Whether it’s betting your life savings on the Titans game or binge drinking daily, addiction is a disease that hijacks a person’s life. Drug rehabs in Tennessee are committed to delivering quality care for those who are desperate for support. The stigma of addiction is so harmful to the collective good, making recovery all the more challenging. According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, 80% of crimes are drug-related, with heroin and fentanyl being primary causes for concern.

What is Addiction?

According to the NSDUH (National Survey on Drug Use and Health), approximately 8.5 million American adults fight with mental health disorders and substance use disorders in 2017. This is commonly known as co-disorders and brings complications toward recovery. Substance use disorder is a disease that robs the body’s ability to control the use of a substance. You might start out experimenting with some peers before it grows into a greater obstacle.

One sign of substance use disorder is when a person lacks the resolve to quit despite the negative effects it has on them. As time passes, the person’s body requires more of the substance to reach the same “high” and builds a tolerance. Withdrawal is the main obstacle a person could deal with if they frequently misuse a substance. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of June 2020, 13% of Americans reported increased substance use to cope with the challenges of COVID-19 — along with spikes in overdoses. However, since the data from medical records and toxicology reports takes months of analysis, it’s important to consider the supply of these substances. Stress and isolation play a major role in the development of substance use disorder, as a person might rely on substances to deal with uncertainty and anxiety.

How is Addiction a Disease?

Addiction is classified as a disease due to the changes in the brain that react to a person’s stress levels, reward centers, and control. With long-term use, this creates a dependence on a variety of withdrawal symptoms. Those struggling with addiction could experience a decreased quality of life and an increased likelihood of other health complications. Despite these issues, addiction is treatable through quality care. Detoxification is one of the main processes that rids the body of addictive substances. Addiction treatment in Nashville is well equipped to handle the most severe of cases.

However, addiction might not be considered a disease by some due to the fact most people struggling choose to use drugs. These arguments note that addiction is not contagious, autoimmune, and degenerative. An oversimplification of these challenges implies that addiction is curable strictly through isolation and a promise to stop using. It’s important to consider, though, that most people are prescribed medications with addictive qualities. A person struggling with addiction has no goal in mind to ruin their health or relationships.

How Does Addiction Affect the Mind and Body?

Addictive substances manipulate the neural pathways in the brain by activating the reward system. When you eat some ice cream, this lights up the pleasure centers of the brain that are designed for survival. We seek pleasure to avoid pain. The type of substance misuse plays a role in addiction due to the different potencies and how quickly they reach the brain.

Addictive substances have a stronghold on the normal functioning of the brain’s pleasure and motivation centers, making it difficult to compete against natural rewards. When an addictive substance enters the body, it can copy natural brain chemicals and prevent them from being recycled back into the brain. This usually triggers these brain chemicals to be released in large quantities. Addictive substances bring the bustling parade of high effects, making it hard for the brain to compete with lesser highs (such as exercise or music).

Dopamine is the primary chemical messenger that’s sent when a reward is present before the brain. The brain is designed to collect these rewards to repeat them, enabling the motivation factor. This repetition creates a value system for the brain to distinguish between rewards and punishments. 

Tolerance and Dependence

The brain becomes “bored” with natural rewards in favor of substances, thus making things feel unappetizing when a person doesn’t use these substances. The desire for these substances becomes a practice, which grows into the lifestyle of the person seeking the same high effect. A craving can be triggered just like anything else, a hunger similar to food or love.

Tolerance and dependence are key factors in evaluating a person’s substance use. The alterations to the brain’s function cause the body to adjust to the demands of a person’s substance use. Dependence is best described as the physical need to use a substance to feel normal. For example, a person struggling with alcohol addiction might drink in the morning to offset their anxiety or hangover from the night before.

What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Addiction?

tennessee addiction treatment centersSome substances are more addictive than others, such as opioids and alcohol. This is important to consider when seeking treatment or diagnosing someone who is struggling with addiction. As previously mentioned, co-occurring disorders could complicate the evaluation of a person’s addiction due to overlap.

Here are common examples of signs and symptoms of addiction:

  • Compulsion or the craving for the substance
  • Loss of control over the amount used or frequency of use
  • Cravings and withdrawal symptoms
  • Failed attempts to quit the drug

Emotional Symptoms

  • Defensiveness
  • Rationalizing their behavior
  • Denial of the addiction
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Loss of interest in activities

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Decreased performance in school or work
  • Missing school, work or other commitments
  • Risk-taking behavior
  • Isolating themselves
  • Financial or legal problems (ex. borrowing money infrequently)
  • Conversational topics around substances

Physical Symptoms

  • Consistent dilated pupils or red eyes
  • Weight changes or appetite
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Lack of hygiene
  • Lack or overabundance of energy

What Are Some Risk Factors For Addiction?

One might come to believe that they’re resistant to the harsh realities of addiction, but there are more factors that involve substance use disorder. Crafting an environment of empathy and support for those struggling could ensure a steady recovery. Addiction treatment in Nashville is geared to provide the utmost quality care for those struggling with addiction.


Genetics could play a significant role in how predisposed someone is to developing a substance abuse disorder. Since addictive substances alter the brain’s reward pathways, 40-60% of the genetic risk could make a person more likely to misuse. Scientists are on a hunt to find the specific genes that cause this development. For example, genetic variations might manipulate a person’s reaction to withdrawals or their tolerance levels to addictive substances.


Early use of addictive substances in adolescence is noted for increasing the risk of substance use disorder. More often than not, teens are experimenting with drugs and alcohol as means to fit in or escape. This could lead to developmental issues in the adolescent such as impaired memory and poor educational performance. Substance use disorders in adolescents are something to monitor to prevent such drastic consequences.

Family disharmony or dysfunction is known to increase the risk factors for addiction. Without an authoritative parenting style and open communication, this could lead to substance use disorders in adolescents and other family members. For example, If a parental figure abuses alcohol, it poses an increased chance of an adolescent evolving into alcoholism. 

Trauma is a major indicator of risk factors for substance use disorder. According to a study by Adverse Childhood Experiences, there are multiple relationships between severe childhood stress and most types of addiction. These experiences could range from mental/physical abuse to the death of a parent.


You might have a friend or family member who seeks new sensations or is the impulsive one to buy a year’s worth of frozen pizza. It’s noted that sensation-seeking and impulsiveness are risk factors for addiction. Anxiety sensitivity and hopelessness are also risk factors, especially in childhood (except for sensation-seeking). 

Co-disorders such as ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and APD (Antisocial Personality Disorder) are linked to a higher risk for substance use disorder. For example, if you have a substance use disorder, you have an increased risk of developing a personality disorder and vice versa. With an array of different mental health disorders, this could motivate a person to self-medicate to treat their symptoms in the short term. The long-term health complications are not worth it at the end, which makes the substance use disorder more gripping.

What Are Some Tips For Dealing with Addiction? What Are Different Types of Addiction Treatment?

One can expect the path to recovery to be filled with massive hurdles and aching reflection. This journey can be enriched with a dedicated support system and the willingness to get back up from a potential relapse. Luckily for those struggling, there are many treatment options available to meet the needs of those with substance use disorders. Admitting you have a problem is the first step or if you find yourself at an intervention. Nashville addiction treatment is designed for recovery and is the guiding hand for your needs.

Inpatient Treatment

This form of treatment requires a patient to reside in the designated facility. A patient can expect quality care on a 24/7 basis. Detoxification is usually the first step in this process. A patient can anticipate being in a trigger-free environment with individual therapy sessions to uncover the root causes of their disorder. Medication is also provided to alleviate some of the health complications that come with addiction. There are plenty of Tennessee addiction treatment centers to suit your needs if you’re ready to seek support.

Outpatient Treatment

Within an outpatient treatment program, a patient can receive partial treatment before going back to their homes. Inpatient treatment might not fit the needs of someone with a less severe addiction. Depending on the facility, a patient can expect to participate in group therapy sessions and individual therapy.

Medically Assisted Treatment

MAT, or Medically Assisted Treatment, serves as the middle child between inpatient and outpatient treatment. Trained clinical staff usually administer medication to ease the symptoms of addiction, especially through detox. The main goals of MAT are to aid with withdrawal symptoms, curb cravings, and prevent relapse. This form of treatment is best suited for opioids, alcohol, and benzos due to their highly addictive qualities.

12-Step Treatment

The 12-Step program is the most practiced method for recovery. The patients are typically involved in regularly attended meetings, building a sober support system, and working the 12-steps. This is commonly used in Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous, but these can apply to other forms of addictions. Even after completing the steps, it can be resourceful to continue to build your connection to recovering as a lifestyle.

Find Exceptional Care Through Nashville Recovery

addiction treatment nashvilleIf you’re battling the demons of addiction, Nashville Recovery is eager to be your armor of choice. Our mission aims to provide quality care during these difficult times. Nashville Recovery’s reputation bridges the gap of addiction treatment in Nashville. Contact us today to begin healing.








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