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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Financial Planning for College & Beyond

financial planning for collegeStudies show that most college students have a negative net worth when they graduate since they may lack the time to work, but continue to accrue debt from student loans, credit cards, and other sources. College is an important time to begin planning for academic and financial success. It can literally change the trajectory of your life when you take steps to track your money, build savings, and avoid consumer debt.

3 Basic Steps to Fiscal Responsibility in College

1. Spend less than you earn. This may sound intuitive, but it’s easy to fall into “I deserve it” mode after a long night (or a long semester) of studying. For some college students, shopping becomes a costly hobby. Remember, financial success takes sacrifice. When you commit to sacrificing now (cooking vs. dining out, buying used books, or riding your bike to class), you set yourself up for financial freedom later in life.

2. Create a budget. The best way to track earnings vs. spending is to create a simple budget using a free, online template like Every Dollar, Mint, or Buxfer. Some online budgeting software allows you to link your bank accounts for tracking ease, while others require manual updates. Choose a program you are comfortable with so you are more likely to keep up with the process month-to-month.

3. Avoid consumer debt. Coming out of college with a car loan, credit cards, and student loans is planning for financial failure. Take advantage of scholarship opportunities, ride a bike or buy an inexpensive car, and avoid credit cards like the plague. Make wise decisions about activities: Choose to stay home and watch a movie with a friend, or get together for board games and pizza. Committing to sobriety makes it easier to save money, too—since you won’t be whipping out your credit card to pay for drinks.

Financial & Vocational Coaching at Hope Academy
If addiction has compromised your financial future, the professionals at Hope Academy sobriety college can help you get back on track. Providing a different kind of recovery experience for young adults ages 18 to 26, we offer life skills coaching, college and vocational training programs, and supportive sobriety communities. You’ll join a community of sober young adults who are developing the financial, personal, and social skills to pursue a purposeful life. Call 866-930-4673 now to learn more.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Controlling Social Media Anger

controlling social media angerDid you have a bad day today? Did you send out a tweet about your feelings, or post a comment on Facebook? You may think that expressing your frustration, dismay, and anger to everyone you know (and don’t know) is a healthy way to dissipate those feelings. However, psychological research has shown that the opposite is true. Instead of easing the emotion, venting keeps it at the forefront of your thinking and feeling.

3 Ways Your Social Media Venting Is Harmful to You 
You may believe venting “clears the air” and gets things “off your chest,” but the truth is that it doesn’t really make you feel much better. In fact, here are three reasons venting on social media may be harmful to your emotional well-being:

1. It keeps emotions aroused. Everyone has a flare-up of temper or a “poor me” moment from time to time. Young people who learn to take these emotions in stride soon realize that they aren’t worth dwelling on. These young adults are able to experience an emotion and let it go. When you text and post about your emotions and then check back for social media reaction, you perpetuate the emotion, lending it more power than it probably deserves.

2. It encourages impulsiveness. With smartphones, you can connect with friends on social media almost instantly. It is tempting to post anything you happen to be feeling, without the reflection or self-censorship that might be appropriate. In addition, the immediacy of social media produces impatience, and you may find yourself feeling insecure when the expected sympathetic comments are not forthcoming.

3. It harms relationships. When your venting involves work, family, and friends, you risk damaging important relationships. Expressions of self-pity and anger, made on the spur of the moment, are not thoughtful or reasoned. They may be hurtful to others and reveal characteristics that are not flattering to you. When you write an emotional post, you are not taking into account the harm it may do to yourself and to others.

Try a More Enlightening Strategy
Learn to control your emotions instead of letting them control you. A good way to practice this is through expressive writing. When you write about your feelings in a journal, you have an emotional release similar to venting. You will find, however, that you are able to move on from your feelings more quickly, and without harming yourself and others.

Life Skills Training for Young People in Recovery
Young people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol often lack the ability to accurately identify and regulate their emotions. That’s why Hope Academy, a CA residential addiction treatment center, includes life skills training as part of our recovery program. Call us now at 866-930-4673 and begin the enrollment process for your young adult son, daughter, or loved one.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

New Evidence Shows Why Adolescents Are Vulnerable to Addiction

why adolescents are vulnerable to addictionStudies have shown that teens are more vulnerable to the effects of addictive substances like cocaine and nicotine than are adults, but scientists had been unable to identify why this is true. Now, two studies with mice by investigators at Baylor College of Medicine have discovered a likely cause.

The eIF2 molecule is essential for protein synthesis, and its subunit, eIF2a, is a key factor in regulating this process. In the two studies published together in the journal eLife, results showed that the regulatory activity of eIF2a in adolescents was reduced in the presence of the addictive substances.

Results Confirmed in Both Studies 
The two similar studies, one with cocaine, the other with nicotine, produced evidence of how the addictive substances reduced the activity of eIF2a molecules in adolescents, but not for adults.

Study 1: Adolescent and adult mice were injected with saline or a low-dose of cocaine. Results showed that cocaine led to a reduction in the eIF2a activity in the adolescents, but not in the adults.

Then, investigators tested the effects of cocaine on adult mice in which the production of proteins controlled by eIF2a molecules was altered, and on adolescent mice whose eIF2a activity was increased. Results showed that the adults with altered eIF2a activity demonstrated the same susceptibility to cocaine-induced changes as shown in adolescents, and the adolescents whose eIF2a activity had been increased showed greater resistance to the effects of the drug.

Study 2: Similar experiments were carried out on mice using nicotine instead of cocaine. Results showed that the different effects on adolescents and adults were also true for this drug.

In addition, this study identified a genetic variation in eIF2a which affects how smokers’ brains respond to reward. Evidence of this finding was confirmed with functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Advancing Addiction Education & Treatment 
According to Andon Placzek, lead author of the nicotine study, the results of these studies could help to educate young people about the risks of experimenting with addictive drugs. “They could also help discover a new way to fight addiction in both adolescents and adults, for example by altering the activity of eIF2a in the brain.”

Addiction Help for Young Adults
For young people, addiction to drugs or alcohol disrupts a promising future and destroys the opportunity for a fulfilled and productive life. Addiction treatment at Hope Academy restores opportunity with effective modalities, sober living, and academic and career counseling. If your young adult loved one is caught up in substance abuse, dial 866.930.4673 to speak with one of our recovery advisors and begin the enrollment process for your loved one now.

Source: eLife. "Studies explain adolescents' vulnerability to addictive drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 March 2016. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

A Deadly Mix: Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse

eating disorders and substance abuseOnce again, the death of a celebrity has focused attention on the link between eating disorders, substance abuse, and death. The British documentary, Amy: The Girl Behind the Name, won an Oscar for Best Documentary at last week’s Academy Awards and restarted the buzz about singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse’s tragic death in 2011. Officially, the cause of death has been ruled accidental alcohol poisoning, but friends and family members point out that her long-time bulimia also played a part.

Self-Prescribed Solutions
Eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia are mental illnesses that often go undiagnosed until serious physical damage has resulted from them. While our cultural obsession with a thin body type is often blamed for these disorders, the frequency at which they are found in conjunction with alcohol or drug use suggests that other factors are in play. The National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse at Columbia University lists these characteristics that can be attributed to both eating disorders and substance abuse:

• Common risk factors like family history, imbalances in brain chemistry, stress & childhood abuse
• Intensification during stressful life changes
• Low self-esteem, anxiety & depression
• Pattern of compulsive behaviors
• Preoccupation with a substance or activity
• Chronic with possibly fatal consequences 

In addition, both may result from an attempt to “self-medicate.” Substance abuse often begins as a means to dull the pain caused by emotional trauma and feelings of inadequacy. Eating disorders may be perceived as a way to effectively control undesirable eating patterns, an imperfect body type, or unwanted sexual attention.

Effective Treatment Depends on Dual Diagnosis
Fortunately, when both substance abuse and eating disorders are recognized as co-occurring conditions, they can be treated at the same time, resulting in a good chance for successful recovery. The two conditions respond to some of the same therapies:

• Individual psychotherapy, behavior modification & group therapy
• Holistic modalities like meditation, acupuncture & yoga
• Stress & anxiety management
• Nutritional therapy
• Family counseling

Eating Disorder Treatment for Young Adults 
When disordered eating occurs in young adults who are addicted to alcohol or drugs, the combination can be deadly. If you suspect that a loved one is engaged in these self-destructive behaviors, don’t hesitate to call for help. Hope Academy’s credentialed addiction specialists will walk you through the admissions process, from intervention to rehab. Call 866.930.4673 to start your young adult on the road to a sober life with greater confidence and self-esteem.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Soft Skills: Traits Employers Want

skills & traits employers wantIn a job market where there is competition for every opening, employers are looking for more than education and experience. They are also considering an employee’s soft skills: traits that make an individual a growing asset to the company.

Traits Valued by Employers 
Employers are looking for staff members who not only have a particular set of job-related skills, but who also add value with their adaptability, problem-solving, leadership, and follow-through abilities.

It’s not surprising, then, that an employer attributes special value to team members who are:

• Hard working self-starters
• Positive & confident
• Flexible & able to multi-task
• Team players
• Organized
• Able to handle pressure
• Good communicators
• Dependable & teachable
• Leaders & visionaries

Recovery Lessons Could Help You Land a Job
These traits that are valued by employers are also the very traits that recovery programs are designed to instill in recovering addicts. Substance abuse is often rooted in insecurity, an inability to handle pressure, and isolation. Recovery lessons help individuals learn to:

• Develop healthy relationships
• Set & observe personal boundaries
• Use anxiety relief techniques
• Speak openly & respectfully with peers
• Work as a member of a team
• Activate self-discipline
• Develop inner strength
• Be accountable

Deciding to enter rehab and then continuing to live in recovery should demonstrate to you and to others that you have determination and follow-through abilities, self-discipline, and purpose.

Tell Your Story
Letting a potential employer know your soft skills is sometimes a challenge. Some hiring managers suggest that you tell your story—in other words, use an example to illustrate a trait. Overcoming addiction and achieving recovery is an accomplishment to be proud of, and could be the perfect vehicle to let an employer know your soft-skill strengths.

Opportunities of a Sober Life
Hope Academy offers a different kind of recovery experience for young people ages 18-26. Treatment is coupled with peer-based support and interaction that helps you grow as an individual and make a lasting change in your life. With career coaching and opportunities to restart your education, a new world of possibilities opens up for you. You’ll become part of a community of sober young adults who have the skills to pursue a purposeful life. Call 866-930-4673 now to learn more about Hope Academy and the possibilities our program offers you.

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