NASHVILLE, TN--(Marketwire - Nov 27, 2012) - For drug and alcohol addicts, the holiday season often brings the highest risk of relapse. Unfortunately, family members of substance abusers can inadvertently derail the fragile recovery process with their own drug and alcohol use during the holiday season.
Dr. Chapman Sledge, chief medical officer at Cumberland Heights, a Nashville-area alcohol and drug treatment facility, stresses that rehabilitation doesn't end when an addict walks out of the center. It requires a lifelong, daily commitment by addicts and their loved ones, who need to understand substance abusers' struggles and not make it more difficult by tempting them.
"December has the lowest number of Alcoholics Anonymous anniversaries, and January has the highest," says Sledge. "Sadly, a lot of the patients who check into our facility for treatment after New Year's are people we recognize. Recovering addicts need their loved ones to recognize their illnesses and respect what they're enduring."
The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates 7 percent of Americans, about 17.9 million people, depend on alcohol and that 8.9 percent of the populace 12 and older has used an illicit drug, up from 8.3 percent in 2002. Sledge says the holiday season introduces numerous relapse risk factors, including holiday dinners where alcohol is served; office parties at which workers are urged to "let their hair down"; and New Year's Eve gatherings at which excessive drinking is often encouraged.
"Although the holidays are a time for celebrating, it's important for family members and friends to consider carefully what to do and not do around them," Sledge said.
Cumberland Heights, open since 1966, has helped more than 200,000 patients through its treatment programs. The nationally recognized facility offers programs for adolescents, adults and those in high-stress professions. In addition, Cumberland Heights' proximity to the Music City makes it uniquely equipped to provide rehabilitation services to patients who are creatively inclined. Cumberland Heights is the home of singer-songwriter John Hiatt's fund for treating addiction in young people. $2 million has been raised by major recording artists to help pay for adolescent care at Cumberland Heights.
For more information about Cumberland Heights, visit www.cumberlandheights.org.