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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. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Severe Anxiety Among Teens at All-Time High

Anxiety disorder is of growing concern on college campuses – surpassing depression as the most common reason students seek counseling services, according to The New York Times – and the numbers are increasingly climbing when it comes to teens. 

According to recent data from the American College Health Association’s 2016 survey, 62 percent of undergraduate students reported “overwhelming anxiety.” This was up from 50 percent in 2011. And 41 percent of students said they felt overwhelmed; a significant increase from 29 percent in 2010.

Occasional anxiety – before taking a test or making an important decision, for example – is a normal part of life. However, when anxiety worsens and interferes with school and job performance, social activities or friends and family, it could signal an anxiety disorder, which requires professional help.

Spotting the Signs of Anxiety Disorder
Sadly, 80 percent of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder are not getting treatment, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). Even if you don’t personally experience anxiety, your roommate or friend may need help. Here are a few symptoms to watch out for:
  • Excessive worry
  • Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless, unsatisfying sleep)
  • Irrational fears
  • Muscle tension
  • Chronic indigestion
  • Panic attacks
  • Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
  • Irritability
About Sobriety College at Hope Academy
If you are or someone you love is a college student struggling with a mental illness and substance use disorder, Hope Academy may be the ideal rehab program for you. Our peer-based rehab program provides the safety and support you need to succeed in school and at sobriety. We even provide transportation to and from the center, school, and sober activities. To learn more about our college home and sobriety program, call today: 866-930-4673.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Substance Abuse and Sleep Disorders

If you can’t seem to fall asleep and/or find yourself wide-awake in the middle of night, you’re not alone. Sleep troubles are a common complaint among those with substance use disorders. In fact, those in early recovery have a five times greater risk of insomnia than the general population. And many people with alcohol use disorder (AUD) have insomnia before entering treatment. 

On average, people who struggle with substance abuse also struggle with getting the recommended 7 to 8 hours of shut-eye per night. Instead, studies show total nightly sleep averages as 5.5 hours. Some people in recovery can continue to have sleep problems for weeks, months, or sometimes years after initiating abstinence, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration  (SAMHSA). 

Sleep loss can have a major impact on the physical, mental and emotional well-being of people in recovery — and it can even interfere with treatment. The most common sleep problems linked with alcohol and drug abuse, include: 
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep apnea
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Narcolepsy
How to Get Sleep-Smart 
A little sleep hygiene can go a long way in helping your sleep habits. Here are a few smart slumber tips from SAMHSA: 
  • Go to bed and get up at the same times each day.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • If you take naps, keep them short and before 5 pm.
  • Don’t eat or drink too much when it's close to bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, cola) and nicotine for several hours before bedtime.
  • Wind down before going to bed. Some examples: take a warm bath, do light reading, practice relaxation exercises.
  • Don’t lie in bed awake. If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing.
Dual-Diagnosis Treatment Program For Sleep Disorders And Substance AbuseIf you suffer from both symptoms of sleep disorders and substance 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.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

How Social Media Can Save a Life

Numerous studies have noted the harmful effects of social media on your mental health – but, when used properly, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat can also be a positive way to connect those in need to proper mental health care and support. 

Personal social media accounts “can provide an important window into a person’s state of mind,” according to research by the Department of Defense Suicide Prevention Office.

As part of its Mental Illness Awareness Week efforts, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) recently ran an article entitled “Can Social Media Save a Life?” that talked about how social media can be used to identify mental health warning signs among friends and family. 

“It’s up to us to look out for mental health warning signs while on social media so we are better prepared to assist a friend in need,” wrote NAMI. 

Here are some of the behaviors to watch out for: 

1. Cyberbullying
  • Harassing messages or comments
  • Fake accounts made to impersonate someone else
  • Someone posting unwanted pictures or images of another person
2. Negative statements about themselves, even if it sounds like they are joking:
  • “I’m a waste of space.”
  • “No one cares about me.”
  • “I seriously hate myself.”
3. Negative leading statements, with little to no context that prompt others to respond:
  • “You wouldn’t believe what I’ve been through.”
  • “Today was the worst day ever.”
  • “It’s like everyone is against me.”
As you scroll through your social media feeds, the NAMI urges you to be mindful of what others are posting. This way, you can know when to reach out and offer support or even "save a life."

Dual-Diagnosis Treatment at Hope Academy
Existing mental health issues often surface during addiction recovery. That’s why we offer treatment protocols for co-occurring substance use disorders and mental illnesses. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Studies Show Dangers of Underage Binge Drinking

Two studies came out this month that focused on binge drinking and college – and both results provided even more reasons for students to skip the binge sessions. Though binge drinking isn’t recommended for anyone, at any age.

What is binge drinking? The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines it as “ingesting four or more alcoholic drinks within two hours by a woman and five or more alcoholic drinks within two hours by a man.”

The first study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, found that heavy drinking six times a month reduces the probability that a new college graduate will land a job by 10 percent. Researchers from the Smithers Institute found that each individual episode of student binge drinking during a month-long period lowers the odds of attaining full-time employment upon graduation by 1.4 percent.

The second study, published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, found that binge drinking altered the resting brain activity of some college students and may have led to cognitive difficulties. 

Students who reported binge drinking within the last 30 days displayed higher measurements of activity known as beta and theta oscillations in the right temporal lobe and bilateral occipital cortex brain regions, said researchers. And these changes might indicate a decreased ability to respond to external stimuli and potential difficulties in information processing capacity in young binge drinkers. These are the first signs of alcohol-induced brain damage.  

These brain changes among college binge drinkers is likely due to the plasticity of their young and still-developing brains, say researchers. Many experts believe the brain continues to develop well into young adulthood and doesn’t stop changing until an individual reaches 25 years of age. 

Stopping the Side Effects of Alcohol Abuse 
The best way to combat the physical and emotional health consequences of a substance use disorder is early intervention. Don’t wait. If you or someone you love has a drinking problem, Hope Academy can help you get the help you need today. To learn more about our young adult alcohol rehab, call toll-free today: 866-930-4673.

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