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Friday, February 24, 2017

Why You Need Sleep (And How to Get More)

Getting solid slumber is super important, but with the pressures of recovery, school and spending time with family — among countless other things — sleep often takes a back seat. 

But a lack of adequate, restorative sleep can interfere with your long-term sobriety as well as any school or job endeavors. It can cause “fuzzy” thinking (common in early recovery), anxiety, depressed mood and poor emotional control. 
  • You'll learn less. Without adequate sleep, your brain has a harder time absorbing and recalling new information. 
  • You'll stress more. Sleep deprivation increases stress levels and also adversely impacts your immune system, making you more likely to get colds/flu.
  • You’ll eat more. When you don’t sleep, your body can produce higher peaks of a lipid in our bloodstream called endocannabinoid, which makes eating more pleasurable.
Quick Sleep Fixes
Try these tips to break your bad sleep habits once and for all.

Take a nap. While naps don’t necessarily make up for inadequate or poor quality nighttime sleep, a short nap of 20 to 30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance, according to the National Sleep Foundation. And you’ll be in good company: Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison are all said to have valued an afternoon snooze. 

Stop sleeping in on the weekends. Sticking to a bedtime and wake schedule, even on weekends, helps regulate your body's clock so you can fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.

Make exercise a habit. Sure, exercise seems to be the catchall for better health, but it really does impact your sleep, too. Young athletes were shown to have better sleep patterns and more daytime alertness than peers who exercised significantly less, even if they slept the same amount, according to one study.

Pay attention to your body. Ask yourself the following questions to determine how many hours of sleep your body needs, suggest the NSF. 
  • Are you productive, healthy and happy on seven hours of sleep? 
  • Or does it take you nine hours of quality ZZZs to get you into high gear?
  • Do you have health issues such as being overweight? Are you at risk for any disease?
  • Are you experiencing sleep problems?
  • Do you depend on caffeine to get you through the day?
  • Do you feel sleepy when driving?
Study Skills, Life Skills and More
When you choose Hope Academy's rehab, you open the possibility for a whole new life. Our program includes job prep and college admissions along with drug and alcohol treatment. To learn more, call today: 866-930-467.

Friday, February 17, 2017

5 Scary Effects of Opioid Addiction

The growing opioid epidemic is downright scary. Fatal drug overdoses more than tripled to 52,404 between 1999 and 2015, and the majority of them involved an opioid. What’s more, in 2015, more than 1.1 million young adults, ages 12 to 25, reported misusing prescription pain relievers and 238,000 had used heroin in the past year.

Even if you don’t OD, these drugs have devastating neurological and physical consequences, especially on young adults. A recent article in Teen Vogue, “This Is What Happens to Your Brain When You’re Addicted to Opioids” pinpointed some of these effects.

Here’s a brief summary:  
  • It can cause anoxic brain injury. “When you aren’t getting adequate oxygen, your brain cells die, which can severely interfere with who you are and what you are able to do,” David Wilkinson, M.D., former medical director at the Foundry Treatment Center in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, tells Teen Vogue. This can be as extreme as being in a vegetative state for the rest of your life to more subtle consequences, including speech, vision, or hearing difficulties, impaired cognition and motor skills, and poor emotional regulation. 
  • It can hijack your brain and hinder your excitement for life. "You start doing poorly in school, lose your job, eat poorly, can’t maintain relationships, accrue a criminal record, miss out on milestones…the list goes on and on," David Wilkinson, MD, former medical director at the Foundry Treatment Center in Steamboat Springs, CO, told Teen Vogue.
  • It can provoke mental disorders like depression, anxiety or psychosis. “You may have a susceptibility to a psychological illness that only manifests upon exposure to certain triggers, such as a drug,” John F. Kelly, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry in addiction medicine at Harvard Medical School and founder and director of the Recovery Research Institute, told Teen Vogue. 
  • It stunts your emotional maturity. When you’re using drugs to self-medicate, “you don’t have a chance to build the skills you need to tolerate stress in your daily life,” Dr. Kelly says. He adds: If someone starts using drugs at age 15 and has been addicted for 10 years he would still have the E.Q. (emotional quotient) of a 15-year-old — despite being 25. 
  • It increases your risk of infectious diseases. "Sharing needles, which may not be clean, can transmit infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV," Kelly says.
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, February 10, 2017

How to Keep Calm and Carry On

Learning how to keep stress in check is an important tool for long-term sobriety. Unchecked stress is a slippery slope into using again. So what can you do the next time you’re feeling frazzled, overwhelmed or freaked out – by recovery, by an upcoming test or impending job interview – or by, um, everything? 

Take a deep, long breath – and then try one of these five simple stress busters:

  1. Talk on the phone. Skip the text message and give a friend a quick call instead. Hearing a friend’s voice has been found to reduce stress, according to a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  2. Escape on Instagram. Checking out for 10 minutes by checking out Instagram, YouTube or some other favorite site, for example, can help give your mind the mental break in needs before tackling a stressful assignment or overwhelming to-do list. 
  3. Pamper yourself. A little self-pampering can go a long way in controlling those frazzled feelings. The repetitive motion of painting your nails or toenails, for example, can be soothing and the end result will make you feel great. Or head to the barber for a clean shave and hair cut. 
  4. Take a stretch break. Perhaps the best way to relax your mind is to relax your body. You don’t need to take an entire yoga class, either, just a few quick, simple stretches will do the trick.
  5. Exercise it out. Lace up your sneakers, pop your headphones in and go for a long walk or jog. Physical activity can help you clear your mind and fend off a freak out. 
Ask About Our One-on-One Coaching
At Hope Academy, we understand that stressors inevitably arise as you begin working toward your academic and career goals. Our experienced sobriety coaches can help you learn how to manage these pressures without resorting to substance abuse. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Secret Hashtags Parents Need to Know

Have you checked your child’s Instagram account lately? If not, you may want to reconsider and be sure to keep an eye open for a few secret code words hidden in their posts. 

According to a recent article on, researchers have found that young adults are using hidden hashtags to connect with others engaging in risky or self-harming behavior, including getting high, making themselves throw up, and/or cutting themselves.   

Megan A. Moreno, MD, MPH, who practices adolescent medicine at Seattle Children's Hospital, along with three colleagues, scrutinized hundreds of Instagram posts to identify which hashtags were most used by kids. They published their findings last year in the Journal of Adolescent Health — and now, many experts are determined to help parents better monitor their kids’ social media use, according to the article. 

Here's a list of the top 10 secret hashtags that parents need to know:
  1. #deb for "depression"
  2. #sue for "suicide"
  3. #ana for "anorexic"
  4. #mia for "bulimia"
  5. #ednos for "eating disorder not otherwise specified"
  6. #thinsp for "thinspo" or "thinspiration"
  7. #borderline for "borderline personality disorder"
  8. #svv for "selbstverletzendes verhalten" or self-harming behavior
  9. #secretsociety123 for a community of people who engage in NSSH, or non-suicidal self harm
  10. #420 for "weed" or "pot," which can also be represented by the maple leaf emoji, any of the green leaf or tree emojis, the pineapple (referencing the movie Pineapple Express), and the green check mark, as in "Yes, I have or can get some."
So what should you do if you find these words on one of your child’s post? "Look into this matter thoroughly," Katie Schumacher, author and founder of the initiative "Don't Press Send," told "And if you feel there is even the slightest chance that your child is engaging in self-harm or struggling with depression, be sure to talk to them in a non-confrontational, non-judgmental way. This is a good time to introduce them into self-reflection and bring in medical professionals to offer proper support and guidance."

Help for Young Adults
If you suspect that a loved one is engaging in self-destructive behaviors, don’t hesitate to call for help. Hope Academy’s credentialed addiction specialists will walk you through the admissions process, from intervention to rehab. To learn more, call: 866-930-4673

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