing care plan and nursing diagnosis by an experienced nursing service can be a strong support system for the patient.

Nursing diagnosis identifies why a person is unable to cope and what could be the possible risks they face if they continue with their substance dependence. Once the detailed diagnosis is available, the nursing service can create a detailed nursing plan specifying the desired outcomes, the nursing interventions to adopt and their rationale, and so on.

A nursing care plan aims to strengthen an individual’s coping skills, teach new ways to handle anxiety, increase family involvement in the rehabilitation process and help progress with the treatment.

Nurse Holding Hands of a Patient

Examples of diagnosis and nursing care plans implemented by nursing care services in Miami


One of the most common and often encountered diagnoses of substance abuse disorder is denial. Denial is when the patient has difficulty handling change. They may have tried and failed with the substitution of drugs in the past which did not let them develop coping skills. Such patients often prefer to stay in denial and are more vulnerable to substance dependence.


Common symptoms of denial include –

  • Refusal to treatment or delay in seeking medical care
  • Denial of the impact substance abuse has on their life and health
  • Shifting the blame for their condition on to others
  • Manipulating to avoid taking responsibility for their situation

Nursing care plan

The nursing care plan for a diagnosis like this aims to –

  • Clarify the relationship between substance abuse and the patient’s current condition
  • Bring acceptance of responsibility in the patient, holding them responsible for whatever good or bad is happening to them
  • Engage the patient in a therapeutic program to improve coping

Some common interventions in the nursing plan usually include –

  • Showing acceptance towards the individual, separating them from their unacceptable behavior. This promotes a feeling of self-worth and dignity in the patient.
  • Establishing why abstinence and therapy are necessary. This provides insights into why the patient should consider committing to abstinence and treatment long-term.
  • Urging family members to seek medical help even if the patient is in denial.


Powerlessness is another common diagnosis. As the name suggests, in this case, the patient is powerless in front of their substance dependence and though willing to change, they are unable to overpower their condition. It may be a result of compulsive indulgence in substance abuse with failed attempts at recovery. Sometimes, a general attitude of helplessness in the patient may worsen this condition.


Patients with powerlessness often show the following signs –

  • Inability to stop or abstain on their own and seeking help from others
  • Compulsive behavior where they are constantly seeking or thinking about the drug

Nursing care plan

The nursing care plan for powerlessness aims to –

  • Help patients admit their powerlessness over substance abuse
  • Help them realize that they need treatment to overcome their condition and will power is not the only solution
  • Change their outlook with strong peer support

Common nursing interventions here include –

  • Crisis intervention techniques to help the patient realize the need for treatment.
  • Involving the patient in the development of their treatment plan to help them understand the goals and outcomes. It gives the patient an opportunity to contemplate and decide what they need. They are more like to stay committed to a plan that they have helped build.
  • Supporting patient’s decision and choice of alternative treatments where feasible.
  • Helping the patient understand human behavior and relationships. This helps them overcome any past problems in personal life that broke their confidence and resulted in poor coping skills.

Imbalanced or lack of sufficient nutrition

Substance abuse and failure to abstain from drugs may also arise as a result of nutrition imbalance. For various reasons, the patient may not be receiving sufficient nutrition to sustain themselves. Many patients suffer from eating disorders due to psychological, physiological, social, or economic reasons, resulting in insufficient nutrient intake.


  • Excessive weight loss; fat and muscle loss
  • Lack of interest in food, altered taste
  • Vitamin deficiencies, protein deficiencies

Nursing care plan

The nursing care plan for substance dependence due to insufficient nutrition aims to –

  • Help patient regain a normal, healthy weight progressively
  • Demonstrate how substance abuse does not help with, but rather worsens their nutritional deficiency condition
  • Bring about lifestyle changes that promote healthy weight gain and maintenance in the long run

The interventions adopted include the following –

  • Monitoring the patient’s dietary intake.
  • Taking body measurements to determine fat and muscle mass. This helps determine the patient’s dietary needs.
  • Help patients choose their food to increase their participation and give them a sense of control over what they eat.

There are several other diagnoses too, such as ineffective coping, low self-esteem, altered family process, and others that require different nursing care plans depending on patients’ needs.

Nurse Helping Elder Women to Walk

Consult nursing care services in Miami

A good nursing care service knows what it takes to understand the diagnosis and build an effective nursing care plan. Nursing care services in Miami are equipped with the necessary knowledge and experience and employ some of the finest professionals to ensure that you or your loved one receive the best possible care. Coping with substance abuse and withdrawal has never been an easy journey, but with a little care and support, change is possible.