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Friday, May 26, 2017

What You Should Know About Blackouts

Blacking out from drinking continues to be a big problem among young adults, especially on college campuses. Here, we take a look at some basic info on blackouts, so you and your loved ones can prevent this dangerous yet often misunderstood alcohol-induced impairment.

What Is a Blackout?
There are two types of blackouts, according to experts: en bloc, or complete blackout when you can’t recall any events during the time spent drinking and fragmentary-memory loss when you can only recall a portion of the events during the drinking period of time.  

Blacking out is not the same as “passing out,” or loss of consciousness due to excessive drinking. Perhaps the scariest (and trickiest) part about blacking out —whether it happens to you or someone you love — is that you’re conscious and awake so others may think you’re aware of what you’re doing and don’t need any help.  

What Causes a Blackout?
A blackout is caused when alcohol quickly enters the brain and disrupts the neurotransmitters of the brain. You don't necessary need to consume large amounts of alcohol to blackout; it’s more about rapid consumption that results in a rapid rise in blood alcohol concentration. The following factors increase your risk of a blackout: 
  • How alcohol is ingested (for example, binge drinking or drinking on an empty stomach)
  • Gender: women are at greater risk than men of experiencing a blackout even with lower levels of alcohol consumption. 
  • Genetic susceptibility
Why Is a Blackout Dangerous?
A single blackout is not necessarily a sign of alcoholism, yet repeated blackouts have been linked to alcohol use disorder. What’s more, blackouts can lead to potentially dangerous behaviors and events, including: 
  • Unprotected, forced, or unwanted sex
  • Driving under the influence
  • Vandalism
  • Losing track of your belongings
  • Saying things you don’t mean (or will regret saying later)
Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse
According to the NIAAA, the young adult subgroup makes up 31.5 percent of alcoholics. At Hope Academy, we provide a safe environment in which teens and young adults feel comfortable sharing their concerns and setting sobriety goals. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Suicide: Know the Warning Signs

Suicide seems to be rampant in the news lately – what with the controversial Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” and the recent suicide of Chris Cornell, Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman. 

Why not use this opportunity to talk about suicide – the stats are downright scary. One in 10 college students have considered suicide and it's the second-leading cause of death in college-age students. 

While suicide is very serious, it’s also very preventable. Here’s a look at some of the warning signs and what you should do if you notice them in yourself or someone you love, according to the U.S. Surgeon General and of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

Warning signs of suicidal behaviors include… 
  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Feeling hopeless, trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated or reckless
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

If you believe someone is at risk of suicide …
  • Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. (This won't put the idea into their heads or make it more likely that they will attempt suicide, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.
  • Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK.
  • Take the person to a nearby emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.
  • Remove any objects that could potentially be used in a suicide attempt.
  • If possible, don’t leave the person alone.
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, May 12, 2017

Scary Side Effects of Energy Drinks

Warning: You might want to put down that Red Bull! A new small study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that commercial energy drinks can cause some serious harm to your heart, and in ways caffeinated drinks like coffee or soda alone would not.

Researchers split study participants into two groups: this first half was given 32 ounces of a commercial energy drink (equivalent to four cups of coffee) and the second group received a soda-like drink with the same amount of caffeine.

Over the next 24 hours, researchers measured the blood pressure and heart activity of the study participants. After six days, the participants switched drinks. Some key findings:
  • Both drinks caused elevated blood pressure. For those who drank the energy drink, however, the levels stayed elevated for a much longer period of time. This could spell trouble for people with heart conditions, noted the researchers.
  • Energy drinks altered how the heart beats and affected a measure called the QT interval. This phenomenon is linked with "increased risk for fatal arrhythmias," said study authors.
"What the growing body of evidence is pointing to is that there are effects on the heart that are different than caffeine alone," says study author Emily Fletcher of the David Grant U.S.A.F. Medical Center in California, in a recent statement. "Consumers should be aware that drinking an energy drink is not the same as drinking coffee or soda."

And let’s not forget the sugar: One can may contain up to 50 grams of sugar, which exceeds the maximum amount of sugar recommended to consume in one day. What’s more, because energy drinks contain high amounts of caffeine, which is a diuretic, people risk dehydrating more quickly in the summer heat.

Start Your Recovery Journey
Many young adults long for a fulfilling life outside of addiction and substance dependency but don’t know where to begin. Hope Academy is a proven, affordable way to seek recovery alongside your long-term goals. To learn more, call today:  866-930-4673.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Risky Business for Your Mental Health

May is Mental Health Month, led by Mental Health America (MHA), and this year’s theme is “Risky Business.” The organization aims to educate people about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves.

Here are a few that may (or may not) surprise you: 

Smoking pot: Marijuana may increase the risk of developing psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, or worsen symptoms (anxiety, depression, sleep disorders) in people who already have psychosis. 

Prescription drug misuse: Opioid pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives all have the potential to lead to addiction. Abrupt changes in dosage have been linked to depression, anxiety, sleep problems and even psychosis. 

Compulsive exercise: When exercise becomes an obsession or is used to “purge calories,” it can have a negative impact on your mental health. In fact, between 39 to 48 percent of people with an eating disorder also struggle with exercise addiction. And nearly 50 percent of individuals with an eating disorder (ED) are also abusing drugs and/or alcohol -- a rate fives times greater than the general population. 

Internet overuseAdolescents who struggle with Internet addiction often have other mental health problems like alcohol and substance use, depression, suicidal ideation, ADHD, phobias, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and/or aggression. In addition, people with Internet addiction can experience negative emotions or withdrawal symptoms when their Internet access is restricted.

Dual-Diagnosis Treatment for Young Adults
If you or someone you love is struggling with a mental health issue and a substance use disorder, we can help. As one of few CA addiction treatment centers equipped to treat dual-diagnosis patients, Hope Academy works with outside physicians and practitioners to ensure that patients receive the best possible care. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.
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