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Monday, January 21, 2019

New App Detects Opioid Overdoses

A new app may provide opioid users with a way to ask for help in the event of an overdose. The app, named Second Chance, can detect slowed or stopped breathing as a result of an overdose. It works by converting the speaker and microphone of the smartphone into a sonar system that emits high frequency sound waves that bounce off a user’s chest. In an emergency, the app could call 911 or send a message to friends or family who have access to and could administer the opiate antidote naloxone (Narcan).

“Being able to track an overdose when a person may be by themselves could significantly improve the ability to save lives,” psychiatrist Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in Bethesda, MD, told Science News.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 130 people die from an opioid overdose every day in the United States. And many of the individuals are alone and powerless to call for help.

"We're experiencing an unprecedented epidemic of deaths from opioid use, and it's unfortunate because these overdoses are a completely reversible phenomena if they're detected in time," Dr. Jacob Sunshine, an assistant professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine at the UW School of Medicine., told CNBC.

Researchers tested the app on 94 users in Vancouver at a legally sanctioned injection facility where people use heroin and fentanyl under medical supervision in an effort to prevent overdoses. The app detected 47 out of 49 cases where the user stopped breathing and 41 out of 47 cases where a patient was breathing too slowly. The app misjudged five of the 47 cases where the user was breathing frequently enough. Researchers also simulated overdoses with 20 volunteers who received standard anesthetic medications that caused 30 seconds of slow or no breathing. The app detected abnormal respiration in 19 patients.

The team, which is applying for FDA approval, anticipates that the app will be on the market in roughly eight months – and hopefully sooner if they get fast track priority approval by the FDA, researchers told CNBC.

Opioid Addiction Treatment for Young Adults
Young adults (age 18 to 25) are the biggest abusers of prescription opioid pain relievers, according to the NIDA. And early intervention is the most successful treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid addiction, don’t wait to get help. Call today: 866-930-4673.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Link Between College Binge Drinking and Social Media Addiction

A new study found a link between binge drinking and social media addiction among college students. For the study, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, researchers recruited more than 400 undergraduate students, ages 18 to 25, and asked about both binge drinking (defined as five drinks at a time for males and four for women) and the use of social media (including Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter).

Student binge drinkers were more likely to post on social media platforms and on more social media platforms (most frequently on Snapchat and Facebook) while intoxicated than non-binge drinkers. What’s more, binge drinkers showed a greater emotional investment toward social media, which is common among those with an addiction.

“These findings suggest that, in terms of common brain reward mechanisms, perhaps when students get a positive response on social media, this might be ‘rewarding’ to them in a way that is similar to other addictive behaviors, and then over time they get hooked,” lead researcher Natalie A. Ceballas, PhD, of the Department of Psychology at Texas State University in San Marcos, told reporters.

Binge drinking and social media addiction can be a dangerous duo. Beyond the dangers of binge drinking – including an increased risk of injury, suicide, sexual assault, high blood pressure, heart attack, inflammation of the stomach, pancreas, brain, or spinal cord, sexually transmitted infections and memory and learning problems – this behavior can jeopardize a person’s ability to get into college or get a job.

The good news: A reliance on social media may also present an opportunity for innovative interventions, said researchers.

Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse
Binge drinking in adolescence can increase your risk of developing an alcohol use disorder later in life. If you or someone you love has a drinking problem, Hope Academy can help you get the help you need today. To learn more about our young adult alcohol rehab, call toll-free today: 866-930-4673.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Are Smartphones and Social Media Sparking Rising Rates of Depression in Young Adults?

It’s a pretty known fact that teens and college-aged adults are facing a lot of pressure and anxiety – from student loans to active shooter drills to political division – but experts wonder if there’s something else contributing to the growing rates of depression among this group. Namely, smartphones, tables and social media.

“One can speculate that increased use of digital devices and social media are among the contributing factors,” Ramin Mojtabai, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told USA Today. “There is some evidence that cyberbullying puts children and adolescents at increased risk of depression.”

Mojtabai was one of the researchers of an earlier study that discovered rapidly rising rates of major depression among teens and young adults. Among children ages 12 to 17, rates jumped to 11.3 percent in 2014, up from 8.7 percent in 2005. There was also an increase among young adults, but at a slower rate.

San Diego State University psychologist Jean Twenge also believes there’s a strong link between hours spent on these devices and signs of mental health distress. In her 2017 book, "iGen," she cited national health surveys and other statistics to show that teens who spend the most time on their screens are more likely to be unhappy.

"They are spending less time sleeping, less time with their friends face to face,” Twenge told USA Today. “It is not something that happened to their parents. It is not something that happens as a world event"

Perhaps this isn’t too surprising. One problem with social media, say experts, is that it can prevent young people from experiencing and then releasing emotions. When you text and post about your emotions and then check back for social media reaction, you perpetuate the emotion, lending it more power than it likely deserves.

Many young people mistakenly turn to drugs or alcohol to temporarily dull tough emotions like depression. But self-medicating is never a good idea. In fact, it can worsen the moods and emotions you were trying to suppress. It can make them become stronger, more frequent or longer in duration. 

Do You Need Dual-Diagnosis Treatment?
Co-occurring mental health conditions like depression may exist prior to substance abuse or develop as a side effect of drug and alcohol dependency. At Hope Academy, we conduct a series of tests upon admission to determine if mental illness is complicating substance abuse. Once we gain a comprehensive understanding of each patient’s individual health challenges, our addiction treatment team develops a customized program. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Drug Overdoses and Suicide Cause Drop in Life Expectancy Rates

Three new government reports show a slight decline in life expectancy – and drug overdoses and suicide are partly to blame.

In 20017, the average life expectancy was 78.6 years, which is a 0.1 year decrease from 2016. Women are still outliving men and the top causes of death, which account for nearly three-quarters of all deaths across the nation, remained the same: heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease and suicide.

"Life expectancy gives us a snapshot of the Nation's overall health and these sobering statistics are a wakeup call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable," Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC director, wrote in a statement.

According to the CDD’s National Center for Health Statistics, overdose deaths topped 70,000 in 2017 and rates of suicide increased by 3.7 percent. A second report found that the rate increased from roughly 6 overdose deaths per 100,000 people in 1999 to nearly 22 per 100,000 in 2017.

Gender and age both played a role. For instance, drug overdose death rates were highest among males and adults ages 25 to 54. And adults 55 to 64 experienced the most significant increase (from 4 per 100,000 in 1999 to 28 per 100,000 in 2017.)

Here’s a look at a few more of the findings:

  • Ages 15 to 24: 13 per 100,000
  • Ages 25 to 34: 38 per 100,000
  • Ages 35 to 44: 39 per 100,000
  • Ages 45 to 54: 38 per 100,000
  • Ages 55 to 64: 28 per 1000,00

Location was also a factor, with the highest rates in West Virginia, where there were nearly 58 overdose deaths per 100,000 people. South Dakota and Nebraska had the lowest rates – 9 per 100,000 and 8 per 100,000, respectively.

Other states with high rates included:

  • Ohio: 46 per 100,000
  • Pennsylvania: 44 per 100,000
  • District of Columbia: 44 per 100,000
A third new government report revealed that rates of suicide, the tenth leading cause of death in the US, also increased: Between 199 and 2017, the rate increased 26 percent for men and 53 percent for women. "We must all work together to reverse this trend and help ensure that all Americans live longer and healthier," Redfield said in his statement.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Young Adults
One in 10 college students have considered suicide and it's the second-leading cause of death in college-age students. While suicide is very serious it's also very preventable. At Hope Academy, we conduct a series of tests upon admission to determine if mental illness is causing or complicating substance abuse. To learn more about our dual diagnosis treatment, call 866-930-4673. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Thanksgiving Inspiration for those in Recovery

For many people in recovery, getting together with family for Thanksgiving can cause stress and trigger cravings. But here’s hope. First, if you think that a big holiday celebration will put your sobriety at risk, make plans with a few close friends or family members who support your recovery. It’s okay to be selfish this season and put your mental health and recovery first.

If you’re ready for the upcoming holiday, take heart: These tips may just be the inspiration you need to prep yourself – mind, body, and spirit – for a happy, healthy sober Turkey Day!
  • Eat healthfully. Do your best this week to stick to a healthful diet and don’t skip breakfast on Thanksgiving. You’ll want to avoid any possible triggers – including being “hungry” (the “H” in the famous acronym HALT). This will help you to feel more balanced, calm and better prepared to handle whatever comes your way.
  • Prioritize sleep. Try to go to bed and wake up the same time this week and focus on practicing a sleep ritual each night. Having a few nights of restorative sleep with allow you to better manage emotions and feel more “even keel” on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Don’t skimp on exercise. Again, just like a healthy diet and proper sleep, regular exercise will help you take on the day with a more relaxed and positive mindset. Go for a jog or meet up with some friends for a game of touch football or kickball Thanksgiving morning.
  • Keep up with your recovery tasks. The holidays don’t mean a break from recovery activities – including therapy sessions, support groups or even holistic treatments. Keeping up these crucial tasks will help safeguard your sobriety and serve as a reminder of all the hard work you’ve put into your recovery. 
  • Recruit a support network. Ask one or two recovery peers to be available – via text or email – if you need some help enduring the holiday stress or just need to talk with someone who really gets what you’re going through.
  • Say thanks. This is the season for gratitude and you have a lot to feel grateful for now that you’re in recovery. Gratitude has been linked to better sleep, reduced stress, less toxic emotions and more resilience – all key ingredients for a happy, healthy Thanksgiving!
Grateful for a Sober Life
When you trust us with your recovery, you don’t have to leave college behind or put career preparation on hold. We offer vocational training, college prep, and sobriety college options that allow you to pursue your dreams while you get clean. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Poor Mental Health Among Generation Z

A new startling report of nearly 4,000 young adults by the American Psychological Association found that members of Generation Z reported the worst mental health of any generation. The triggers: gun violence, political turmoil, suicide rates, reports of sexual harassment and assault, money issues and personal problems. Gen Z is defined as those ages 15 to 21.

According to the report, not even half of those in Gen Z reported “excellent” or “very good” mental health compared to 56 percent of Millennials, 51 percent of Gen Xers and 70 percent of Boomers.

And 91 percent of the Gen Z respondents reported experiencing at least one symptom of stress, including depression, anxiety and lack of motivation. The good news: While many admit they could do better managing stress, they are also more likely to report mental health conditions than any other generation. About 37 percent of these young adults reported receiving help or treatment from mental health professionals versus 35 percent of Millennials, 26 percent of Gen Xers and 22 percent of Baby Boomers.

"The fact that more Gen Z individuals than adults in other generations said that they thought their mental health was fair or poor is concerning," Arthur Evans, a psychologist and CEO of the American Psychological Association, told CNN. "However, this could also be interpreted as a positive sign. This generation may be more tuned in to recognizing issues with their mental health than older generations."

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder 
Sometimes teens and young adults self-medicate to deal with their mental illness and become addicted to these medications on top of alcohol and other drugs. At Hope by the Sea’s Hope Academy program, we run a series of tests upon admission to determine if mental illness is complicating substance abuse. To learn more about our dual diagnosis program for young adults, call today: 866-930-4673.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Is Social Media Helping or Harming Your Recovery?

By now you know that social media has its list of health pros and cons – but it’s not going away anytime soon, so how can you use it to help (not harm) your recovery? 

Depending on your stage of recovery, your best bet is to follow the rules of your rehab. If they have a no social media policy, stick with it. If you are able to use social media, however, it can offer you support and guidance. For example, you can read inspirational stories of people in recovery and reach out to trusted online friends and family for support. Simply put, social media can provide a virtual group of cheerleaders as you work toward lasting sobriety. 

Social media can also help you to grow your supports, connecting to the recovery community and others who can relate to your experiences. To create a more inspiring and positive social media experience, follow these guidelines: 

  • Monitor your use. Studies show that more than two to three hours on social media can lead to depression as well as social media addiction. If you find yourself experiencing FOMO or social media is making you feel bad about yourself and your life, disconnect and talk to a healthcare professional. 
  • Limit connections. Be sure to block anyone who could serve as a trigger or fuel a relapse. 
  • Stay away from negativity. Only engage with those who support your recovery. 
  • Build an online community. Create a group on your preferred social media site and add people and counselors who you meet in rehab. 
  • Avoid too much content. Flooding your social media will make it hard for your supports to identify any posts that really matter. 
  • Vet the information. Don’t accept any medical advice unless it’s from a trusted source like a mental health professional, counselor or your rehab center. 

A Smoother Transition to Independence
At Hope Academy, our aftercare support services aim to help young adults ease the stress of overwhelming responsibility so clients can transition slowly back to the rigors of “real life.” To learn more, call 866-930-4673.

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