The Devastating Impact of Substance Abuse on Families in Middle Tennessee

Substance abuse can have a devastating effect on families in Middle Tennessee. When a family member is suffering from a mental or substance use disorder, it can have far-reaching consequences that go beyond the individual. Research has shown that some people may be genetically predisposed to developing mental and substance use disorders, and this risk may be further increased by environmental factors such as growing up in a household affected by the mental health of a family member or by a history of substance abuse. The Department of Health provides services for people of all ages living with mental illness, co-occurring disorders, or severe emotional disorders.

These services include housing, crisis services, suicide prevention, and peer-to-peer recovery. The effects of addiction on families are impossible to quantify. Every aspect of someone's life is affected - health (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual), work, money, friends and family, hobbies, and more. When a loved one's life is cut short due to addiction, the entire family is impacted.

While there is no single solution to helping a family member who drinks too much, uses drugs, or has a mental illness, research shows that family support can be an important factor in helping a loved one with mental and substance use disorders. Teresa Waters, professor of preventive medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center who leads a policy research group, has studied the costs associated with substance abuse. The opioid epidemic has raised questions about access to treatment, how to stop the illicit use of prescription painkillers and stop the use of illegal drugs. The economic impact of substance abuse is immense.

Not only does it take an emotional toll on families but it also has financial implications. The costs associated with substance abuse include medical expenses for treatment and rehabilitation programs as well as lost wages due to missed work days. In addition, there are costs associated with criminal justice proceedings and incarceration for those who are arrested for drug-related offenses. If you suspect that your loved one has a mental or substance use disorder, you can play an important role in providing the help they need. Openly discussing the issue with your loved one can be difficult but it is essential to be supportive and understanding.

It is also important to be aware of available resources such as support groups or family therapy and counseling which can improve treatment effectiveness by supporting the entire family.

Herbert Denbow
Herbert Denbow

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