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Friday, December 30, 2016

Fewer Teens Doing Drugs

Here’s some upbeat news: Fewer teens are using illegal drugs than ever before and fewer are falling prey to the epidemic of opioid abuse, according to the findings from a new survey by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Even marijuana use is at an all-time low among eighth to 10th graders, though it’s steady among high school seniors, according to the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey, an annual study of behaviors and choices among teens in the eighth, 10th and 12th grades.

Other research, however, shows that marijuana use is increasing among 18- to 24–year-olds, however, which is alarming since their brain development isn’t yet complete, NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow told USA Today.

Many teens have even sustained from drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco, said Volkow. E-cigarettes are still a public health threat among adolescents, however.

Other highlights of this year’s survey included:
  • Use of illicit drugs other than marijuana is at its lowest level in the history of the survey for all three grades. For example, 14 percent of 12th graders said they used an illicit drug, compared to 18 percent in 2013.
  • Teen use of prescription painkillers is trending downward among 12th graders, with a 45 percent drop in past year use compared to five years ago. 
  • Only 5 percent of high school seniors said they smoke cigarettes every day, compared to 22 percent two decades ago. 
  • About 56 percent of 12th graders drank alcohol in the past year, compared to a peak of about 75 percent in 1997.
  • The percentage of eighth graders who reported using marijuana in the past month fell from 6.5% in 2015 to 5.4% this year. Among high school seniors, 22.5% used the drug within the past month and 6% used it daily, essentially unchanged from last year.
"It is encouraging to see more young people making healthy choices not to use illicit substances," said National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli. "We must continue to do all we can to support young people through evidence-based prevention efforts as well as treatment for those who may develop substance use disorders. And now that Congress has acted on the President's request to provide $1 billion in new funding for prevention and treatment, we will have significant new resources to do this."

Getting Help for a Loved One
One of the most important decisions you can make is to support your son or daughter in seeking treatment for addiction. For information about Hope Academy's young adult substance abuse treatment program, or to begin the admissions process for a loved one, call 866-930-4673.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Millennials and Addiction

Are Millennials more at risk for addiction? Some studies say yes — and perhaps one reason is that the adolescent brain, which is impulsive and risk-taking, is wired to get addicted to things.

From e-cigarettes to smartphones, a Bustle magazine highlighted some aspects of millennial life that create the possibility of “an addiction loop in the brain, creating a driving need, going into withdrawal if denied, and needing more and more to keep itself happy and rewarded.”

Here’s a quick summary:

E-cigarettes: They are now the number-one tobacco product among Millennials, and young people are particularly vulnerable to its effects, according to the Surgeon General. These include nicotine addiction, use of other addictive substances, reduced impulse control, deficits in attention and cognition deficits and mood disorders.

Cell phones: Being attached to your smartphone can trigger a behavioral addiction, which produces some of the same effects in the brain as substance use disorder, including withdrawal.

Gaming: Specifically multiplayer online gaming (think Pokemon Go) has been linked to behavioral addiction among adolescents. One study notes that this can lead to “preoccupation with gaming, lying gaming use, lost interest in other activities, withdrawal from family and friends, and the use of gaming as a means of psychological escape, noted the article.

Multi-tasking: Constantly switching from Facebook to email to twitter – also known as multi-tasking – has been linked to addictive behavior. And it can also put you at risk for reduced brain volume and emotional intelligence, according to a 2016 study cited in the article.

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.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Heroin Overdose Deaths on Rise

Just in: The Drug Enforcement Administration released its 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA), which details the impact of illicit drugs on the United States. The report further illuminated the opioid epidemic sweeping the nation and the growing heroin user population. And, perhaps most alarming, it showed that overdose deaths more than tripled between 2010 and 2014 due to the use of these drugs.

Other highlights of the recent report include: 
  • In 2014, approximately 129 people died every day as a result of drug poisoning and 61% (79) of them are pharmaceutical opioid or heroin related.
  • Heroin overdose deaths are high across the United States, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest.  
  • Deaths in the “synthetic opioids” category rose 79% from 3,097 in 2013 to 5,544 in 2014. Fentanyl, which is sometimes added to heroin batches, or mixed with other adulterants and sold as counterfeit heroin, is contributing to most of this increase. 
  • Methamphetamine continues to be readily available throughout the U.S., and methamphetamine distribution and use continues to contribute to violent and property crime across the nation. 
  • Cocaine availability and use in the U.S. increased across multiple fronts between 2014 and 2015 – and it’s likely continue to rise in the near future. 
"Sadly, this report reconfirms that opioids such as heroin and fentanyl - and diverted prescription pain pills - are killing people in this country at a horrifying rate," acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg told sources. "We face a public health crisis of historic proportions. Countering it requires a comprehensive approach that includes law enforcement, education, and treatment."

Finding Help for a Loved One
One of the most important decisions you can make is to support your friend or family member in seeking treatment for opioid addiction. For information about Hope Academy's young adult substance abuse treatment program, or to begin the admissions process for a loved one, call 866-930-4673.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Eating Disorders and the Holidays

For those who have struggled with years of disordered eating, the holidays can be quite the challenge. With food front and center at almost every celebration, the thought of attending a family or social gathering can cause anxiety, stress, and even the impulse to return to former patterns of restriction, purging, or overeating.

Luckily, a little preparation can help you to make healthful choices and hopefully enjoy the season ahead. Start with these tips adopted from the National Eating Disorder Association:

  1. Stick to a regular and moderate eating pattern. Avoid skipping meals to make up for what you recently ate or are about to eat.
  2. Focus on the size of your heart, not your hips. Remind yourself that the holiday season is a time to reflect, enjoy loved ones, give back, and be grateful for the many blessings in your life.
  3. Work with your healthcare team to develop a game plan. Together you can predict, prepare for, and make a plan to get through any uncomfortable situations or self-destructive behaviors.
  4. Lean on your support network. Line up a few loved ones who will be able to provide extra support. And don’t hesitate to call if you’re struggling with negative thoughts, difficult emotions, or addictive behaviors.
  5. Designate a loved one to be your “reality check.” He or she can help you fix a plate at a holiday gathering or provide objective feedback on the food portion sizes you make for yourself.
  6. Take a holiday from self-imposed criticism and rigidity. Remind yourself that it’s okay to be a bit more flexible during the holidays when it comes to what and how much you eat.
  7. Don’t overbook yourself. Cutting down on unnecessary events and obligations will help you avoid over-stressing or turning to eating-disordered behaviors or other unhelpful coping strategies. Leave time for relaxation, contemplation, reflection, spiritual renewal, simple service, and enjoying the small yet important things in life.
Seeking Support at Hope Academy
At Hope by the Sea’s Hope Academy program, we specialize in treating co-occurring eating disorders
and addiction. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

How to Practice Gratitude

As you celebrate Thanksgiving week, consider this: Research shows that giving thanks and feeling grateful doesn't just make you feel good, it also helps your overall health. Better sleep, reduced stress, fewer aches and pains, less toxic emotions, and more resilience are just a few of the many benefits experience by grateful people. 

Acknowledging and expressing gratitude for the small blessings in life will also help you on your journey toward addiction recovery. It will build your self-esteem, boost your outlook, and remind you that a sober life is well worth fighting for. 

Perhaps the best part: Developing an "attitude of gratitude" can be fairly simple. Here are a few tips to get you started.
  1. Start a gratitude journal and write in it for 15 minutes each night before lights out. 
  2. Call a loved one and express how much he or she means to you.
  3. Take a walk and take in the beauty of nature.
  4. Perform a small act of kindness for someone else – hold the door open for a stranger or write a thank-you note to a co-worker who has helped you in the past.
  5. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones, or take it a step further and designate a “no-complaining” day once a week.
  6. Help others who are less fortunate than you by volunteering.
  7. Meditate and refer to your gratitude list, giving thanks to all of the small gifts in life.
  8. Cut out pictures of the things or people for which you are grateful and make a collage.
  9. Share your gratitude via social media. Post a tweet, Facebook post or photo on Pinterest or Instagram.
  10. Practice gratitude at the same time each day to make it a habit. For instance, begin dinner by giving thanks each night – not just on Thanksgiving! 
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.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Addiction: A Call for Action

It's been a busy week when it comes to raising the profile of addiction and advocating proven treatment options. A first-ever report dedicated to addiction, titled "Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health," was just released on Thursday. 

Similar to the landmark Surgeon General’s report on smoking and tobacco, this report is set to change our national conversation and improve the health of Americans. But this time around, the topic is addiction – and how prevention, treatment, and recovery are all possible. 

"The most important thing is, we have to change attitudes towards addiction and get people into treatment," Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general, said in an interview. "Addiction is a disease of the brain, not a character flaw." 

Some highlights of the report include: 
  • One in seven Americans will face substance use disorder, but only 10% of those addicted receive treatment.
  • Every 19 minutes an American dies from opioid or heroin overdose.
  • The economic impact of drug and alcohol misuse and addiction amounts to $442 billion each year — topping diabetes at $245 billion.
In similar news, CNN ran a letter penned by Dr. Mehmet Oz and co-authors that urges President-elect Trump to focus his energy and resources on addiction and, in particular, opioid addiction. Part of the plea read: 

“Simply put, there is no reason we shouldn't approach addiction with the same focus and determination we do diabetes, heart disease or cancer.... [We] implore you, the 45th president of the United States, to make addiction a top priority in your administration. With millions of American lives on the line, how we respond to this crisis is a moral test for America; and how our next president responds to this crisis is a moral test for you, Mr. Trump.”

To correspond with the Surgeon General’s report, Dr. Oz also held a “National Night of Conversation,” urging “everyone across the country to have dinner with the people they care about and to break the silence on drugs and addiction by discussing it.” He created a printable guideline to help start the conversation at anytime.

Don’t Wait to Get Help
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Hope Academy is here to help. Our addiction treatment programs provides young adults with the tools needed to recover from drug or alcohol abuse, build confidence, and develop life skills for lifelong sobriety. To learn more, call: 866-930-4673.

Friday, November 11, 2016

6 Ways to Boost Your Body Image

Eating disorders and poor body image aren’t just “women’s problems.” And, in fact, food and body image struggles often surface for men after the substance abuse has ceased, during early recovery. 

Take heart: Help is out there and there are even ways that you can help yourself to feel better about your body. Start with these tips adopted from the National Eating Disorder Association:

Focus on what makes you, well, you. Your identity is not determined by body size, shape, or weight. It’s how you treat others and yourself as well as your unique gifts and potential. For example, are you patient, caring, creative, or a good friend? 

Remind yourself that everyone is unique. There’s no such thing as the “right” body or size; we are all different shapes and sizes. Spend less time striving for so-called perfection and more time accepting your body just the way it is. 

Marvel at what your body can do. The human body is pretty amazing, no matter what it looks like. Take note of the way your thighs help you run or jump or how your arms enable you to reach out and hug someone you love.

Think positively. Negative self-talk, like “I look fat” or “I’ll never lose weight,” does more harm than good. Replace any negative thoughts with positive messages. For example, “the number on the scale doesn’t define me. I’m a worthwhile person no matter how much I weigh.” 

Choose your friends wisely. Surrounding yourself with people who respect and support you is an important part of recovery, especially if you’re struggling with addiction and body image issues. Limit interactions with friends who are overly concerned with weight or appearance.

Reframe your thinking about diet and exercise. Physical activity and proper nutrition aren’t just tools for weight loss. Rather, they are critical in self-care and in providing you with the energy to succeed at sobriety.

Body Image Help at Hope Academy
For clients who struggle with body image issues as well as addiction, we offer dual diagnosis treatment. We encourage clients to address challenges they may be facing as their newly sober body begins to change. To learn more, call today: 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Habits That Do More Harm Than Good

Little acts of disorganization or dysfunction now and again may seem harmless. But, if you’re not careful, this type of behavior can turn into big confidence busters. It may even jeopardize your hard-won work during recovery. Ask yourself: “What are a few things that I do (or don’t do) regularly that may weigh on my confidence?”

Here are three common culprits:

Dodging adult tasks: Paying bills is frustrating but avoiding it isn’t the answer. Why? The bills pile up and so do your feelings of inadequacy. Enlist a friend or loved one to help you devise a plan to tackle those bills and stay accountable.

Uncontrolled clutter and disorganization: Constantly searching for bills, clothes, or even stuff in your purse or backpack can make you run late and reinforce habits of disorganization in other areas of your life. Simply put: Clutter drains your time, energy, and confidence. Since de-cluttering can be overwhelming, organizational experts recommend starting small – in time increments and space. Take one small section of your closet, for example, and set the timer for 20 minutes. When time is up, just leave it for another day.

Constant and deliberate procrastination: Waiting to the last minute to do something, whether pay a bill, fill up on gas, or buy that birthday gift for a loved one, may give you an initial rush but it can also lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety. Moreover, uncontrolled stress can be a slippery slope into using alcohol or drugs again.

Help With a Smoother Transition to Independence
Sobriety requires a lifetime commitment, but we’re here to help. At Hope Academy, our aftercare support services aim to help young adults ease the stress of overwhelming responsibility so clients can transition slowly back to the rigors of “real life.” To learn more, call 866-930-4673.

Friday, October 28, 2016

6 Healthy Ways to Release Emotional Tension

There are a lot of emotions tangled up with getting sober. You may be anxious or angry, or frustrated at times – and you may not even full understand why. When you’re overwhelmed by your emotions, you may just want to cram them in a box and deal with them later. But that’s a slippery slope that can lead to relapse. Instead, it’s best to find a healthy way to identify and cope with your feelings. Here are some simple ideas to release your thoughts and worries.
  • Get creative. Creativity is a great outlet for your emotions, whether that means painting, writing poetry, singing, dancing, or playing an instrument. Find which creative outlet helps you work out your feelings.
  • Confide in a trustworthy person. Hopefully, you feel comfortable talking to your parents about your inner thoughts. However, if you don’t, seek support from another trusted adult like an aunt or uncle, teacher, or guidance counselor.
  • Write it out. Journaling, or writing down your thoughts and emotions, is a simple way to identify your emotions and then let them go. Sit down for 15 minutes each day and write down whatever comes to mind – don’t try to edit yourself or sensor any thoughts.
  • Take a deep breath. Formally practicing deep breathing – whenever you feel angry, upset, frustrated, stressed or anxious – is an excellent way to reduce those negative feelings and calm down. Breathe from the diaphragm, inhaling deeply for five counts and exhaling slowly for five counts.
  • Practice meditation. Many young people find meditation helpful. This simple mind-body technique can help you fully feel your emotions (without distraction) and move through “stuck” feelings into a place of healing.
  • Let yourself laugh and cry. It’s OK to feel your emotions fully; it may even make you feel better. Give yourself permission to have a good guffaw or bout of tears once in a while. 
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.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Why Young Adults Smoke Cigarettes (And Why They Need to Quit Now)

A new Cornell University study of young adults, published in the journal Health Economics, found that weight control – not peer pressure nor wanting to be “cool” or even an addiction to nicotine – is a major factor in cigarette smoking, vaping, and chewing nicotine replacement gum.  

Among frequent adolescent smokers, 46 percent of girls and 30 percent of boys smoke in part for weight management, according to researchers. And girls who said they were “much too fat” were nearly 225 percent more likely to smoke than girls satisfied with their weight. Being overweight was less of a predicator for smoking for boys, however. 

Sure, nicotine has been shown to be an appetite suppressant but smoking cigarettes is far from a magic bullet when it comes to weight loss. Besides, the damage to your body caused by smoking far exceeds the risks of a few extra pounds. “You’d have to gain about 100 pounds to equal the negative health consequences of being a pack-a-day smoker, Pat Folan, RN, DNP, the director of the North Shore-LIJ Center for Tobacco Control in Great Neck, NY, told

In addition, young adults who begin smoking by their early 20s are more likely to continue in adulthood.  

Quit Smoking Timeline: How Your Body Recovers
Luckily, there’s never a bad time to quit -- and the sooner you do, the sooner your body can start healing from the thousands of toxic substances you’re inhaling from cigarettes. It’s pretty amazing how quickly you’ll feel better, too. 
  • 24 hours later your risk of heart attack drops.
  • Two days later your sense of smell and taste returns.
  • After three days, your breathing improves.
  • After one week, your blood pressure falls.
  • After 3 months, skin tone improves.
  • After one year, your risk of cardiovascular disease is halved.
  • After five years, your risk of stomach, mouth, throat, esophageal, and lung cancer is halved.
  • After 10 years, your risk of lung, mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, and kidney cancer continues to drop.
  • After 15 years, your risk of cancer is the same as that of a nonsmoker.
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.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Recovery Dating Rules

In general, the golden rule about dating in recovery is to avoid it during the first year of sobriety.

Once you’ve passed that recovery milestone, however, you may be ready to get back on the dating scene and find a companion with whom you can have a healthy lasting relationship.

You’ll likely feel unprepared and uneasy – but don’t we all when it comes to dating? This may be especially true if you have a history of unhealthy romances. Luckily, the many life skills you’ve learned during recovery will help. You might also want to work with your therapist or addiction counselor to develop a sober dating plan, which may include some healthy dating goals.

Here are some more things to consider when you’re ready to start dating.

• Go slow and focus on gradually building a long-term relationship.
• Pick a partner you'll feel proud to one day introduce to your family and friends.
• Look for a dependable date with a steady job.
• Date someone who appreciates and respects you.
• Choose someone with shared interests, hobbies, and values.

• Go out with a person who is in active addiction, whether drugs, alcohol, or a behavioral addiction.
• Fall for someone who is married or emotional unavailable.
• Text, call, or email the person daily, even if you can’t wait to see him/her again. The goal is to go slow and to get to know one another through the course of dating.

Get 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: 855-221-1717.

Friday, October 7, 2016

New Staggering Statistics on Depression

It’s Mental Illness Awareness Week, October 2 through 8, and Mental Health America (MH) just released some surprising new statistics about depression in America. The numbers are drawn from one of nine screens available within MHA’s online screening program, which began in 2014, and has been used by 1.7 million people. 

Some notable findings include: 
  • 66% of screeners are under 25; 32% are under 18
  • 59% are found to have serious depression
  • 37% of 11-17 year olds score in the range for severe depression
  • 32% of all screeners report they have significant thoughts of suicide or self-harm
  • Among screeners who self-identify as youth and LGBT, 41% score for severe depression
Spotting the Signs of Depression
While the symptoms of depression are different in everyone, there are a few warning signs you should keep an eye out for, according to the National Institute of Mental Health: 
  • Feeling sad or "empty"
  • Feeling hopeless, irritable, anxious, or guilty
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Feeling very tired
  • Inability to concentrate or remember details
  • Trouble sleep or sleeping too much
  • Overeating, or lack of appetite 
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
Don’t let the stigma surrounding mental illness stop you or someone you love from asking for help, seeing a therapist, or even acknowledging that you might be depressed. If left untreated, depression can lead to suicide, and tragically, suicide is the third leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 24. 

Addiction and Clinical Depression Treatment
Young adults often self-medicate to deal with their mental illness and become addicted to these medications on top of alcohol and other drugs. Mixing substances is a dangerous and potentially lethal way to deal with depression. Hope Academy is one of few CA addiction treatment centers equipped to treat dual-diagnosis patients. To learn more, call: 866-930-4673.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Alcohol Abuse Linked to Mental Decline

You likely already know the social as well as the physical consequences of alcohol use disorder – for example, cancers, stroke, heart disease, and liver disease – but according to a new study published in the journal Research Society on Alcoholism, drinking also impacts your cognitive ability.

Researchers found that a lifetime history of alcohol dependence resulted in poorer cognitive functions, memory, learning, verbal and motor function, and speed of processing.

Of course, your best bet for preventing these negative effects is to seek help if you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol use disorder. In addition, a few daily habits can add up to a big brain boost, improving your cognitive function and preventing mental decline.
  • Get physical: Regular exercise can help increase blood flow to the brain.
  • Stay social: Developing a healthy support network is a surefire way to support brain health, according to studies, and it’s also a smart way to safeguard your recovery.
  • Fuel your body. There’s no-one brain food, per se, but eating a healthy and balanced diet (think lots of fruits and veggies) has been shown to stave off mental decline.
  • Play games: Challenging yourself to think in new ways has been study-proven to have both short- and long-term benefits for your brain. And there are a host of puzzles, brain games and apps designed to give you a good mental workout.
  • Don’t skimp sleep: Sleep conditions like insomnia and sleep apnea have been linked to problems with memory and thinking.
  • Be mindful of your mental health. Chronic stress, anxiety, and depression can up your risk of cognitive decline, so be sure to seek help if you’re suffering from any of these mental health concerns.
Get Help for Alcohol Abuse
Don’t let alcohol abuse turn into a lifetime struggle. Hope Academy’s alcohol abuse program provides a safe environment for teens and young adults to start on the road to sobriety. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Is Internet Addiction a Red Flag for Other Mental Health Issues?

There may be a link between Internet addiction and certain mental health disorders, according to a recent small study of 254 college students. 

Researchers found that students who had trouble controlling their Internet use had higher rates of depression, anxiety, impulsiveness, and inattention.

“Excessive use of the Internet is an understudied phenomenon that may disguise mild or severe psychopathology,” Dr. Jan Buitelaar of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in the Netherlands told HealthDay. “Excessive use of the Internet may be strongly linked to compulsive behavior and addiction.”

A larger study is needed, however, to confirm whether these mental health issues are a cause or a result of excessive Internet use.

Do You Know the Signs of Internet Addiction?
Dr. Kimberly Young, an internationally known expert on Internet addiction and founder of the Center for Internet Addiction, devised the following list of questions to diagnose Internet addiction, defined as an impulse-control disorder which does not involve an intoxicant. Answering “yes” to five of these questions may indicate that you or someone you love needs help.
  1. Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous on-line activity or anticipate next on-line session)?
  2. Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?
  3. Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use?
  4. Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?
  5. Do you stay on-line longer than originally intended?
  6. Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?
  7. Have you lied to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?
  8. Do you uses the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?

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, September 16, 2016

What Will Motivate You to Get Healthy?

Which would compel you to make your diet more nutritious? Reading an article on the health dangers of high-sugar, high-fat diets or reading an article on the cynical practices of food companies and how they make unhealthy foods more addictive? 

If you answered the latter, you’re not alone. According to a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doing something just because it’s the healthier choice doesn’t cut it for most teens. Instead, adolescents are more likely to adopt healthy behaviors in order to feel socially conscious or to rebel against a corrupt authority figure. 

An article in The New York Times likens these findings to a 2000 anti-smoking campaign, which “framed smoking as an act of corporate submission” to a corrupt tobacco industry. “Adolescents have this craziness that we can criticize — or we can tap into,” Ron Berger, who taught public school for 28 years, told The NY Times. “This is a time in their lives when justice matters, more than any other time.”

So what else might a teenager be compelled to do (or not do) in the name of benevolent defiance, questioned NY Times author Amanda Ripley. “Could adolescents who learn about the profit motives of the beauty industry begin to see photo shopped images as propaganda? Could they start to resent how video-game designers borrow slot-machine manufacturers’ tricks to make their products more addictive?”

Getting Motivated to Get Help
Sobriety empowers you to find your purpose—and Hope Academy can help. To learn more about our young adult addiction program, call today: 866-930-4673.

Friday, September 9, 2016

September Is National Recovery Month!

Ready to celebrate? It’s the 27th annual National Recovery Month – started by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to promote the benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders. 

Recovery Month celebrates the millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery. It also spreads the positive message “that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover,” notes SAMHSA.

This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!,” highlights the value of family support throughout recovery – and it reinforces the fact that you don’t need to walk the tough road of lasting sobriety alone. 

In fact, the right support system can help ensure that your are addressing what SAMHSA refers to as the four key aspects of recovery: health, home, purpose, and community.
  • Health: Managing your condition(s) or symptom(s) and making informed, healthy choices that support your physical and emotional well-being 
  • Home: Having a stable and safe place to live
  • Purpose: Participating in meaningful daily activities (job, school, volunteer opportunities, family caretaking, or creative endeavors), and having the independence, income, and resources to become an active member of society 
  • Community: Developing relationships and social networks to provide support, friendship, love, and hope
How to Get Involved
Each September, tens of thousands of prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and facilities around the country participate. And if you or someone you love is in recovery, you can join in too. Simply click here to tell your story. You'll not only help to stop the stigma and increase awareness, but you'll provide people with a greater understanding about mental and substance use disorders. 

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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Important Facts About Eating Disorders

Back-to-school is less than a week away and Mental Health America (MHA) is prepping students and parents alike with their new toolkit, which includes online info graphics and articles designed to promote positive mental health in adolescents. 

From building self-esteem to recognizing the signs of body dysmorphic disorder, MHA pinpoints mental issues facing young students today.  

One such article is “7 Important Facts About Eating Disorders,” which brings to light some crucial facts and figures about this serious mental illness. For example, did you know that anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder? And that the mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is twelve times higher than the death rate of all causes of death for females 15 to 24 years old? Pretty shocking. 

Here are some other profound points made in the article:

Eating disorders are life consuming. Thoughts, emotions, attitudes, and behaviors regarding weight and food issues are constant for those with eating disorders, notes MHA, making it impossible to live a normal life.

You can’t just “get over” an eating disorder. Eating disorders impact perceptions of body image as well as behaviors – both which take time to change. 

Eating disorders aren’t just “women’s disorders.”  Men and women both feel pressure to look a certain way, according to MHA, which can influence the development of an eating disorder.

Recovery is possible. Most often, care is provided by a multidisciplinary team, including a therapist (psychologist, counselor, or social worker), dietician, psychiatrist, and/or primary care physician.

Dual-Diagnosis Treatment for Young Adults
When young adults are dealing with a coexisting mental health issue, the rehabilitation process requires specialized dual-diagnosis expertise. At Hope by the Sea’s Hope Academy program, we conduct a series of tests upon admission to determine if mental illness is complicating substance abuse. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.

Friday, August 26, 2016

What You Wish You'd Known About Addiction

This week, The Boston Globe, ran an article written from the perspective of a parent whose daughter is recovering from heroin. 

“I’ve learned how addiction can take hold of someone and not let go. I’ve learned that the way back is a gargantuan struggle … most of all, as my daughter works to recover, I’ve learned that knowledge is our best defense against the scourge of addiction,” writes Beverly Conyers.

If your loved one is currently fighting his or her way back from addiction, “10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before my Daughter Became Addicted to Heroin,” is sure to resonate. 

Here’s a summary of some of the many insights the author brings to light:

Addiction can happen in any family.
Even “good” kids who are smart with solid upbringings are susceptible to addiction. This is because genes account for about 50 percent of a person’s vulnerability to addiction.

Substance abuse requires swift action.  If you suspect your child is abusing, seek professional help with the same sense of urgency with which you would seek help for any other life-threatening condition.

Addiction has a mental health component. People with mood or anxiety disorders or antisocial syndrome are about twice as likely as the general population to suffer from a drug use disorder, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Many addictsincluding my daughterdescribe an “inner emptiness” that existed long before they began using mind-altering substances,” she admits.

Shame is the enemy of prevention and recovery. Addiction is not related to a person’s character nor is it a sign of weakness, immorality, or bad parenting. “Even the most attentive, conscientious parents can raise kids who end up addicted,” notes Conyers.

Getting Help for a Loved One
One of the most important decisions you can make is to support your son or daughter in seeking treatment for addiction. For information about Hope Academy's young adult substance abuse treatment program, or to begin the admissions process for a loved one, call 866-930-4673.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Peak Times When College Kids Are Using

Did you know that there are peak seasons when it comes to drug and alcohol use among college students? According to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), college students are more likely to try illegal substances, including pot, prescription painkillers and stimulants, and alcohol at certain times of the year.

While the report didn’t say why some months result in more use than others, theories abound. For example, those first six weeks are often seen as the likeliest time for trying alcohol and many experts attribute this to the stress staring college can bring. Similarly, students are most likely to try or buy someone else’s ADHD meds or painkillers to get high during the winter months, which often coincide with midterms or final exams.

Other key study findings include:

  • September, December: Peak months for first-time underage alcohol consumption among college students (ages 18 to 20).
  • September, October: Peak months for college kids to take up smoking cigarettes.
  • October: Peak month for college students to begin using smokeless tobacco.
  • December: Peak month for full-time college students to start misusing prescription pain relievers. During this month, rates rise from 800 to 850 new users a day, according to the report.
  • April, November, and December: Peak time for students to start using prescription stimulants (like Adderall and Ritalin) that were not prescribed for them. During these months, the average daily initiation rate jumps above 500, peaking at 585 in November.
  • June: On average, roughly 1,000 college students start using marijuana every day. But in June the number rises to about 1,500.
Drug and Alcohol Treatment for Young Adults
If you or someone you love is addicted to drugs or alcohol, Hope Academy can help. We offer a variety of drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs for young adults, including our unique sobriety college program. Our CA rehab programs for adults age 18 to 26 include residential treatment and outpatient programs, and our team is available to help with insurance authorizations, and interventions. For more information, call: 866-930-4673.

Friday, August 12, 2016

What You Need to Know About E-cigarettes

By now you’ve likely heard about the new federal regulations that kicked in Monday for electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, along with some other tobacco-related products. 

To recap: The sale of e-cigs, tobacco-like cigars, hookah tobacco, and pipe tobacco are now illegal for minors; manufacturers and makers must place warning labels on packaging and in their ads; and they must also disclose to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration all the ingredients used in making the products. 

While many health organizations are onboard with these new regulations, The American Lung Association (ALA) has perhaps been most vocal when it comes to embracing these new rules and wanting the government to go even further.

“Youth are using e-cigarettes at an increasing and alarming rate,” Harold P. Wimmer, national president and CEO of the ALA, said in a statement. “E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product by youth.” About 3 million middle- and high-school students use e-cigarettes, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Three Reasons to Say No to E-Cigs
The ALA has numerous articles on its website dispelling myths about e-cigs and bringing to light the harmful effects of these products. Here are three things you should know about e-cigarettes, according to the organization:
  1. E-cigarettes may contain toxic ingredients. Diacetyl, a buttery flavored chemical often added to food products such as popcorn, caramel, and dairy products, has been found in some e-cigarettes with flavors. Diacetyl can cause a serious and irreversible lung disease commonly known as "popcorn lung."
  2. E-cigarettes may lead to second-hand exposure. Even though e-cigarettes do not produce smoke like traditional cigarettes, they can expose others to secondhand emissions. Two studies have found formaldehyde, benzene, and tobacco-specific nitrosamines (all carcinogens) coming from those secondhand emissions. Other studies have shown that chemicals in the vapor contain formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and other potential toxins. 
  3. Almost all e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine has a negative impact on adolescent brain development. In fact, nicotine use during adolescence and young adulthood has been associated with lasting cognitive and behavioral impairments, including effects on working memory and attention. 
Young Adults and Substance Abuse
Those who use nicotine at a young age are at an exponentially greater risk of using harder drugs. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse disorder, call today: 866-930-4673. At Hope Academy's rehab for younger adults, we walk beside you through the most overwhelming parts of addiction withdrawal, recovery, and restoration. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Do’s and Don’ts of Responding to Opioid Overdose

Would you know what to do (and what not to do) if a friend or family member was overdosing on opioids? The most important thing to remember is to respond immediately – call 911 – if you notice any warning signs.

In general, an overdose can be identified by the “opioid overdose triad,” which is a combination of pinpoint pupils, unconsciousness, or respiratory depression.

And don’t hesitate to get help out of the fear of getting in trouble yourself. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 32 states and the District of Columbia currently have “Good Samaritan” statutes. This law prevents arrest, charges, or prosecution for possession of a controlled substance or paraphernalia if emergency assistance is sought for someone who is experiencing an opioid-induced overdose.

Just pick up the phone and say: “Someone is unresponsive and not breathing.” Give a clear address and/or description of your location. And remember these do’s and don'ts as outlined by SAMHSA:

  • Support the person’s breathing by administering oxygen or performing rescue breathing.
  • Administer naloxone, if available. Note: All naloxone products have an expiration date, so it is important to check the expiration date and obtain replacement naloxone as needed.
  • Put the person in the “recovery position” on the side, if he or she is breathing independently.
  • Stay with the person and keep him/her warm.
  • Slap or try to forcefully stimulate the person — it will only cause further injury. If you're unable to wake the person by shouting, rubbing your knuckles on the sternum (center of the chest or rib cage), or light pinching, he or she may be unconscious.
  • Put the person into a cold bath or shower. This increases the risk of falling, drowning, or going into shock.
  • Inject the person with any substance (salt water, milk, “speed,” heroin, etc.). The only safe and appropriate treatment is naloxone.
  • Try to make the person vomit drugs that he or she may have swallowed. Choking or inhaling vomit into the lungs can cause a fatal injury. 
Finding Help for a Loved One
One of the most important decisions you can make is to support your friend or family member in seeking treatment for opioid addiction. 
For information about Hope Academy's young adult substance abuse treatment program, or to begin the admissions process for a loved one, call 866-930-4673.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

For Caregivers: How to Stress-Proof Your Diet

You’re so stressed about your addicted loved one that you devour whatever you have on hand — chips, candy, soda — even though you know it’s unhealthy. You have no time or energy to cook. Your clothes are even getting a bit snug but carving out time to exercise seems like a selfish, lofty goal right now. 

Sound familiar? Unfortunately, caregiving and weight gain often go hand in hand. But caring for your loved one should never mean compromising your own health. Instead, it’s important that you make healthful lifestyle choices, including managing stress without eating your worries away. Not only will you feel better but you’ll set a good example for your loved as he or she embarks on a new sober life. 

Try one of these tips to help stress-proof your diet. 

Make moderation your motto. It’s OK if you’re not ready to ditch the comfort foods, but there’s no need to finish off an entire bag of chips or box of cookies. Portion them out to remove the temptation. Try dolling cookies or chips into smaller bags so you’ll only eat a serving’s worth.

Stock up on stress-busting snacks. Hit the grocery store and load up on a few foods shown to alleviate stress. Think nuts, dried apricots, omega-3-rich fish, legumes, and whole-grain cereals. And aim to eat snacks that include low-fat protein. This will keep you satisfied longer. Try red and green bell pepper strips with hummus, grapes with low-fat string cheese, or a celery stalk with a dollop of peanut butter. 

Distract yourself. The next time you’re about to eat away your anxiety, call a friend, listen to music, read a book, or even toss in a load of laundry – whatever will keep your mind off of food. Studies show that simply closing your eyes and imagining a tropical vacation can help kill a craving.

Get moving. It’s not new advice but it continues to hold true. Exercise boosts those feel-good endorphins. People who exercise regularly are also study-proven to be less impacted by stress. Try it: take a walk, pop in a yoga DVD, or sign up for a swimming class.

Write it down. Start a food journal – and be sure to include how you’re feeling: scared, angry, tired, fed up, craving chocolate, etc. This will help you become more conscious of what you’re eating and why. Journaling can also help you express any bottled up emotions. If you decide to seek counseling or therapy to better cope with your loved one’s addiction, you may even consider brining your journal with you. 

Calling All Parents!
At Hope Academy, we understand how easy it is for parents to feel out of control when your child is addicted. Becoming involved with their treatment in a supportive manner gives them the best chance of success. With your help, we’ll help your teen or young adult attain lasting sobriety. Call today: 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Your Face on Drugs

You always hear about the physical and emotional effects of long-term drug use – but what about the toll addiction specifically takes on your face. Just look at the millions of “before and after drugs” shots flooding the Internet. You may even have some of your own. It’s pretty scary how different someone can look in active addiction – and even scarier what’s really causing those changes in appearance. 

Here are some of the ways drugs can damage your face: 

Your skin: Drug abuse certainly can age your appearance and
that’s because some drugs cause a loss of skin elasticity. The result: premature sagging and wrinkles.

Your teeth: Some drugs dry out the salivary glands and many addicts have been found to grind their teeth. But the most devastating drug to your dental health is methamphetamines, which cause tooth decay and gum disease. There’s even a term for it, “meth mouth.”

Your breath: Poor dental hygiene makes your mouth prime for gingival lesions and periodontal disease as well as rampant halitosis (aka bad breath).

Your hair: From excessive growth to hair loss and changes in color and texture, drug abuse damages those tresses. Luckily, many of these effects are reversible once you become sober. 

Your eyes: Red, bloodshot, or glazed eyes are a typical symptom of drug abuse but what you can’t see is the long-term damage that’s being caused. For example, cocaine users are at an increased risk for pen-angle glaucoma, the most common type of glaucoma and the second-most common cause of blindness in the United States.

Stopping the Side Effects of Addiction
Early intervention is the best way to combat the physical and emotional health consequences of substance abuse. If you or someone you love has a drug problem, get the help you need today. Call: 866-930-4673.   

Friday, July 8, 2016

Which Friends Support My Sobriety?

Now that you’re in recovery, it’s time to start thinking about the types of friends you’ll need going forward to help support your recovery. Friendships can be a vital part of your lasting sobriety, but the wrong friendships can also be a slippery slope back into using. 

It’s important to realize that some former friends are better left alone – and this hold’s true no matter how long you’ve known them. 

Developing new friendships and finding ways to make old friendships work with your new sober life can be a challenge. A good place to start is to look at your buddies now and be honest about how they add or detract from your life and recovery goals. 

12 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Buddies
Here are some questions to help you make smarter choices about friendships during recovery.
  • Is he/she addiction-free? Hanging out with those who drink, use drugs, gamble, etc., will make sticking to your recovery that much harder. 
  • Has he/she questioned or supported your decision to get sober? 
  • Will he/she serve as a trigger in any way?
  • Does this person threaten my sobriety in any way?
  • How does this person make me feel? 
  • Does he/she take time to listen to my feelings, hopes, ideas, and concerns?
  • Does he/she judge or blame me in any way?
  • Is our friendship healthy? Or is it one-sided?
  • Does he/she support my long-term recovery goals?
  • Does being around this person make me a better person? 
  • What are our common interests? Do they support my recovery plan?
  • Do I want this person around for my journey toward a better, sober life?
Start Living Sober
Hope Academy's sober living homes are safe, drug-and alcohol-free environments in which peers can support each other in their sobriety while beginning their new adventure toward collegiate success. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Young Adults and Prescription Drug Abuse: How You Can Help

If you’re visiting this website, it’s likely that you already know the dangers of prescription drug abuse and that children of addicts are at greater risk for addiction than other kids. And that half of young adults mistakenly think that prescription or over-the-counter drugs are safer than street drugs. 

Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, caregiver, or teacher, you can have an enormous impact on a young adult's attitude toward prescription drugs — and in conveying the risk of abusing them. 

6 Steps for Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse

Talk it up.  Since prescription drugs are legal, many teens mistakenly think that parents won’t care as much if they get caught abusing these meds. Convey the dangers to your kids and let them know that you do care and that you are always there to help if they’re in trouble.

Track your meds. And don’t dismiss one or two missing pills; this could be a red flag.

Store meds properly. Keep your or your child's medications in a secure location; you may even consider putting them under lock and key if your child is showing any signs of abuse. 

Get rid of old or unused medicine properly. Many towns hold prescription-pill drop-offs to help community members safely dispose of old or unused pills. Check with your local police, sanitation department, and pharmacies.

Get family members and friends onboard. Talk to grandparents and parents of your child’s friends about properly safeguarding prescription drugs in their homes.

Learn the warning signs: These may include: 
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Wanting to spent a lot of time alone
  • Giving up interests and hobbies
  • Hostile, angry and aggressive behavior toward anyone who tries to control their actions
  • Unexplained crying or routine irritable
  • Lack of self-care and cleanliness
  • Loss of interest in schoolwork or failing grades
  • Poor sleep patterns — sleeping during the day and staying up all night or for days at a time
  • Disregard for family rules or curfew
Take Action Today
If your son or daughter has a prescription drug abuse problem, act now. Our staff at Hope Academy specializes in young adult addiction recovery, and will help your child pursue sobriety and open doors to a brighter academic and professional future. Call today: 866-930-4673.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Have You Ever Used Drugs?

"Have you ever used drugs?" As a parent, it’s a tough question to answer – but dodging it is not the answer. Instead, you should treat the question with respect, and use it as a teachable moment to open the dialogue with your child about the dangers of substance abuse.

This isn’t to say that it’s going to be easy. You may fear that no matter how carefully you spell out the lessons from your own experiences, you may be implicitly imparting a lesson about lack of consequences? In other words, you experimented with drugs and alcohol and seemingly turned out OK. Or, that your honesty will someday be thrown back in your face; for instance, if you or your child (or both) are dealing with drug and alcohol problems.

But experts argue that it’s important to put these fears aside and address the real issue at hand – why your child is asking this question in the first place. The Medicine Abuse Project, launched by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, offers the following tips/suggestions.
  • Don’t lie. If your child finds out the truth, this can put you at risk of losing your credibility.
  • Give an honest answer — but also know that you don’t have to divulge every detail. 
  • Ask a lot of questions in order to understand exactly why your child is asking about your drug history.  
  • Use this discussion as an opportunity to talk about what tempted you to use drugs, why drugs are dangerous, and why our child should avoid making the same mistakes you made. 
Three Possible Answers About Your Drug Use 
Here are three examples from the Medicine Abuse Project of the tone you can take and wording you can use:
  1. “I took drugs because some of my friends used them, and I thought I needed to do the same in order to fit in. In those days, people didn’t know as much as they do now about all the bad things that can happen when you take drugs.” You might even go one step farther and explain how we now have scientific evidence showing that experimenting with drugs and alcohol during adolescence can lead to permanent changes in the way the brain works, including a greater risk of addiction in adulthood. 
  2. “Everyone makes mistakes and trying drugs was one of my biggest mistakes ever. I’ll do anything to help you avoid making the same stupid decision that I made when I was your age.” 
  3. “I started drinking when I was young and, as you can see, it’s been a battle ever since. Because of my drinking, I missed a big part of growing up, and every day I have to fight with myself so it doesn’t make me miss out on even more — my job, my relationships, and most importantly, my time with you. I love you too much to watch you make the same mistakes I’ve made.”
Getting Help for Your Child
Many young adults are in total denial of their substance abuse problem. Others may cry out for help, but are not clear-headed enough to make decisions about their wellbeing. At Hope Academy, we help parents advocate for their children, so they get the help they need before it is too late.  Call today: 866-930-4673.
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