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Monday, April 23, 2018

How to Talk to Your Teen If You Suspect Drug Misuse

talking to teen drug misuseReading headline after headline about our current opioid epidemic can leave parents feeling frightened and even helpless. But there’s good news: If you think your teen is using and abusing drugs, you can make a difference and you don’t have to break the silence alone. 

The NCADA offers some do's and don'ts for starting the conversation and helping your loved one get back on a healthy path. 

Your first step: Don’t blame yourself. Just because your teen has used drugs or alcohol doesn’t mean that you are a “bad parent” or that they are a “bad kid,” say NCADA. And remember: Your primary goal is to address the unhealthy behavior, express your concern and get him or her professional help.

What to Do...
Take the time to get your thoughts together and decide what you want the outcome of the conversation to be. A few more pointers from the NCADA:
  • Stay calm and stick to the facts.
  • Express to your child how important your relationship with them is to you. Use “I care” messages.
  • Offer examples of specific behaviors that concern you. “Last week, you went from being happy to being extremely crabby without any warning.”
  • Discuss how this problem is affecting your relationship: “I feel like I can’t trust you anymore, and I’m afraid to leave you at home by yourself.” 
  • Tell your teen what needs to change or what you’d like for them to do: “I want you to start seeing a counselor to get help.”
  • Know your limits and recognize when professional help is necessary.
What Not to Do...
Timing is everything, so don’t confront your child when he or she is under the influence or when you or your child is angry. A few more tips, according to NCADA: 
  • Don’t label with words like “addict.”
  • Don’t argue or debate with your child.
  • Don’t feel guilty. 
Opioid Addiction Treatment for Young Adults
Young adults (age 18 to 25) are the biggest abusers of prescription opioid pain relievers, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And early intervention is the most successful treatment. If someone you love is struggling with opioid addiction, don’t wait to get help. Call today: 866-930-4673.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Springtime Things in Orange County

springtime things in orange county
Spring has sprung and there’s no shortage of seasonal things to do in Orange County. Here is a quick look at a few uplifting activities to remind you just how fun a sober life can be:

Celebrate Earth Day. Whale watching, beach cleanups, animal feedings – there are plenty of ways to give back and celebrate the earth in Orange County. Or, gather your friends and arrange a DYI project with some recycled crafts. 

Hit the beach. OC is blessed with some great beaches and spring is the perfect time to breathe in the coastal air. 

Take a stroll along the water or just relax with a riveting read. Or, check out one of these fun events: 
  • Newport Beach Film Festival, April 26-May 3: The best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from around the world.
  • Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race, April 27-29: Sailors brave the brisk waters for a race to Ensenada, Mexico.
  • Newport Beach Jazz Festival, June 1-3: A three-day celebration of jazz from world renown artists and award-winning musicians.
Take a hike. Explore the rustic, natural side of Orange County by hiking along one of the many meticulously kept paths nestled in the canyons, slopes and mountains of the region.

Head to the farmer’s market. There are some great farmer’s markets in the OC and spring is the perfect time to try a few near you. Load up on fresh seasonal produce like strawberries, fava beans and asparagus.

Indulge in sweet strawberries. Strawberry nachos or strawberry popcorn anyone? Get ready to listen to live music as you sample an assortment of strawberry creations at the annual California Strawberry festival, May 25-28. 

And, of course, another way to enjoy spring in Orange County is to just get outside and play – whether you gather some friends for a game of Frisbee in the park or volleyball on the beach. Soak up the sun and have a fun, sober spring season! 

Sober Living Year-Round
Learning to make better choices is a key element of the young adult recovery program at Hope Academy. Our clients, ages 18-26, receive clinical treatment as well as one-on-one coaching in healthy nutrition, exercise, relaxation, and coping skills. This helps them to recognize and manage their addiction triggers and cravings, and make healthier life choices. To find out more, call today: 866-930-4673.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Sober Hobbies to Help You De-stress

sober hobbies
Finding a healthy way to deal with stress – both during college and as you embark on your sober future  – is a key component of recovery. Here are a number of sober hobbies that have been scientifically backed to help relieve tension and help you relax. Try one (or a few) and see what works for you. 
  • Yoga: Sure, this might be an obvious choice, but it’s a proven one. Yoga teaches us to use the power of breath to stay calm. This ancient practice has also been linked do a reduction of levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and symptoms of anxiety and depression. 
  • Coloring and drawing: Whether you invest in an adult coloring book and fancy pencils or spend a few dollars on some white paper and crayons, coloring and drawing is a great relaxation technique that can help you stay in the moment and stay calm. 
  • Writing: Journaling or expressing your thoughts and emotions via writing is a proven way to identify any stressors and then let them go. Try it: Take 15 minutes each day and write freely without censoring yourself. 
  • Reading: Getting lost in a good book is a great way to escape from the stressors of daily life. Studies show that reading can help to lower your heart rate and ease tension in your muscles.
  • Gardening: Digging in the dirt can lower your stress hormones, improve your mood and keep you in the moment. What’s more, being outside in the fresh air and sunshine can boost these effects even more.
  • Hiking: Similarly, enjoying the great outdoors and nature via hiking can help reduce stress and help reduce rumination, or obsessing over negative thoughts. And since hiking is an aerobic exercise, you’ll also benefit from the feel-good endorphins released in your body. 
Finding Emotional Support at Hope Academy
A host of emotions inevitably arise as you begin working toward your sobriety goals. The professionals at Hope Academy can teach you to manage these feelings without resorting to substance abuse. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.


Monday, April 2, 2018

It's Alcohol Awareness Month

Alcohol Awareness Month
Each April, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) sponsors Alcohol Awareness Month in an effort to increase public awareness and understanding, reduce stigma and encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues. 

This year’s theme, “Changing Attitudes: It’s not a ‘rite of passage,’" is aimed at educating adolescents about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism, as well as parents on the important role they can play in teaching kids to have a healthy attitude regarding alcohol. 

As part of the month-long campaign, NCADD put together some must-know facts and figures to help spread the message. Here are a few: 
  • Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States.
  • Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year.
  • More than 1.6 million young people report driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year.
  • Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.
  • Drinking by persons under the age of 21 is linked to 189,000 emergency room visits.
  • The typical American will see 100,000 beer commercials before he or she turns 18.
  • Kids who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crime, to be involved in alcohol-related traffic crashes, and to have serious school-related problems.
  • A supportive family environment is associated with lowered rates of alcohol use for adolescents.
  • Kids who have conversations with their parents and learn a lot about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50 percent less likely to use alcohol and drugs than those who don’t have such conversations.
Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse 
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, March 26, 2018

Can Colleges Keep Up With Students' Mental Health Needs?

colleges and student mental health needs
Record numbers of college students are seeking help for such mental health conditions as anxiety and depression and schools are struggling to offer adequate help, according to a recent article on Time.com. 

In fact, an American College Health Association (ACHA) survey of 63,0000 students at 92 schools found that 40 percent of students felt so depressed the prior year that it was “difficult for them to function” and 61 percent said they felt “overwhelming anxiety.” 

What’s more, visits to on-campus counseling centers have increased by roughly 30 percent, between 2009 and 2015, according to a report by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health (CCMH). 

The average university has one professional counselor for every 1,737 students — that’s less than one therapist for every 1,000 to 1,500 students, according to Time.com. And while colleges across the country are stepping up to meet these growing demands, many college counselors remain overwhelmed and students continue to endure long waits for mental health treatment, notes Time.com.

So what’s the solution? Here’s a look at what a few universities are doing: 
  • UCLA began offering free mental health screenings to all incoming freshman.
  • Virginia Tech University opened several satellite counseling clinics.
  • Ohio State University launched a counseling mobile app, which allows students to make an appointment, access breathing exercises and contact the clinic in case of an emergency. 
  • Pennsylvania State University allocated roughly $700,000 in additional funding for counseling and psychological services in 2017.
Still, on average, universities haven’t been able to provide long-term treatment services like recurring appointments and specialized counseling, noted the ACHA survey. “That means that students will be able to get that first appointment when they’re in high distress, but they may not be able to get ongoing treatment after the fact,” Ben Locke, Penn State’s counseling director and head of the CCMH, told Time.com“And that is a problem.”

Dual Diagnosis Treatment
When young adults are dealing with a coexisting mental health issue, the rehabilitation process requires specialized dual-diagnosis expertise. 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, March 19, 2018

Study: Parental Approval Leads to More Drinking in College

college students drinking
"Parents who accept drinking as just a normal part of college may be encouraging their kids to drink more, according to a study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.  

The researchers surveyed 687 Penn State students about their drinking habits and how much they believed their parents would approve of them drinking. The data was gathered at regular checkpoints across four years, from the last year of high school through the third year of college. 

To learn more about these patterns, the researchers arranged students into four groups, including students with parents who…
  • Consistently didn't approve of drinking
  • Consistently approved of high levels of drinking
  • Began approving of higher levels of drinking around age 21 parents
  • Began approving of higher levels of drinking when the students started college
The results: the more students believed their parents approved of them drinking, the more alcohol they tended to drink. Many parents didn't approve of drinking in high school, but when they went to college or got closer to turning 21, “the parents' attitudes relaxed and students' drinking increased,” said Brian Calhoun, graduate student in human development and family studies and first author of the paper.

The findings show that parents can still play a role in providing positive feedback and encouraging their children to make healthy lifestyle choices, especially during the college years when drug and alcohol use often peaks. "One part of this can be supporting safe choices about drinking alcohol,” said Jennifer Maggs, professor of human development and family studies, “and not reinforcing or making jokes about college being a crazy time when everyone takes risks without consequences." 

Conversation Goals During College
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, it's important for parents to keep the lines of communication open through all four (or more) years of college. This regular communication will also make it easier to spot any sign of alcohol abuse, including: 
  • Binge drinking
  • Declining grades
  • Changes in appearance
  • Decrease in extracurricular college activities
  • Shifts in sleeping patterns
  • Mood swings
  • Reckless behavior
  • Changes in social circles or hanging out with others who abuse alcohol or drugs
Sobriety College at Hope Academy
If you are or someone you love is a college student struggling with a mental illness and a 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, March 12, 2018

College Students Learn to Use Narcan

More than a year ago, students at the University of Texas at Austin began learning to use naloxone, known by the brand name Narcan, which is used to rapidly reverses an opioid overdose. The goal: to save a friend or peer showing symptoms of an overdose. 

Program supporters compare Narcan availability to fire extinguishers or automated external defibrillators – both mainstays on college campuses. “The majority of the doses are likely going to go unused — that’s a good thing,” Lucas Hill, a UT-Austin pharmacy professor who directs a program called Operation Naloxone that UH students plan to expand into Houston this semester, told the Houston Chronicle. “Most fire extinguishers get tossed out without being used. This is similar.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2,588 people overdosed from drugs in Texas in 2015 and the figure rose to 2,831 in 2016. What’s more, four percent of Texas college students misused opioids in 2017, noted the Houston Chronicle. Still, noted Hill, it’s difficult to know how widespread the issue is on Texas campuses, as families often keep overdoses private.

Despite these rising figures, many Texas public universities lack written policies on naloxone distribution. “We felt as a medical organization that it was best for us to ensure that everyone who might encounter this within our facility be trained,” Martha Dannenbaum, who directs A&M’s student health services, told the Houston Chronicle. “Drug use, misuse and abuse exists everywhere. It’s not just the homeless population or the poor, it’s everyone from the highest administrative areas to young people that are functional.”

Do You Know the Signs of an Opioid Overdose?
Recognizing the symptoms of an opioid overdose and taking prompt action is critical to potentially saving a life. Although all of these signs might not be present, it’s best to seek medical assistance right away if you notice any of them: 
  • Unable to wake up or respond to your voice or touch
  • Very slow, irregular or stopped breathing
  • Center part of their eye is very small, often called “pinpoint pupils”
  • Fingernails and lips turning blue or purple
  • Slow heartbeat and/or low blood pressure
Opioid Addiction Treatment for Young Adults
Young adults (age 18 to 25) are the biggest abusers of prescription opioid pain relievers, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. 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.


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