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Friday, September 22, 2017

Study: Vaping Ups Smoking Risk for Teens

We already know that adolescent e-cig users are more likely to start smoking cigarettes – but a new study found that trying e-cigarettes can double their risk for smoking tobacco. Students in grades seven to 12 who had tried an e-cigarette are 2.16 times more likely to be susceptible to cigarette smoking, according to researchers from the University of Waterloo and Wake Forest School of Medicine.

"Since e-cigarettes came on the market there has been a debate about whether their use may lead to cigarette smoking," said Bruce Baskerville, co-author on the study and a researcher at the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo, in a statement. "The answer among adolescents is yes."

More Facts About E-Cigarettes and Adolescents
About 3 million middle- and high-school students use e-cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Institute on Drug Abuse put together an infographic containing some more essential facts on e-cigs and adolescents, including:
  • Teens are more likely to use e-cigarettes than cigarettes. Past-month use of e-cigarettes was 9.5 percent among 8th graders, 14.0 percent among 10th graders, and 16.2 percent among 12 graders.
  • Two times as many boys use e-cigs as girls.
  • Teens don’t know what’s in their e-cig. Manufacturers don’t have to report e-cig ingredients, so users don’t know what’s actually in them. In fact, 66 percent of teens believe that their e-cig just contains flavoring.
  • Seven in 10 teens are exposed to e-cig ads. Among high school students, 56.3 percent are exposed to retail ads, 42.9 percent to internet ads, 38.4 percent to TV and movie ads, and 34.6 percent to newspaper and magazine ads.

Young Adults and Substance Abuse
Those who use nicotine at a young age are at an exponentially greater risk of using harder drugs. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse disorder, call today: 866-930-4673. At Hope Academy's rehab for younger adults, we walk beside you through the most overwhelming parts of addiction withdrawal, recovery and restoration. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Striking a Healthy Balance: Giving College Kids Independence and Connection 

In 2016, first-year college students reported all-time highs when it came to anxiety and depression. Similarly, college mental health services reported an increase in students seeking assistance and support for depression, anxiety, addictions and peer pressure to engage in dangerous drinking and sexual behaviors.

One explanation, say experts, is that the human brain doesn’t completely mature until about age 25 – and the last area to develop is the part of the brain responsible for good judgment. What’s more, 75 percent of all mental health conditions begin by age 24, making the college years a critical time for mental health support.

A recent article on titled “Helicopter parenting is bad for college kids—but a little hovering is just right” offered some good insight on how to find that delicate balance between letting college kids gain independence while providing some much-needed parental guidance and mental health support. 

Here’s a summary of some of their best tips: 
  • Guide, don’t pressure, your loved ones. This includes respecting their point of view, listening more than talking and asking follow-up questions to actively express your interest in what they tell you. 
  • Share own life and ups and downs. Transitioning to a more adult, mutual relationship means shifting the conversation to include your own experiences as well. 
  • Set up clear expectations. Be direct about your thoughts about communication, finances, sexual relations, roommate arrangements, and drug and alcohol use. But listen to your child’s point of view, too. 
  • Allow for mistakes. And make it clear that you are available if/when they need help rectifying a slip-up. 
  • Emphasize that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. And you can go a step further and help them find and make use of mental health services on and off campus. 
  • Don’t overlook college resources – for your child and for yourself. Many colleges offer workshops for parents during parents’ weekend, for example, as well as year-round online resources. 

Our Dual-Diagnosis Treatment 
At Hope Academy, we offer a highly individualized approach for young adults struggling with substance abuse and mental health conditions. Our proven treatment includes group and individual therapy, recreational therapy, nutrition and exercise, support groups, medication management, family therapy and aftercare planning. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

World Suicide Prevention Day

September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and co-sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO). The purpose of this day is to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented.

"Take a Minute, Change a Life" is this year’s theme and, to this end, the organization will be releasing findings from a national stigma survey with the aim of better understanding attitudes and behaviors that need to change in order to prevent suicide.

College Suicide: Recognizing the Warning Signs
Suicide is the second most common cause of death among college students. Studies show that every two hours and 12 minutes, someone between the ages of 15 and 24 dies of suicide. Since suicide is most commonly caused by untreated depression, it’s important to learn the typical signs of depression that indicate a cry for help. This may include: 
  • Trouble handling schoolwork
  • A lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in eating habits or sleeping patterns
  • Low levels of energy or a feeling of being drained
  • Feeling hopeless, trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Emotional outbursts (i.e. crying or being easily irritated) or mood swings 
  • Changes in relationships, including sexual promiscuity
  • Self-destructive behavior (i.e. substance abuse, cutting)
Any mere thought or mention at all of suicide warrants immediate attention. If you believe someone is at risk of suicide, don’t be afraid to ask if they are thinking about killing themselves. This won't put the idea into their heads or make it more likely that they’ll attempt suicide, notes the U.S. Surgeon General. Speaking with a mental health professional or counselor is also a great first step.

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. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Overdoses in Adolescents on the Rise

Opioids strike again – and this time it’s among U.S. teens, whose rate of overdoses doubled from 1999 to 2015, according to newly released figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

In 2015 alone, there were 772 drug overdose deaths for adolescents ages 15 through 19 and they died at a rate of 3.7 per 100,000, according to the CDC. This is yet another stark reminder of the dangers of opioids. 

Boys and girls show different rates of use, with male adolescents being far more susceptible. In 2015, overdose rates for teenage boys rose to 4.6%, while teenage girl rates rose to 2.7%.

The study found that opioids had the highest death rate, followed by benzodiazepines (including Valium and Xanax) – and a combination of these drugs is what often lead to overdose. And heroin and fentanyl (often unintentional) were higher on the list than semisynthetic opioids (painkillers such as hydrocodone and oxycodone). Perhaps proof that solving the opioid crisis takes more than reducing the prescribing of opioids, say researchers. 

3 Facts About Fentanyl
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids urges parents to understand more about fentanyl to keep their families safe. Here are three of the most important facts to know. 

1. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin or morphine. It is a schedule II prescription drug typically used to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery. 

2. It is relatively cheap to produce, increasing its presence in illicit street drugs. According to a report from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, evidence suggests that fentanyl is being pressed into pills that resemble OxyContin, Xanax and hydrocodone as well as being cut into heroin and other street drugs. 

3. Naloxone (Narcan) will work in case of overdose, but extra doses may be needed.
Because fentanyl is far more powerful than other opioids, the standard 1-2 doses of naloxone may not be enough. Calling 911 is the first step in responding to any overdose, but in the case of a fentanyl-related overdose the help of emergency responders, who will have more naloxone, is critical.

Getting Help for Opioid Abuse
For information about Hope Academy's young adult substance abuse treatment program, or to begin the admissions process for a loved one, call today: 866-930-4673.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Energy Drinks: The New Gateway Drug?

It’s not news that college students turn to drinks like Red Bull or Monster to survive long days or pull all-nighters prior to exams. Yet new research says that these energy drinks may be the new gateway drug. 

Young adults who regularly consume energy drinks have a 50 percent high risk of developing a substance use disorder later in life than nonusers, according to a new study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

“The results suggest that energy drink users might be at heightened risk for other substance use, particularly stimulants,” said researcher Amelia Arria in a statement. This includes cocaine, non-prescription stimulants and alcohol.

What’s more, these energy drinks could negatively impact those already in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. This is because energy drinks offer a convenient replacement high, note experts. 

Healthy Ways to Stay Alert and Awake
Before you reach for that can of Red Bull, try one of these remedies that stimulate your senses and rev up your energy without the health risks. 
  • Fuel each a.m. Your morning meal can help set the stage for your energy for the rest of the day. Focus on whole grains, fruits and healthy proteins. 
  • Turn on the lights. More light exposure leads to more alertness, so pull open the shades, turn on the lights or, better yet, step outside into the sunshine. 
  • Cue the music. Whether rock, hip hop or jazz, upbeat music can help to boost your energy. Singing, whistling or humming will work, too. 
  • Sip on water. Dehydration can cause you to feel sluggish and sleepy so be sure to drink water throughout the day. 
  • Get moving. Whether you wiggle your feet or walk around the block, movement is perhaps the best fatigue fighter. One study of sleep-deprived college women showed that a short walk up and down the stairs can give you a better boost than a cup of coffee. 
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. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Do Your Instagram Posts Signal Depression?

Can your Instagram posts hold clues to your mental health? Possibly, according to researchers who used computer algorithms to determine characteristics associated with depression. 

For the study, published in the journal EPJ Data Science, researchers recruited 166 people, 71 of whom had a history of depression. They used a computer program to analyze nearly 44,000 photos, including each photo’s hue, color saturation and brightness, as well as the number of faces it contained. 

“People in our sample who were depressed tended to post photos that, on a pixel-by-pixel basis, were bluer, darker and grayer on average than healthy people,” said Andrew Reece, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University and co-author of the study with Christopher Danforth, a professor at the University of Vermont.

Other findings among those with a history of depression included: 
  • More human faces posted.
  • Less of face shown, when including a photo with their face.
  • Less use of Instagram filters to adjust photo's brightness and coloring.
  • Greater use of the Inkwell filter (which would make the photo black and white) when they did use filters.
  • More frequent Instagram posts.
  • More comments on their Instagram posts.
  • Fewer likes. 
The researchers also said that "our model showed considerable improvement over the ability of unassisted general practitioners to correctly diagnose depression," which is a bit of a leap, according to many experts.  

Spotting the Signs of Depression
Perhaps rather than paying too much attention to your Instagram account, you’ll want to pay attention to the warning signs of depression, including:
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Insomnia
  • Sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite or weight 
  • Physical pain
  • Memory problems
  • Social withdrawal
  • Unexplained sadness 
  • Loss of interest in hobbies/activities
Getting Help for Depression and Addiction
As addiction worsens, so does the co-occurring condition — and vice versa. At Hope Academy, we specialize in treating both diseases simultaneously. To learn more, call us toll-free today: 866-930-4673.

Monday, August 7, 2017

First-Semester Stress: Coping With Anxiety Disorder at College

For some students, the first few weeks of the new school year are exciting. It’s a time to meet new friends, start new classes, and get back into the swing of things. But for people with anxiety disorders, the new school year can bring upon feelings of constant worry and fear. And this can happen before classes begin or well into the first half of the school year. 

Tips for Tackling Anxiety
Your first step in managing this back-to-school anxiety is to remind yourself that you’re not alone. According to Mental Health America (MHA), more than 21 percent of U.S. adults between ages 18 and 64 will have diagnosable anxiety disorders in a given year. To put things in perspective: That’s more than the number of people who subscribed to Netflix in 2015, notes MHA. 

Here’s a summary of some of MHA's go-to strategies for managing anxiety disorder. 
  • Reach out to someone you trust. Let them know that your anxiety has gotten the best of you and that you need support. That may mean asking them to talk you through it over the phone or to come over and keep you company while you work on putting your mind at ease. 
  • Get physical. Take a brisk walk, run up and down some stairs or do a few jumping jacks. Give your body a way to use up some of the nervous energy. 
  • Find a healthy distraction. Play scrabble on your smartphone or try an adult coloring book. Repetitive actions can have a calming effect similar to meditation.
  • Breathe deeply. Try this technique: Lie on your back and breathe in through your nose, watching your belly rise as you inhale. Hold your breath for a few seconds then exhale deeply through your mouth, watching your belly fall as you exhale. Repeat until you feel yourself relax. 
  • Focus on things you can control. Organize your desk, write down your weekly to-do list, pick out your clothes for the week – taking care of small tasks can help empower you to take control of your anxiety. 
  • Avoid the shame game. Telling yourself that you’re being unreasonable will only further fuel your anxiety. It’s okay to feel anxious and stressed and scared – but do your best to accept those feelings and then take action to feel better. 
Help for Anxiety Disorder and Addiction
If you're struggling with a dual diagnosis or substance abuse disorder, embrace a new beginning at Hope Academy Rehab. 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. Call today: 866-930-4673. 

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