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Thursday, August 6, 2020

How Does Alcohol Affect Young Adults?

Many high school and college students view drinking as a rite of passage, and pop culture has perpetuated that idea by depicting young adults going to rowdy parties where the alcohol flows freely. The teen years are also a time when many young people are experiencing their first taste of adulthood, with milestones like earning a driver’s license and moving out of their parents’ house.

Underage drinking may be one way for young adults to test their boundaries and assert their independence. Often, people in this age range are more susceptible to peer pressure and the desire to fit in with their friends, which could lead them to experiment with alcohol. What should parents and young adults know about the risks of drinking?

The Dangers of Drinking for Young Adults

Young adults may feel invincible, believing there will be no negative consequences of binge drinking. However, alcohol abuse can quickly spiral into a pattern of self-destruction that is challenging to escape without help.

A teen or college-aged person who develops an alcohol misuse disorder can lose an otherwise promising future with difficulties such as the following.
  • Problems in school: Students who drink might wake up feeling too hung over to pay attention in school, or could start skipping class altogether. Alcohol abuse can also interfere with a student’s academic performance. If their grades fall too far, they might risk expulsion from school.
  • Impaired cognition: Because people’s brains continue to develop until their mid-20s, young adults who drink or use drugs might eventually have trouble concentrating, retaining new memories or making smart decisions.
  • Reckless behavior: A drunk person might behave entirely differently than they do when they are sober, since alcohol lowers inhibitions. A young adult under the influence of alcohol could decide to do something irresponsible like starting a fight or having unprotected sex. Illegal activities such as drunk driving or vandalism could lead to an arrest.
  • Health issues: The physical, mental and emotional effects of alcohol misuse don’t happen immediately, but over the long term, heavy drinking can raise the risk of developing organ and tissue damage, high blood pressure, depression, obesity and even some forms of cancer. Someone who drinks as a young adult might not meet all the standards for a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder at the time. They can still go on to struggle with alcoholism later in life, though.

Addressing Alcohol Abuse in Young Adults

Age-specific alcohol rehab is often ideal because younger people have different treatment needs and cultural expectations. Look for a young adult treatment center that offers therapy in addition to essential life skills such as job readiness. At Hope Academy, our goal is to prepare young people to be confident, independent adults upon their discharge from treatment. We have tailored our program to the unique needs of teens and college-aged students. To learn more about how Hope Academy can help rebuild the foundation of your life, contact us today.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Sober Summer Fun During COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly every facet of our daily lives. Depending on the restrictions your city and state have implemented to protect people and inhibit the spread of COVID-19, many of your favorite summer activities may currently be off-limits to you. What are some ideas for sober summer fun during this time?

1. Plan a “Staycation”

Many of us have had to put our vacation plans on hold indefinitely, which can be frustrating. However, one silver lining during COVID-19 has been the ability to go on free, virtual tours of many world-class museums, art galleries and other attractions. You’ll feel like you’ve gone somewhere new, even if you haven’t set foot outside.

2. Become an Outdoor Chef

When the temperatures are hot and muggy, you don’t want to trap even more heat inside your home by cooking on the stove or using your oven. If you have a grill, the good news is that you can cook everything from main dishes to sides and even dessert outside! Once you’ve mastered a few grilled recipes, you can serve nutritious meals for your whole household.

3. Plant a Garden

Homemade foods such as freshly baked bread have become somewhat of a pandemic trend. What could be a better way to hop on board with this fad than to start a garden? It’s gratifying to nurture plants and watch them grow, and you’ll get to reap the bounty of delicious seasonal produce such as tomatoes, squash, zucchini, herbs and watermelon. If you don’t have a yard or a lot of extra space to work with, try container gardening.

4. Volunteer

Even if COVID-19 has somewhat restricted your options for in-person volunteering, you can still find plenty of volunteer opportunities online. Thousands of organizations need talented volunteers for a wide range of projects, so if you have skills such as graphic design, computer programming, bookkeeping and email marketing, put them to good use helping worthy causes.

5. Learn a New Skill

It’s never too late to learn something new. Perhaps there’s a specific school subject you want to revisit over the summer to prepare ahead of the fall semester, or you’d like to branch out and learn something totally different. Either way, you don’t have to leave home to get more educated about a wide range of topics. Many online learning providers are offering free courses you can take advantage of during COVID-19.

6. Move Your Exercise Routine Outside

The long, sunny days of summer are the perfect opportunity to start an outdoor fitness regimen. Swimming, hiking, biking, running and even yoga are all excellent exercises to do outside. You can reap the mental and physical health benefits of fitness, combined with the healing power of nature, to make the most of your time this summer.

We Make Recovery a Reality

During the coronavirus pandemic, getting treatment for a substance abuse problem is as necessary as ever. At Hope Academy, we provide young adults with the tools and support they need to recover from an addiction and realize their full potential in life. To learn more about starting recovery at our California drug and alcohol rehab, contact us today.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Will California Colleges Reopen This Fall? The Impact of Uncertainty on Mental Health

America’s COVID-19 outbreak caused an abrupt shutdown of most of the country in mid-March. In what represented a sea change for the nation, schools sent students home, major sports leagues suspended their seasons and businesses deemed “non-essential” closed their doors.

Though many cities and states have now slowly started to reopen restaurants, shops, churches and entertainment venues, it’s too soon to tell what the impact of this gradual reopening might be. Some experts have warned that opening back up is premature because it will encourage people to congregate in large groups and ignore the need for social distancing, resulting in another spike in cases. Top epidemiologists have already predicted a second wave of coronavirus infections in the fall that will closely resemble the first.

Is It Safe to Resume On-Campus Classes?

At least one major California university has already announced plans to reopen its campus for an abbreviated fall semester, after implementing several proactive safety measures for the health of their students, faculty and staff. Other schools are taking a more cautious approach. For example, California State University Chancellor Timothy White recently released a statement that the school would continue to operate primarily virtually this fall.

Many other colleges across the Golden State and around the nation are still debating the merits and the risks involved in allowing students to come back to in-person classes. Responsible reopening would require additional equipment and supplies to ensure students, staff members and faculty can get frequent testing, along with the associated contact tracing and the potential for life-saving quarantines. Not all colleges have the budget and resources to fulfill these obligations, which remains a source of uncertainty.

How to Manage Your Mental Well-Being Amid Uncertain Times

Life has always been unpredictable. Even before the emergence of a global pandemic, people got caught off-guard by unexpected circumstances. However, the future seems murkier than ever with coronavirus complicating nearly everything. If your college hastily suspended in-person classes in response to the outbreak, being away from the friends you love seeing and the environment you enjoy spending time in may have been a significant setback in your life.

Times like these can take a toll on your mental health. Perhaps the daily headlines overwhelm you with feelings of anger, sadness or helplessness. If mental health is already a challenge for you, you may notice yourself struggling more than usual. If that’s the case for you, here are some ways to take care of your mental health in the face of uncertainty.
  1. Focus on the things you can keep under control. Even when the world seems turned upside down, there are still things within your reach. Wash your hands frequently and wear a facemask, and remind others to do the same. Take breaks for self-care. Step away from the news if it’s making you too anxious.
  2. Get outside in nature – even if you are avoiding crowds. Being outdoors is essential for your mental and physical health. It’s an excellent way to reduce stress, lower your blood pressure and help you adjust your mindset. Taking a walk outside, or even just sitting in the sunshine for a few minutes, will make you feel better.
  3. Ask for help. There’s no shame in reaching out to others when you need extra support. Call understanding friends and family members, or find a therapist online. It’s OK to admit you can’t shoulder all your burdens alone, and we’re all in this together.

California Young Adult Addiction Rehab

Young men and women who are living with addiction and need to hit the reset button on their lives can find their healing haven at Hope Academy. We have designed our peer-based treatment program specifically for younger people. Reach out to us today to discover more.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

The Importance of Good Nutrition During COVID-19

In these times of heightened anxiety and disrupted routines, the need to eat a balanced diet can be one of the first things to fall by the wayside. Planning and preparing healthy meals is challenging even in the best of times. But now, with entire families quarantining together and many grocery stores having a more limited selection due to coronavirus, it can be tempting to reach for readily available comfort foods that offer little in the way of fulfilling your body’s nutritional needs. Here’s how to practice good nutrition during COVID-19.

Some Foods Can Improve Your Mood and Lower Stress

Many of the foods you probably already enjoy, such as dark chocolate, coffee, nuts and bananas, can help put you in a happier mindset. Incorporating these into your diet can put a spring in your step and give you more motivation to complete your daily tasks.

A Healthy Diet Will Boost Your Immune System

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the risk of catching – and spreading – this potentially lethal virus is a very real fear for most people. While there are many things doctors and medical researchers still don’t understand about this novel virus and why it affects people differently, it remains a proven fact that the foods you eat can make you healthier by strengthening your immune system.
  • Citrus fruits and bell peppers are rich in vitamin C, which increases your white blood cell count to help your body fight infections.
  • Broccoli is a superfood that is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and E, as well as fiber and many antioxidants.
  • Garlic does more than add a tasty zing to your favorite recipes – it also has compounds that can assist your immune system.
  • Yogurt is a rich, indulgent treat whose live and active cultures can help prevent illness. Yogurt and other dairy products contain abundant vitamin D, which may play a role in protecting against respiratory conditions.

Plan Your Trips to the Supermarket

The need to practice social distancing and to leave the house only for essential errands has made each visit to the grocery store seem monumentally important. Rather than unnecessarily exposing yourself to possible infection by running out to pick up a few odds and ends for each meal, it’s a smarter idea to plan your menus at least a week in advance and cut down on trips. Make a list before you go, so you’ll minimize the time you spend in contact with fellow shoppers and be less likely to buy impulse items. Here are some tips for making a shopping list.
  • Being self-quarantined doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have more time – or energy – to cook, so keep that in mind. Have a few quick and healthy go-to recipes in your back pocket that you can put together without spending hours in the kitchen.
  • The healthiest meals involve fresh produce, whole grains and lean proteins. Make sure your list is heavy on these items and light on processed foods. If you play your cards right, you’ll often find you can skip most of the middle aisles of the store and stick to the perimeter.
  • As much as possible, try to visualize the layout of your favorite supermarket and make your list in the same order of where you’d find items in the store.

A Healthier Today and Tomorrow

Coronavirus has affected nearly every aspect of our daily lives, but that doesn’t mean it has to change your commitment to eating a healthy diet and nourishing your body from the inside out. Remember, eating well is part of self-care.

If you’re looking to change your life for the better by breaking the cycle of substance abuse, contact us at Hope Academy for your confidential assessment. We offer qualified addiction programming for young adults in California.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Tips for Staying Positive During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Our world is facing a period of unprecedented challenges during a global pandemic that has fundamentally changed the fabric of our daily lives. Amid this uniquely stressful environment, it can be hard for even the most optimistic people to stay upbeat. At a time when we need each other most, shelter-in-place guidelines are keeping most of us homebound, leaving many people susceptible to depression and anxiety. How can you protect your mental health during COVID-19? Here are our favorite tips.

Stay Connected With Loved Ones

Self-quarantine keeps you safe, but it might also have made you start to feel isolated. Think about faraway friends and family members you haven’t talked to in some time, and reach out to say hello. You can call them or organize a virtual hangout using software such as Skype or Houseparty. Or, get creative and send a surprise note or care package through the mail. You’ll be letting them know you’re thinking about them while supporting the U.S. Postal Service, which is struggling to avoid becoming a victim of the coronavirus crisis.

Practice Self-Care Strategies

Your mental health should be a priority because when you’re mentally resilient, you allow your immune system to do its job better. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and eating a balanced diet. Set aside time in each day for exercise – even something as simple as a 15-minute walk around the block is enough to increase your heart rate and give you a feel-good boost of endorphins. Put on upbeat music and have a dance party in your living room. Get lost in a work of escapist fiction.

Shift Your Mindset

In these frightening times, it’s vital to limit negativity in your life as much as possible. We have all lost something due to coronavirus, from a sense of security and control to the ability to participate in public events. Instead of dwelling on the things you can’t do, embrace this as an opportunity for personal growth. Enroll in online classes that will teach you a new skill. If you’re quarantined with family members, use this time to get closer to them with bonding activities such as board games or cooking together.

Take Breaks From the News

Obviously, it’s essential to stay abreast of information about coronavirus, especially pertaining to the number of cases in your community. However, it’s not healthy to consume a steady diet of headlines from the moment you wake up to the time you fall asleep. If you start feeling overwhelmed, it’s OK to step away for a day or two. Instead, watch something that makes you laugh and takes your mind off your worries.

Don’t Struggle in Silence

If you’re starting to recognize the symptoms of depression or anxiety creeping into your life, seek help. Remember, you’re never alone, even if you’re homebound. Look for an online therapist or support group. Call a supportive friend and talk through your feelings.

Remaining Mentally Strong Amid Coronavirus Concerns

It’s natural that everyone is feeling more worried than usual about the global spread of coronavirus. However, don’t fall into unhealthy coping habits or let anxiety or depression take over your life. If you are feeling vulnerable to developing a dual diagnosis of addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder during this unprecedented time, we are here to help. Hope Academy provides outstanding substance abuse treatment to young adults who are struggling with these problems. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

You Are Not Alone - How to Manage Anxieties Over COVID-19

We’re living through an unprecedented pandemic that has already affected millions of people’s lives and livelihoods in only a few months. Major cities and even entire countries have issued lockdowns that have changed their citizens’ way of life. Whether you’re in a community that has already experienced the effects of coronavirus, or are preparing for it to arrive, you’ve probably been keeping a close eye on the news and wondering what’s next.

Even the most mentally resilient people are struggling to cope with the “new normal” in these trying times. If you have anxieties over COVID-19, you are not alone. Here are strategies for dealing with three of the most common coronavirus worries.

1. Uncertainty

For many, not knowing what’s to come has been the most challenging thing about recent events. We have no idea how long this crisis will last, how severe it can get or when medical researchers will discover an effective vaccine. In the meantime, many schools, businesses and entertainment venues are closed indefinitely, disrupting everyone’s lives. It’s become nearly impossible to plan for the weeks and months ahead with any confidence.

In the face of such unpredictability, people with anxiety disorders often default to envisioning the worst-case scenario, which can lead to a spiral of overwhelming dread. If this is the case for you, here are some ways to handle it.
  • Limit your news consumption: It’s essential to stay informed, but don’t obsessively check the headlines. Designate one or two specific times each day when you’ll catch up on the news, and only get information from trustworthy sources such as the Centers for Disease Control.
  • Know when to take a break: If anxieties over COVID-19 are taking over your life, it’s OK to give yourself a mini vacation from news consumption. Ask a reliable friend or family member to pass on any crucial updates that may arise while you step away from media.
  • Control what you can: Being proactive can help ease some of your anxieties. For example, write out a list of specific worries you have about coronavirus, as well as any potential solutions you can imagine.

2. Loneliness

With many communities now under stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders for the next 30 days, if not longer, isolation has become a source of anxiety for a lot of people. Humans are social animals, and even the most introverted people get lonely when they can’t visit with friends and family members.

Technology can work to your advantage here. If you start feeling depressed or anxious about missing loved ones, organize an online meetup with an app such as Zoom or Skype. When you have these virtual get-togethers, make sure coronavirus concerns don’t dominate the conversation. Instead, keep it lighthearted and focus on other things happening in your lives.

3. Getting Sick

Another common worry people have about coronavirus is that they will become ill and spread the virus to others. Even young, healthy individuals can infect other people without having any obvious symptoms. Though many cases of COVID-19 have proven to be mild, the virus can be fatal to vulnerable people, such as those who are elderly or immunocompromised. To avoid contracting coronavirus, stay home as much as possible, regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water and follow all guidelines for preventing the transmission of the virus.

Finding Healthy Ways to Cope With Anxiety

If you’re struggling to stay upbeat in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s essential to remember we are all in this together. Make sure to dedicate time to your self-care every day, and recognize when you need a mental health day. If you’ve been relying on substance use to get you through this challenging time, take charge of your life and contact us at Hope Academy for a confidential assessment.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Ideas for Your Sober Spring Break

Heavy drinking and drug use are the stereotypical ways to spend spring break for far too many young adults. When you are in recovery, however, you’ll need to find alternative options to enjoy a break from a stressful semester and discover fun things to do that don’t jeopardize your mental and physical health. Here are some of our top suggestions.

1. Volunteer

Volunteering is an ideal activity for people in recovery because it allows people to feel like they’re part of something larger than themselves. You can also explore your interests in a brand-new way. For example, if your passion is literacy, volunteering with a program that helps teach adults to read can allow you to change lives for the better. Or, perhaps being around animals is a great stress-reliever for you. In that case, see if your local homeless pet shelter needs a spare pair of hands.

2. Take a Class

Though spring break gives you time off school, that doesn’t mean you should stop learning new things. Pursue a passion such as painting, cooking or modern dance. Learn an instrument or a craft. Giving yourself a creative outlet and practicing your self-expression is excellent for your mental well-being and your sense of personal freedom.

3. Practice Mindfulness

Any activity that creates mindfulness can be an integral part of your addiction recovery. If you’ve already established a meditation habit, what can you do to bring more mindfulness into your daily activities? Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to accomplish this goal, from meditating while you are waiting somewhere to paying attention to how you feel in the moment as you’re doing routine chores around the house. If you have downtime during spring break, use it to your advantage to hone your mindfulness skills.

4. Get Away From It All

Just because you’re sober doesn’t mean you have to deny yourself the fun of a good old-fashioned spring break getaway. You’ll just have to get a little bit more creative about how you do it. Instead of the typical overindulgent beach trip, go hiking in the mountains with a group of sober friends. Or, find a yoga retreat. Any vacation that supports your recovery can help you return home feeling refreshed and inspired.

Preserving Your Sobriety on Spring Break

Spring break is an opportunity to try new things and enjoy the warmer weather and longer days. However, it doesn’t mean taking time off from your recovery routine. You’ll need to continue to follow your aftercare plan, even if you go out of town. That includes attending group meetings, writing in your recovery journal and making time to exercise.

If you are looking for a new, sober solution, explore the options we provide at Hope Academy. Our California young adult treatment center not only helps people ages 18 to 26 achieve lifelong sobriety, but we also teach our clients valuable life skills that will help support their recovery process. Reach out to learn more today.
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