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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.



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. 






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