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Thursday, October 3, 2019

4 Opioid-Related Drugs Parents Should Be Aware Of

The opioid epidemic continues to be a nationwide health crisis, and even younger people are vulnerable to the threat. High school and college students often begin experimenting with prescription painkilllers found in their family medicine cabinet. Many of these drugs are highly addictive and are also available for sale online and on the street. With these fundamentals in mind, here are four of the most common opioid-related drugs and what you need to know to protect your child.

1. Prescription Opioids

If your child has ever had surgery or a severe sports injury, they may have received a prescription for pain relievers such as oxycodone (brand name OxyContin®) or hydrocodone (brand name Vicodin®). However, due to these drugs’ documented high potential for abuse, addiction and overdose, many states have made it more difficult to get a prescription. These measures include strictly limiting the amount of time a patient can use opioid drugs, as well as total daily dosage.

2. Heroin

People who have developed an addiction to opioids, but can no longer get a legitimate doctor’s prescription for these medications, may begin buying their drugs in the street. Drugs like heroin can be easier to obtain, but they can also be deadlier than prescription opioids.

Heroin’s effects include:
  • Extreme happiness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Digestive problems
  • Sedation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unconsciousness

3. Fentanyl

Fentanyl, a lab-created opioid, can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine. In legal prescription form, fentanyl has legitimate medical uses for treating severe, difficult-to-control pain. However, makers of illegal drugs often use non-pharmaceutical fentanyl to increase the heroin-like euphoria of their product, which is why fentanyl-laced drugs are a growing concern of organizations like the Drug Enforcement Administration. People may buy illicit drugs without being aware they’re laced with fentanyl, making an accidental overdose more likely. Because of fentanyl's potency, a dose as small as two milligrams is enough to be fatal for most people.

4. Naloxone

Unlike the other drugs on this list, there is no potential for abuse with naloxone, marketed as Narcan®. Instead, the timely use of naloxone can save people’s lives by reversing an opioid overdose. Because opioid overdoses typically involve the gradual suppression of the respiratory system, first responders can use naloxone to restart someone’s breathing. Naloxone works by rapidly binding to opioid receptors in the brain and blocking the effects of opioid drugs.

Naloxone is available in a nasal spray form that makes it easy for anyone to administer, even people with no medical training. If you suspect your child is misusing opioids, it’s smart to have a supply of naloxone on hand, and familiarize yourself with the steps for responding to an opioid overdose. In some states, naloxone is available from pharmacies without a prescription.

Know the Facts

As a concerned parent, you want to be prepared so you can protect your child in any situation. Knowing the ins and outs of opioid-related drugs can help you recognize, react and respond when your child is using these drugs, and take steps to prevent their use from becoming problematic. If you need to get help for your family, Hope Academy can provide the solutions you’re looking for. Learn more about the details of our treatment program, then contact us to start the application process.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

All-Natural Ways to Manage Stress This School Year

School can be incredibly stressful. Between juggling a full course load, studying for exams and writing papers, students have a lot on their plate. It can be hard to make time for yourself, but planning stress relief into each day is crucial to avoiding student burnout. With that in mind, here are seven drug-free stress management techniques to try when you feel overwhelmed.

1. Exercise

Exercise strengthens both your physical and mental health. It’s one of the best ways to combat stress. Vigorous aerobic exercise triggers the release of endorphins in your brain, creating natural feelings of euphoria. Exercise also lowers your body’s stress hormones and helps improve your sleep quality. Activities like biking, running and walking can be particularly stress-relieving, but any activity that you enjoy and that gets your heart rate up can be beneficial.

2. Keep a Gratitude Journal

If you’re feeling stressed and anxious, it can be hard to maintain a positive outlook on life. Get in the habit of jotting down things you’re thankful for, and try to come up with at least one journal entry each day. If the idea of maintaining a daily gratitude journal sounds like too much of a burden on your already jam-packed schedule, keep your entries brief. You could write something as short as, “Today, I saw beautiful wildflowers growing by the side of the road.”

3. Spend Time With Friends and Family

When you’re stressed and overworked, your relationships can fall by the wayside. However, don’t underestimate the importance of your support network to help you get through difficult times. For additional stress relief, do something that makes you laugh, like going to see the latest hit comedy. It’s hard to feel anxious when you’re laughing.

4. Don’t Procrastinate

Another smart way to maintain healthy stress levels is to keep up with your task list according to priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list. Carve out chunks of uninterrupted time to work on the things you need to get done today. Avoid the temptation to multitask, which can make you less productive.

5. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness describes practices that help you live in the moment, such as yoga and meditation. Some forms of therapy can also help you be more mindful and resilient, turning negative thoughts into positive ones.

6. Spend Time With a Pet

Interactions with pets may help release oxytocin, a mood-improving brain chemical. Having a pet can also help you stay active and provide you with a source of unconditional, judgment-free love.

7. Listen to Music

Listening to music can help you loosen up if you’re feeling anxious. Choose a slow-paced instrumental selection if you need to relax and lower your stress levels. However, any music you enjoy can be an effective mood enhancer, especially if you get up and move to it.

Be Healthy and Happy

Although stress is a natural part of life for students, there are many all-natural ways you can help yourself feel better and improve your quality of life. Next time you feel overworked, stop and try one or more of these strategies.

At our beautiful California facility, we offer qualified drug and alcohol addiction treatment for young adults who need help getting control of their lives. Explore Hope Academy’s programming options, or speak to an admissions advisor today.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Hidden Risks of Study Drugs

With most students across the country starting a brand-new school year, now is an ideal opportunity to remind parents that many young adults are vulnerable to experimentation with drugs. However, unlike what you might be picturing, not all these high school and college students are taking drugs to relax and get high.

The reality is sometimes quite the opposite: Students under pressure to perform well in school are taking “study drugs” in an attempt to sharpen their focus and help them overachieve.

As a parent, what do you need to know about these dangerous drugs, and how can you tell if your child is using them? Read on for your guide to study drugs.

What Are Study Drugs?

The most commonly used study drugs are prescription amphetamines designed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as the brand names Adderall and Ritalin. Since the purpose of these drugs is to improve concentration, students use them to help with their studies. Students usually obtain study drugs by buying them from others who have a legitimate prescription. It’s also possible to find and order them online.

Why Do Students Use Them?

Many students experience tremendous pressure to do well academically. Perhaps your high school student is in a college-preparatory curriculum and is taking an advanced course load to get into a top university, for example. Even if they are motivated to get good grades on papers and exams, an overwhelming amount of material can lead them to believe they need an extra boost to help with their schoolwork.

ADHD medications can make people who don’t have the disorder feel more energetic and focused. However, there is no conclusive research to demonstrate a connection between the use of these prescription and people’s ability to learn or retain information. Despite this lack of proof, many high school and college students turn to study drugs each year. Other than marijuana, amphetamines are the most misused drugs by college students, according to the Monitoring the Future survey published in June 2017.

Signs of Study Drug Use

What can you look for if you suspect your child is using or abusing prescription stimulants as study drugs? Here are some of the primary symptoms.
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Appetite loss
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep problems
Taking the drugs in higher doses increases the risk of dangerous side effects like anxiety, confusion and insomnia.

Do Study Drugs Lead to Addiction?

When used correctly under a doctor’s supervision, ADHD medications are unlikely to be habit-forming. However, misuse of study drugs can cause an addiction, especially in young adults whose brains are still developing. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies amphetamines as Schedule II controlled substances, which means they have an approved medical use, but also have a high potential for abuse and addiction.

A person with an addiction to prescription drugs may feel as if they cannot function normally without these medications. Instead of only using them when they want to pull an all-nighter before a big exam, they start relying on drugs to maintain their “mental edge” during typical daily activities. They may also experience withdrawal symptoms like disturbed sleep, fatigue and mood disorders when they try to quit.

Along with the risk of addiction, using some of these drugs can have highly dangerous outcomes. For example, an overdose of Adderall can lead to a heart attack, and mixing it with other substances can be fatal.

What to Do If You’re Concerned About Study Drug Use

If you have reason to suspect your child might be using prescription ADHD drugs in a non-prescribed way, talk to your child about ways to develop more effective study techniques. Encourage them to be honest with you about any problems they’re having in school, and if they are feeling excess pressure to succeed, consider counseling or tutoring.

At Hope Academy, we know how worrying it can be when your child begins relying on drugs for any reason. We offer addiction programming tailored to the needs of young adults, and we accept many kinds of insurance. Contact us to learn more.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

How to Raise Drug-Free Kids in College and Beyond

Young adulthood is a challenging time. Teenagers are starting to discover the interests and hobbies that will follow them into adulthood, and they are also searching for new experiences. All these things help shape them into the person they will eventually become, but sometimes, pushing boundaries can create unsafe situations.

It’s common for college students to experiment with drugs and alcohol. When they start using these substances, they can quickly develop a dependence and discover they cannot quit on their own. Parental involvement can be incredibly influential in helping keep kids away from drugs and preventing the heartbreak of addiction.

Tips for Raising a Drug-Free Teen

Clear boundaries and open lines of communication are two excellent ways to keep young adults safe and healthy. Here are some suggestions for getting started.

1. Establish Rules and Consequences of Breaking Them

Defined rules around drug use can provide your teen with much-needed structure during a formative period in their life. At the same time, you need to create realistic consequences of what will happen if they stray from the path you’ve set, and stick to them. If your college-aged child knows you are a pushover when it comes to enforcing the rules, it’s likely they will test you.

2. Schedule a Conversation About Drug and Alcohol Use

Bringing up a heavy topic like drug and alcohol use seemingly out of the blue can put young adults on the defensive. It’s smart to give your child advance notice that you’d like to chat with them about drug use and drinking. Reassure them that you aren’t going to discipline them, but that you are trying to be proactive and make sure everyone is on the same page.

You can use this conversation as an opportunity to lay ground rules like:
  • Avoid parties where alcohol or drugs might be present.
  • Always use prescription drugs exactly as directed, and never take someone else’s prescription medication or share your prescriptions with others.
  • Do not get in the car with a driver who is under the influence.
  • If someone offers you alcohol or drugs, tell an adult authority figure about it.

3. Take an Active Role in Your Child’s Life

Though you may find your college-aged child begins to pull away from you as they establish greater and greater independence, spending time together is essential at this age. Meet their friends, and ask them what they are learning about in school. If they get involved in sports, attend their games.

Always be aware of what your teenager is up to. If they go out on the weekend, ask them which friends they’ll be spending time with and what they will be doing. You’re not being nosy if you do this — you’re expressing care for their well-being.

4. Help Your Teen Learn to Make Goals

Goal-setting is an essential part of college life. You should work with your college-aged child to teach them how to set realistic short- and long-term goals for things they hope to achieve, both in their academic and personal lives. Ask them to share their ambitions and aspirations with you. Then, make sure they understand how misusing alcohol and drugs can derail their hopes for the future.

If You Suspect a Problem, Confront It Immediately

If your college-aged child’s behavior has changed markedly, and you have reason to believe it is because of drug or alcohol abuse, don’t wait to intervene. Though some people outgrow this experimental phase, others continue down a self-destructive path and end up with an addiction. Don’t let this tragedy happen to your family. Contact us at Hope Academy to learn more about the difference we can make in your child’s life.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

How to Support a Family Member in Addiction Recovery

Sending your son or daughter to rehab for drugs or alcohol means you’re going through an emotionally challenging time. You may be wrestling with guilt, fear and self-doubt, and asking yourself whether you made the right decision. It’s understandable you would be feeling the strain, but you should reassure yourself that you have done the right thing to help your family move in a positive direction. However, your child needs your support to make a full recovery. With that in mind, here are some things to remember.

They Are Receiving Quality Care

If you decided it was time for your child to enter an addiction treatment facility and are now second-guessing yourself, take a deep breath and rest assured they are exactly where they need to be to start the healing process. Under the care of trained addiction specialists, they will receive counseling, medical care and one-on-one coaching in an environment that provides much-needed structure.

Another benefit of addiction treatment for young adults is being surrounded by peers who have faced many of the same struggles and who can help lead to a journey of self-discovery. This peer group can be invaluable to someone with substance misuse issues, as they can provide perspective and advice along the path to recovery.

Ask for Help When You Need It

Addiction takes a toll on every member of the family. After shouldering your burdens for so long, you may be having a hard time keeping up, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of about getting help for yourself. For example, you and your spouse may decide you need professional marriage counseling because your relationship has become strained after dealing with your child’s difficulties. Or, you might seek individual therapy for yourself. Many family members of alcoholics and addicts have also found joining an Al-Anon family group can be a powerfully affirming experience.

You can also begin to educate yourself about how addiction affects every member of your family. The more you know about the role addiction plays in your family dynamic, the more you will be able to offer the encouragement and understanding your daughter or son needs to make a full recovery.

Manage Your Expectations

When you get your child into addiction treatment, you may feel an overwhelming rush of hope that things will get better right away. It can be disappointing to realize that the habits and patterns associated with addiction often take some time to change, and that your situation won’t improve overnight. After all, there’s a reason we use the terms “work” and “process” to describe recovery. It’s not a smooth path, and you will encounter hurdles along the way. People in early recovery may not be perfect, but you can still enjoy spending time together as a family.

Your Family’s Journey Starts Here

Has your child been struggling with addiction issues? At Hope Academy, we understand the challenges of young adult substance misuse disorders, and we are here to help you and your family heal. Contact us to begin the application process and start your son or daughter on the road to recovery.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Sending a Young Person to a Rehab Center

As a parent, you want your child to have all the best opportunities in life. It can be heartbreaking to discover your son or daughter is using drugs or alcohol, but you have options to get them into treatment and encourage them to make a full recovery.

Young adults often lack impulse control and good decision-making skills because their brains are not fully developed until the age of about 25. As a parent, the responsibility to make decisions on your child’s behalf rests with you. If your child is 17 or younger, you can legally have them enter a residential treatment facility without their consent. It may be one of the most difficult decisions you ever have to make, but if substance abuse is endangering your teen’s life, getting them into treatment is the right thing to do.

Is Your Child Addicted?

The first step to helping your child is making sure their problem is indeed addiction. Sending a young person to a rehab facility if they do not have a genuine drug or alcohol misuse disorder can put severe strain on the foundational trust of your relationship with your teenager.

If you suspect your child is abusing drugs or alcohol, make note of warning signs such as:
  • Sudden disinterest in school, sports and other previously enjoyable activities
  • Acting withdrawn and secretive
  • Having a new group of friends
  • Ignoring good grooming and hygiene habits
  • Staying out late
  • Sleeping too much or not at all
Some of these issues can be manifestations of mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety, while others are a normal part of going through adolescence for some teenagers. However, if you see several of these symptoms at the same time, your child may have a drug abuse problem. It can help to familiarize yourself with the abuse symptoms associated with different types of drugs.

When to Consider an Intervention

Though you can put an underage teen into rehab without their approval, it’s a much healthier approach to convince them to make that choice on their own. A family intervention can be a successful way to get loved ones into treatment if they show no inclination of pursuing the option themselves. If you’re worried an intervention may become too emotional, or that your teen will react with hostility, consider hiring a professional interventionist to help you manage the meeting and keep it on track.

Before staging an intervention, it’s essential to find an accredited facility first. You will need to notify the center ahead of time so the staff can be ready to admit your child immediately after they agree to treatment. That way, you minimize the chances that your teen will have a change of heart and refuse to get help. Taking the addicted person to rehab as soon as possible after the intervention is much more effective than waiting to find a treatment center afterward.

Your Family’s Healing Journey Starts Here

At Hope Academy, we provide a residential recovery program designed specifically for young adults who are struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. If you are looking for a qualified treatment center for your son or daughter, we are here to help. We have all the resources available to help people with substance misuse issues manage withdrawal symptoms safely and comfortably before transitioning into the next phases of drug and alcohol treatment. Contact us today to learn more about our California young adult rehab facility and learn if treatment is the right fit for your family.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Value of Accountability in Recovery

Addiction is an insidious illness for many reasons – not least of which is that it can change brain chemistry. For younger people whose brains are still developing, these effects can be especially dramatic, and can impact their personality and decision-making abilities. Addicted young adults may say or do hurtful things when they are drunk or high that they will not apologize for when they are sober, claiming they don’t remember or that it was no big deal.

Once young adults enter addiction recovery, they may find they can only begin to make significant progress once they are willing to face up to the pain and suffering they caused friends, family and other loved ones while they were drinking or using drugs.

Accepting Accountability in Drug and Alcohol Treatment

Often, people in active addiction make every effort to shift the blame for their destructive behavior away from themselves. This deflection is part of the shame and denial that characterize substance misuse disorders. A fundamental part of the recovery process, therefore, involves learning how to accept accountability for your actions and admit when you have hurt others or acted irresponsibly.

The ability to take responsibility for yourself is also one of the essential rungs on the ladder to adulthood. Substance misuse may have led you astray from this upward trajectory, and you will need to work to regain these skills through your young adult addiction treatment program. Without accountability, you will find it more challenging to maintain jobs and relationships, which are two of the most vital elements to maintain your sense of self-worth.

Ways to Exercise Your Accountability

There are several essential ways you can learn to take ownership of your actions.
  • Admit the mistakes you made in your addiction and the ways in which you hurt the people who care about you
  • Attend therapy or support group meetings on schedule
  • Sincerely apologize when you say or do something harmful
  • Recognize when you are going through a difficult time, and ask for help when you need it
  • Realize when something you learned in treatment isn’t working for you and it’s time to try a different approach
  • Use healthy coping mechanisms and life skills acquired in treatment
  • Follow through on promises you made to others
  • Acknowledge your potential to change your life for the better

Positive Progress Starts Here

Undergoing addiction treatment as a young adult is equal parts challenge and opportunity. Though you have struggled with substance misuse, behavioral disorders and mental health issues early in your life, the rest of your addiction-free adulthood awaits you.

One of the most promising aspects of recovery is that it gives you the power to reinvent yourself. Once you have forgiven yourself for the things you said and did in the past, you can move toward becoming accountable for the future. At Hope Academy, we want to provide you with the complete toolset to accomplish all these goals and more. Contact our California addiction facility to speak to one of our admissions advisors today.

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