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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.
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