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Monday, December 11, 2017

Brain Changes in Smartphone Addicted Teens

Smartphone addiction is on the rise – 50 percent of teens feel they are addicted, according to – and it’s taking a toll on their minds. 

A new, small study suggests that being hooked on the internet and smartphones may harm the brain chemistry of teens, according to research presented at the Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting in Chicago.

Researchers found an imbalance of chemicals in the brain of "internet-addicted" teenagers, similar to whats found in people with anxiety disorder and depression. Compared with 19 teenagers who were not addicted, the brains of the addicted boys had significantly higher levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter in the cortex that inhibits neurons.

"GABA slows down the neurons," Caglar Yildirim, an assistant professor of human computer interaction, told "That results in poorer attention and control, which you don't want to have, because you want to stay focused. So that means you are more vulnerable to distractions."

The good news: Researchers found that several weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy works to reverse the imbalance. 

More About Smartphone Addiction
The overuse of smartphones has been linked to several health effects, including: 
  • Text neck - cramping, stabbing pain that comes after looking down at your phone too long
  • Poor posture
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Low self-esteem
What’s more, about 1.2 million car crashes in 2013 involved drivers talking on phones, according to the National Safety Council, and at least 341,000 involved text messaging.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Young Adults
At Hope Academy, we conduct a series of tests upon admission to determine if mental illness is complicating substance abuse. Once we gain a comprehensive understanding of each patient’s individual health challenges, our addiction treatment team develops a customized program. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

How Hope Helps Your Recovery

Hope is a pretty powerful ally in addiction recovery. Some experts even say it’s the foundation of recovery. Without hope, after all, you won’t be able to devote your mind and heart to your lifelong journey toward sobriety.

Hope helps us heal. Hope provides us with an optimistic mindset. Hope gives us the courage to set and reach small and large goals. Hope allows us to imagine a better, brighter, sober future. And while having hope is not always easy, it can always be found. 

Tips for Finding Hope
Here are a few tips to help you or someone you love find hope today:  
  • Read or listen to stories of recovery. Whether you join a Facebook page or go to an in-person meeting, recovery stories can help give you the inspiration, insight and hope you need to endure the difficult journey toward sobriety. 
  • Allow yourself to get inspired. Inspiration can certainly lead to hope. Make a point to let inspiration into your life, whether you make an effort to write down inspirational quotes, read an uplifting book or play some music. 
  • Surround yourself with optimism. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to build a solid network of positive friends, family members and peers who can help show you the bright side of life -- in recovery and beyond. There will likely be a lot of dark days during recovery and a little sunshine can help you power through and remain optimistic.
  • Set short- and long-term goals. Learning to develop meaningful and purposeful life goals is a crucial recovery activity and one that will help you look toward a positive, hopeful future. By finding your direction in life, you’ll find hope. Avoid setting unrealistic goals, however, as you don’t want to set yourself up for feelings of frustration or failure. 
Hope for a Sober, Successful Future
At Hope Academy, we help young adults recover from addiction by providing residential treatment and educational support that help them discover their passion and aspire to more in life. To learn more about our addiction treatment programs, call today: 866-930-4673.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Gift Ideas for a Loved One in Recovery

The holiday season is upon us and you may be trying to figure out a meaningful present to give to your loved one in recovery. Picking out a gift for someone you love, a gift that shows you support his or her recovery process is challenging

Luckily, there are plenty of items that can provide encouragement and sober fun. Some experts recommended thinking in three categories: for the self, for recovery, for his or her surroundings. 

Here are a few gifts that will keep on giving this season: 
  • A gratitude journal or diary
  • Sobriety calendar
  • Sparkling water maker
  • Gift certificate to movies 
  • Gift certificate for a massage or spa day
  • Trial yoga or meditation class
  • Trial indoor rock climbing membership
  • Guided meditation CD/MP3
  • Stress ball
  • Scented candles
  • Healthy cookbook
  • Inspirational book(s) about recovery 
  • Assortment of herbal and decaf teas
  • Personalized coffee cups, hats, T-shirts, bags
  • Adult coloring book and art supplies (crayons, markers, colored pencils, paints)
  • Sobriety jewelry or tokens
  • An engraved compact mirror
  • A picture frame or picture collage 
  • Bath soaps and bubbles
  • A donation to a favorite charity or recovery program
  • An indoor plant or gardening supplies
The best way to show someone you’ve got their back during recovery won’t cost a dime. Make up some coupons for an extra hug, listening session or walk in the park. The gift of support, after all, is the best gift of all. 

Drug and Alcohol Treatment for Young Adults
If you or someone you love is addicted to drugs or alcohol, Hope Academy can help. We offer a variety of drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs for young adults, including our unique sobriety college program. Our CA rehab programs for adults age 18 to 26 include residential treatment and outpatient programs, and our team is available to help with insurance authorizations, and interventions. For more information, call: 866-930-4673.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Why College Students Should Practice Gratitude

With Thanksgiving a few days away, it’s the perfect time to talk about why it’s important to have a regular gratitude practice or “attitude of gratitude.” Being grateful has been found to boost your overall happiness and wellbeing — and there’s more. For those of you attending college while in addiction recovery, a gratitude practice can help enhance your academic experience and sober life. 

Here’s how: 
  • You’ll improve your sleep. The pressures of school and rehab can take a big toll on your slumber. By counting your blessings instead of counting sheep, you’ll  relax your mind and body and fall asleep faster. 
  • You’ll lessen anxiety and depression.  Anxiety and depression often co-occur with substance use disorders – and making gratitude a habit can help safeguard your mental health. Being thankful and focusing on the positives in life will strengthen your emotional resilience so you can better deal with any negative emotions that come your way.  
  • You’ll be more productive. The practice of writing down what you’re grateful for can help you relax and focus on your recovery and schoolwork. Plus, gratitude has been linked with greater self-esteem and confidence, which certainly can’t hurt when you’re trying to tackling a tough assignment or deal with an intense craving. 
  • You’ll have deeper friendships. A simple thank-you to someone you care about can go a long way in strengthening your relationship. After all, doesn’t everyone want to feel appreciated? It could also help you make new friends; for instance, a simple thank-you text to a classmate that helped you study. 
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 13, 2017

Study: Alcohol Use Puts Adolescents at Risk of Insomnia

It’s not news that excessive drinking as a teenager can cause a host of medical problems – both in the short- and long-term. Most recently, however, researchers have linked alcohol consumption during adolescents to daytime sleepiness and insomnia. The findings are consistent with associations found between insomnia and alcohol among older adolescents and adults, say researchers.

For the study, which was published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, researchers examined the associations between alcohol use and four sleep-related issues:
  • Initial insomnia
  • Sleep irregularity (defined as difference in weekday and weekend bedtimes)
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Disturbed sleep
Study participants were asked to complete surveys that questioned the following:
  • The amount of time it takes them to fall asleep
  • Their bedtimes during the weekday and weekend
  • The frequency of sleep disturbances
  • Whether they sleep in class and potential difficulties staying awake after school 
Researchers also took into account whether symptoms of mental health problems or levels of parental monitoring accounted for these sleep problems. 

“Parents, educators, and therapists should consider insomnia to be a risk marker for alcohol use, and alcohol use a risk marker for insomnia, among early adolescents," said Rutgers-Camden researcher Naomi Marmorstein, in a statement.

Do You Know the Symptoms of Insomnia?
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), people with insomnia have one or more of the following symptoms:
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep (waking up during the night and having trouble returning to sleep)
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Unrefreshing sleep (or "non-restorative sleep")
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood disturbance, such as irritability
  • Feeling impulsive or aggression
  • Difficulty at work or school
  • Difficulty in personal relationships, including family, friends and caregivers
The duration of insomnia is important, notes the NSF, and doctors consider insomnia chronic if it
occurs at least three nights per week for three months or longer.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Sleep Disorders and Alcohol Abuse
If you suffer from both symptoms of sleep disorders and alcohol abuse, you may need specialized treatment and a personalized plan for recovery. At Hope Academy, we offer evidence-based dual diagnosis treatment for young adults facing both substance abuse and co-occurring issues like sleep disorders. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Happy Hour Alternatives That Help Your Recovery

For many young professionals, their social lives can easily revolve around drinking. Happy hour can become a go-to activity several nights a week. For those in recovery, however, happy hour can be a major relapse trigger. 

The good news: There are several alternatives that can achieve the same goal – to connect with coworkers, friends or clients or shake off stress, for instance – and they don’t involve heading to your local bar. Here are a few sober activities to help your social life and lasting sobriety: 
  • Meditate together. It’s likely not news by now that people who meditate regularly are calmer, more focused and more ready to take on whatever life brings – traits that certainly won’t hurt your recovery. Research a local meditation class; some studios even offer “happy hour” classes. 
  • Master something new. A big part of staying sober is creating a fulfilling life, without drugs or alcohol. To this end, now is the perfect time to find a new passion or hobby – whether cooking, painting or knitting. Plus, you’ll meet new friends with shared interests.
  • Sign up for a local sports league. Whether you enjoy softball or soccer, social sports come with a host of benefits, including team-building and tension release, that will serve you during rehab and beyond. 
  • Start a monthly book club. Reading is a great recovery activity that’s been linked to better sleep and stress management, to name a few. What’s more, it will help form a meaningful connection with coworkers as you meet each month to share your ideas and chitchat about the book and more.
Career Prep During Rehab
Happy hour, holiday parties and other places or events can trigger the desire to use. At Hope Academy, you’ll learn to identify and avoid these relapse triggers. To learn more about our job preparation services or speak with a member of the Hope Academy team, call today: 866-930-4673.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Caffeine Addiction and College

According to one study, more than 78 percent of college freshmen consume above the recommended amount of caffeine per day, or more than 400 milligrams (mg). That's roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola or two "energy shot" drinks, though caffeine content can vary widely in these beverages.

Sure, caffeine can give you the boost you need to stay awake in class and finish your work, but it certainly won’t boost your grades. One study even showed that students who drink a cup of coffee or more have lower grade point averages than those who don't. And as students drink more daily cups of coffee, the lower their GPA becomes. 

It’s very easy to become too reliant on caffeinated drinks. This is partly because just cutting out 100 milligrams per day (five to eight ounces of coffee, two cans of soda, or two or three cups of tea) can cause withdrawal symptoms that are bad for your health and sobriety, including:
  • Jitters
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Disrupted heart rhythm 
  • Depression
What’s more, it can become a slippery slope when you begin turning to caffeine in lieu of practicing healthy habits — such as establishing good sleeping routines and practicing time management. Here are some easy ways to stay alert without the buzz of caffeine. 
  • Take a nap. As long as it's about six or seven hours prior to bedtime and not for too long (no longer than 25 minutes), napping is a great way to recharge.
  • Eat a small snack. Low blood sugar is another energy suck. A small mini meal with a combo of healthy fat and protein can help keep blood sugar stable and energy levels high. Some ideas: avocado toast, peanut or nut butter and celery or carrots and hummus. 
  • Drink water. Dehydration is a major culprit of fatigue. Water will recharge your mind, body and metabolism.
  • Step outside: If you feel yourself dragging during the day, get up and soak up some sunshine. Exposure to the sun will make you feel instantly energized.
Healthy Possibilities
When you choose Hope Academy's rehab, you open the possibility for a whole new life. And, perhaps the best part, 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. 

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