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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Young Adults Underestimate Health Risks of Vaping

Vaping among young adults is now an epidemic in the U.S., as declared by Surgeon General Jerome Adams in 2018. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaping as a recreational activity has become increasingly popular among teens and college students looking for a brief buzz similar to the nicotine “high” of cigarettes.

Even scarier: many young adults mistakenly believe it’s harmless and safer than cigarettes. The truth is that the nicotine contained in e-cigarettes is not only highly addictive but can cause lasting cognitive and behavioral impairments in young adults. This includes memory and learning difficulties and increased susceptibility to addiction — including addiction to other substances. Young adults under age 25 are especially vulnerable since their brains are still developing.

The Dangers of Vaping


When you vape, you inhale vapor created from a liquid heated up inside a device, namely vape pens, pod mods, tanks, electronic nicotine deliver devices (ENDS), e-hookahs and e-cigarettes. The liquid inside — called e-juice, e-liquid, cartridges, pods or oils — contains a base of glycerin (a combo of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin) along with nicotine and flavoring chemicals.

There are some 8,000 known e-liquid flavors available on the market today — ranging from banana pudding to watermelon to Hawaiian punch to unicorn puke. And while these flavorings have been found safe for food, the jury is still out on whether smoking or vaping these chemicals can harm your health.

Studies have found that e-liquids are rife with organic components often associated with aromas —cinnamaldehyde (cinnamon), vanillin (vanilla), benzaldehyde (almonds) — that have been found to cause the formation of formaldehyde and other cancer-causing chemicals, as well as irritation and inflammation of the lungs when subjected to heat or vaporization. In other words, you’re exposing yourself to all kinds of chemicals that we don’t yet understand and that are probably unsafe

Vaping and Addiction


Not only are we still unsure of the health dangers associated with vaping, but there’s no clear evidence that vaping helps people quit smoking cigarettes. In fact, researchers found that vaping increases a teen’s risk of smoking cigarettes later in life. “We cannot allow a whole new generation to become addicted to nicotine,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said in a press release. Nicotine is a toxic substance that raises your blood pressure and adrenaline, increasing your heart rate and likelihood of having a heart attack.  

Another dangerous trend is dabbing, or using vaping marijuana by heating concentrated cannabis oil, called butane hash oil (“honeycomb,” “budder” and “earwax”). When young adults vape rather than smoke marijuana, they tend to consumer higher concentrations of the addictive drug tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — around 60 to 90 percent — and without the telltale smell that goes with smoking pot through a joint, blunt or pipe.

“This is a very dangerous trend,” Dr. Ruben Baler, a health scientist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, who estimates three million youth are vaping, 30 to 40 percent of whom are vaping marijuana, told The Chicago Sun-Times. “[E-cigs] are very easy to hide. They’re odorless, and they’re marketed very aggressively for kids, whether they have flavorings or high concentrations of nicotine or marijuana.”

Addiction Treatment for Young Adults


At Hope Academy, our young adult program is designed to help you change destructive behaviors and make lasting changes that will have a positive impact on your life and long-term health. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673.






Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Staying Sober on Spring Break

Spring break is an opportunity for university and college students to go home, see family or just take a one-week break from school. It’s also a time when students flock to a variety of leisure vacation spots, typically by the warm, sunny beach, and party away the stress of midterms.

In studies of spring breakers, more than half of men and 40 percent of women reported drinking until they became sick or passed out. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “nearly half of all college students binge drink – and during spring break it seems to go to the extreme.”

Naturally, being around peers who are partying all week is not the best idea if you’re working a program of addiction recovery. The temptation to drink or use drugs would be too high and so would your risk of relapse.

Even if you’re not in recovery, binge drinking during spring break comes with many risks. In fact, several studies have linked spring break binge drinking to lasting brain damage, including compromised memory, inhibition and decision making. This is partly why young adults are more likely to be risk-takers – driving intoxicated, engaging in unsafe sex, partaking in criminal activity – after drinking heavily. These brain changes can also increase your risk of developing an alcohol use disorder later in life.

For men, binge drinking means drinking five or more alcoholic drinks in one day; for women, four or more alcoholic drinks in one day. Standard measurements for one drink are defined as:
  • 12 ounce beer
  • 12 ounce wine cooler
  • 5 ounce glass of wine
  • 1.5 ounce shot of 80-proof whiskey, vodka, or gin
Having Fun, Staying Sober
We’ve talked in the past about how staying sober depends on building a fulfilling life without drugs or alcohol – and this is the perfect example. You can partake in spring break and have a great, relaxing time without putting yourself at risk of relapse.

Here are a few ideas to consider if you’re a college student in recovery or simply want to avoid the party scene:
  • Go the alternative route. An alternative spring break program enables you to spend the week of spring break volunteering and serving a community in a meaningful way. Many universities have student-run organizations that facilitate service trips, or you can partner with nonprofits in your area.
  • Get outdoors. Spend your spring break soaking up the beauty of nature! Even a day trip can help you hit that reset button and do wonders for your mental health. Grab a sober friend and take a long hike and breathe in the breath-taking views.
  • Discover a new hobby. What have you always wanted to try, or what did you used to love and rarely have time for anymore? Pick one or two things and check them off your list this spring break. The possibilities are endless – and you’ll likely be pretty proud of what you were able to accomplish now that you’re sober.
  • Have a self-care marathon. Spring break is the perfect time for self-care. Along the same lines of finding a new hobby, you can use the week-long vacation to tick off some activities that will help nourish and rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit. Some ideas to consider: Meditate, do yoga, soak in a tub, read an inspirational book.
  • Go on a family vacation. Work together to pick a fun getaway. Spring break is the perfect time to build new memories with those who have supported you most as you’ve worked hard in school and at sobriety.
Sobriety College at Hope Academy
If you are or someone you love is a college student caught in the throes of substance abuse, 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, call today: 866-930-4673.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Binge Drinking Changes Your DNA

binge drinking

Here's yet another reason to seek help for binge drinking: It can mess with your very being - your DNA! 

So what does this really mean? Researchers from Rutgers University discovered that consistently overdoing it on alcohol can disrupt the natural effectiveness of two specific genes: PER2, which regulates body clock and POMC, which controls stress.

The researchers discovered that both genes were altered in binge and heavy drinkers and, in the heaviest drinkers, there was a reduction in the rate at which the genes created new proteins. According to Forbes.com, this basically means that binge drinking “stunted both genes.” 

And, what’s worse, these mutations may make it harder to quit. The researchers found that these long-lasting genetic changes sparked a greater desire to drink among binge and heavy drinkers. 

"We found that people who drink heavily may be changing their DNA in a way that makes them crave alcohol even more," Professor Dipak K. Sarkar, senior author of the study and director of the Endocrine Program in the Department of Animal Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, told Forbes.com. "This may help explain why alcoholism is such a powerful addiction, and may one day contribute to new ways to treat alcoholism or help prevent at-risk people from becoming addicted.”

Binge drinking is defined as when a person consumes an excessive amount of alcohol in a short amount of time. For men, this means drinking five or more alcoholic beverages in two hours. For women, four or more drinks within a two-hour time period.

College Students and Binge Drinking: What You Should Know
A large percentage of college students participate in binge drinking – and not without consequences. For one, binge drinking can take a toll on the young and still-developing brain of college students, causing cognitive difficulties. (Your brain continues to change and develop up to age 25.) Binge drinking can also increase your risk of life-threatening alcohol poisoning and suicide.

Here are a few more ways that binge drinking can put your health – and the health of others – at risk.
  • Poor academic performance, including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers and receiving lower grades overall.
  • Increased risk of injury - from minor cuts to broken bones to concussions.
  • More vulnerable to physical or sexual assault.
  • Higher chance of committing a crime, including vandalism, property damage and driving under the influence.
  • Greater risk of alcohol-related health complications like liver damage, high blood pressure, inflammation of the pancreas and other health complications.
  • Increased risk of an alcohol use disorder.
Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse
Is binge drinking becoming a problem for you or someone you love? Our young adult alcohol rehab can provide the tools you need to get and stay sober. Reach out to us today to find out how we can help you. To learn more about what a day in the life of Hope Academy looks like, call: 866-930-4673.


Monday, February 4, 2019

Ending Toxic Relationships

toxic relationships
Ending a toxic relationship is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your recovery. That said, it’s not easy and figuring out a way to end it peacefully without feeling emotionally drained is even more challenging. While it’s not likely to be a happy ending, it is possible to walk away with pride and to feel upbeat about your sober future.

What Is a Toxic Relationship?
While we typically think of a toxic relationship as a romantic relationship, the truth is that any relationship can fall into the category of “toxic.” This includes friendships, parent-child, sibling and boss-employee relationships. Certainly, no relationship is perfect all of the time but if someone is constantly disregarding your emotions or physically or mentally abusing you, it’s likely toxic.

Psychology Today suggests asking yourself the following questions to determine if you’re in a toxic relationship:
  • Does your relationship make you feel content and energized or unfilled and drained?
  • Does spending time with the person make you feel better or worse about yourself?
  • Do you feel safe (physically and emotionally) with this person or do you feel threatened or in danger?
  • Do you feel like you're always giving and he or she is always taking?
  • Do you feel like you have to change to make him or her happy?
Creating a Happy Ending for Yourself
Ending a toxic relationship is similar to quitting drugs or alcohol in the sense that you’ll likely experience cravings and feel nostalgia for the good times. You might even feel like you can’t live without the person in your life, despite how damaging the relationship has been. If you know you need to end the relationship but feel powerless, your first step is to seek help. You don’t need to do this alone. Enlist the help of a trusted family member, friend or counselor.

Here are a few more tips adapted from PsychCentral.com to keep in mind:
  • Cut off all ties. This means blocking the person on your phone, disconnecting on social media and staying away from places where you know that person will be. This will help you break the addiction you have to this person and help you change your habits.
  • Examine your emotions. Create a running list of emotional reminders for yourself. You can include answers to questions like: How did this person make you feel? How do you feel now? What feelings could occur when you’re finally free from this toxic relationship? Sorting through your emotions can help you stay steadfast in your decision.
  • Surround yourself with positive forces. Take time to care for yourself and seek out joy. This means going out of your way to spend time with those who make you feel good about you. Make plans together to go hiking or see a movie of your choosing.
  • Stick with your decision. It’s perfectly normal to miss the person after you end the relationship, but remind yourself that this wasn’t a quick decision and that you’re doing this to benefit yourself and your recovery. Lean on your support system if you feel the urge to allow the toxic person back into your life.
Aftercare at Hope Academy
Upon returning home from rehab, it’s all-too-easy to gravitate to former patterns, dangerous environmental triggers and toxic relationships, so we created a supportive transition between treatment completion and the return home to give you the best chance at sustained sobriety. To learn more, call: 866-930-4673.




Monday, January 21, 2019

New App Detects Opioid Overdoses

A new app may provide opioid users with a way to ask for help in the event of an overdose. The app, named Second Chance, can detect slowed or stopped breathing as a result of an overdose. It works by converting the speaker and microphone of the smartphone into a sonar system that emits high frequency sound waves that bounce off a user’s chest. In an emergency, the app could call 911 or send a message to friends or family who have access to and could administer the opiate antidote naloxone (Narcan).

“Being able to track an overdose when a person may be by themselves could significantly improve the ability to save lives,” psychiatrist Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in Bethesda, MD, told Science News.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 130 people die from an opioid overdose every day in the United States. And many of the individuals are alone and powerless to call for help.

"We're experiencing an unprecedented epidemic of deaths from opioid use, and it's unfortunate because these overdoses are a completely reversible phenomena if they're detected in time," Dr. Jacob Sunshine, an assistant professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine at the UW School of Medicine., told CNBC.

Researchers tested the app on 94 users in Vancouver at a legally sanctioned injection facility where people use heroin and fentanyl under medical supervision in an effort to prevent overdoses. The app detected 47 out of 49 cases where the user stopped breathing and 41 out of 47 cases where a patient was breathing too slowly. The app misjudged five of the 47 cases where the user was breathing frequently enough. Researchers also simulated overdoses with 20 volunteers who received standard anesthetic medications that caused 30 seconds of slow or no breathing. The app detected abnormal respiration in 19 patients.

The team, which is applying for FDA approval, anticipates that the app will be on the market in roughly eight months – and hopefully sooner if they get fast track priority approval by the FDA, researchers told CNBC.

Opioid Addiction Treatment for Young Adults
Young adults (age 18 to 25) are the biggest abusers of prescription opioid pain relievers, according to the NIDA. 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, January 7, 2019

Link Between College Binge Drinking and Social Media Addiction

A new study found a link between binge drinking and social media addiction among college students. For the study, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, researchers recruited more than 400 undergraduate students, ages 18 to 25, and asked about both binge drinking (defined as five drinks at a time for males and four for women) and the use of social media (including Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter).

Student binge drinkers were more likely to post on social media platforms and on more social media platforms (most frequently on Snapchat and Facebook) while intoxicated than non-binge drinkers. What’s more, binge drinkers showed a greater emotional investment toward social media, which is common among those with an addiction.

“These findings suggest that, in terms of common brain reward mechanisms, perhaps when students get a positive response on social media, this might be ‘rewarding’ to them in a way that is similar to other addictive behaviors, and then over time they get hooked,” lead researcher Natalie A. Ceballas, PhD, of the Department of Psychology at Texas State University in San Marcos, told reporters.

Binge drinking and social media addiction can be a dangerous duo. Beyond the dangers of binge drinking – including an increased risk of injury, suicide, sexual assault, high blood pressure, heart attack, inflammation of the stomach, pancreas, brain, or spinal cord, sexually transmitted infections and memory and learning problems – this behavior can jeopardize a person’s ability to get into college or get a job.

The good news: A reliance on social media may also present an opportunity for innovative interventions, said researchers.

Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse
Binge drinking in adolescence can 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.
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