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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Lessons Parents of Young Adult Addicts Should Learn

Living with someone who has a substance misuse disorder can be incredibly challenging – even more so if you are watching your child struggle with the various issues related to substance misuse. Not only do you constantly worry about their well-being, but you may also find yourself in completely unfamiliar territory when it comes to how to help your son or daughter deal with their problems.

As a parent, you probably have an array of questions:
  • What are they using, and how much?
  • Is this a passing phase of experimentation, or a genuine addiction?
  • Am I being overprotective, or am I right to be concerned?
  • If I put my foot down and set ultimatums around my child’s drinking or drug use, will it push them even further away from me?
  • Is this problem somehow my fault?
  • Is my child’s future at risk?
  • Should I be looking into qualified treatment facilities?
Here are the top four lessons you should learn about young adult addiction.

1. Parents Can Enable an Addiction

As a parent, you would do almost anything to keep your child from experiencing pain. You want their journey in life to be free of as many obstacles as possible. Unfortunately, those same impulses can cause you to develop the habit of enabling a child’s addiction.

You raised your child in the best way you knew how. It can be a bitter pill to swallow when you realize you can only do so much to support them, and at some point, they are responsible for the decisions they make. As much as you may want to smooth out the bumpy road to addiction recovery, your child must experience the natural consequences of their actions and do the hard work of getting better on their own.

2. You Can’t Help Someone Who Isn’t Willing to Accept Help

As well as you think you know your child, unless you have battled addiction issues yourself, it can be challenging for you to understand what they’re going through. Because of the denial that often accompanies addiction, addicted people may refuse to admit when they need help. When addiction takes hold of someone’s life, they often can’t walk away. However, coming to terms with this is a gradual process.

You can play a role in helping your child work through addiction by being there to support them, researching a treatment center and learning more about their substance of misuse and how it affects them, but your son or daughter won’t heal from an addiction until they are willing to accept they have a problem they can’t solve by themselves.

3. Be Patient

It takes time to heal from a drug or alcohol addiction. There are no shortcuts or quick-fix solutions, no matter how much you might wish there were. There will be easy days and hard ones. The best thing you can do is to be there to support your child and provide unconditional love when they are struggling.

4. Addiction Doesn’t Define Your Child

One of the most challenging lessons learned in addiction recovery is for the addicted person to rediscover who they are without the influence of drugs and alcohol on their life. Along the way, they will also need to accept that it’s fruitless to dwell on mistakes made in the past. You can help your child learn to live in the moment by encouraging them to try supplementing their therapy with approaches such as meditation.

Start Healing Your Family Today

At Hope Academy, we know how devastating addiction can be for families. Learn more about our young adult addiction services for ages 18 through 26, and get your child the necessary help to recover. Contact us today to learn more about our application process.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Steps to Take Before You Welcome Your Child Home From Addiction Treatment

You’ve been counting down the days until you could welcome your child home from their treatment program. Now that the big day is almost here, you may be feeling like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster. It’s normal for any parent in your position to feel happy, anxious, stressed and excited, sometimes all at once.

While your child will have made a lot of progress in addiction treatment, it’s essential for you to remember that they are only at the beginning of a lifelong process of recovery. It will involve sacrifice for you and your family, and it’s smart to plan for how you will deal with it. Although your daughter or son is ultimately responsible for their success, you can learn how to support them along the way.

1. Remove All Temptations

The first step you should take is to clear all intoxicating substances out of your house. Go through your medicine cabinet and safely dispose of expired or unused prescriptions. Keep any current prescriptions under lock and key. Likewise, remove all alcohol from your home, or take steps to secure it. Take special care to search your child’s room for drugs, alcohol or any paraphernalia.

2. Get Naloxone and Learn How to Use It

If your child’s substance misuse issues stemmed from opioids, having naloxone on hand can be lifesaving. Naloxone, marketed under the brand name Narcan®, is a non-addictive drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose. Depending on where you live, you may be able to get a naloxone kit from your drugstore without a prescription. Make sure the naloxone kit is in an easy-to-access place, and that everyone in your family knows how to administer it.

3. Familiarize Yourself With the Aftercare Plan

Whatever your treatment facility recommends for your child’s next steps, make sure you understand the plan and have familiarized yourself with what you need to do to support your son or daughter. For example, you may need to attend counseling as a family, or drive your child to appointments with a therapist. Be willing to take time off from work, if necessary, to fulfill your obligations. Your continued involvement makes a difference, whether your child is willing to acknowledge it or not.

4. Set Reasonable Boundaries

If your child drank or used drugs for a long time, it likely took a heavy toll on your family. The secrecy, denial, manipulation and self-destructive behavior associated with addiction disorders can erode relationships, and it will take time and concerted effort to rebuild. Once your child returns home, setting healthy boundaries can ensure you are developing a foundation of mutual trust. Some families find it helpful to draw up a recovery contract that defines their expectations and outlines consequences for breaking the rules.

5. Be Patient

The earliest days of recovery will probably be the most challenging for everyone involved. Your child will most likely go through periods of emotional upheaval. There will be days where they feel angry, frustrated or distant. Other times, your child may be like the person you remember from before addiction took hold. Be sure to savor the good moments, and be ready to listen on days where the struggle may seem overwhelming. There are no shortcuts in recovery.

Never Give Up

As crushing as it can feel to see your son or daughter wrestling with the burdens of substance misuse, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. At Hope Academy, our team of addiction specialists can help your child turn things around before addiction becomes a way of life. If you are ready to make a fresh start for your family, contact us today.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

5 Ways to Enjoy a Sober Halloween

Facing Halloween in sobriety, especially if it’s your first time in a long time that you’ve experienced this holiday without drugs and alcohol, can feel like an insurmountable challenge. It’s a holiday when people shed their inhibitions and do mischief, and for many people, Halloween is synonymous with drinking and drug use. However, Halloween can go beyond an excuse to dress up and get wasted. With the spookiest day of the year just around the corner, here are some tips to inspire you if you haven’t made your sober plans yet.

Celebrating Your Sober Halloween

If you have been used to celebrating Halloween in a haze of drugs and alcohol, you may be worried you will feel like you're missing out on the fun when you’re staying sober. If you’re struggling to come up with some seasonal and enjoyable activities to do on Oct. 31 this year, discover a new sense of inspiration with these ideas.

1. Go All-Out on Your Decorating

It’s never too late to transform your house into the spookiest one in your neighborhood. Now that you’re not wasting all your money buying drugs or alcohol, you probably have some extra cash to buy black-and-orange lights, fake cobwebs, tombstones, skeletons and all the other trappings. Even if you’re on a limited budget, there are plenty of affordable DIY Halloween decorating ideas you can use to scare all the neighbors. Seeing the delight on the faces of kids and adults who come around to trick-or-treat will make all your efforts feel worthwhile.

2. Host a Horror Movie Marathon

Round up your favorite scary movies, then invite a couple of supportive friends over to your home to watch with you. This option is ideal if you are unsure if you’ll be able to avoid the triggers of alcohol and drugs at someone else’s party. Organizing a get-together in an environment where you have full control over factors such as who will be there and what refreshments you will serve will ensure you stay sober on Halloween.

3. Have a Pumpkin-Decorating Contest

It doesn’t truly feel like Halloween has arrived until you get a few pumpkins and start carving a scary (or silly) masterpiece. Hit up a nearby pumpkin patch or farmers’ market to pick out the perfect canvas on which to create, and invite some sober friends over to join the fun. When you’re finished decorating, you can judge who created the best jack-o’-lantern of them all. If you’re stuck for ideas on what to carve, download some templates online. And if you’re looking for a tasty, healthy snack, don’t forget to save the seeds for roasting.

4. Hit up a Haunted House or Ghost Tour

If you’re the type who loves a good scare, Halloween is the perfect day to go through a haunted house or take a ghost tour with a few brave friends. Or, you can research places near you that have a reputation for being haunted and design a custom ghost tour for you and your “boo crew.”

5. Volunteer for the Night

Often, the best way to enjoy a sober Halloween is to give back to others in the community. Many churches and family shelters host seasonal costume parties or trick-or-treating events for families who are going through hard times. Not only is volunteering an excellent way to enjoy Halloween sober, but you’ll also have the joy of knowing you did something nice for others.

Get Sober and Happy This Fall

Even though you won’t be drinking or using drugs this Halloween, you can have as much fun on the holiday as much as everyone else – or even more. Whether you decide to do one of these sober Halloween activities, or branch out on your own, make sure to surround yourself with people who love you and respect your need to protect your sobriety.

If you are a young adult wrestling with substance misuse issues, you can get your life back and reclaim your full potential. At Hope Academy, our programming will help you learn to become healthy, resilient and goal-oriented. Contact us today to start revealing who you are without the crutch of drugs and alcohol.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

4 Opioid-Related Drugs Parents Should Be Aware Of

The opioid epidemic continues to be a nationwide health crisis, and even younger people are vulnerable to the threat. High school and college students often begin experimenting with prescription painkilllers found in their family medicine cabinet. Many of these drugs are highly addictive and are also available for sale online and on the street. With these fundamentals in mind, here are four of the most common opioid-related drugs and what you need to know to protect your child.

1. Prescription Opioids

If your child has ever had surgery or a severe sports injury, they may have received a prescription for pain relievers such as oxycodone (brand name OxyContin®) or hydrocodone (brand name Vicodin®). However, due to these drugs’ documented high potential for abuse, addiction and overdose, many states have made it more difficult to get a prescription. These measures include strictly limiting the amount of time a patient can use opioid drugs, as well as total daily dosage.

2. Heroin

People who have developed an addiction to opioids, but can no longer get a legitimate doctor’s prescription for these medications, may begin buying their drugs in the street. Drugs like heroin can be easier to obtain, but they can also be deadlier than prescription opioids.

Heroin’s effects include:
  • Extreme happiness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Digestive problems
  • Sedation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unconsciousness

3. Fentanyl

Fentanyl, a lab-created opioid, can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine. In legal prescription form, fentanyl has legitimate medical uses for treating severe, difficult-to-control pain. However, makers of illegal drugs often use non-pharmaceutical fentanyl to increase the heroin-like euphoria of their product, which is why fentanyl-laced drugs are a growing concern of organizations like the Drug Enforcement Administration. People may buy illicit drugs without being aware they’re laced with fentanyl, making an accidental overdose more likely. Because of fentanyl's potency, a dose as small as two milligrams is enough to be fatal for most people.

4. Naloxone

Unlike the other drugs on this list, there is no potential for abuse with naloxone, marketed as Narcan®. Instead, the timely use of naloxone can save people’s lives by reversing an opioid overdose. Because opioid overdoses typically involve the gradual suppression of the respiratory system, first responders can use naloxone to restart someone’s breathing. Naloxone works by rapidly binding to opioid receptors in the brain and blocking the effects of opioid drugs.

Naloxone is available in a nasal spray form that makes it easy for anyone to administer, even people with no medical training. If you suspect your child is misusing opioids, it’s smart to have a supply of naloxone on hand, and familiarize yourself with the steps for responding to an opioid overdose. In some states, naloxone is available from pharmacies without a prescription.

Know the Facts

As a concerned parent, you want to be prepared so you can protect your child in any situation. Knowing the ins and outs of opioid-related drugs can help you recognize, react and respond when your child is using these drugs, and take steps to prevent their use from becoming problematic. If you need to get help for your family, Hope Academy can provide the solutions you’re looking for. Learn more about the details of our treatment program, then contact us to start the application process.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

All-Natural Ways to Manage Stress This School Year

School can be incredibly stressful. Between juggling a full course load, studying for exams and writing papers, students have a lot on their plate. It can be hard to make time for yourself, but planning stress relief into each day is crucial to avoiding student burnout. With that in mind, here are seven drug-free stress management techniques to try when you feel overwhelmed.

1. Exercise

Exercise strengthens both your physical and mental health. It’s one of the best ways to combat stress. Vigorous aerobic exercise triggers the release of endorphins in your brain, creating natural feelings of euphoria. Exercise also lowers your body’s stress hormones and helps improve your sleep quality. Activities like biking, running and walking can be particularly stress-relieving, but any activity that you enjoy and that gets your heart rate up can be beneficial.

2. Keep a Gratitude Journal

If you’re feeling stressed and anxious, it can be hard to maintain a positive outlook on life. Get in the habit of jotting down things you’re thankful for, and try to come up with at least one journal entry each day. If the idea of maintaining a daily gratitude journal sounds like too much of a burden on your already jam-packed schedule, keep your entries brief. You could write something as short as, “Today, I saw beautiful wildflowers growing by the side of the road.”

3. Spend Time With Friends and Family

When you’re stressed and overworked, your relationships can fall by the wayside. However, don’t underestimate the importance of your support network to help you get through difficult times. For additional stress relief, do something that makes you laugh, like going to see the latest hit comedy. It’s hard to feel anxious when you’re laughing.

4. Don’t Procrastinate

Another smart way to maintain healthy stress levels is to keep up with your task list according to priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list. Carve out chunks of uninterrupted time to work on the things you need to get done today. Avoid the temptation to multitask, which can make you less productive.

5. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness describes practices that help you live in the moment, such as yoga and meditation. Some forms of therapy can also help you be more mindful and resilient, turning negative thoughts into positive ones.

6. Spend Time With a Pet

Interactions with pets may help release oxytocin, a mood-improving brain chemical. Having a pet can also help you stay active and provide you with a source of unconditional, judgment-free love.

7. Listen to Music

Listening to music can help you loosen up if you’re feeling anxious. Choose a slow-paced instrumental selection if you need to relax and lower your stress levels. However, any music you enjoy can be an effective mood enhancer, especially if you get up and move to it.

Be Healthy and Happy

Although stress is a natural part of life for students, there are many all-natural ways you can help yourself feel better and improve your quality of life. Next time you feel overworked, stop and try one or more of these strategies.

At our beautiful California facility, we offer qualified drug and alcohol addiction treatment for young adults who need help getting control of their lives. Explore Hope Academy’s programming options, or speak to an admissions advisor today.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Hidden Risks of Study Drugs

With most students across the country starting a brand-new school year, now is an ideal opportunity to remind parents that many young adults are vulnerable to experimentation with drugs. However, unlike what you might be picturing, not all these high school and college students are taking drugs to relax and get high.

The reality is sometimes quite the opposite: Students under pressure to perform well in school are taking “study drugs” in an attempt to sharpen their focus and help them overachieve.

As a parent, what do you need to know about these dangerous drugs, and how can you tell if your child is using them? Read on for your guide to study drugs.

What Are Study Drugs?

The most commonly used study drugs are prescription amphetamines designed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as the brand names Adderall and Ritalin. Since the purpose of these drugs is to improve concentration, students use them to help with their studies. Students usually obtain study drugs by buying them from others who have a legitimate prescription. It’s also possible to find and order them online.

Why Do Students Use Them?

Many students experience tremendous pressure to do well academically. Perhaps your high school student is in a college-preparatory curriculum and is taking an advanced course load to get into a top university, for example. Even if they are motivated to get good grades on papers and exams, an overwhelming amount of material can lead them to believe they need an extra boost to help with their schoolwork.

ADHD medications can make people who don’t have the disorder feel more energetic and focused. However, there is no conclusive research to demonstrate a connection between the use of these prescription and people’s ability to learn or retain information. Despite this lack of proof, many high school and college students turn to study drugs each year. Other than marijuana, amphetamines are the most misused drugs by college students, according to the Monitoring the Future survey published in June 2017.

Signs of Study Drug Use

What can you look for if you suspect your child is using or abusing prescription stimulants as study drugs? Here are some of the primary symptoms.
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Appetite loss
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep problems
Taking the drugs in higher doses increases the risk of dangerous side effects like anxiety, confusion and insomnia.

Do Study Drugs Lead to Addiction?

When used correctly under a doctor’s supervision, ADHD medications are unlikely to be habit-forming. However, misuse of study drugs can cause an addiction, especially in young adults whose brains are still developing. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies amphetamines as Schedule II controlled substances, which means they have an approved medical use, but also have a high potential for abuse and addiction.

A person with an addiction to prescription drugs may feel as if they cannot function normally without these medications. Instead of only using them when they want to pull an all-nighter before a big exam, they start relying on drugs to maintain their “mental edge” during typical daily activities. They may also experience withdrawal symptoms like disturbed sleep, fatigue and mood disorders when they try to quit.

Along with the risk of addiction, using some of these drugs can have highly dangerous outcomes. For example, an overdose of Adderall can lead to a heart attack, and mixing it with other substances can be fatal.

What to Do If You’re Concerned About Study Drug Use

If you have reason to suspect your child might be using prescription ADHD drugs in a non-prescribed way, talk to your child about ways to develop more effective study techniques. Encourage them to be honest with you about any problems they’re having in school, and if they are feeling excess pressure to succeed, consider counseling or tutoring.

At Hope Academy, we know how worrying it can be when your child begins relying on drugs for any reason. We offer addiction programming tailored to the needs of young adults, and we accept many kinds of insurance. Contact us to learn more.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

How to Raise Drug-Free Kids in College and Beyond

Young adulthood is a challenging time. Teenagers are starting to discover the interests and hobbies that will follow them into adulthood, and they are also searching for new experiences. All these things help shape them into the person they will eventually become, but sometimes, pushing boundaries can create unsafe situations.

It’s common for college students to experiment with drugs and alcohol. When they start using these substances, they can quickly develop a dependence and discover they cannot quit on their own. Parental involvement can be incredibly influential in helping keep kids away from drugs and preventing the heartbreak of addiction.

Tips for Raising a Drug-Free Teen

Clear boundaries and open lines of communication are two excellent ways to keep young adults safe and healthy. Here are some suggestions for getting started.

1. Establish Rules and Consequences of Breaking Them

Defined rules around drug use can provide your teen with much-needed structure during a formative period in their life. At the same time, you need to create realistic consequences of what will happen if they stray from the path you’ve set, and stick to them. If your college-aged child knows you are a pushover when it comes to enforcing the rules, it’s likely they will test you.

2. Schedule a Conversation About Drug and Alcohol Use

Bringing up a heavy topic like drug and alcohol use seemingly out of the blue can put young adults on the defensive. It’s smart to give your child advance notice that you’d like to chat with them about drug use and drinking. Reassure them that you aren’t going to discipline them, but that you are trying to be proactive and make sure everyone is on the same page.

You can use this conversation as an opportunity to lay ground rules like:
  • Avoid parties where alcohol or drugs might be present.
  • Always use prescription drugs exactly as directed, and never take someone else’s prescription medication or share your prescriptions with others.
  • Do not get in the car with a driver who is under the influence.
  • If someone offers you alcohol or drugs, tell an adult authority figure about it.

3. Take an Active Role in Your Child’s Life

Though you may find your college-aged child begins to pull away from you as they establish greater and greater independence, spending time together is essential at this age. Meet their friends, and ask them what they are learning about in school. If they get involved in sports, attend their games.

Always be aware of what your teenager is up to. If they go out on the weekend, ask them which friends they’ll be spending time with and what they will be doing. You’re not being nosy if you do this — you’re expressing care for their well-being.

4. Help Your Teen Learn to Make Goals

Goal-setting is an essential part of college life. You should work with your college-aged child to teach them how to set realistic short- and long-term goals for things they hope to achieve, both in their academic and personal lives. Ask them to share their ambitions and aspirations with you. Then, make sure they understand how misusing alcohol and drugs can derail their hopes for the future.

If You Suspect a Problem, Confront It Immediately

If your college-aged child’s behavior has changed markedly, and you have reason to believe it is because of drug or alcohol abuse, don’t wait to intervene. Though some people outgrow this experimental phase, others continue down a self-destructive path and end up with an addiction. Don’t let this tragedy happen to your family. Contact us at Hope Academy to learn more about the difference we can make in your child’s life.
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