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Monday, September 10, 2018

High Rates of Stress Events, Suicidality Among College Students

suicide and college students
With college comes an increased risk of stressful events and mental health challenges, including the risk of suicide. In fact, one in five college students reported thoughts of suicide in the past year, according to a study of more than 67,000 college students across more than 100 colleges. The results were published in the journal Depression & Anxiety. 

"Some stressful events cannot be prevented and, in some cases, are completely normal. But for others, a plan should be in place for family, friends, and colleges to provide support," said lead author Cindy Liu, PhD, of the Departments of Pediatric Newborn Medicine and Psychiatry at BWH, in a statement. “Our study highlights an urgent need to help students reduce their experience of overwhelming levels of stress during college."

Luckily, adds Liu, there’s greater awareness and less stigma on college campuses today about mental health. And this study comes during National Recovery Month, sponsored each September by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover. 

Liu and her colleagues analyzed results from a survey by the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA), which asked students a variety of questions related to depression and anxiety, including: 
  • Have you been diagnosed or treated for a mental health issue?
  • Have you engaged in self harm, considered suicide or attempted suicide?
  • How many stressful events, ranging from academics to family problems to sleep difficulties, have you experienced in the last year?
According to the study, one in four students reported being diagnosed with or treated for a mental health disorder in the prior year. And one-fifth of all students surveyed had thought about suicide, with 9 percent reporting having attempted suicide and nearly 20 percent reporting self-injury. Sexual minorities showed elevated rates of mental health disorders and suicidality/self-injury and the authors suspect that mental health issues may be underreported for racial/ethnic minorities. 

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Young Adults
Suicide is the second most common cause of death among college students, with someone between the ages of 15 and 24 dying every two hours and 12 minutes. At Hope Academy, we conduct a series of tests upon admission to determine if mental illness is causing or complicating substance abuse. To learn more, call 866-930-4673. 






Monday, August 27, 2018

Binge Drinking Puts Your Heart at Risk and More

Binge drinking can cause much more than a bad hangover. It can take a major toll on your ticker. 

A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that young adults who binge drink have an increased risk of such heart risk factors as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and higher blood sugar levels. 

Researchers defined binge drinking as five drinks or more in a row for men and four or more drinks for women – and frequent binge drinkers repeated this behavior more than 12 times a year.

These findings are especially important considering the “pervasiveness, intensity and regularity of binge drinking” among today’s youth, lead researcher Mariann Piano, told HealthDay.

The study showed that young men who frequently binge drank had higher systolic blood pressure and higher cholesterol levels, setting themselves up for future heart trouble, Dr. Richard Becker, director of the University of Cincinnati's Heart, Lung and Vascular Institute, told HD.

"Hypertension and high cholesterol are powerful risk factors for cardiovascular events, including heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and death," Becker said. "They represent global health problems of unparalleled proportion that not only continues to increase, but are being detected at younger ages."

What’s more, researchers found a link between binge drinking and excessive consumption of junk food. Young women were found to have higher levels of blood glucose, increasing their diabetes risk, Piano said.

The takeaway: Binge drinking can result in serious safety, academic and health risks. "It's really important that young adults understand that what they do in their youth can affect their health later in life," Piano said.

Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse 
Binge drinking in adolescence can also increase your risk of developing an alcohol use disorder later in life. 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.


Monday, August 20, 2018

College Students Suffer Secondary Exposure to Opioid Addiction

Do you know someone addicted to opioids? If you answered, yes, you’re not alone A new study by researchers from Penn State University Lehigh Valley found that roughly one in five college students know someone who was addicted to opioids. And, of that number, roughly one-third knew someone who had overdosed on painkillers.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the findings: 
  • 20.5 percent said they currently know someone who is addicted to pain meds.
  • 32.5 percent said they knew somebody who overdosed on either painkillers or heroin.
  • 15 percent reported worrying that someone they knew may be misusing pain medication.
  • Women were twice as likely to report having intimate ties to those who misuse or overdose on opioids.
These findings confirm what many addiction experts already know: family members and friends of loved ones of those addicted to painkillers are also feeling the effects of the opioid epidemic. 

"Since the beginning of the opioid epidemic, public debate and prevention strategies have focused on the primary victims, misusers themselves, while surprisingly little attention has been paid to the burdens felt and experienced by those who are intimately or socially tied to them," said lead researcher Jennifer Parker, who is an associate professor of sociology at PSU Lehigh Valley.

The researchers hope that these findings will encourage others to delve deeper into how secondary exposure to the opioid epidemic will impact the students’ mental and physical health as well as academic performance. "It makes me sad to think that so many [students] are carrying around this worry because being a student in today's world is already hard enough," Erica Hughes, an undergraduate student in Health Policy Administration, said in a statement.

Sobriety College at Hope Academy
If your friend or family member is a college student struggling with opioid addiction, we can help. At Hope Academy, we provide the safety and support students need to succeed in school and at sobriety. To learn more about our sobriety college, call today: 866-930-4673.

Monday, August 13, 2018

4 Ways to Boost Your Recovery

In addition to following your treatment plan, there are several steps you can take to enhance your recovery and heal your mind, body and spirit. And, in fact, these activities can help you long after rehab as you work to succeed in school, life and sobriety. 
  • Add exercise to your every day: Making exercise part of your recovery plan is a great way to relieve stress, anxiety and other negative emotions common in recovery. Youll also boost your self-confidence and have a go-to activity to stay busy during those times when you need a healthy distraction. 
  • Make positive thinking a habit. Keeping negative thoughts – like anger, resentment or guilt – at bay is a challenge for many people in recovery. But a big part of staying sober is adopting a healthy mindset – and this means making an effort to think more positively (or to not indulge in negative thought patterns) about yourself and the world around you. 
  • Feed your body. Proper nutrition will give your body the key nutrients and vitamins needed to heal from the damage of substance abuse. By eating healthy, real foods, youll also have more energy and focus to complete recovery tasks. Remember to drink lots of water (to flush out those toxins) and aim for a well-rounded diet of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean protein. 
  • Write out your feelings. Journaling is a cathartic way to begin or end your day. And theres no rules: Use the blank page to get out your feelings, write about your recovery experiences or track your progress. 
Giving Young Adults the Skills for Lifelong Recovery
Overcoming addiction is challenging, but it’s possible. At Hope Academy, our young adult addiction program will help you or someone you love manage life and school without the crutch of drugs and/or alcohol. To learn more about our addiction recovery services or verify your insurance, call today: 866-930-4673.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Common Issues for Freshman Year - And How to Deal

Freshman year of college can be both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Here we take a look at some of the issues you might experience – along with tips on how to survive and thrive during your first year of school. 
  • Feelings of sadness and loneliness. These emotions are pretty normal and making time to get involved in sober campus activities and study groups and staying connected via social media with friends and family can help. If these feelings become more intense, however, and interfere with daily life, it’s best to seek help. Many experts say that college presents a so-called “perfect storm” for mental health issues, In fact, nearly 75 percent of all mental health conditions begin by age 24.
  • Lack of sleep. It’s not a secret that the majority of college students are sleep deprived – but sleep is vital to your academic and recovery success. Cut back on the caffeinated beverages, practice nighttime relaxation strategies and try to stick to a consistent sleep/wake schedule when possible. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of shut-eye each night. 
  • Weight gain. While you won’t necessarily pack on the “freshman 15,” weight management is a real issue for many freshman. Do your best to avoid processed, sugary foods, drink plenty of water, manage stress eating and schedule exercise into your daily routine.   
  • Time management. Balancing schoolwork and recovery can be overwhelming for even the most organized student. Do your best to manage your time and set realistic goals; consider investing in a daily planner and using the calendar app and “notebook” feature on your smartphone to set reminders for important deadlines or meetings. And, if you’re stressed out, take a break, stretch, go for a quick walk or call a friend. 
Finding Support at Hope Academy
Stressors inevitably arise as you begin working toward your academic and career goals. The professionals at Hope Academy sobriety college can teach you to manage these pressures without resorting to substance abuse. In addition to providing a therapeutic environment for recovery, college attendance, and career planning, Hope Academy offers one-on-one coaching opportunities for residents. Call 866-930-4673 now to learn more.




Monday, July 23, 2018

6 Ways to Support Your Loved One in Recovery

support loved one in recovery
The road to recovery is difficult for both the individual suffering from a substance use disorder and his or her loved ones. In fact, addiction is often called a family disease; family support is crucial for lasting sobriety. 

That said, it’s not always easy knowing what steps to take to show your support and help your loved one have a shot at a successful recovery. 

Here’s help: 
  • Educate yourself. Learning as much as you can about addiction will help prevent you from blaming your loved one and will help you better understand what your loved one will go through during treatment. 
  • Consider therapy. Both individual and family therapy can help you address your own emotions, including the challenges of loving someone struggling with addiction. Plus, participating in family therapy shows your loved one that you want to be involved in their recovery.
  • Seek support. Attending support groups for loved ones of addicts in recovery is an excellent way to combat any feeling of isolation you may be experiencing. Talking openly about your experiences and challenges with others who “get it” is the perfect remedy to prevent loneliness.
  • Practice self-care. The better you feel, the better you’ll be able to care for your loved one. Do your best to prioritize your own health and wellbeing. This means getting plenty of sleep, eating well, exercising and doing things you enjoy.
  • Prepare a relapse prevention plan. Family members also need a plan in case their loved one relapses. Family therapy is often a safe space to figure out what to do and how to respond if relapse occurs. 
  • Be patient. Recovery is a lifelong journey that requires patience (from you and your loved one) as you both navigate the ups and downs and highs and lows of sober life. 

Family Support at Hope Academy 
We know the importance of family involvement and healing in addiction recovery. That’s why we help the parents of our young adults heal themselves as they learn to better support their child. If your son or daughter has a substance abuse problem, act now. Call today: 866-930-4673.





Monday, July 16, 2018

Getting Organized for a Better College Recovery

getting organizedIt’s never too early to start getting organized for the upcoming school year – and to take steps to make organization part of your overall recovery and good-health plan. 

Staying organized can help eliminate stress and allow you to better stick to your schedule – both important for the academic year and lasting sobriety. Start with these tips: 
  • Make mornings count. Set your alarm a few minutes early so you can take time to write your to-dos, in order of importance. Make it a daily habit as you sip your morning coffee or tea. 
  • Slow down on Sundays. Before the chaos of the week, take time on Sunday to plan for the week ahead. You can pick out your clothes, plan snacks or meals, schedule in workouts, hobbies and study times – whatever you need to stay healthy and focused on your academics and your recovery. 
  • Invest in a planner/calendar. This handy and inexpensive tool will likely become your third arm. Take it everywhere and write down important assignments or goals or dates. 
  • Pack up your backpack. Make sure your backpack is stocked with the essentials. This includes your planner, notebooks, folder, textbooks, phone and laptop chargers, a healthful snack and bottle of water. 
  • Color code. To save time searching for things in the morning, use different colors to keep you more organized. For example, use a different color folder or notebook for each of your classes. 
  • Use your smartphone the smart way. Take advantage of the "notebook" feature for quick notes/reminders and the Calendar apps to remind you of important deadlines or meetings.  
  • Make post-it notes your friend. These small sticky notes have super powers when it comes to staying organized and reducing stress. Write down your to-do and stick it on your laptop or desk or bathroom mirror – and once the task is done, toss the note and forget about it. 
Healthy Possibilities at Hope Academy
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, July 9, 2018

Can Peer-Led Groups Stop Mental Health Stigma?

peer mental health group
Studies show that nearly a third of college students struggle with some kind of psychological stress and yet few are seeking help. So what’s the solution? Student-led mental health groups might be the answer, according to a new survey conducted by the RAND Corporation of more than 1,100 students at 12 California colleges with Active Minds, a nonprofit peer mental health organization.

A little background: The Active Minds model for mental health education and suicide prevention originated 15 years ago and uses a peer-to-peer approach to give students tools to undo stigma, change perceptions about mental health and create a more supportive campus environment. 

Here’s a summary of some of the survey findings: 
  • Students involved with Active Minds were more likely to reach out to a classmate or friend struggling with a mental health issue like depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts.
  • As a result of an Active Minds presence, knowledge and positive attitudes about mental health increases, creating a more supportive campus climate and increasing the potential of students seeking mental health services.
  • Peer-led mental groups help to have a positive influence on students’ knowledge and attitudes toward mental health issues as well as their behaviors.
"Active Minds and other student-run organizations aimed at teaching peers about mental health issues may be instrumental in shaping a more supportive climate toward mental health issues on college campuses -- even over the course of a single academic year," Dr. Bradley D. Stein, a senior physician scientist at RAND and author of the study, said in a release. 

Sobriety College at Hope Academy
If you are or someone you love is a college student struggling with a co-occurring mental health disorder and substance use disorder, Hope Academy may be the ideal rehab program for you. Our peer-based program provides the safety and support you need to succeed in school and at sobriety. To learn more about our sobriety college, call today: 866-930-4673.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Tips for a Sober 4th of July

sober 4th of JulyThe Fourth of July can be a challenging and frustrating holiday during early recovery. But with the right steps it can also be the perfect holiday to celebrate your independence from the grips of addiction. Here are some ideas to enjoy your newfound sober freedom this July 4th
  • Make a grateful list. Jot down all the reasons why you’re grateful to be sober and free from drugs and/or alcohol. This simple exercise is a great way to start your July 4th celebration.
  • Go to a meeting. Surrounding yourself with supportive people who are also trying to stay sober on this day can help you stay strong and beat back any cravings. Not in the mood for a face-to-face meeting? Check out an online support group. 
  • Start your own tradition. A big part of recovery is redefining fun so it doesn’t include alcohol and/or drugs. Gather some friends for a round of bowling or afternoon movie – or whatever sober activity makes you feel good.
  • Throw a sober July 4th party. You can invite all your sober friends who are also looking for something fun to do sober. Put on some music, play board games, tie-dye t-shirts or bake cookies together. 
  • Recruit a support friend. Whether you're headed to a beach party or just hanging home with close friends, it’s super helpful to have one special person who you know is ready to help if the pressure of the holiday becomes overwhelming. Along these same lines, if you do attend an event with drugs or alcohol, make sure you have an emergency escape plan ready. 
Finding a New Sober Freedom
As you move from the bondage of addiction toward the freedom of healing, the Hope Academy team helps you manage life, school, and sobriety setbacks. To learn more about our young adult addiction services or to begin the rehab admission process, call today: 866-930-4673.




Monday, June 25, 2018

Gaming Disorder Recognized As Mental Health Condition

gaming addictionThe World Health Organization (WHO) is recognizing “gaming disorder” as a diagnosable condition. The organization included the new term in the 11th edition of its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which was recently released. 

An estimated 160 million Americans play video games, according to the American Psychological Association, and studies show that the percentage of people that could qualify for the disorder is extremely small. However, people should be alert to the amount of time they spend on gaming activities, particularly if it impacts daily activities or leads to any changes in their physical, psychological health and/or social functioning, notes the WHO.

“The real issue is how is gaming affecting a person’s life,” Bruce Y. Lee, MD, associate professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, told EverydayHealth.com. “This can apply to nearly any habit or activity. If an activity is helping you and not really hurting anyone, then there’s not a real reason to consider it a disorder."

So what are the signs that you or someone you care about has a problem? The WHO defines  “gaming disorder” as a person who shows: 
  • A pattern of “impaired control over gaming” for at least 12 months. 
  • An “increasing priority given to gaming” to the extent that gaming “takes precedence over other interests and daily activities.”
  • A “continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences,” or behavior that results in “significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”  
Many experts are skeptical about the inclusion of gaming disorder in the ICD, however, and say that it’s a little premature. This is partly because people who play too many video games are often using gaming as a coping mechanism for depression or anxiety, Anthony Bean, a licensed psychologist and executive director at The Telos Project, told CNN.com. "When anxiety and depression is dealt with, the gaming goes down significantly," he said.

If you’re concerned that your loved one is going overboard with gaming, the first step is to “become informed as possible,” Bean told CNN.com. In other words, find out what games are being played (“Minecraft vs. “World of Warcraft”) and why the games are interesting to your loved one. This knowledge can be used to help them through depression and anxiety, he said.

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.



Monday, June 18, 2018

4 Myths About Detox


detox mythsMaking the decision for yourself or a loved to enter a detox program is never easy, especially considering that denial is such a powerful side effect of addiction. What's more, many people suffering from a substance use disorder avoid recovery because they’re afraid of detox. This is partly because there are many myths out there surrounding detox, making it even harder to make the leap. Don’t let these misconceptions hold you back from taking this key step in recovery. Here, we debunk come common myths and offer you the facts about detox. 

Myth #1: I don’t need professional treatment — I can detox on my own. Detoxification is unsafe to attempt at home. It’s a demanding process with physical and emotional side effects that need to be managed by medical professionals. Using medical interventions, holistic therapies, meditation, nutrition, exercise and other techniques, trained medical professionals can help you manage withdrawal, cope with cravings and begin your rehab program with a positive outlook.

In the hands of the proper professionals, your custom detox program may include:
  • Medical intervention
  • Vitamin therapy and nutritional support 
  • Holistic practices 
  • Emotional support and guidance 
  • Peer support 
Myth #2: Everyone will know if you enroll in a detox program. Both the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records regulations have been put in place to protect your privacy. 

Myth #3: Only wealthy people can afford good detox programs. Many rehabs are covered or partially covered by medical insurance and many detox facilities offer sliding scale payment plans for patients with limited financial resources.

Myth #4: After detox, you just need willpower to stay clean. Substance use disorder is a chronic, relapsing disease and it can’t be controlled by sheer willpower. Detox is just the first step in a long journey toward recovery. You also need group and individual therapy, recreational therapy, nutrition and exercise, support groups, family therapy and aftercare planning.

Detox at Hope Academy
At Hope Academy, we encourage clients to think of detox as the beginning of restoration and a second chance at life. Proper detox methods help to kick off your rehabilitation program successfully, and can help you succeed in long-term recovery. To learn more about our detox program, call us today: 866-930-4673.




Monday, June 11, 2018

Moving Past Feelings of Hopelessness

hopelessnessAre you feeling hopeless? Is your head spinning with thoughts like “I’ll never be happy,” or “There’s no use in trying,” or “The world is against me?” Feelings of hopelessness should never be ignored. 

For one, these thoughts can cause you to isolate yourself and stop practicing basic self-care – which will just further add to your hopelessness and depression. And this can be a slippery slope into relapse. 

While there’s no magic switch to turn off these feelings, there are a few steps you can take to help restore your faith and boost your mood. If you try the below strategies and can’t seem to dig yourself out of a hopeless rut, or if you’re also experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors, get professional help immediately. 
  • Don’t isolate yourself. Surrounding yourself with even one good friend can help remind you that all is not lost. Talking about your feeling openly can also help you understand and even move past a few negative feelings.
  • Challenge those negative thoughts. The next time you find yourself thinking: “I can’t” or “there’s no use” stop and replace them with “I’ll try” and “I’m worth it.” This simple exercise can do wonders for your state of mind.  
  • Allow yourself to cry. Sometimes you just need a good cry – and that’s okay. Letting out these emotions can help release toxins and elevate your mood. 
  • Turn to your go-to comfort activity.  Whether reading a book or watching a movie or playing music – indulge in an activity that can keep you relaxed and distracted in a healthy way.
  • Get up and move. Exercise will help you release those feel-good endorphins that can help give you the added strength to move past any feelings of hopelessness.

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. 




Monday, June 4, 2018

PTSD and College Challenges

PTSD Awareness Month
June is National PTSD Awareness Month, which is the perfect time to talk about how PTSD can happen to anyone – not just veterans. PTSD symptoms can develop from experiences involving natural disasters, serious accidents, life-threatening illnesses, physical abuse, and sexual assault during childhood or adulthood.

A study by the Eastern Colorado Healthcare System found that up to 17 percent of college students suffer from PTSD – which is higher than the incidence of PTSD found in the general population. It’s also not unusual for the symptoms of PTSD to fluctuate during the first year of college, as students adjust to new routines and new triggers.

In some cases, students with PTSD who have trouble adjusting to college life can turn to drugs and alcohol as an escape from anxiety, academic stress and relationship challenges. This is a slippery slope into addiction, with nearly 50 percent of individuals with lifetime PTSD also meeting the criteria for substance use disorder. 

College can bring extra challenges for someone with PTSD, including:
  • Crowded classrooms that can lead to feelings of being trapped.
  • Loud noises, like laughter, door slamming or screeching, which can set off triggers.
  • Lack of sleep, which can make it more difficult to handle triggers or upsetting moments.
  • Changes in routine that can leave a person with PTSD feeling discombobulated.
  • Feelings of isolation and depression caused by feeling “different” than others who don’t suffer PTSD.
This is why it’s crucial for students with PTSD to have a strong support system in place, including family, friends, pastors or therapists who can help when college life becomes too much to handle.

California Sober College for Veteran Drug & Alcohol Treatment
If you are a veteran or college student caught in the throes of substance abuse, Hope Academy could be the ideal rehab program for you. Blending evidence-based addiction recovery programs with the opportunity to attend college or vocational training, we help military veterans and civilians prepare for a life of sobriety and success. To learn more about our dual diagnosis treatment, call today: 866-930-4673.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Opioid Abuse on College Campuses

opioid abuseFirst, the bad news: The opioid crisis continues to ravage American communities, with rates of fatal overdoses nearly tripling from 2000 to 2015. 

Now, the good news: Only a small portion of college students are misusing opioids, with 7 to 12 percent of students reporting use for nonmedical reasons and 2 to 3 percent turning to heroin after prescription drugs, according to the American College Health Association (ACHA). 

In general, research has found that individuals with less education are more likely to develop an addiction to opioids. 

Still, college students are far from exempt from the epidemic and the devastating effects of these addictive drugs. In 2016, the ACHA released a set of guidelines to universities on prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse. 

ACHA advises college health centers to:
  • Avoid prescribing opioids when possible; NSAIDs and acetaminophen are effective for most pain.
  • If an opioid is necessary, prescribe for time-limited use only. 
  • Discuss the risks and dangers of these opioid medications, including the risk of addiction and overdose.
  • Consider close follow-up for confirmed discontinuation.
  • Screen for substance abuse, poorly-controlled depression, family history of substance abuse, concomitant use of benzodiazepines, and other major psychiatric disorders.
  • Add naloxone to the emergency box or cart.
  • Ensure adequate expertise and equipment to manage the airway of an unconscious patient.
  • Ensure adequate expertise and equipment to provide intravenous fluid support.
  • Plan and practice emergency response, including EMS system activation.

Since that time, many colleges have introduced opioid-related policies, including training sessions for students and employees on opioid use and the distribution of naloxone to campus police and health centers. 

Opioid Addiction Treatment for Young Adults
Early intervention is the best way to help opioid addiction from destroying the life of a young adult. If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid addiction, don’t wait to get help. Call us today: 866-930-4673.




Monday, May 21, 2018

Study: Smoking Pot Before Age 15 Ups Risk of Abuse

smoking potMore research confirms what addiction experts already know: Smoking pot is a big deal, and especially if you start at a young age. 

A new study by Université de Montréal researchers found that smoking marijuana at the start of your teens ups your risk of having a drug abuse problem by age 28 by a whopping 68 percent. The odds were reduced by 31 percent for each year of delayed onset of cannabis use in adolescence, noted the researchers.

While the frequency with which study participants consumed cannabis and other drugs played a role, those who started before age 15 were at higher risk regardless of consumption rates. And these rates may even be higher, considering that the potency of cannabis products increased over the last two decades, said researchers. 

What’s more, the study revealed that the earlier boys were involved in gangs, drank alcohol, got into fights, stole or vandalized property, the earlier they used cannabis and the higher their odds of having drug abuse issues by 28. Those who started drinking at 17 were also at an increased risk for an alcohol problem at 28.

These findings make it even more important to take steps to prevent or reduce cannabis use as early as possible, noted the researchers. "It may be important to implement these programs by the end of elementary school to prevent early onset of cannabis use," said UdM doctoral student Charlie Rioux, who conducted the study under the supervision of professors Natalie Castellanos-Ryan and Jean Séguin. "Since peer influence and delinquency were identified as early risk factors for earlier cannabis onset and adult drug abuse, targeting these risk factors in prevention programs may be important, especially since prevention strategies working on the motivators of substance use have been shown to be effective."

Sobriety College at Hope Academy
If you are or someone you love is a college student struggling with a a drug or alcohol use disorder, Hope Academy may be the ideal rehab program for you. Our peer-based program provides the safety and support you need to succeed in school and at sobriety. To learn more about our sobriety college, call today: 866-930-4673.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine Causes New Risk for College Students

fentanyl-laced cocaineThe synthetic drug fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times more potent than opioids like morphine and heroin, is showing up in more street drugs and more headlines than ever before. This is partly because more Americans are dying due to these synthetic drugs than opioids, according to a recent report in the journal JAMA

And experts say college students who use cocaine to party and study may be particularly at risk.  Just like many prescription pill abusers turn to heroin for a cheaper high, many cash-strapped students have begun to trade in the study drug Adderall for easy-to-access cocaine – and they may be unknowingly getting fentanyl, too. 

Most college students have no idea where the drugs they share with friends come from or what’s really in them. Experts have said that fentanyl is being used as a cutting agent in almost every drug. “If you are using any substance, you don’t really know what you’re getting. Fentanyl can be mixed with it — and it can kill you,” health commissioner Dr. Mysheika W. Roberts, told WOSU public radio. 

Students who seek cocaine and end up with fentanyl-laced products are at an increased risk of the respiratory depressant effects of opioids because they have no tolerance. This can happen in mere minutes. And students don’t tote around Naloxone to reverse an overdose – and even if they did, they may not realize that since fentanyl is so powerful, the standard one to two doses of naloxone may not be enough. 

So what’s the solution? Of course, your safest bet is to seek support and treatment if you find yourself or your friend or roommate using and abusing drugs. 

Getting Help for Drug 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.


Monday, May 7, 2018

Top Mental Health Challenges Among College Students


mental health challengesDid you know that one in four students are struggling with a diagnosable mental illness and yet 40 percent don’t seek help? Your mental health matters and if left untreated, could impact your academic, social and family life and lead to serious and even life-threatening health conditions. 

Luckily, more and more campuses are taking steps to help students take better care of their mental health – but you can play a pivotal role, too. 

Your first step is to learn and recognize the red flags. In honor Mental Health Month this month, here are some of the most common mental health issues among college students today. If you spot the signs in yourself or in someone you care about, don’t wait. Remember, you’re not alone and help is out there. 

Depression: According to one study, depression is the number-one reason students drop out of school. 
  • Changes in sleep habits  (sleeping more or difficulty sleeping)
  • Appetite changes (loss of appetite or overeating)
  • Sadness
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Hopelessness
  • Powerlessness
  • Trouble concentrating and paying attention
Anxiety: According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, nearly 75% of those affected by an anxiety disorder will experience their first episode before the age of 22. 
  • Feelings of stress and apprehension
  • Irritability
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Fearfulness
  • Sweating and dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle pain and tension
  • Headaches
  • Frequent upset stomach or diarrhea
Suicide: Suicide is the second most common cause of death among college students, with someone between the ages of 15 and 24 dying every two hours and 12 minutes.
  • Difficulty handling schoolwork
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits 
  • Low energy levels or a feeling of being drained
  • Feelings of hopeless or being trapped
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Emotional outbursts (crying or being easily irritated) 
  • Changes in relationships, including sexual promiscuity
  • Self-destructive behavior (substance abuse, cutting)
Eating disorders: Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder are the most common eating disorders. Nearly 50% of individuals with an eating disorder are also abusing drugs and/or alcohol, which is a rate fives times greater than the general population. 
  • Skipping meals or making excuses for not eating
  • Excessive focus on healthy eating
  • Withdrawing from normal social activities
  • Persistent worry or complaining about being fat and talk of losing weight
  • Use of dietary supplements, laxatives or herbal products for weight loss
  • Excessive exercise
  • Leaving during meals to use the toilet
  • Eating much more food in a meal or snack than is considered normal
  • Expressingdisgust, shame or guilt about eating habits
  • Eating in secret
Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Young Adults
At Hope Academy, we conduct a series of tests upon admission to determine if mental illness is causing or 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. 


Monday, April 23, 2018

How to Talk to Your Teen If You Suspect Drug Misuse

talking to teen drug misuseReading headline after headline about our current opioid epidemic can leave parents feeling frightened and even helpless. But there’s good news: If you think your teen is using and abusing drugs, you can make a difference and you don’t have to break the silence alone. 

The NCADA offers some do's and don'ts for starting the conversation and helping your loved one get back on a healthy path. 

Your first step: Don’t blame yourself. Just because your teen has used drugs or alcohol doesn’t mean that you are a “bad parent” or that they are a “bad kid,” say NCADA. And remember: Your primary goal is to address the unhealthy behavior, express your concern and get him or her professional help.

What to Do...
Take the time to get your thoughts together and decide what you want the outcome of the conversation to be. A few more pointers from the NCADA:
  • Stay calm and stick to the facts.
  • Express to your child how important your relationship with them is to you. Use “I care” messages.
  • Offer examples of specific behaviors that concern you. “Last week, you went from being happy to being extremely crabby without any warning.”
  • Discuss how this problem is affecting your relationship: “I feel like I can’t trust you anymore, and I’m afraid to leave you at home by yourself.” 
  • Tell your teen what needs to change or what you’d like for them to do: “I want you to start seeing a counselor to get help.”
  • Know your limits and recognize when professional help is necessary.
What Not to Do...
Timing is everything, so don’t confront your child when he or she is under the influence or when you or your child is angry. A few more tips, according to NCADA: 
  • Don’t label with words like “addict.”
  • Don’t argue or debate with your child.
  • Don’t feel guilty. 
Opioid Addiction Treatment for Young Adults
Young adults (age 18 to 25) are the biggest abusers of prescription opioid pain relievers, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And early intervention is the most successful treatment. If someone you love is struggling with opioid addiction, don’t wait to get help. Call today: 866-930-4673.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Springtime Things in Orange County

springtime things in orange county
Spring has sprung and there’s no shortage of seasonal things to do in Orange County. Here is a quick look at a few uplifting activities to remind you just how fun a sober life can be:

Celebrate Earth Day. Whale watching, beach cleanups, animal feedings – there are plenty of ways to give back and celebrate the earth in Orange County. Or, gather your friends and arrange a DYI project with some recycled crafts. 

Hit the beach. OC is blessed with some great beaches and spring is the perfect time to breathe in the coastal air. 

Take a stroll along the water or just relax with a riveting read. Or, check out one of these fun events: 
  • Newport Beach Film Festival, April 26-May 3: The best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from around the world.
  • Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race, April 27-29: Sailors brave the brisk waters for a race to Ensenada, Mexico.
  • Newport Beach Jazz Festival, June 1-3: A three-day celebration of jazz from world renown artists and award-winning musicians.
Take a hike. Explore the rustic, natural side of Orange County by hiking along one of the many meticulously kept paths nestled in the canyons, slopes and mountains of the region.

Head to the farmer’s market. There are some great farmer’s markets in the OC and spring is the perfect time to try a few near you. Load up on fresh seasonal produce like strawberries, fava beans and asparagus.

Indulge in sweet strawberries. Strawberry nachos or strawberry popcorn anyone? Get ready to listen to live music as you sample an assortment of strawberry creations at the annual California Strawberry festival, May 25-28. 

And, of course, another way to enjoy spring in Orange County is to just get outside and play – whether you gather some friends for a game of Frisbee in the park or volleyball on the beach. Soak up the sun and have a fun, sober spring season! 

Sober Living Year-Round
Learning to make better choices is a key element of the young adult recovery program at Hope Academy. Our clients, ages 18-26, receive clinical treatment as well as one-on-one coaching in healthy nutrition, exercise, relaxation, and coping skills. This helps them to recognize and manage their addiction triggers and cravings, and make healthier life choices. To find out more, call today: 866-930-4673.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Sober Hobbies to Help You De-stress

sober hobbies
Finding a healthy way to deal with stress – both during college and as you embark on your sober future  – is a key component of recovery. Here are a number of sober hobbies that have been scientifically backed to help relieve tension and help you relax. Try one (or a few) and see what works for you. 
  • Yoga: Sure, this might be an obvious choice, but it’s a proven one. Yoga teaches us to use the power of breath to stay calm. This ancient practice has also been linked do a reduction of levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and symptoms of anxiety and depression. 
  • Coloring and drawing: Whether you invest in an adult coloring book and fancy pencils or spend a few dollars on some white paper and crayons, coloring and drawing is a great relaxation technique that can help you stay in the moment and stay calm. 
  • Writing: Journaling or expressing your thoughts and emotions via writing is a proven way to identify any stressors and then let them go. Try it: Take 15 minutes each day and write freely without censoring yourself. 
  • Reading: Getting lost in a good book is a great way to escape from the stressors of daily life. Studies show that reading can help to lower your heart rate and ease tension in your muscles.
  • Gardening: Digging in the dirt can lower your stress hormones, improve your mood and keep you in the moment. What’s more, being outside in the fresh air and sunshine can boost these effects even more.
  • Hiking: Similarly, enjoying the great outdoors and nature via hiking can help reduce stress and help reduce rumination, or obsessing over negative thoughts. And since hiking is an aerobic exercise, you’ll also benefit from the feel-good endorphins released in your body. 
Finding Emotional Support at Hope Academy
A host of emotions inevitably arise as you begin working toward your sobriety goals. The professionals at Hope Academy can teach you to manage these feelings without resorting to substance abuse. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.


Monday, April 2, 2018

It's Alcohol Awareness Month

Alcohol Awareness Month
Each April, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) sponsors Alcohol Awareness Month in an effort to increase public awareness and understanding, reduce stigma and encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues. 

This year’s theme, “Changing Attitudes: It’s not a ‘rite of passage,’" is aimed at educating adolescents about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism, as well as parents on the important role they can play in teaching kids to have a healthy attitude regarding alcohol. 

As part of the month-long campaign, NCADD put together some must-know facts and figures to help spread the message. Here are a few: 
  • Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States.
  • Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year.
  • More than 1.6 million young people report driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year.
  • Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.
  • Drinking by persons under the age of 21 is linked to 189,000 emergency room visits.
  • The typical American will see 100,000 beer commercials before he or she turns 18.
  • Kids who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crime, to be involved in alcohol-related traffic crashes, and to have serious school-related problems.
  • A supportive family environment is associated with lowered rates of alcohol use for adolescents.
  • Kids who have conversations with their parents and learn a lot about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50 percent less likely to use alcohol and drugs than those who don’t have such conversations.
Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse 
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.


Monday, March 26, 2018

Can Colleges Keep Up With Students' Mental Health Needs?

colleges and student mental health needs
Record numbers of college students are seeking help for such mental health conditions as anxiety and depression and schools are struggling to offer adequate help, according to a recent article on Time.com. 

In fact, an American College Health Association (ACHA) survey of 63,0000 students at 92 schools found that 40 percent of students felt so depressed the prior year that it was “difficult for them to function” and 61 percent said they felt “overwhelming anxiety.” 

What’s more, visits to on-campus counseling centers have increased by roughly 30 percent, between 2009 and 2015, according to a report by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health (CCMH). 

The average university has one professional counselor for every 1,737 students — that’s less than one therapist for every 1,000 to 1,500 students, according to Time.com. And while colleges across the country are stepping up to meet these growing demands, many college counselors remain overwhelmed and students continue to endure long waits for mental health treatment, notes Time.com.

So what’s the solution? Here’s a look at what a few universities are doing: 
  • UCLA began offering free mental health screenings to all incoming freshman.
  • Virginia Tech University opened several satellite counseling clinics.
  • Ohio State University launched a counseling mobile app, which allows students to make an appointment, access breathing exercises and contact the clinic in case of an emergency. 
  • Pennsylvania State University allocated roughly $700,000 in additional funding for counseling and psychological services in 2017.
Still, on average, universities haven’t been able to provide long-term treatment services like recurring appointments and specialized counseling, noted the ACHA survey. “That means that students will be able to get that first appointment when they’re in high distress, but they may not be able to get ongoing treatment after the fact,” Ben Locke, Penn State’s counseling director and head of the CCMH, told Time.com“And that is a problem.”

Dual Diagnosis Treatment
When young adults are dealing with a coexisting mental health issue, the rehabilitation process requires specialized dual-diagnosis expertise. Our peer-based program provides the safety and support you need to succeed in school and at sobriety. To learn more about our sobriety college, call today: 866-930-4673.


Monday, March 19, 2018

Study: Parental Approval Leads to More Drinking in College

college students drinking
"Parents who accept drinking as just a normal part of college may be encouraging their kids to drink more, according to a study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.  

The researchers surveyed 687 Penn State students about their drinking habits and how much they believed their parents would approve of them drinking. The data was gathered at regular checkpoints across four years, from the last year of high school through the third year of college. 

To learn more about these patterns, the researchers arranged students into four groups, including students with parents who…
  • Consistently didn't approve of drinking
  • Consistently approved of high levels of drinking
  • Began approving of higher levels of drinking around age 21 parents
  • Began approving of higher levels of drinking when the students started college
The results: the more students believed their parents approved of them drinking, the more alcohol they tended to drink. Many parents didn't approve of drinking in high school, but when they went to college or got closer to turning 21, “the parents' attitudes relaxed and students' drinking increased,” said Brian Calhoun, graduate student in human development and family studies and first author of the paper.

The findings show that parents can still play a role in providing positive feedback and encouraging their children to make healthy lifestyle choices, especially during the college years when drug and alcohol use often peaks. "One part of this can be supporting safe choices about drinking alcohol,” said Jennifer Maggs, professor of human development and family studies, “and not reinforcing or making jokes about college being a crazy time when everyone takes risks without consequences." 

Conversation Goals During College
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, it's important for parents to keep the lines of communication open through all four (or more) years of college. This regular communication will also make it easier to spot any sign of alcohol abuse, including: 
  • Binge drinking
  • Declining grades
  • Changes in appearance
  • Decrease in extracurricular college activities
  • Shifts in sleeping patterns
  • Mood swings
  • Reckless behavior
  • Changes in social circles or hanging out with others who abuse alcohol or drugs
Sobriety College at Hope Academy
If you are or someone you love is a college student struggling with a mental illness and a substance use disorder, Hope Academy may be the ideal rehab program for you. Our peer-based program provides the safety and support you need to succeed in school and at sobriety. To learn more about our sobriety college, call today: 866-930-4673.

Monday, March 12, 2018

College Students Learn to Use Narcan

More than a year ago, students at the University of Texas at Austin began learning to use naloxone, known by the brand name Narcan, which is used to rapidly reverses an opioid overdose. The goal: to save a friend or peer showing symptoms of an overdose. 

Program supporters compare Narcan availability to fire extinguishers or automated external defibrillators – both mainstays on college campuses. “The majority of the doses are likely going to go unused — that’s a good thing,” Lucas Hill, a UT-Austin pharmacy professor who directs a program called Operation Naloxone that UH students plan to expand into Houston this semester, told the Houston Chronicle. “Most fire extinguishers get tossed out without being used. This is similar.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2,588 people overdosed from drugs in Texas in 2015 and the figure rose to 2,831 in 2016. What’s more, four percent of Texas college students misused opioids in 2017, noted the Houston Chronicle. Still, noted Hill, it’s difficult to know how widespread the issue is on Texas campuses, as families often keep overdoses private.

Despite these rising figures, many Texas public universities lack written policies on naloxone distribution. “We felt as a medical organization that it was best for us to ensure that everyone who might encounter this within our facility be trained,” Martha Dannenbaum, who directs A&M’s student health services, told the Houston Chronicle. “Drug use, misuse and abuse exists everywhere. It’s not just the homeless population or the poor, it’s everyone from the highest administrative areas to young people that are functional.”

Do You Know the Signs of an Opioid Overdose?
Recognizing the symptoms of an opioid overdose and taking prompt action is critical to potentially saving a life. Although all of these signs might not be present, it’s best to seek medical assistance right away if you notice any of them: 
  • Unable to wake up or respond to your voice or touch
  • Very slow, irregular or stopped breathing
  • Center part of their eye is very small, often called “pinpoint pupils”
  • Fingernails and lips turning blue or purple
  • Slow heartbeat and/or low blood pressure
Opioid Addiction Treatment for Young Adults
Young adults (age 18 to 25) are the biggest abusers of prescription opioid pain relievers, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And early intervention is the most successful treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid addiction, don’t wait to get help. Call today: 866-930-4673.


Monday, March 5, 2018

Gambling Disorders Among College Students


Fact: Seventy-five percent of college students gambled during the past year (legally or illegally) and about 18 percent gambling weekly or more frequently. 

Gambling is rampant on many college campuses and it can have a negative impact on student health. Lotteries, card games, pools (including raffles charitable small stakes gambling), sports betting and games of skill (e.g., bowling, basketball, pool, golf, backgammon, darts) are the most frequently chosen gambling activities by college students, according to the National Center for Responsible Gambling (NCRG). 

With “March Madness” or “April Suicide” around the corner, we thought it was a good time to take a look at some facts about gambling and gambling disorders to help you or someone you love make healthier decisions when it comes to betting. (Suicide rates and the use of suicide prevention hotlines rise in April and June over other months, at the conclusion of March Madness.)

Here are a few need-to-know facts from the NCRG:
  • Six percent of college students in the U.S. have a serious gambling problem that can result in psychological difficulties, unmanageable debt and failing grades.
  • Teenagers and college-aged adolescents are most vulnerable to gambling disorders because they are more impulsive. 
  • Male college students are more likely to have gambled in the past year; gambled with more money; and reported having gambling problems than female college students.
  • Students without gambling problems are more likely to use tobacco, drink heavily or binge drink, smoke marijuana or use other illegal drugs, drive under the influence and have a low GPA.
Addiction Help is Available
Not sure if betting for fun has turned into problem gambling? The National Council on Problem Gambling suggests being on the lookout for the following warning signs:
  • Preoccupation with betting
  • Lying about how much money has been bet
  • Feeling anxious or sleepless due to betting activity
  • Borrowing money to continue betting or to cover losses
  • Keeping it secret from family or friends

It’s important to seek help before any type of addictive behavior takes over your personal life, relational connections, and financial well-being. Contact us today so we can help or someone you love you on the road to recovery from a dual diagnosis. Call: 866-930-4673.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Spotting the Signs of Orthorexia

Today kicks off National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and so we thought it could be the perfect time to touch on a type of eating disorder on the rise amid today’s ever growing focus on “clean living.” It’s call orthorexia nervosa, defined as a “pathological obsession with proper nutrition,” and characterized by a restrictive diet and ritualized eating patterns. 

Unlike many other eating disorders, patients with orthorexia often flaunt their eating habits instead of hiding them, especially on Instagram, say experts. What’s more, the condition often overlaps with obsessive compulsive disorder and obsessive compulsive personality disorder.

While healthful eating is a crucial part of recovery, obsessing about what you eat can be a slippery slope. This is especially true if the underlying motivations for eating healthy include compulsion for complete control, escape from fears, improving self-esteem or searching for spirituality through food, notes the National Eating Disorders Association.  

Knowing the signs can help you or someone you love get help. Start by honestly answering these questions – and if you finding yourself feverishly nodding “yes,” be sure to reach out to a medical professional for help: 
  • Do you ever wish that you could eat without obsessing about food quality?
  • Do you ever wish you spent less time on food and more time living?
  • Do you have difficulty eating a meal prepared by someone else? 
  • Are you constantly looking to discover how certain foods are unhealthy for you? 
  • Does following a perfect diet take precedence over love, joy, play and creativity?
  • If you stray from your diet, do you experience feelings of guilt or self-loathing?
  • Does sticking to the “correct” diet make you feel more in control of your life? 
Lasting Health and Sobriety
Sobriety requires a lifetime commitment, but we’re here to help. To learn more about Hope Academy support groups, transitional living options, aftercare programs, and sobriety-college living, call today: 866-930-4673.





Monday, February 19, 2018

Parental Alcohol Abuse Linked to Child Deaths and Injuries

One in three deaths or serious injuries in children are caused by parental drinking, according to a new study published by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.

“Parental alcohol misuse scars kids for life and can lead many into a life of drinking too much themselves,” Liam Byrne, a member of parliament and chairman of the All-Party Group for Children of Alcoholics, told The Guardian. “Millions of parents drink too much and their misuse of alcohol causes horrific problems for their children.”

Researchers found that 15% of children had their bedtime routine interrupted by a parent’s drinking, and 18% were embarrassed by an intoxicated parent. 

There are 28.6 million children of alcoholics (COAs) in the United States and 6.6 million are under the age of 18. Previous studies have shows that children growing up in an alcoholic family experience difficulties as adults, too, including problems with: 
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Anger management
  • Self-esteem
  • Trust
  • Depression
Modeling Good Behavior
Parents have a big influence on young people’s decisions about alcohol consumption — 80% of children feel that parents should have a say in whether they drink alcohol. What’s more, the way you handle alcohol around your kids can have a big influence on their relationship with alcohol. This is why it’s important to set a good example by drinking in moderation and never getting behind the wheel, for example. 

In addition, experts recommend reminding your child that underage drinking is against the law, and for good reason. Namely, adults are fully developed mentally and physically so they can handle drinking. Children’s minds and bodies are still growing, however, so alcohol can have a greater effect on their judgment and health. And, of course, if you think you have a problem with alcohol, getting help is the best way to become a positive role model for your child. 

Alcohol Treatment for Young Adults
At Hope Academy, we help parents advocate for their children, so they get the help they need before it is too late. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673.




Monday, February 12, 2018

Mental Health Overlooked in College Transition

News headlines and social media feeds seem to be brimming with studies about how today’s teens are more stressed out and anxious than year’s past – and, yet, mental health is often left off of the college prep checklist, according to a new survey from WebMD, Medscape and JED.

According to the survey, “Preparing for College: The Mental Health Gap,” in the past five years, the majority of healthcare professionals noted a rise in mental health issues among teens: 
  • 86% said they have had more anxiety and stress.
  • 81% saw more anxiety disorders.
  • 70% reported seeing more mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder.
And parents echoed these findings, with 45 percent of those surveyed claiming that their teen had been diagnosed or treated for a mental health issue, learning disorder or substance abuse.

Yet here’s the surprising part: Only 28% of parents of teens with anxiety, stress or a mood disorder considered mental health services while choosing a school.

"If your child is already in therapy, don't assume it's going to go away once they start school,” Cora Collette Breuner, MD, a professor of pediatrics and adolescent medicine at Seattle Children's Hospital and the University of Washington, told WebMD. “Assume the opposite."

College presents what experts call a sort of “perfect storm” for mental health issues. For one, nearly 75 percent of all mental health conditions begin by age 24, and there’s also a significant amount of stress during this time. In other words, the college years are a critical time to understand and talk about mental health with your kid. Even if it doesn’t touch your child, he or she might deal with a roommate who is in emotional distress.

The survey stressed the need for all parents – not just those of kids with issues – to discuss mental health concerns. "It's going to touch your family's life, and certainly your child's life in one way or another," Stephanie Pinder-Amaker, PhD, director of the College Mental Health Program at McLean Hospital, told WebMD. "It does so much to decrease stigma and fear and anxiety just to talk about these issues."

Do You Need Dual-Diagnosis Treatment?
Co-occurring mental health conditions like depression may exist prior to substance abuse, or develop as a side effect of drug and alcohol dependency. 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.




Monday, February 5, 2018

Volunteering Helps Self-Esteem in Adolescents

If you want to feel better about yourself, you should start by helping someone else, according to a recent study. Researchers found that adolescents who perform acts of kindness (big and small) get a boost to their self-worth. And if you’re helping a stranger, the benefits can last up to a year later. The study, published in December in the Journal of Adolescence, surveyed nearly 700 adolescents.

"Surprisingly, teens who helped friends and family members did not report the same emotional change," said Dr. Laura Padilla-Walker, a psychology professor at Brigham Young University and one of the study's researcher, in a statement. "Helping a stranger is more challenging than assisting a friend, and when teens take this risk, they feel more competent.”

Volunteering and Your Recovery
We’ve talked about how volunteering can help your recovery in the past. To recap, volunteering is a great way to mitigate any negative feelings you may have about yourself and to gain the confidence you’ll need to deal with the ups and downs of sobriety. Here are a few more ways acts of altruism can help you stay sober: 
  • You’ll occupy your time. Especially in early recovery, healthy distractions can prevent you from daydreaming about using again.
  • You’ll build relationships: Volunteering is a great way to expand your social network with like-minded people with similar interests and goals.
  • You’ll improve your resume: Volunteering teaches you some essential job skills, including project management and sales. Plus, it’s great for networking.
Job Prep at Hope Academy
At Hope Academy, we provide practical, real-world guidance for clients who have completed college or are already pursuing a professional or vocational career. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673.


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