Rural Medical Services
Many people choose to reside in rural areas or small farm towns that are miles away from the bustling city life.
Often, rural residents enjoy peacefulness away from society’s troubles.
There may even be only one major street that leads to the local grocery, shopping centers, and restaurants.
However, living in rural areas does come with a downside.
It can be difficult finding proper medical treatment for mental health conditions and addiction in rural areas.
Urban areas typically are home to all mental health treatment facilities and drug rehabilitation centers.
It is a commonly well-known fact that rural parts of the U.S. have many difficulties in accessing proper health care.
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Why Rural Areas Have A High Prevalence of Health Conditions
This may be a primary reason that contributes to rural residents’ prevalence of chronic health conditions, such as cardiac problems, diabetes, and cancer.
This can be directly linked to factors such as the shortage of health care providers, including general practitioners, and specialists like psychiatrists, psychologists, and licensed counselors.
Other factors that contribute to this rural health crisis are the care that is available to residents typically is not of a great quality of care.
Because mental health facilities and drug rehabilitation centers are located in the city, far from their residence, they often find difficulty efficiently commuting.
Many residents living in rural areas are living in the poverty line or below.
Their limited financial resources make it difficult to find the proper treatment for their chronic health conditions, whether it be physical or mental health.
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The Concern of Addiction
Drug abuse often leads to addiction. Nobody wants an addiction controlling every part of their life.
But it happens far too often. Addiction hurts the individual and everyone around them.
It tears apart families and friends because it is self-destructive in every way. Often, it is also a truly lonely and difficult path for any individual that is stuck obeying the demands of his or her addiction.
It becomes lonely because those whom the individual cares for will likely cut connections with him or her eventually because of the nature of addiction.
But while the individual’s family and friends are still in his or her life, he or she will experience an abundance of judgment in all forms. When an individual experiences judgment, it is counterproductive to the goal of recovery.
It may only overwhelm the individual and lead him or her toward further deterioration of their life. However, the person making judgments may feel they are justified in their actions because a social stigma surrounds drug addiction.
Understanding the opioid epidemic will elucidate why this addiction continues to grow.
Substance Abuse and Addiction in Rural Areas
Substance abuse affects 23 million Americans, both in cities and country areas. Many people have a preconceived notion that substance abuse occurs mostly in the city and urban areas.
However, that is not always the case. Country areas have a higher prevalence of substance abuse than the city, with a rate of 17.0% per 100,000 people. The typical age of substance use in country areas is 11-14.
They begin using alcohol and other substances that are readily available for use, such as huffing paint thinner and drinking moonshine, a homemade high-proof distilled spirit. In the country, people of lower socioeconomic classes comprise a major portion of the population. Therefore, alcohol and cheap drugs are their primary choices for substance abuse.
People in the country abuse opioid drugs, such as Oxycontin. It is known colloquially and derogatorily as “hillbilly heroin” due to the fact they are frequently abused by rural residents.
Why is Substance Abuse More Prevalent in Country Areas (per 100,000 people)?
Country communities comprise 97% of the U.S.’s total land area. Yet, on average, its residents typically have a lower income and poorer health than city residents.
Here are some of the factors that make substance abuse more prevalent in country areas:
- Uneducated or lower education level
- Untreated mental health disorders
- Limited access to health information
The Opioid Epidemic in Rural Areas
Since 2010, opioid use, hospitalizations, and deaths from overdose have been increasing throughout the U.S. This is referred to as the opioid epidemic or opioid crisis. The opioid epidemic is now the number one cause of preventable and accidental deaths in the U.S. Approximately, 40,000 people die each year from an opioid-related overdose.
This is equivalent to 115 deaths from opioids per day. Opioid drugs include substances such as heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, fentanyl, and morphine.
Opioid addiction does not only target one demographic in particular but rather it is prevalent among the entirety of the population. This includes urban, rural, and upper-class communities, teenagers, veterans, and people with preexisting mental health conditions. However, higher rates of opioid addiction have been reported in rural areas.
One possibility for this is the fact that many rural residents are employed in high-risk occupations, such as mining or agriculture. Injuries often occur on the job, and the employee is usually prescribed an opioid to treat the pain. This often leads to misuse of the prescription opioid and results in addiction.
The opioid epidemic does not only affect the individual using opioids, but it also detrimentally affects all of the individual’s loved ones. There are a plethora of reasons as to why an individual decides to use opioids. A common trend among prescription opioid abuse and addiction is how an individual develops dependency.
Often, an individual has been prescribed an opioid medication such as hydrocodone or oxycodone to treat moderate to severe pain. However, opioids carry a high potential for dependency due to the powerful recreational effects it produces in the body. Tolerance is easily developed, which causes the individual to use more than his or her prescribed dosage. This leads to opioid addiction.
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The Neurobiology of Opioids
Opioids are highly addictive; the reason for this is because of the way opioids work in the brain, and also how it eventually alters brain chemistry, resulting in brain damage.
During the early stages of opioid abuse, the compulsion to consume the drug increases due to tolerance and physical and psychological dependence. When opioids are consumed, it enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain. It then binds to the specialized proteins mu-opioid receptors, which are located on the surfaces of brain cells sensitive and susceptible to opioids.
When these chemicals are linked, stimulation of the biochemical brain activity occurs, which produces feelings of intense pleasure and euphoria, as well as reduces pain.
Opioids also release the neurotransmitter dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, a part of the brain that dictates the user’s desire to keep ingesting the drug, to maintain pleasure, and to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Prolonged use of opioids on its own will result in brain damage.
Telemedicine Addiction Treatment Option for Rural Areas
Telemedicine is an accessible, convenient, and cost-effective way of receiving healthcare services through telecommunication via electronic devices. The means of communicating through electronic devices include smartphone applications and web-based services designed specifically for telemedicine.
Healthcare providers and patients to share information virtually and remotely. This form of healthcare service has recently been used by drug rehab centers to provide addiction treatment.
This allows more people from rural areas to receive healthcare treatment, without having to commute to the nearest healthcare facility. However, it is a new component of addiction treatment and is currently being evaluated for its effectiveness and efficiency compared to physical appointments.
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Seeking treatment for your dependency is one of the bravest things you can do for yourself.
Do not let your situation stop you from contacting Resurgence Behavioral Health.
We provide honest and accurate pricing information for all of our treatment options.
We offer free insurance verification. Call us today to see if you qualify.
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Reach Out and Receive Treatment Today
Do not wait any further! Help is available to you when you need it. You are not alone in this struggle.
The trained professionals at Resurgence Behavioral Health genuinely care about you and dedicate their lives to make sure you can live yours.
To overcome substance addiction, proper drug therapy treatment is required. It is not an easy walk, but our treatment is the best option when it comes to your health.
We provide the most professional treatment to give you a fighting chance in a rough battle.
Let today be the day you reach out to Resurgence Behavioral Health so that you can begin to reclaim the life you have been missing!