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Thursday, October 1, 2020

Why Study Drugs Don’t Work


Perhaps you have a classmate who swears “study drugs” like Ritalin and Adderall have helped sharpen their focus before an exam or a major sports competition. You might have even tried them yourself to pull an all-nighter or try to have a more productive study session.

Doctors commonly prescribe these medications to help people with ADHD concentrate on the task at hand, which has increased the prevalence of study drugs on campuses from coast to coast. Many dangerous myths surround these drugs, and people who use them recreationally or without a doctor’s supervision can do themselves more harm than good. Let’s look at the top reasons study drugs don’t work.

1. Study Drugs Can Impair Your Concentration

Maybe you’ve never received a diagnosis of ADHD, but you’ve heard rumors that prescription stimulants can make you smarter. Instead of boosting academic success by sharpening your concentration, alertness and cognitive abilities, these drugs may worsen your short-term memory and leave you jittery and distracted. In people without ADHD, these medications can lead to poor impulse control and rash behavior.

2. Using Medication Without a Prescription Is Dangerous

There’s a persistent misconception that all prescription drugs are “safe” to use. However, using stimulant medications without a doctor’s guidance is illegal, and comes with a host of side effects. When used improperly or excessively, study drugs can cause health problems such as irregular heartbeat, insomnia, headaches, digestive problems, anxiety, mood swings and high blood pressure. Trying to taper off these meds or quit using them cold turkey can lead to withdrawal, an even more unpleasant situation.

3. Prescription Stimulants Are Highly Addictive

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency lists prescription stimulants as Schedule 2 drugs, due to their strong potential for abuse and addiction. They’re among infamous company on that list – opioids and cocaine are also Schedule 2 substances. People who take medications like Adderall and Ritalin recreationally might crush the pills and snort them to achieve faster-acting effects. They could also use a much higher dose than what a doctor would prescribe, either because they’re unaware of the correct dosage or they’ve reached a point where it takes more and more of the drug to achieve the same feelings.

Boost Your GPA the Old-Fashioned Way

Instead of relying on drugs and risking your mental and physical health in pursuit of better grades, go back to basics with these tried-and-true study tips.
  • Get a tutor: Many college campuses offer free or low-cost resources to students, including tutoring services. If you’re struggling to keep up in a class or worried about passing an exam, a tutor can help break down complex topics in an easy-to-understand way.
  • Stay on a sleep schedule: College students are often chronically sleep-deprived. However, creating a consistent sleep schedule will ensure you get enough shuteye to feel well-rested and wake up with plenty of energy and enthusiasm to face the day.
  • Don’t procrastinate: It can feel tempting to wait until the last minute to start studying for a test or working on a big assignment. However, this approach can make you anxious and less likely to do your best work.

Young Adult Addiction Treatment in California

If prescription stimulant addiction is adversely affecting your life, contact us at Hope Academy. We proudly offer qualified addiction treatment that makes it possible for high school and college students to be well-adjusted adults.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

The Benefits of Creating a COVID-19 Routine


2020 has been a year unlike any other. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many systemic failings in our nation’s social contract, leaving people vulnerable to the spread of a potentially deadly and disabling virus.

Even if some or all the businesses in your area have recently reopened with fewer restrictions, you could still be spending more time at home due to campus closures and a desire to protect yourself and your neighbors from illness. How can having a routine benefit you in these changed circumstances, and what are some ideas for creating a COVID-19 routine that works for you?

Reasons to Develop a COVID-19 Routine

High schools and colleges that are still operating on a virtual classroom model, instead of in-person instruction, are doing the right thing by encouraging students to limit interactions that could accelerate transmission of the novel coronavirus. Still, humans are creatures of habit. Without structure in our days, we start to feel aimless and adrift.

Having a daily schedule gives you a sense of purpose. Knowing what you need to do and when it needs to happen can bring much-needed certainty when other aspects of your life are on shaky ground. A routine can also benefit your mental health by giving you something to look forward to each day.

How to Develop Your Routine

You have finite hours in a day, but planning how to fill them with meaningful activities can help you make the most of your life. You don’t need a meticulous plan for every moment of your day, but in general, try to create a COVID-19 routine that accounts for:
  • Consistent times when you’ll wake up and go to bed, ensuring you get seven to nine hours of good-quality sleep per night
  • Studying independently, or participating in online classes and discussions
  • Preparing and eating meals
  • Exercising
  • Leisure time – building breaks into the day can help re-energize you to tackle the next tasks.

The Value of To-Do Lists

Having a daily or weekly to-do list can help you stay on track, especially if you don’t currently have the structure of in-person instruction to keep you accountable. To-do lists can be a vital tool for anyone who is new to working without direct supervision, as they provide a visual reminder of what you need to accomplish.

When you create your to-do list, be sure to break each large project into the individual steps necessary to complete it. For instance, if you have to write a paper, you might start by researching your subject, then create an outline of ideas. Follow those steps with the writing and the bibliography, and finish by proofreading your work.

If you finish a project or assignment earlier than you expected, don’t use that as an excuse to curl up on the couch and watch TV. Instead, look to your to-do list for the next few days to see if there are any opportunities to get ahead. Your future self will thank you!

Addiction Treatment Tailored to Young Adults

At Hope Academy, we understand younger people have different needs in drug and alcohol rehab, and that this stage of life brings unique challenges that can complicate the recovery process. Our qualified addiction specialists have created programming specifically to help high school and college-aged students discover who they are without the burdens of substance abuse standing between them and genuine happiness. Call today for your confidential assessment.

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.
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