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Understanding Drug and Alcohol Use Disorder in Tennessee

Drugs and alcohol have long been known to cause problems among those who abuse substances. Even slight abuse of drugs or alcohol can wreak havoc on a person’s personal and professional life, even if the substance is legal. In fact, prescription drugs prescribed legally are often one of the most commonly abused substances.

Drug misuse is often accompanied by a terrible social impact on community life. Without a doubt, drug misuse can translate into several forms of negative impact on a person’s business, education, and family. In its most severe form, drug misuse contributes to crime, violence, financial difficulties, housing crises, homelessness, and anti-social behavior.

Many diseases and disabilities are brought on by drug use and addiction worldwide. Developments in neuroscience hope to contribute to bettering public health policies that aim to lessen the harm that using alcohol, tobacco, and other psychoactive substances causes to society.

Fortunately, a variety of treatment methods exist that prove of the utmost benefit to those suffering from drug and alcohol use disorders. From detox methods to behavioral counseling to residential treatment, you can take advantage of a drug rehab in Tennessee to help you overcome a drug or alcohol addiction.

Keep reading to learn more about drug and alcohol use disorder and the different types of treatment available in Tennessee.

Tennessee Drug and Alcohol Use Disorder Statistics

Here’s a look at five of the most astonishing statistics relating to Tennessee drug and alcohol use disorder:

1. Opioid painkiller prescriptions (2021): 4,715,782
2. Nonfatal overdoses (2020): 18,733
3. Nonfatal overdoses requiring in-patient medical treatment (2020): 7,063
4. Overdose deaths (2020): 3,032
5. Crimes in Tennessee with some type of drug-related nexus: 80%

Drug and Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment: Trends in Tennessee

It’s typically very difficult to capture an accurate estimate regarding any issue relating to substance abuse. Why? Because people addicted to drugs or alcohol generally aren’t forthcoming with any information relating to their addiction.

The Safe Baby Court Coordinator, Carrie Niederhauser, in charge of services available in Rutherford County, Tennessee says because people are adept at disguising it, substance misuse is more common in Tennessee than most people realize. It is an issue that impacts members of all socioeconomic groups, she added. Drug abuse impacts not only the users and their families but the entire community as well. All of the addict’s family members (parents, grandparents, etc.) have problems because of the addict’s drug use.

Niederhauser also stated that substance misuse itself isn’t the only problem when it comes to the short- and long-term impacts that it has on the community. It also has an impact on work, housing, and other necessities for raising children. The entire community and state suffer negatively from the effects of substance misuse.

According to one of the most recent Tennessee Drug Control Updates issued at the command of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, there was a 178% increase in the number of meth labs seized in Tennessee during the years of 2008 to 2011. The percentage of people reporting use of an illegal substance during the prior 30 days was 7.07%.

Also worth noting is that according to the Tennessee Drug Control Update, the Tennessee average for drug-induced deaths was higher than the national average at that time. Additionally, of those who were admitted for substance use disorder treatment, 42% were admitted due to issues relating to opiate addiction, prescription drugs included.

Types of Drug and Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment in Tennessee

Various types of drug and alcohol use disorder treatments exist in Tennessee. The more methods available, the easier it is for a person suffering from the disorder to receive customized treatment that fits unique needs and preferences. And since no two addictions are exactly the same, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment or recovery solution.

Treatment methods that work for one person addicted to painkillers or any type of substance will oftentimes not work for the next person. This is why it’s so important to have a thorough assessment performed to pinpoint the exact areas within a person’s life that require treatment to help overcome substance use disorder.

Here’s a look at the five primary types of drug and alcohol treatment available in Tennessee.

Detox Methods

There are four basic types of detox methods used in treating substance use disorder:

1. Quit drugs cold turkey with medical assistance
2. Substitution tapering, or gradually decreasing the use of a drug while also incorporating the use of a substitute, such as naltrexone
3. Direct tapering, or using less and less of a drug over time without using a replacement
4. Titration tapering, or slightly reducing the dose of a drug until a person isn’t taking any at all

If the withdrawal symptoms experienced during drug detox are helped by medical care, the cold turkey treatment may be much more likely to work than other methods.

During detox, withdrawal symptoms are often treated with prescription and over-the-counter drugs like:

• Medications, such as Pepto-Bismol, for digestive complaints
• Advil, aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen for headaches and body aches
• Anti-anxiety drugs for depression or anxiety
• Medications to reduce cravings, such as bupropion or naltrexone

Outpatient Programs

When you enroll in an outpatient program to treat an addiction to alcohol or drugs, this means you do not have to be admitted for medical or supervised care. Instead of residing day and night at the treatment center, a client can partake in outpatient treatment services via telehealth or in person one to three times a week.

Outpatient treatment programs come in a variety of forms and have varying attendance requirements. Outpatient treatment is frequently provided and offered according to an individual’s needs and preferences in local health departments, counseling offices, mental health clinics, or hospital clinics. In general, clients who take part in outpatient programs have to go to treatment sessions one to three times a week for one to three months.

Clients partaking in outpatient treatment often work on identifying their triggers and learning coping skills during group therapy or counseling sessions. Even though outpatient treatment can be acquired through one-on-one sessions, many people find that group therapy works well because it lessens isolation and allows clients to see how others are recovering.

Intensive Outpatient Facilities

When participating in an intensive outpatient program, also commonly referred to as an IOP, clients partake in individual and group counseling sessions. Much of the time spent during these sessions involves pinpointing triggers, such as problems at home or work, that cause a person to turn to alcohol or drugs. By pinpointing the triggers, it becomes possible to avoid those triggers and/or react differently to them.

Because of the treatment schedule, IOP is intensive, thus giving it the name intensive outpatient. Most of the clients who take part in IOP spend at least 10 hours a week meeting with counselors and support groups.

Also, because it is “outpatient,” IOP clients leave the facilities where they obtain services each evening. This is unlike inpatient treatment, during which clients reside at the facility where they obtain services. All IOPs are scheduled, routine-based programs. They are heavily structured around improving a person’s skills development, particularly those skills that directly relate to substance use and recovery.

Residential Programs

Clients in a residential program receive treatment under supervised criteria. Clients are monitored by facility staff and physicians and must reside at the facility at all times. Some programs allow clients to leave for a couple of hours each day or on the weekends. However, clients must return by curfew. If they don’t return by curfew, they must restart the program or leave.

During residential programs, clients partake in various types of activities and behavioral counseling sessions. These sessions run anywhere from four to 16 hours a day. Some of the topics covered in most residential programs include:

• Codependency
• Self-esteem
• Enabling
• Shamefulness
• Compulsive behavior
• Powerlessness
• Power of choices
• Support network
• How to handle cravings
• Motivation
• Spirituality
• Surrender

Residential inpatient treatment facilities are extremely regimented and disciplined, and most facilities use the same activities and therapies. Clients have less anxiety and tension as a result of the strict structure, thus facilitating a safe and motivating environment for healing and recovery. Daily activities may differ depending on the environment and resources provided.

Medication-assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment, which is oftentimes referred to as MAT, is the use of drugs in conjunction with counseling and cognitive treatments to treat substance use disorders on a “whole-patient” basis.

Full recovery, including the capacity to lead a self-directed life, is the ultimate objective of treatment that integrates the use of medications. This therapeutic strategy has been demonstrated to:

• Increase survival rates
• Decrease criminal activity among those with a substance use disorder
• Improve clients’ ability to gain and keep a job
• Improve relationships and relationship patterns
• Minimize relapse rates

Tennessee Substance Use Withdrawal Guide

Detoxification (in reference to substance abuse) is the process of removing drugs from the body so that the brain is no longer affected by the addictive chemical. The body’s capacity to manufacture or use the natural compounds that the drug has replaced frequently declines or disappears when a person develops a drug dependence. This indicates that the brain is unable to maintain normal function when the user quits using the drug since those compounds are not present to take the drug’s place.

With proper withdrawal methods in place, it becomes easier to detox the body of the substance(s) being abused. With or without medical detox, though, it’s still possible to withdraw safely from a substance and enter into a treatment program. Check out the guide below to help ensure you or someone you love withdraws safely from whatever substance it is that is being abused.

Attend a Detox Program

Attending a detox program is considered by most physicians to be the best method for managing withdrawal. The physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms can oftentimes be so intense that medication and supervised care are necessary. On average, a medical detox lasts anywhere from five to 10 days. Around-the-clock supervision is provided during a medical detox, which makes it easier to manage cravings thanks to the administration of medications as needed.

Exercise Daily

Exercising every day helps restore a positive chemical balance, thus reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. If possible, you should go for a walk or run at least once a day to ensure your body gets enough aerobic activity to boost mental and physical health and keep withdrawal symptoms to a minimum.

Eat Healthy Meals and Drink Lots of Water

Staying hydrated is one of the most important parts of keeping withdrawal symptoms at bay during a detox. While using drugs or alcohol, the body gets depleted of the nutrients that it needs to keep operating efficiently. During detox, it’s crucial to restore those nutrients and expedite the healing process. When attending an IOP or residential treatment program, clients are provided with healthy meals. If you’re not attending a program, you must make sure to eat three healthy meals a day as well as drink lots of water to stay hydrated.

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Reviewed By:

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis completed medical school at The University of Mississippi Medical Center and residency in general psychiatry in 2003. He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2005. Following this, he served as Chief Medical Officer for 10 years of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare a private health system including a 105-bed hospital, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient services.

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