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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.



Monday, October 8, 2018

Survey Finds 1 in 3 Freshman Struggle With Mental Health

freshman mental illnessJust in time for Mental Illness Awareness Week, which takes place October 7 to October 13, a recent survey reveals some startling results. More than 35 percent of college freshman are impacted by mental illness. 

Researchers from the World Health Organization, along with Columbia University Psychology Professor Randy P. Auerbach, surveyed nearly 14,000 first-year college students from eight countries (Australia, Belgium, Germany, Mexico, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Spain and the U.S.). 

The results: Major depressive disorder was the most common illness, with 21.2 percent experiencing lifelong symptoms, followed by general anxiety disorder, which impacted 18.6 percent.

Auerbach said this finding represents a "key global mental health issue." Indeed, mental health has been a major concern across college campuses and many schools in the U.S. and abroad have stepped up efforts to improve and grow their mental health services – but it’s still not enough, Auerbach told EurekAlert.

"University systems are currently working at capacity and counseling centers tend to be cyclical, with students ramping up service use toward the middle of the semester, which often creates a bottleneck," he explained. "Internet-based clinical tools may be helpful in providing treatment to students who are less inclined to pursue services on campus or are waiting to be seen."

In addition to innovations and advancements in online mental health resources, experts say there are several steps students can take to safeguard their mental health during college, including eating well, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and making time for friends and relaxation. 

And never self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Drinking or using drugs can make your mental illness worse and increase your chances of addiction. A better option: Seek help from a friend, family member or mental health professional. There’s no shame in wanting to feel better and getting support so you’re not alone. 

Sobriety College at Hope Academy
If you or someone you love is a college student struggling with a co-occurring mental health disorder and substance use disorder, Hope Academy may be the ideal rehab program for you. Our peer-based program provides the safety and support you need to succeed in school and at sobriety. To learn more about our sobriety college, call today: 866-930-4673.








Monday, September 24, 2018

Why Teen Brains Prone to Addiction


Teens experimenting with drugs and alcohol is certainly not news. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 36 percent of high school students say they have tried marijuana, more than 60 percent have used alcohol and 14 percent say they've misused prescription opioids.

Here’s the tricky part: Teens are quick learners. In fact, the same part of the brain that helps teenagers quickly pick up a foreign language also makes them more prone to addiction. 

The teenage brain is busy building synapses – pathways that connect portions of the brain and create circuits for memories, skills and rewards,Dr. Frances Jensen, chair of neurology at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, told PhillyVoice.com. It’s a process called synaptic plasticity.

If they’re constantly exposing their brain to drugs or alcohol instead of math problems or soccer, they’re brains quickly learn to accept that substance. “That's what addiction is,” said Dr. Jensen. It's creating a learned pathway in the reward system of your brain."

This is only part of the reason why it’s particularly dangerous for teens to experiment with addiction substances. What’s more, the brain doesn’t fully mature until age 30 – and this include the frontal lobe, which is the part of the brain linked to impulse control and decision-making. "There's this increased propensity to take risks and try substances – despite the fact that you might know it's really bad for you” Jensen said. 

It’s important for parents, guardians and teachers to know this information, so they can talk to teens and young adults about it, Jensen said. Since they are quick learners, they can also quickly understand the dangers of succumbing to peer pressure and engaging in risky behavior. 

And if you fear they’re developing a substance use disorder, the sooner you get help, the better: "If you can get them into rehab, you have better results in rehab," Jensen said. "You can undo the circuit. You still have a better ability to remold the circuit – if you can capture it."

Sobriety College at Hope Academy
If your loved one is a college student struggling with a substance use disorder, don't wait to get help. At Hope Academy, our peer-based program provides the safety and support young adults need to succeed in school and at sobriety. To learn more about our sobriety college, call today: 866-930-4673.









Monday, September 10, 2018

High Rates of Stress Events, Suicidality Among College Students

suicide and college students
With college comes an increased risk of stressful events and mental health challenges, including the risk of suicide. In fact, one in five college students reported thoughts of suicide in the past year, according to a study of more than 67,000 college students across more than 100 colleges. The results were published in the journal Depression & Anxiety. 

"Some stressful events cannot be prevented and, in some cases, are completely normal. But for others, a plan should be in place for family, friends, and colleges to provide support," said lead author Cindy Liu, PhD, of the Departments of Pediatric Newborn Medicine and Psychiatry at BWH, in a statement. “Our study highlights an urgent need to help students reduce their experience of overwhelming levels of stress during college."

Luckily, adds Liu, there’s greater awareness and less stigma on college campuses today about mental health. And this study comes during National Recovery Month, sponsored each September by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover. 

Liu and her colleagues analyzed results from a survey by the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA), which asked students a variety of questions related to depression and anxiety, including: 
  • Have you been diagnosed or treated for a mental health issue?
  • Have you engaged in self harm, considered suicide or attempted suicide?
  • How many stressful events, ranging from academics to family problems to sleep difficulties, have you experienced in the last year?
According to the study, one in four students reported being diagnosed with or treated for a mental health disorder in the prior year. And one-fifth of all students surveyed had thought about suicide, with 9 percent reporting having attempted suicide and nearly 20 percent reporting self-injury. Sexual minorities showed elevated rates of mental health disorders and suicidality/self-injury and the authors suspect that mental health issues may be underreported for racial/ethnic minorities. 

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Young Adults
Suicide is the second most common cause of death among college students, with someone between the ages of 15 and 24 dying every two hours and 12 minutes. 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, call 866-930-4673. 






Monday, August 27, 2018

Binge Drinking Puts Your Heart at Risk and More

Binge drinking can cause much more than a bad hangover. It can take a major toll on your ticker. 

A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that young adults who binge drink have an increased risk of such heart risk factors as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and higher blood sugar levels. 

Researchers defined binge drinking as five drinks or more in a row for men and four or more drinks for women – and frequent binge drinkers repeated this behavior more than 12 times a year.

These findings are especially important considering the “pervasiveness, intensity and regularity of binge drinking” among today’s youth, lead researcher Mariann Piano, told HealthDay.

The study showed that young men who frequently binge drank had higher systolic blood pressure and higher cholesterol levels, setting themselves up for future heart trouble, Dr. Richard Becker, director of the University of Cincinnati's Heart, Lung and Vascular Institute, told HD.

"Hypertension and high cholesterol are powerful risk factors for cardiovascular events, including heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and death," Becker said. "They represent global health problems of unparalleled proportion that not only continues to increase, but are being detected at younger ages."

What’s more, researchers found a link between binge drinking and excessive consumption of junk food. Young women were found to have higher levels of blood glucose, increasing their diabetes risk, Piano said.

The takeaway: Binge drinking can result in serious safety, academic and health risks. "It's really important that young adults understand that what they do in their youth can affect their health later in life," Piano said.

Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse 
Binge drinking in adolescence can also 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.


Monday, August 20, 2018

College Students Suffer Secondary Exposure to Opioid Addiction

Do you know someone addicted to opioids? If you answered, yes, you’re not alone A new study by researchers from Penn State University Lehigh Valley found that roughly one in five college students know someone who was addicted to opioids. And, of that number, roughly one-third knew someone who had overdosed on painkillers.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the findings: 
  • 20.5 percent said they currently know someone who is addicted to pain meds.
  • 32.5 percent said they knew somebody who overdosed on either painkillers or heroin.
  • 15 percent reported worrying that someone they knew may be misusing pain medication.
  • Women were twice as likely to report having intimate ties to those who misuse or overdose on opioids.
These findings confirm what many addiction experts already know: family members and friends of loved ones of those addicted to painkillers are also feeling the effects of the opioid epidemic. 

"Since the beginning of the opioid epidemic, public debate and prevention strategies have focused on the primary victims, misusers themselves, while surprisingly little attention has been paid to the burdens felt and experienced by those who are intimately or socially tied to them," said lead researcher Jennifer Parker, who is an associate professor of sociology at PSU Lehigh Valley.

The researchers hope that these findings will encourage others to delve deeper into how secondary exposure to the opioid epidemic will impact the students’ mental and physical health as well as academic performance. "It makes me sad to think that so many [students] are carrying around this worry because being a student in today's world is already hard enough," Erica Hughes, an undergraduate student in Health Policy Administration, said in a statement.

Sobriety College at Hope Academy
If your friend or family member is a college student struggling with opioid addiction, we can help. At Hope Academy, we provide the safety and support students need to succeed in school and at sobriety. To learn more about our sobriety college, call today: 866-930-4673.

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