Working Life: Adrian Scanlon nurse addiction counselor

9am: I spend about an hour responding to emails and phone messages and arranging appointments for people seeking counselling for a variety of addictions, including alcohol, drugs and gambling.

I treat people from all walks of life. The biggest addiction is alcohol. Up until recently 70% of our clients were treated for alcohol addiction. That is now 50%- 60%.

10am: I see my first appointment at Brook House, Cork Road, Co Waterford, a HSE mental health day centre. Sessions last about 50 minutes.

There has been a big increase over the last two years in the numbers of people seeking counselling for heroin addiction.

The typical heroin addict is on social welfare, although heroin addiction is not confined to any one class.

Heroin addicts often end up in the criminal justice system because to feed the habit costs at least €100-€150 a day.

The numbers coming for treatment for cocaine addiction, which is more a middle class drug, seem to have subsided.

My impression is this trend is linked to the recession.

1pm: I have lunch on or off campus and catch up on the day’s news on TV. My wife is a great cook so dinner is in the evenings.

2pm: Depending on the day of the week, I may be involved in an outpatient mental health clinic where patients are seen by a consultant psychiatrist.

I assess, diagnose and treat people presenting with substance abuse and mental health problems. I am a regis-tered nurse precriber and prescribe appropriately.

4pm: The Irish Association of Alcohol Addiction Counsellors recommends not seeing more than four patients a day to allow time to digest what is relayed to you in counselling and to assimilate the content of the sessions.

Towards the end of the day I try and catch up with paperwork or I work on compiling statistics for the Health Research Board.

If it’s a Tuesday, I’m involved with an aftercare group which runs from 5.30-8pm.

5pm: I head home to my wife and three children who keep me on my toes. I enjoy sport, particularly golf, gardening and DIY.


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