Self-Medication Practices of Survivors Experiencing Sexual or Physical Trauma

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Background: This project examines sexual assault (SA) and intimate partner violence (IPV) victims and their use of alcohol to control the effects of trauma and its impact on communities, families, and society. Increasing numbers of victims show a need for this research. Victims use alcohol as a first line of relief in self-medication. Statistics show that alcohol is the drug of choice in all subjects' males and females.

Purpose: This project aims to describe, compare, contrast, explore, examine, and assimilate information regarding self-medication with alcohol by survivors of SA and IPV. It will identify demographics, the population's number, and the depth of addiction. Is alcohol a gateway to other substance abuse? Clarify the need to develop and use a protocol for nurses' education and the education of survivors.

With further studies, the project will develop and propose a protocol for institutions to educate nurses and survivors to recognize and address the signs and symptoms. Research will identify the population, assess if alcohol is a gateway for other substance abuse, and formulate a flowchart for nurses to address phenomena in survivors. It can provide ways to decrease anxiety and other triggers to decrease use and dependence/addiction.

Methods: Develop a protocol for training nurses to teach SA and IPV victims about triggers, self-medication, and interventions. Methodology for this could include surveys, interviews, and statistical methods of outcomes. Studying this vulnerable population, an IRB application will be mandatory and essential for demonstrating ethical standards. This capstone uses an in-depth literature review to gain information and direction for research guidance to best outcomes for survivors. Virginia Lynch's middle-range change theory is based on inductive and deductive reasoning. Synthesized theories, ideas, and practice allows innovative nursing care.

Outcomes: Interdisciplinary collaboration and communication allow emergency personnel, social services, and community partners to stay informed and empower survivors as active participants in care and outcomes with a tool for relief. Improved patient health has trackable outcomes as decreased co-morbidities in heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and outcomes in increased self-image. Teaching and early intervention by nurses allow nurses to impact survivors' lives, communities, and society. Nurses gain autonomy and positive interaction with patients leading to increased job satisfaction. Organizations impacted are society, medical institutions, and communities with improved safety, decreased violence and accidents, and improved health status of patients.

Implications and Considerations for Practice: Nurses need to assess the patient for the signs and symptoms of self-medication and use the flowchart/protocol for assessment. Consider if this protocol is appropriate for this patient. Ask how the patient will be taught and how to track outcomes.