Tag Archives: substance abuse

Tag Archives: substance abuse


Why It’s So Hard for Those with Addiction to Recognize the Signs of Addiction

If you have a loved one with an addiction, you may have found that every time you talk to them about it, they seem to deny it. You hear phrases like, “I know I know, I’ll quit tomorrow” or “I can quit anytime I want, it’s not that big of a deal”. They may become defensive or may even make jokes to detract attention away from the situation. No matter how hard you try and tell them that you believe they’ve got a serious issue on their hands, you either get a handful of excuses or worse – false promises of saying that they’ll seek help, attend treatment, etc. – and then they don’t. You may feel like you’ve been let down, and you have every right to be upset about it. Addiction is a disease that affects the brain and thought processes, so it’s important for you to know that your loved one may not purposefully be lying to you – it’s likely just the addiction talking.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as, “A chronic disease that affects the brain’s reward, motivation, and memory functions.”

What exactly does this mean? Well, it means that your friend, partner or loved one may not be in the right mindset to be able to acknowledge they have an addiction because, well, that wouldn’t be addiction!

Addiction is a greedy disease, and it always asks for more than a person initially bargains for. It causes people to place the needs of the addiction first above anything else – so admitting that there is a problem would naturally squash the addiction before it had a chance to really take things over, and that would just be too easy. This is what leads people to lie, steal and say mean things even though these behaviors would typically be very out of character for your loved one – because now, chasing the addiction has become #1 priority.

Business Insider also notes that the withdrawal symptoms in and of themselves (depending on which drug, the severity, the person’s medical history and more) can be so painful that a person physically cannot stand to not satisfy the cravings. Imagine an intense itch on your head that only seems to get stronger when you don’t scratch it – with addiction, it’s very much like this. If your loved one won’t admit to struggling with addiction, this doesn’t mean that they cannot seek help. Sometimes it is through the court system, but other times, families can host interventions to help their loved one realize just how much damage addiction is doing to them.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

Adolescence and Substance Abuse: Just How Much Influence Do Peers Have?

Peer pressure is one of the most commonly talked about aspects of adolescence, and it’s because during this growth period, the brain is still developing. Teens’ critical thinking skills haven’t fully developed yet, and simple peer interactions can cause a person to make irrational decisions, regardless of the consequences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that people aged 12-20 years old consume one-tenth of all alcohol consumed in the United States, with alcohol, marijuana and tobacco being the most commonly used substances. When peer pressure is involved, adolescents are likely to want to feel included – bullying tactics are obviously something teens want to avoid, and peer pressure can weigh heavily on a person’s decision making if it presents itself.

A few years ago, researchers from the University of Connecticut published a study in the journal, “Impact on Adolescents in Substance Use Recovery”. It was found that peers actually have a greater influence on teens than parents – the study’s results also showed that teens with closer connections to their parents (or have a more parental figure in their life) are less likely to abuse substances than those who have guardians that do not take on a more “parent” role in their lives. At such a vulnerable time, the peer pressure can start off simple:

  • “Hey, do you want to try some alcohol with us? We’re going to be drinking tonight.”
  • “Eh, I’m not sure. I don’t really want to stay out late because I have a class early tomorrow morning.”
  • “Come on, are you always going to do what your parents want you to do? Fine – be lame.”
  • “Well, okay. I’m only going to drink a little bit though.”

The process of standing up for oneself in high school can be tricky, depending on the context, whose around and how comfortable a person feels. Some teens struggle with family issues or other emotional concerns in their private life, and substances feel like the only way out of those uncomfortable feelings. If you have a teen, talk to them about the dangers of peer pressure. Explain to them that not everyone is looking out for their best interest – and so they have to. Set a good example for them. Build a strong connection. If your teen is abusing substances, guide them to seek the help they need. They’ll be grateful you did.

Adolescent Recovery of Cumberland Heights (ARCH) originally began in 1985 when there were few other adolescent programs like it in the country. In 2019, we’re expanding our continuum of services with ARCH Academy, a unique program that offers 60 days to 6 months of residential care to adolescent boys ages 14-18 who are struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction. This new program stems from Cumberland Heights, which has been around since 1966, and is located in Kingston Springs, Tennessee. The adolescent age is a critical time for development, making this a crucial time of positive influence. For more information, call us today at 1-800-646-9998.

Holidays: Triggers to Watch Out for This Holiday Season

One of the most central topics of discussion when it comes to addiction recovery is triggers, and this is because triggers can lead to lapse and relapse. When a person lapses, they revert back to the addictive behaviors they exhibited when their addiction was active. It’s one of the trickiest areas of recovery because a person has to learn over time what triggers cravings to use and what steps they need to take to prevent it. Even in recovery, life challenges will arise. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) highlights the fact that we need to take a more trauma-informed approach to recovery, especially during the holidays, because there are so many people who could be affected by critical events that are going on, such as:

  • Major conflicts within their family
  • Homelessness
  • Loneliness
  • And more

For so many years, movies and songs have given us this expectation that the holidays should be the happiest times of the year. Ads show pictures of happy families gathering around the dinner table, yet there are so many people who are unable to see family members or even have access to food. Addiction recovery requires that we’re especially cautious to how we’re feeling, as the holidays can bring up a lot of thoughts or feelings that can trigger a lapse or relapse. This holiday season check in with yourself, especially if you experience any of the following:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Anger
  • Extreme happiness
  • Loneliness
  • Sadness

Sometimes the holidays can remind us of what we don’t have, and this can lead to rumination or being down on ourselves. You must remember that holidays are just days, and they will come and go. So many other people are working hard this holiday season on their recovery, so you’re not alone – create a list of people you can call and a safe place that you go if you need to regain your balance and serenity. Focus on what you do have rather than what you don’t – it’s easy to compare ourselves to others, but the reality is that everyone is on their own unique journey, and there’s simply no way to compare; the trials and tribulations one individual faces may be completely different from what another person goes through.

Prep yourself up for the holidays by highlighting how far you’ve come. Remind yourself of the journey you’re on, and consider all the beautiful people and opportunities that have presented themselves to you up to this point.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

Who Might Benefit Most from An Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program?

When help for substance use is involved, each person has a unique story to tell. Our medical and psychological history, family medical history, past substance use, personality, social support network and more can all impact what type of treatment that is needed. If you’re currently amidst researching the different types of treatment available for substance abuse, you’ll notice that there isn’t just one – and that’s based on the different intensities and levels of care provided. In order to determine whether an intensive outpatient program would be best for you, you’ll need to consider what you don’t need:

  • You do not require detoxification
  • You do not need 24/7 supervision
  • You do not need housing and food

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are excellent for those who perhaps have already been working towards their recovery but would like a nice transition period as they return back home. IOPs can provide you with that intense level of therapy and education towards maintaining healthy coping mechanisms, relapse prevention plans and support groups. Structure is still important in this type of program, as you’ll be expected to attend treatment several times a week, for several hours a day. You may feel as though this type of program is for you, but how do you know it’s effective?

Just a few years ago, researchers published a review in the journal Psychiatric Services to assess a number of other studies that have covered IOPs in the past. They found that compared to residential treatment programs, IOPs produced similar results in terms of alcohol and drug use. It was determined that IOPs could help improve a person’s quality of life, as well as enhance the effectiveness of the tools they use for recovery. If you have the time and are able to work out minor arrangements regarding child supervision, work leave and more, an IOP could be an excellent option for you!

IOPs work not by determining a specific length of time, but generally based on how you’re doing in the program. A variety of strategies may be used in treatment to figure out what meets your needs best – and that’s how it’s supposed to be. IOPs have become a critical component to the way we receive care for substance abuse, and it’s because of the intensive support that is provided while allowing a person to successfully build up their independence in recovery.

Cumberland Heights in Chattanooga is a 12-step based outpatient alcohol and drug addiction program. Our Intensive Outpatient Program is designed for individuals 18 and above who may be in the early stages of addiction and alcoholism, or who are experiencing issues with drugs or alcohol. We offer both personalized assessments and flexible treatment hours to suit your needs. If you’re ready to take that first step towards your recovery journey, call us today for more information at 423-308-0689.


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