Tag Archives: Treatment

Tag Archives: Treatment


College students with substance use disordersCollege students – young adults – face so many challenges when it comes to addiction because of the accessibility and normalcy associated with college drinking culture. Considered a new-found form of “freedom”, many young adults find themselves testing the boundaries of what they can get by with – and substance abuse is a common ground of exploration for students. Bars are conveniently located near college campuses and weekend parties make it that much easier to use. It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt – but unfortunately for many college students, substance use disorders (SUDs) are left untreated.

12-Step programs provide young adults with a support network whom they can rely on in times of need. Many young people aren’t fully aware of the effects of their substance abuse; they often don’t realize the dangerous effects until they’ve developed a full-blown addiction. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases discovered that many young adults do find hope and support in 12-Step programs; in fact, previous research has shown that social support is an incredibly powerful influencer to those in recovery.

Researchers from around the United States sought to explore the general characteristics of college students who have attended 12-Step programs. In a nationwide survey that was conducted, 486 participants responded – leaving us with some key insight to what our young adults are experiencing around this age:

  • Most students had used multiple substances and had higher levels of SUD severity
  • Twice the national average of college students also smoked
  • Many college students reported series of homelessness and involvement in criminal activity

Co-occurring disorders seem to be a major concern for young adults, and the severity only continues to worsen the longer they avoid seeking help. The best way to combat these issues is to speak up when help is needed – to encourage our loved ones to attend treatment, to support them in recovery and to continue educating our communities on the serious effects of addiction.

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.

12-Step, AA groupOne person shared their story of success with AA through the Massachusetts Medical Society. Here is an excerpt from their story:

“My life is full of surprises all the time. I am grateful to have a program I can use to help me grow through life’s challenges. I no longer regret being an alcoholic since it is through my alcoholism that I have been able to grow and integrate a wonderful set of principles into my life.”

12-Step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have led so many people to live happy, successful lives – but it’s only those who become truly dedicated to creating this lifestyle who reap the most benefits.  Such as with the story above, individuals find the most success when they apply the principles; as with anything that takes time, recovery isn’t a “quick fix”; Ultimately, there are so many aspects to treatment that help people restore their mind, body and spirit – and we have to use them.

If you want to make the most of your 12-Step program this year, consider the following tips:

  1. Attend the meetings – even when you don’t want to. Addiction Professional, an online magazine that provides information on various topics related to recovery, denotes that the only way you’re going to get the growth that you need in recovery is simply by showing up.
  2. Let people get to know you. One of the main key points of 12-Step programs is to meet others whom you can build support with in recovery. The only way to do this is to let other people know you – over time and, when you’re ready, of course.
  3. Sit near the front. Just like in a classroom, those that sit up front are most likely to have the least distractions and get the most out of the information provided. Arrive early and get that seat.

While these tips may seem simple, all too often they get looked over – which makes it harder for those in recovery to reach their goals.

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.

Original Article by: Brittany Weiner, WSMV NEWS CHANNEL 4
Originally Posted on: January 29, 2019

As our country fights an opioid crisis, prescriptions for another class of drugs are seeing a steep increase, and they too can be dangerous and addictive. A new study just published this month shows between 2003 and 2015 Benzodiazepine prescriptions have doubled, and about half of them are coming from primary care physicians. Women are twice as likely to be prescribed than men.

Benzodiazepines are used for anxiety and insomnia but they can also be prescribed for chronic pain, and those prescriptions are skyrocketing. “Benzodiazepines are a class of medication that have a significant addiction forming liability,” Chief Medical Officer for Cumberland Heights Foundation, Dr. Chapman Sledge said. “If opioid prescribing goes down there’s some concern that Benzodiazepine prescriptions will continue to go up.” Dr. Sledge says many times these drugs are actually prescribed with opioids. “What we usually see if Benzodiazepine dependence in conjunction with opioid dependence or alcohol dependence,” Dr. Sledge said. A combination that can be dangerous and deadly especially if used long-term.

“Benzodiazepines are not benign drugs,” Dr. Sledge said. “There’s good data that suggests the combination of Benzodiazepines and opioids prescribed together increases the risk of death by fourfold.” According to the study long-term use has also increased with continued prescriptions increasing by 50 percent.

Opioids are an addictive prescription drugAs the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states, there are several drugs that fall into the class of synthetic opioids, such as: heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine and others. Some opioids are prescribed for injuries or other health-related concerns but are monitored by a physician. Others, like heroin, are illegal – but still, many find their way into opioid addiction. The opioid epidemic has taken so many lives due to overdose and it’s safe to say that even those not addicted are still impacted. Friends, family members, children and more all experience the pain that opioid addiction brings about. What makes them so addictive?

Opioids bind to and activate opioid receptors on cells that are located in the brain. Harvard University emphasizes that when opioids lock onto a cell, they affect the way we think, feel and control our bodies. The messages that our cells send one another become altered, which is also how our signals of pain often become muted when opioids are taken. We naturally have opioid receptors in our brain and these are involved in monitoring our stress responses, mood, learning, memory and more. As humans, we’ve created opioids that closely resemble the “code” that our natural opioid receptors have, so they work similarly in blocking pain. The problem is that since they’re substances, they do create addictive effects.

Alongside feeling free from pain, many people experience a sense of euphoria. What may start as one simple attempt to treat back pain could become a dependency if a person becomes too attached to the effects that opioids can provide.

According to the New York Times in 2017, over 2 million Americans are estimated to have a problem with opioids. Many of these drugs either started as prescription medication and were not taken as the doctor recommended or were sought out and retrieved from a friend or family member. If you are struggling with opioid addiction, it’s time to seek the help you need – today. Addiction does not define you and recovery is possible.

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.

Woman recovering from addictionNo matter who is embarking on the journey through addiction recovery, the same principle applies: each person’s story – and journey – is different. On the surface, there are so many differences we could describe that would make sense for why these differences exist. Our genetic makeup, personality, medical history, health, upbringing, social environment and so much more affect our lived experiences, which ultimately impacts our recovery. As you continue learning more about how addiction affects the mind, body and spirit, you’ll learn that drugs can affect people differently – which means their recovery time is unique to them, too.

There is truly no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to treatment. The core basics of mind, body and spirit are there (because they make up our experience as humans), but there are variations within and between these aspects and they matter. A 2018 study published in The Canadian Journal of Addiction emphasized the notion of “risk” factors for addiction, which can certainly influence a person’s recovery (and relapse vulnerability, too). Being aware of these factors can help you ensure that you’re taking appropriate steps towards meeting your recovery goals, along with what to avoid:

Risk Factors

  • Long delays in seeking treatment
  • Not having stable housing
  • Having a lack of supportive networks
  • Insufficient amount of resources
  • And more

How can we combat some of these risk factors? A lot of this effort comes into play when we build ourselves up and become advocates for our own recovery. When we do this, we utilize “protective factors”, we are:

Protective Factors

  • Having faith-based resources
  • Parental involvement
  • Supportive friends and family members
  • Stable home environment
  • And more

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) notes that both “protective” and “risk” factors can exist in multiple contexts. Certain situations can bring about both risk factors and protective factors, but that’s what recovery is all about: learning how to navigate them day by day, one step at a time.

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.

enjoying the present during recoveryAddiction can affect your ability to take on opportunities, embark on hobbies and develop new skills, manage responsibilities and more. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states, addiction activates neurons in the brain in an abnormal way compared to natural neurotransmitters in the brain. Drugs affect the brain by causing a surge of dopamine to be released, which is what takes a person away from the present moment and into a whirlwind of thoughts about craving, obtaining and using substances. Mindfulness is a core part of addiction recovery because it gives people back much of what they lost when addiction was active: the present moment.

Sarah Bowen, a researcher who has spent much of her career studying mindfulness, told the University of California, Berkeley that mindfulness involves cultivating present-moment, nonjudgmental awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings and surroundings.

A 2018 study published in the journal Addiction Science & Clinical Practice sought to understand mindfulness – embracing the present moment – and how it impacts those in addiction recovery. The researchers emphasized that practicing mindfulness could help boost engagement for those in recovery. Furthermore, the American Psychological Association (APA) reminds us that mindfulness can:

  • Reduce our stress levels
  • Decrease emotional reactivity, which often comes with anxiety, depression and more
  • Increases our focus
  • Improves memory and cognitive flexibility
  • Enhances our relationships with others
  • Less rumination

Mindfulness exercises are often learned in therapy and group activities as well as 12-Step programs, which truly set up those in recovery for a more structured, supported path. One individual shared their experience with mindfulness via HR Zone. She stated,

“[Mindfulness] has helped me see and understand my helpful and unhelpful habitual ways of thinking and behaving which in turn has helped me respond differently, more kindly and compassionately to myself, others and life’s challenges.”

If you’re ready to start your journey to recovery today, speak with someone from Cumberland Heights.

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.

Living sober after recoveryFormal treatment is an excellent place to start learning the ins and outs of recovery, but it shouldn’t stop there. Even after you’ve completed your treatment program, you want to make sure you’re continuing to use the tools you’ve learned. Sobriety can truly open your eyes to the beauty that is life, but it takes time to feel grounded once you’ve left treatment. You have the ability to create the ultimate sober living environment, you just need to remember the following:

  • Stock Up on Support. Continue to surround yourself with people who truly support your recovery. Distance yourself from those who trigger you or who don’t respect your decision to remain sober.
  • Go to Bed. A 2014 study published in the journal Family & Community Health assessed 164 people in addiction recovery and found a high prevalence of sleep disturbance. Sleep significantly affects quality of life, making adequate sleep a necessary part of sobriety.
  • Eat Healthy Foods. Addiction depletes us of vital nutrients and minerals, which can only dehydrate us and make it more difficult for us to think clearly. U.S News suggests eating leafy green vegetables, poultry, vitamin D, protein from fish and more.
  • Establish Structure. Just as with formal treatment, structure is incredibly important for those in recovery. Having a set plan for the day leaves little room for rumination or spending time with people who are not conducive to your recovery.
  • Continue to Build Spirituality. 12-Step programs are an excellent way to continue to build your relationship with God or another Higher Power. Previous studies have shown that those with strengthened spirituality often experience higher quality of life and lower relapse rates compared to those who don’t.

Sobriety gives you the option to better connect with loved ones, create new memories and grow as a person. If you’re ready to start your journey to recovery today, speak with someone from Cumberland Heights.

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.

Safe Start – Cumberland Heights’ Response to the Opioid Crisis
We created Safe Start, a recommended medication-assisted treatment to anyone diagnosed with a moderate to severe opioid abuse disorder

Safe Start

In 2017, nearly 70,000 people died from drug-related overdoses, and research shows opioid abuse is more rampant than ever. A report from the National Safety Council says more people died from accidental opioid overdoses than car crashes in 2017.

Cumberland Heights is very in tune with the epidemic and that’s why we created Safe Start, our official response to the opioid crisis. Safe Start is medication-assisted treatment and recommended to anyone diagnosed with a moderate to severe opioid abuse disorder.

Essentially, it’s extended release Naltrexone, a long-acting opioid antagonist used to reduce cravings. Naltrexone blocks the effects of opioids if they are used. Unlike other medications used to treat opioid addiction like methadone, there is no chance of dependency with Naltrexone. Naltrexone can also be an effective treatment for alcohol addiction.

Dr. Chapman Sledge, Chief Medical Officer at Cumberland Heights says as a stand-alone treatment Naltrexone is not effective. “The basis of a strong spiritual foundation in the recovery process is essential. Medication is only part of the solution,” said Sledge.

The Proof

Before the FDA approved Naltrexone for opioid dependence in 2010, they conducted a study dividing opioid addicts, primarily heroin users into two groups going through the same course of treatment. The only difference was one group got extended release Naltrexone and the other group was given placebo. The groups were monitored for 24 weeks. The group that got the Naltrexone injection had 90% abstinence confirmed on urine drug screens compared to 35% abstinence among the group that got the placebo injection. As a secondary measure, the study looked at cravings. Cravings were decreased by 55% in the group that received the extended release Naltrexone injection. In the group that got the placebo, cravings increased.

How it Works

This is how Safe Start looks for a patient coming into Cumberland Heights: Once the patient is evaluated and it is determined Naltrexone would be a good tool for them in their recovery, they will detox in a safe residential setting and then have 7-10 days for the receptors to clear before staff administers Naltrexone.

As they continue with their recovery, and transition out of residential treatment, Cumberland Heights sets them up with a plan that ensures they get their shot every 28 days. Dr. Sledge says it is reasonable to discuss discontinuing Naltrexone after a year if recovery is solid.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Opioid Dependence or Opioid Addiction, please visit our Admissions section to learn more about what to do and how we can help.


Woman finding herself in recoveryUnfortunately, there is much stigma that surrounds those in addiction recovery – and even amongst people within it. As a 2017 study published in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry states, shame placed on those with addiction can often translate into self-stigmatization, which only further perpetuates negative feelings such as hatred, shame and guilt. Of course, both social stigma and self-stigmatization serve as domino pieces when it comes to social aspects of daily life and they can affect the way people form connections with one another. Stereotypes are often informed by misguided movies, television shows and generalization as a whole and this creates a harmful cycle that only tears us all apart from one another.

In 2016, The Mighty, a website dedicated to sharing individual’s stories related to health, addiction, disability and more asked members of their Facebook community to share one thing they wish others understood about addiction and recovery. Here are a few that were listed:

“What we want most in life is to feel good about ourselves.”

“It’s hard to recover if you don’t work on your relationship with yourself, too.”

“Don’t bring up the past of a person who is trying to improve their future.”

Perhaps the biggest dividing factor is ourselves. Maybe we’ve been holding back from others because we assume they are more different from us than they really are. We don’t understand, so we criticize. We criticize ourselves and others. When we do this, however, we forget the fact that we’re all human beings who want to feel loved and cared for. We’re all people with pain and struggling – just in different forms. The more we can come together and find strength in something greater than us, the more of a fighting chance we’ll have against stigma, fear and hatred.

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.

talking to teen about alcoholNew Year’s is a holiday that sparks a lot of anxiety for parents, as holiday celebrations mean easier access to substances for teens. Most parents want to have that conversation with their kids on the dangerous effects of alcohol and drug abuse, but they aren’t quite sure what to say. As a subject that’s difficult to discuss, you still don’t want to skip it. Previous research has shown that parents who express their view on drugs – in particular, that they don’t want their kids using them – are more likely to warrant more favorable responses from their teens when the time comes that they’re approached with it. As a parent, you want to make sure that you’re telling your teen exactly what they need to make an informed decision – so what do you say?

Your Teen Mag gives some excellent pointers:

  • Have a discussion and set expectations but don’t lecture your teen
  • Express steps for being safe if they do decide to drink – because the reality is that while we cannot control what our teens decide to do, we can suggest ways they can be safe if they do move forward with it
  • Emphasize just how dangerous it is to drive under the influence or to be in the car with someone who is under the influence

Adolescents and teens are likely going to face experimentation and peer pressure, but maintaining a respectful, open dialogue with your teen is most likely going to give you the most favorable outcomes. As your teen is in a stage where their brain is still developing, they want explanations – not commands – for why they shouldn’t drink or use substances. Make it a collaborative effort and they’ll be much more likely to refrain from use (or at least take safety precautions if they do).


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.


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