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Thursday, December 26, 2019

5 Ideas for Setting Unbreakable New Year’s Resolutions

There are only a few days left in 2019, and the dawn of a brand-new year will soon be upon us. Like most people, you may be adopting a “new year, new you” mindset. However, humans are fallible, and some estimates suggest 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail, as people find their enthusiasm waning by February. This coming year, strive to be one of the rare few who successfully keeps your resolutions with these tips.

1. Write a Plan

One of the most significant pitfalls facing people around this time of year is failure to plan. Waiting until the last minute is a recipe for disaster if you’re hoping to make a major behavioral overhaul. Begin by writing down what you hope to achieve, along with a list of things you might do to achieve it and any roadblocks you might encounter along the way. By outlining exactly what you want to get done and the obstacles that could stand in your path, you’ll be well on your way to stick to your resolution and stay motivated for the long haul.

2. Only Make One Resolution

You may have a laundry list of things you want to improve about yourself. However, another mistake people tend to make when setting their resolutions is that they try to take on too much at a time. Expecting to be able to change multiple aspects of your lifestyle in one fell swoop is unrealistic because forming new habits takes longer than you might think. Focusing your energy on only one major objective makes it more likely that you will succeed in accomplishing what you set out to do.

3. Don’t Be Too Vague

When setting goals, too many of us resolve to do ambiguous things like “getting in shape” or “saving more money” without outlining what that looks like and what steps you can take to get there. For example, instead of telling yourself you want to get in shape, resolve instead to train for a 5K, 10K or half-marathon a few months from now. If your goal is to pad your savings account, specify the exact dollar amount you will put aside each month.

4. Get Support

Another way to stay accountable to your goals is to share them with trusted friends and family members, and ask for their help when you feel your motivation flagging. They can help you stay on track and remind you of why it’s worth it to continue to work toward your aims.

5. Don’t Repeat Yourself

You may have heard the adage, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Our final tip for keeping yourself out of a resolution rut is to stop making the same goal year after year, hoping one of these years will finally be the time it sticks. However, if you’ve already tried and failed, it’s likely your confidence level will be lower. Shake things up and go a different direction instead.

Make 2020 Your Year to Succeed

Are you ready for the year ahead to be your best yet? If one of your goals has been to free yourself from the chains of substance abuse and equip yourself with the tools to manage your addiction and live a healthy, sober life, contact us at Hope Academy to learn more about our California addiction treatment center for young adults.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Life After Treatment: Managing Addiction as a Chronic Illness

There’s a common fallacy in addiction medicine that going through rehab is a “cure” for substance misuse disorder. However, the day you get discharged from inpatient treatment is when the genuine work of recovery begins.

Like other chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma or Crohn’s disease, addiction is a lifelong disease. A significant part of your success in recovery is learning to manage your symptoms and maintain your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

A Critical Transition

Before you exit your treatment facility, you will need to work with your family and team of clinicians to create an aftercare plan that addresses your short- and long-term needs and helps you avoid relapsing. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all aftercare plan. Some people return home, while others choose to enter a sober living house or an inpatient treatment program to continue working on their recovery goals in a structured environment.

Factors to consider when deciding how you will manage your illness immediately after getting discharged from treatment include:
  • Your history of drug and alcohol use
  • Any co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety
  • Your decision-making ability and impulse control
  • Your family’s ability to provide support
  • Your unique sobriety goals
  • Your willingness to participate in individual and group therapy

What Is a Wellness Recovery Action Plan?

A wellness recovery action plan, or WRAP, for short, can be a tremendously helpful tool for people in early addiction recovery. Creating a WRAP is a largely self-directed process and can take whatever shape is most helpful to you. Since the WRAP concept initially emerged in 1997, researchers have identified its effectiveness, and it has been listed on the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices.

Though everyone’s WRAP will be different, here are some elements to include in yours.
  • A sober support network: Loneliness can be one of the most dangerous relapse triggers. Before leaving treatment, plan to continue seeing a therapist and participating in regular group meetings. Have friends and family members who understand what you have been through and why it is essential for you to protect your sobriety above all else.
  • A medical treatment plan: Before leaving treatment, have your health care plan lined up, including a general practitioner as well as a psychologist or other specialists, as appropriate. Make sure all your health care providers are aware of your unique needs and that you are managing addiction as a chronic illness.
  • A list of known triggers: In recovery, you will need to avoid specific people, places and things that remind you of when you were in active addiction. Doing so will reduce the likelihood that you will backslide into your old habits.
  • Relapse prevention planning: While you can take steps to control some of your triggers, others might pop up without warning. For example, perhaps you’re watching a movie, and one of the scenes takes place in a bar. Having a contingency plan in place can help you turn to healthy habits to cope with sudden cravings or powerful memories that might arise. You can also establish what you will do if a relapse occurs.

Moving Forward With Your Life

Admitting you have a chronic illness and that you need help to manage it is part of getting better, but you also need a robust short- and long-term set of strategies to support a lifetime of wellness and recovery.

At Hope Academy, we can help you learn to manage your addiction and establish new, healthy habits and coping skills. To learn more about our programming for young adults, contact us today.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Tips for Enjoying a Sober Winter Break

Every year, students from coast to coast look forward to their holiday break from school. Whether you are anticipating having more time to visit with friends, or enjoying the opportunity to put last semester behind you and not have to stress about your studies for a little bit, winter break is your chance to do so.

If you are in the early stages of recovery from substance misuse, you may be unsure what this holiday will hold for you. However, your sober winter break may be one of the most enjoyable holidays you’ve ever had.

Shift Your Perspective

Often, newly sober people find one of the most challenging parts of the holiday season is feeling left out of the activities they once enjoyed. You might know people who are going to a different party every night this winter break, while you are trying to avoid exposure to common addiction triggers. Unfortunately, this mindset might leave you feeling angry or resentful, which isn’t conducive to your successful recovery. You’ll need to change your outlook on a couple of things.

Firstly, it’s crucial to realize that not everyone you know is out partying and drinking during winter break. Some students may do that, but others might be taking the opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones or stay home indulging in the hobbies they don’t get a chance to do when school is in session.

Also, “fun” is not synonymous with getting drunk or high. As you will discover, there are many other ways to enjoy life once you get sober. By being open to alternative ideas for spending your free time, you can find new ways to feel happy and fulfilled on your winter break.

Plan a Sober Getaway

Just because you are working on your recovery, that doesn’t mean you can’t go out there and make the most of your winter break. Substance use is common at many winter break destinations like ski resorts, but there are also many ways to refrain from drugs and alcohol on a trip. Imagine traveling without having to worry about losing control of yourself, or waking up with hardly any memories of anything you did the night before. Sobriety allows you to enjoy your vacation to its fullest.

If you feel ready to take a new step in your recovery, plan a sober vacation this winter break. Invite family members and friends who support your recovery, or ask someone you met while you were in treatment to join the fun. Here are some ideas to get you started.
  • Spiritual retreats
  • Sober tours
  • Volunteer tourism: Is there a cause that’s near and dear to your heart, like working with endangered animals or saving coral reefs? Eco-tourism can help you see the world while you donate your time to a worthy reason.

‘Tis the Season to Recover

Winter break is an excellent time of year to focus on your sobriety because it gives you more opportunities for stress-relieving self-care activities as well. Be good to yourself this holiday, and welcome the chance to reset your recovery routine. You will be glad you did.

If you’re looking for addiction treatment tailored to the unique needs of younger people, Hope Academy is your starting point. We provide services for young adults aged 18 through 26 to give them the resources they need to recover. Contact us today to learn more about our structured programming.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Lessons Parents of Young Adult Addicts Should Learn

Living with someone who has a substance misuse disorder can be incredibly challenging – even more so if you are watching your child struggle with the various issues related to substance misuse. Not only do you constantly worry about their well-being, but you may also find yourself in completely unfamiliar territory when it comes to how to help your son or daughter deal with their problems.

As a parent, you probably have an array of questions:
  • What are they using, and how much?
  • Is this a passing phase of experimentation, or a genuine addiction?
  • Am I being overprotective, or am I right to be concerned?
  • If I put my foot down and set ultimatums around my child’s drinking or drug use, will it push them even further away from me?
  • Is this problem somehow my fault?
  • Is my child’s future at risk?
  • Should I be looking into qualified treatment facilities?
Here are the top four lessons you should learn about young adult addiction.

1. Parents Can Enable an Addiction

As a parent, you would do almost anything to keep your child from experiencing pain. You want their journey in life to be free of as many obstacles as possible. Unfortunately, those same impulses can cause you to develop the habit of enabling a child’s addiction.

You raised your child in the best way you knew how. It can be a bitter pill to swallow when you realize you can only do so much to support them, and at some point, they are responsible for the decisions they make. As much as you may want to smooth out the bumpy road to addiction recovery, your child must experience the natural consequences of their actions and do the hard work of getting better on their own.

2. You Can’t Help Someone Who Isn’t Willing to Accept Help

As well as you think you know your child, unless you have battled addiction issues yourself, it can be challenging for you to understand what they’re going through. Because of the denial that often accompanies addiction, addicted people may refuse to admit when they need help. When addiction takes hold of someone’s life, they often can’t walk away. However, coming to terms with this is a gradual process.

You can play a role in helping your child work through addiction by being there to support them, researching a treatment center and learning more about their substance of misuse and how it affects them, but your son or daughter won’t heal from an addiction until they are willing to accept they have a problem they can’t solve by themselves.

3. Be Patient

It takes time to heal from a drug or alcohol addiction. There are no shortcuts or quick-fix solutions, no matter how much you might wish there were. There will be easy days and hard ones. The best thing you can do is to be there to support your child and provide unconditional love when they are struggling.

4. Addiction Doesn’t Define Your Child

One of the most challenging lessons learned in addiction recovery is for the addicted person to rediscover who they are without the influence of drugs and alcohol on their life. Along the way, they will also need to accept that it’s fruitless to dwell on mistakes made in the past. You can help your child learn to live in the moment by encouraging them to try supplementing their therapy with approaches such as meditation.

Start Healing Your Family Today

At Hope Academy, we know how devastating addiction can be for families. Learn more about our young adult addiction services for ages 18 through 26, and get your child the necessary help to recover. Contact us today to learn more about our application process.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Steps to Take Before You Welcome Your Child Home From Addiction Treatment

You’ve been counting down the days until you could welcome your child home from their treatment program. Now that the big day is almost here, you may be feeling like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster. It’s normal for any parent in your position to feel happy, anxious, stressed and excited, sometimes all at once.

While your child will have made a lot of progress in addiction treatment, it’s essential for you to remember that they are only at the beginning of a lifelong process of recovery. It will involve sacrifice for you and your family, and it’s smart to plan for how you will deal with it. Although your daughter or son is ultimately responsible for their success, you can learn how to support them along the way.

1. Remove All Temptations

The first step you should take is to clear all intoxicating substances out of your house. Go through your medicine cabinet and safely dispose of expired or unused prescriptions. Keep any current prescriptions under lock and key. Likewise, remove all alcohol from your home, or take steps to secure it. Take special care to search your child’s room for drugs, alcohol or any paraphernalia.

2. Get Naloxone and Learn How to Use It

If your child’s substance misuse issues stemmed from opioids, having naloxone on hand can be lifesaving. Naloxone, marketed under the brand name Narcan®, is a non-addictive drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose. Depending on where you live, you may be able to get a naloxone kit from your drugstore without a prescription. Make sure the naloxone kit is in an easy-to-access place, and that everyone in your family knows how to administer it.

3. Familiarize Yourself With the Aftercare Plan

Whatever your treatment facility recommends for your child’s next steps, make sure you understand the plan and have familiarized yourself with what you need to do to support your son or daughter. For example, you may need to attend counseling as a family, or drive your child to appointments with a therapist. Be willing to take time off from work, if necessary, to fulfill your obligations. Your continued involvement makes a difference, whether your child is willing to acknowledge it or not.

4. Set Reasonable Boundaries

If your child drank or used drugs for a long time, it likely took a heavy toll on your family. The secrecy, denial, manipulation and self-destructive behavior associated with addiction disorders can erode relationships, and it will take time and concerted effort to rebuild. Once your child returns home, setting healthy boundaries can ensure you are developing a foundation of mutual trust. Some families find it helpful to draw up a recovery contract that defines their expectations and outlines consequences for breaking the rules.

5. Be Patient

The earliest days of recovery will probably be the most challenging for everyone involved. Your child will most likely go through periods of emotional upheaval. There will be days where they feel angry, frustrated or distant. Other times, your child may be like the person you remember from before addiction took hold. Be sure to savor the good moments, and be ready to listen on days where the struggle may seem overwhelming. There are no shortcuts in recovery.

Never Give Up

As crushing as it can feel to see your son or daughter wrestling with the burdens of substance misuse, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. At Hope Academy, our team of addiction specialists can help your child turn things around before addiction becomes a way of life. If you are ready to make a fresh start for your family, contact us today.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

5 Ways to Enjoy a Sober Halloween

Facing Halloween in sobriety, especially if it’s your first time in a long time that you’ve experienced this holiday without drugs and alcohol, can feel like an insurmountable challenge. It’s a holiday when people shed their inhibitions and do mischief, and for many people, Halloween is synonymous with drinking and drug use. However, Halloween can go beyond an excuse to dress up and get wasted. With the spookiest day of the year just around the corner, here are some tips to inspire you if you haven’t made your sober plans yet.

Celebrating Your Sober Halloween

If you have been used to celebrating Halloween in a haze of drugs and alcohol, you may be worried you will feel like you're missing out on the fun when you’re staying sober. If you’re struggling to come up with some seasonal and enjoyable activities to do on Oct. 31 this year, discover a new sense of inspiration with these ideas.

1. Go All-Out on Your Decorating

It’s never too late to transform your house into the spookiest one in your neighborhood. Now that you’re not wasting all your money buying drugs or alcohol, you probably have some extra cash to buy black-and-orange lights, fake cobwebs, tombstones, skeletons and all the other trappings. Even if you’re on a limited budget, there are plenty of affordable DIY Halloween decorating ideas you can use to scare all the neighbors. Seeing the delight on the faces of kids and adults who come around to trick-or-treat will make all your efforts feel worthwhile.

2. Host a Horror Movie Marathon

Round up your favorite scary movies, then invite a couple of supportive friends over to your home to watch with you. This option is ideal if you are unsure if you’ll be able to avoid the triggers of alcohol and drugs at someone else’s party. Organizing a get-together in an environment where you have full control over factors such as who will be there and what refreshments you will serve will ensure you stay sober on Halloween.

3. Have a Pumpkin-Decorating Contest

It doesn’t truly feel like Halloween has arrived until you get a few pumpkins and start carving a scary (or silly) masterpiece. Hit up a nearby pumpkin patch or farmers’ market to pick out the perfect canvas on which to create, and invite some sober friends over to join the fun. When you’re finished decorating, you can judge who created the best jack-o’-lantern of them all. If you’re stuck for ideas on what to carve, download some templates online. And if you’re looking for a tasty, healthy snack, don’t forget to save the seeds for roasting.

4. Hit up a Haunted House or Ghost Tour

If you’re the type who loves a good scare, Halloween is the perfect day to go through a haunted house or take a ghost tour with a few brave friends. Or, you can research places near you that have a reputation for being haunted and design a custom ghost tour for you and your “boo crew.”

5. Volunteer for the Night

Often, the best way to enjoy a sober Halloween is to give back to others in the community. Many churches and family shelters host seasonal costume parties or trick-or-treating events for families who are going through hard times. Not only is volunteering an excellent way to enjoy Halloween sober, but you’ll also have the joy of knowing you did something nice for others.

Get Sober and Happy This Fall

Even though you won’t be drinking or using drugs this Halloween, you can have as much fun on the holiday as much as everyone else – or even more. Whether you decide to do one of these sober Halloween activities, or branch out on your own, make sure to surround yourself with people who love you and respect your need to protect your sobriety.

If you are a young adult wrestling with substance misuse issues, you can get your life back and reclaim your full potential. At Hope Academy, our programming will help you learn to become healthy, resilient and goal-oriented. Contact us today to start revealing who you are without the crutch of drugs and alcohol.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

4 Opioid-Related Drugs Parents Should Be Aware Of

The opioid epidemic continues to be a nationwide health crisis, and even younger people are vulnerable to the threat. High school and college students often begin experimenting with prescription painkilllers found in their family medicine cabinet. Many of these drugs are highly addictive and are also available for sale online and on the street. With these fundamentals in mind, here are four of the most common opioid-related drugs and what you need to know to protect your child.

1. Prescription Opioids

If your child has ever had surgery or a severe sports injury, they may have received a prescription for pain relievers such as oxycodone (brand name OxyContin®) or hydrocodone (brand name Vicodin®). However, due to these drugs’ documented high potential for abuse, addiction and overdose, many states have made it more difficult to get a prescription. These measures include strictly limiting the amount of time a patient can use opioid drugs, as well as total daily dosage.

2. Heroin

People who have developed an addiction to opioids, but can no longer get a legitimate doctor’s prescription for these medications, may begin buying their drugs in the street. Drugs like heroin can be easier to obtain, but they can also be deadlier than prescription opioids.

Heroin’s effects include:
  • Extreme happiness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Digestive problems
  • Sedation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unconsciousness

3. Fentanyl

Fentanyl, a lab-created opioid, can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine. In legal prescription form, fentanyl has legitimate medical uses for treating severe, difficult-to-control pain. However, makers of illegal drugs often use non-pharmaceutical fentanyl to increase the heroin-like euphoria of their product, which is why fentanyl-laced drugs are a growing concern of organizations like the Drug Enforcement Administration. People may buy illicit drugs without being aware they’re laced with fentanyl, making an accidental overdose more likely. Because of fentanyl's potency, a dose as small as two milligrams is enough to be fatal for most people.

4. Naloxone

Unlike the other drugs on this list, there is no potential for abuse with naloxone, marketed as Narcan®. Instead, the timely use of naloxone can save people’s lives by reversing an opioid overdose. Because opioid overdoses typically involve the gradual suppression of the respiratory system, first responders can use naloxone to restart someone’s breathing. Naloxone works by rapidly binding to opioid receptors in the brain and blocking the effects of opioid drugs.

Naloxone is available in a nasal spray form that makes it easy for anyone to administer, even people with no medical training. If you suspect your child is misusing opioids, it’s smart to have a supply of naloxone on hand, and familiarize yourself with the steps for responding to an opioid overdose. In some states, naloxone is available from pharmacies without a prescription.

Know the Facts

As a concerned parent, you want to be prepared so you can protect your child in any situation. Knowing the ins and outs of opioid-related drugs can help you recognize, react and respond when your child is using these drugs, and take steps to prevent their use from becoming problematic. If you need to get help for your family, Hope Academy can provide the solutions you’re looking for. Learn more about the details of our treatment program, then contact us to start the application process.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

All-Natural Ways to Manage Stress This School Year

School can be incredibly stressful. Between juggling a full course load, studying for exams and writing papers, students have a lot on their plate. It can be hard to make time for yourself, but planning stress relief into each day is crucial to avoiding student burnout. With that in mind, here are seven drug-free stress management techniques to try when you feel overwhelmed.

1. Exercise

Exercise strengthens both your physical and mental health. It’s one of the best ways to combat stress. Vigorous aerobic exercise triggers the release of endorphins in your brain, creating natural feelings of euphoria. Exercise also lowers your body’s stress hormones and helps improve your sleep quality. Activities like biking, running and walking can be particularly stress-relieving, but any activity that you enjoy and that gets your heart rate up can be beneficial.

2. Keep a Gratitude Journal

If you’re feeling stressed and anxious, it can be hard to maintain a positive outlook on life. Get in the habit of jotting down things you’re thankful for, and try to come up with at least one journal entry each day. If the idea of maintaining a daily gratitude journal sounds like too much of a burden on your already jam-packed schedule, keep your entries brief. You could write something as short as, “Today, I saw beautiful wildflowers growing by the side of the road.”

3. Spend Time With Friends and Family

When you’re stressed and overworked, your relationships can fall by the wayside. However, don’t underestimate the importance of your support network to help you get through difficult times. For additional stress relief, do something that makes you laugh, like going to see the latest hit comedy. It’s hard to feel anxious when you’re laughing.

4. Don’t Procrastinate

Another smart way to maintain healthy stress levels is to keep up with your task list according to priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list. Carve out chunks of uninterrupted time to work on the things you need to get done today. Avoid the temptation to multitask, which can make you less productive.

5. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness describes practices that help you live in the moment, such as yoga and meditation. Some forms of therapy can also help you be more mindful and resilient, turning negative thoughts into positive ones.

6. Spend Time With a Pet

Interactions with pets may help release oxytocin, a mood-improving brain chemical. Having a pet can also help you stay active and provide you with a source of unconditional, judgment-free love.

7. Listen to Music

Listening to music can help you loosen up if you’re feeling anxious. Choose a slow-paced instrumental selection if you need to relax and lower your stress levels. However, any music you enjoy can be an effective mood enhancer, especially if you get up and move to it.

Be Healthy and Happy

Although stress is a natural part of life for students, there are many all-natural ways you can help yourself feel better and improve your quality of life. Next time you feel overworked, stop and try one or more of these strategies.

At our beautiful California facility, we offer qualified drug and alcohol addiction treatment for young adults who need help getting control of their lives. Explore Hope Academy’s programming options, or speak to an admissions advisor today.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Hidden Risks of Study Drugs

With most students across the country starting a brand-new school year, now is an ideal opportunity to remind parents that many young adults are vulnerable to experimentation with drugs. However, unlike what you might be picturing, not all these high school and college students are taking drugs to relax and get high.

The reality is sometimes quite the opposite: Students under pressure to perform well in school are taking “study drugs” in an attempt to sharpen their focus and help them overachieve.

As a parent, what do you need to know about these dangerous drugs, and how can you tell if your child is using them? Read on for your guide to study drugs.

What Are Study Drugs?

The most commonly used study drugs are prescription amphetamines designed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as the brand names Adderall and Ritalin. Since the purpose of these drugs is to improve concentration, students use them to help with their studies. Students usually obtain study drugs by buying them from others who have a legitimate prescription. It’s also possible to find and order them online.

Why Do Students Use Them?

Many students experience tremendous pressure to do well academically. Perhaps your high school student is in a college-preparatory curriculum and is taking an advanced course load to get into a top university, for example. Even if they are motivated to get good grades on papers and exams, an overwhelming amount of material can lead them to believe they need an extra boost to help with their schoolwork.

ADHD medications can make people who don’t have the disorder feel more energetic and focused. However, there is no conclusive research to demonstrate a connection between the use of these prescription and people’s ability to learn or retain information. Despite this lack of proof, many high school and college students turn to study drugs each year. Other than marijuana, amphetamines are the most misused drugs by college students, according to the Monitoring the Future survey published in June 2017.

Signs of Study Drug Use

What can you look for if you suspect your child is using or abusing prescription stimulants as study drugs? Here are some of the primary symptoms.
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Appetite loss
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep problems
Taking the drugs in higher doses increases the risk of dangerous side effects like anxiety, confusion and insomnia.

Do Study Drugs Lead to Addiction?

When used correctly under a doctor’s supervision, ADHD medications are unlikely to be habit-forming. However, misuse of study drugs can cause an addiction, especially in young adults whose brains are still developing. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies amphetamines as Schedule II controlled substances, which means they have an approved medical use, but also have a high potential for abuse and addiction.

A person with an addiction to prescription drugs may feel as if they cannot function normally without these medications. Instead of only using them when they want to pull an all-nighter before a big exam, they start relying on drugs to maintain their “mental edge” during typical daily activities. They may also experience withdrawal symptoms like disturbed sleep, fatigue and mood disorders when they try to quit.

Along with the risk of addiction, using some of these drugs can have highly dangerous outcomes. For example, an overdose of Adderall can lead to a heart attack, and mixing it with other substances can be fatal.

What to Do If You’re Concerned About Study Drug Use

If you have reason to suspect your child might be using prescription ADHD drugs in a non-prescribed way, talk to your child about ways to develop more effective study techniques. Encourage them to be honest with you about any problems they’re having in school, and if they are feeling excess pressure to succeed, consider counseling or tutoring.

At Hope Academy, we know how worrying it can be when your child begins relying on drugs for any reason. We offer addiction programming tailored to the needs of young adults, and we accept many kinds of insurance. Contact us to learn more.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

How to Raise Drug-Free Kids in College and Beyond

Young adulthood is a challenging time. Teenagers are starting to discover the interests and hobbies that will follow them into adulthood, and they are also searching for new experiences. All these things help shape them into the person they will eventually become, but sometimes, pushing boundaries can create unsafe situations.

It’s common for college students to experiment with drugs and alcohol. When they start using these substances, they can quickly develop a dependence and discover they cannot quit on their own. Parental involvement can be incredibly influential in helping keep kids away from drugs and preventing the heartbreak of addiction.

Tips for Raising a Drug-Free Teen

Clear boundaries and open lines of communication are two excellent ways to keep young adults safe and healthy. Here are some suggestions for getting started.

1. Establish Rules and Consequences of Breaking Them

Defined rules around drug use can provide your teen with much-needed structure during a formative period in their life. At the same time, you need to create realistic consequences of what will happen if they stray from the path you’ve set, and stick to them. If your college-aged child knows you are a pushover when it comes to enforcing the rules, it’s likely they will test you.

2. Schedule a Conversation About Drug and Alcohol Use

Bringing up a heavy topic like drug and alcohol use seemingly out of the blue can put young adults on the defensive. It’s smart to give your child advance notice that you’d like to chat with them about drug use and drinking. Reassure them that you aren’t going to discipline them, but that you are trying to be proactive and make sure everyone is on the same page.

You can use this conversation as an opportunity to lay ground rules like:
  • Avoid parties where alcohol or drugs might be present.
  • Always use prescription drugs exactly as directed, and never take someone else’s prescription medication or share your prescriptions with others.
  • Do not get in the car with a driver who is under the influence.
  • If someone offers you alcohol or drugs, tell an adult authority figure about it.

3. Take an Active Role in Your Child’s Life

Though you may find your college-aged child begins to pull away from you as they establish greater and greater independence, spending time together is essential at this age. Meet their friends, and ask them what they are learning about in school. If they get involved in sports, attend their games.

Always be aware of what your teenager is up to. If they go out on the weekend, ask them which friends they’ll be spending time with and what they will be doing. You’re not being nosy if you do this — you’re expressing care for their well-being.

4. Help Your Teen Learn to Make Goals

Goal-setting is an essential part of college life. You should work with your college-aged child to teach them how to set realistic short- and long-term goals for things they hope to achieve, both in their academic and personal lives. Ask them to share their ambitions and aspirations with you. Then, make sure they understand how misusing alcohol and drugs can derail their hopes for the future.

If You Suspect a Problem, Confront It Immediately

If your college-aged child’s behavior has changed markedly, and you have reason to believe it is because of drug or alcohol abuse, don’t wait to intervene. Though some people outgrow this experimental phase, others continue down a self-destructive path and end up with an addiction. Don’t let this tragedy happen to your family. Contact us at Hope Academy to learn more about the difference we can make in your child’s life.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

How to Support a Family Member in Addiction Recovery

Sending your son or daughter to rehab for drugs or alcohol means you’re going through an emotionally challenging time. You may be wrestling with guilt, fear and self-doubt, and asking yourself whether you made the right decision. It’s understandable you would be feeling the strain, but you should reassure yourself that you have done the right thing to help your family move in a positive direction. However, your child needs your support to make a full recovery. With that in mind, here are some things to remember.

They Are Receiving Quality Care

If you decided it was time for your child to enter an addiction treatment facility and are now second-guessing yourself, take a deep breath and rest assured they are exactly where they need to be to start the healing process. Under the care of trained addiction specialists, they will receive counseling, medical care and one-on-one coaching in an environment that provides much-needed structure.

Another benefit of addiction treatment for young adults is being surrounded by peers who have faced many of the same struggles and who can help lead to a journey of self-discovery. This peer group can be invaluable to someone with substance misuse issues, as they can provide perspective and advice along the path to recovery.

Ask for Help When You Need It

Addiction takes a toll on every member of the family. After shouldering your burdens for so long, you may be having a hard time keeping up, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of about getting help for yourself. For example, you and your spouse may decide you need professional marriage counseling because your relationship has become strained after dealing with your child’s difficulties. Or, you might seek individual therapy for yourself. Many family members of alcoholics and addicts have also found joining an Al-Anon family group can be a powerfully affirming experience.

You can also begin to educate yourself about how addiction affects every member of your family. The more you know about the role addiction plays in your family dynamic, the more you will be able to offer the encouragement and understanding your daughter or son needs to make a full recovery.

Manage Your Expectations

When you get your child into addiction treatment, you may feel an overwhelming rush of hope that things will get better right away. It can be disappointing to realize that the habits and patterns associated with addiction often take some time to change, and that your situation won’t improve overnight. After all, there’s a reason we use the terms “work” and “process” to describe recovery. It’s not a smooth path, and you will encounter hurdles along the way. People in early recovery may not be perfect, but you can still enjoy spending time together as a family.

Your Family’s Journey Starts Here

Has your child been struggling with addiction issues? At Hope Academy, we understand the challenges of young adult substance misuse disorders, and we are here to help you and your family heal. Contact us to begin the application process and start your son or daughter on the road to recovery.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Sending a Young Person to a Rehab Center

As a parent, you want your child to have all the best opportunities in life. It can be heartbreaking to discover your son or daughter is using drugs or alcohol, but you have options to get them into treatment and encourage them to make a full recovery.

Young adults often lack impulse control and good decision-making skills because their brains are not fully developed until the age of about 25. As a parent, the responsibility to make decisions on your child’s behalf rests with you. If your child is 17 or younger, you can legally have them enter a residential treatment facility without their consent. It may be one of the most difficult decisions you ever have to make, but if substance abuse is endangering your teen’s life, getting them into treatment is the right thing to do.

Is Your Child Addicted?

The first step to helping your child is making sure their problem is indeed addiction. Sending a young person to a rehab facility if they do not have a genuine drug or alcohol misuse disorder can put severe strain on the foundational trust of your relationship with your teenager.

If you suspect your child is abusing drugs or alcohol, make note of warning signs such as:
  • Sudden disinterest in school, sports and other previously enjoyable activities
  • Acting withdrawn and secretive
  • Having a new group of friends
  • Ignoring good grooming and hygiene habits
  • Staying out late
  • Sleeping too much or not at all
Some of these issues can be manifestations of mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety, while others are a normal part of going through adolescence for some teenagers. However, if you see several of these symptoms at the same time, your child may have a drug abuse problem. It can help to familiarize yourself with the abuse symptoms associated with different types of drugs.

When to Consider an Intervention

Though you can put an underage teen into rehab without their approval, it’s a much healthier approach to convince them to make that choice on their own. A family intervention can be a successful way to get loved ones into treatment if they show no inclination of pursuing the option themselves. If you’re worried an intervention may become too emotional, or that your teen will react with hostility, consider hiring a professional interventionist to help you manage the meeting and keep it on track.

Before staging an intervention, it’s essential to find an accredited facility first. You will need to notify the center ahead of time so the staff can be ready to admit your child immediately after they agree to treatment. That way, you minimize the chances that your teen will have a change of heart and refuse to get help. Taking the addicted person to rehab as soon as possible after the intervention is much more effective than waiting to find a treatment center afterward.

Your Family’s Healing Journey Starts Here

At Hope Academy, we provide a residential recovery program designed specifically for young adults who are struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. If you are looking for a qualified treatment center for your son or daughter, we are here to help. We have all the resources available to help people with substance misuse issues manage withdrawal symptoms safely and comfortably before transitioning into the next phases of drug and alcohol treatment. Contact us today to learn more about our California young adult rehab facility and learn if treatment is the right fit for your family.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Value of Accountability in Recovery

Addiction is an insidious illness for many reasons – not least of which is that it can change brain chemistry. For younger people whose brains are still developing, these effects can be especially dramatic, and can impact their personality and decision-making abilities. Addicted young adults may say or do hurtful things when they are drunk or high that they will not apologize for when they are sober, claiming they don’t remember or that it was no big deal.

Once young adults enter addiction recovery, they may find they can only begin to make significant progress once they are willing to face up to the pain and suffering they caused friends, family and other loved ones while they were drinking or using drugs.

Accepting Accountability in Drug and Alcohol Treatment

Often, people in active addiction make every effort to shift the blame for their destructive behavior away from themselves. This deflection is part of the shame and denial that characterize substance misuse disorders. A fundamental part of the recovery process, therefore, involves learning how to accept accountability for your actions and admit when you have hurt others or acted irresponsibly.

The ability to take responsibility for yourself is also one of the essential rungs on the ladder to adulthood. Substance misuse may have led you astray from this upward trajectory, and you will need to work to regain these skills through your young adult addiction treatment program. Without accountability, you will find it more challenging to maintain jobs and relationships, which are two of the most vital elements to maintain your sense of self-worth.

Ways to Exercise Your Accountability

There are several essential ways you can learn to take ownership of your actions.
  • Admit the mistakes you made in your addiction and the ways in which you hurt the people who care about you
  • Attend therapy or support group meetings on schedule
  • Sincerely apologize when you say or do something harmful
  • Recognize when you are going through a difficult time, and ask for help when you need it
  • Realize when something you learned in treatment isn’t working for you and it’s time to try a different approach
  • Use healthy coping mechanisms and life skills acquired in treatment
  • Follow through on promises you made to others
  • Acknowledge your potential to change your life for the better

Positive Progress Starts Here

Undergoing addiction treatment as a young adult is equal parts challenge and opportunity. Though you have struggled with substance misuse, behavioral disorders and mental health issues early in your life, the rest of your addiction-free adulthood awaits you.

One of the most promising aspects of recovery is that it gives you the power to reinvent yourself. Once you have forgiven yourself for the things you said and did in the past, you can move toward becoming accountable for the future. At Hope Academy, we want to provide you with the complete toolset to accomplish all these goals and more. Contact our California addiction facility to speak to one of our admissions advisors today.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

How Addictive Is Marijuana?

Though 33 states and the District of Columbia have now legalized marijuana for medical use, recreational use or both, that doesn’t mean the drug has no risks. While long-term marijuana use might not be as dangerous as drugs like heroin or methamphetamines, developing a marijuana addiction is not only possible, but can have lifelong harmful effects on a user’s brain and body.

Marijuana is one of the most widely used drugs today, due to its ready availability and the various options for using it. People often begin using cannabis without realizing how quickly they can develop a dependence. However, a marijuana misuse disorder is easier to manage than you might think.

Is Marijuana Addictive?

People abuse marijuana because it contains delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, also called THC, a psychoactive component that interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to create a euphoric high. When a person smokes pot, THC passes from the lungs to the bloodstream to the brain.

Compared to other drugs, marijuana is slow to absorb, and sometimes takes as long as one hour before users feel the characteristic high. Marijuana activates specific receptors in the brain, leading to effects such as mood changes, impaired memory and decision-making and an altered sense of time and reality.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, up to 30 percent of people who use marijuana develop a dependence on it. Meanwhile, those who begin using the drug before age 18 are four to seven times  more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder.

From Tolerance to Dependence to Addiction

Regardless of the method people prefer to use marijuana, they may develop a tolerance to it over time, which means they will require higher and higher doses to experience the same effects. If they continue to smoke, vape or ingest pot, they can develop a marijuana dependence, which means their brain has become accustomed to regular doses of THC and has reduced its natural production of endocannabinoid neurotransmitters.

People who try to quit using pot after developing a dependence will experience withdrawal symptoms and crave the drug to feel “normal.” In cases like these, they will continue to use cannabis as an escape from reality, despite its negative effects on their life.

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

Attempts to quit using marijuana may fail when users encounter uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that include:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of focus
  • Sweating and chills
  • Depression and anxiety
These symptoms can range from mild to severe, and often vary from user to user. The longer you have been using marijuana, the more you can expect to struggle when you try to quit.

Getting Help for a Drug Dependence

If you have used marijuana regularly and often, gradually cutting back on your use may help you ease into a life without feeling as if you need to use pot to feel normal. However, if you are struggling to imagine your life without drugs, or if cannabis has become a gateway drug to more addictive substances like opioids, professional treatment can help you get back on the right track.

At Hope Academy, we believe a promising future lies ahead of you, no matter how long you have been using drugs. Contact us to learn more about our young adult-specific programs and rediscover the joy of living without drugs and alcohol.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Ways Young Adults Can Have Fun in Recovery

Many high school and college-aged students begin using drugs and alcohol because they believe these substances make parties and other social gatherings more fun. Once they build up a tolerance, and later an addiction, they may begin to feel as if there’s no way to enjoy activities without being high or drunk. As a result, learning to have fun while staying sober is one of the most common problems faced in recovery.

Life in recovery is a continuous learning process. It’s entirely possible to enjoy life without the crutch of drugs and alcohol, but it will take effort and commitment on your part. Here are some ideas for making sober life feel fully rewarding.

Benefits of Hobbies in Recovery

The goal of recovery from substance abuse is to help you learn to transition from being an active user to having a healthy life in sobriety. You may not know how to live a life that does not include drug or alcohol use as its primary focus. Finding sober activities you enjoy enables you to have a rich, full life and fills up the hours you used to spend feeding your addiction.

When you’re locked in the cycle of addiction, your all-consuming compulsion to use drugs or alcohol robs you of your choices and makes you powerless to decide whether you’re going to drink or use drugs. Once you enter an addiction rehab program and achieve sobriety, your goal changes to developing strategies that can prevent a relapse. Keeping boredom at bay is one of the most effective ways you can avoid letting the addiction win.

Fun Ways to Enrich Your Recovery

  • Join a sports team – Most schools have intramural sports teams that welcome players at all levels of ability. Along with more traditional sports such as baseball, softball and basketball, you can probably find opportunities to participate in more unorthodox ones such as dodgeball, kickball and ultimate frisbee. Choose one that sounds enjoyable, sign up for a team and start participating.
  • Do volunteer work – Many deserving nonprofits rely on help from the community, and there are few activities more rewarding than volunteering. To find volunteer opportunities you’ll enjoy, visit and choose something that aligns with your interests.
  • Have a game night – Nothing says fun like gathering for a little friendly competition with a game that tests your knowledge and skill.
  • Be a hometown tourist – Contact your local visitors’ bureau to find out about little-known tourist attractions or activities that are off the beaten path. Grab a few friends and while away a Saturday afternoon exploring. Be sure to end your adventure with a stop at a locally owned restaurant for a delicious meal.

Rediscover Who You Truly Are

This list is only scratching the surface of ideas you can try. Experiment until you find the things that make your life in recovery fulfilling. There’s a good chance you’ll discover you can have more fun sober than you ever did when you were dulling your senses with drugs or alcohol.

At Hope Academy, we provide young adults with the opportunity to reclaim their lives from addiction. Contact us for a confidential assessment and to learn about enrollment at our California drug and alcohol treatment facility.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

How Parents Can Prevent Their Children From Using Drugs

As a parent, you instinctively worry about your child’s health, happiness and well-being. You want the son or daughter you are raising to realize their full potential in life and to succeed in school and an eventual career. Undoubtedly, the prospect of your child experimenting with drugs and alcohol is one of your chief concerns.

Why Do Children Use Drugs?

Children of every age experience a tremendous amount of pressure to fit in and to keep up with their classmates and friends. Many kids mistakenly believe using drugs and alcohol will make them more popular at school. Some turn to substance abuse as a way to self-medicate when they experience painful emotions. Still others use drugs like Adderall without having a legitimate prescription because they believe sharpening their focus will help them get better grades.

High school is often the first time young people get exposed to drugs and alcohol, and the temptation to experiment with these substances can be overwhelming. Drug and alcohol use is common on college campuses as well, which often have a “party culture” that contributes to student binge drinking.

How to Talk to Your Kids About Drug and Alcohol Misuse

When it comes to teaching your child how to avoid peer pressure and the temptation to use drugs, there is no quick fix. But you may have a larger influence on your son or daughter than you realize, even if it doesn’t seem like they are listening to you. Talk honestly with your children, get to know their friends and stay actively engaged in their lives. When you establish a pattern of two-way trust, your child will feel more comfortable being honest with you about what’s happening in school.

The tone you set in your conversations with your child is just as important as what you say. One productive approach is to start by asking an open-ended question, such as, “Is anyone you know using drugs?” or, “What positive things have you heard about drugs?” Then, let your child respond without interrupting them. Give them your undivided attention, and no matter what they say, remain calm and patient.

If your child tells you that they have tried drugs, or that one of their friends offered them drugs, don’t react with anger or hostility, but with love. Thank them for being honest with you, then use that opportunity to educate them about the risks of using drugs at a young age. When young adults have accurate information about drugs, their viewpoint about them changes, and they no longer see drug and alcohol use as a “cool” or “fun” activity, but a dangerous one that has long-term consequences.

Does Your Child Need Help for Substance Misuse?

If you suspect your child is struggling with an addiction disorder, don’t let the stigma stand in the way of seeking healing for your family. At Hope Academy, we understand how overwhelming it can feel when your child is having problems with drug and alcohol misuse. We offer support for you and your family during this challenging time as you work to get your child the lifesaving help they need. Contact our addiction specialists today to begin the application process.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Why Does Isolation Impact Your Sobriety?

Addiction is a lonely place to be. Some people living with addiction reach a point where they feel as if their only real relationship is with drugs and alcohol. You may have begun drinking or using drugs in social settings, but as your tolerance and cravings increased, you began driving away those who care most about you through your self-destructive behavior.

It’s also common for people who struggle with substance misuse to have co-occurring disorders like depression, anxiety or PTSD. If that is the case for you, perhaps you began abusing drugs or alcohol to smooth out complicated emotions or to help you numb the pain associated with reliving unpleasant memories. Once addiction takes hold of your life, you start spending more time maintaining the needs of your disease than keeping up with friends and family. If this continues, you may look around one day and realize the people you love are no longer there to support you.

The Problems With Isolation in Recovery

Often, even after getting help and committing to sobriety, overwhelming feelings of isolation may continue. In addition to feeling isolated from others, you have cut drugs and alcohol out of your life as well – substances that may have become a stand-in for a healthy support system. That puts you in a tricky situation, as loneliness can undoubtedly be a powerful relapse trigger. It’s essential for your long-term sobriety to do all you can to combat loneliness – but certainly, that often seems easier to talk about than to act upon.

Loneliness is a common human emotion, and most people experience it every now and again. However, in most cases, it’s a fleeting feeling. If you are having many of the following feelings most of the time, you need to know when to take positive steps to protect your happiness, your mental health and your sobriety – even if that is challenging for you.

Symptoms of intense isolation may include:
  • Feeling unable to connect with others
  • Being sad when there is no one around to talk to
  • Thinking nobody understands you or cares about what you are going through
  • Feeling worthless, hopeless or abandoned
  • Worrying you will never be able to stop feeling this way

The Hidden Dangers of Staying Isolated in Recovery

For people in recovery, loneliness is something to avoid at all costs. First of all, it is one of the four letters in the acronym HALT, which stands for four emotions that can put people at increased risk of a relapse: hungry, angry, lonely and tired. Each of these feelings will put you in a tough place emotionally, which may represent a challenge to your ability to make healthy decisions.

Also, socially isolated people have nobody to listen to other than the inner voice of their illness, which can be dangerous. In addiction recovery, a lack of accountability is often a recipe for disaster. In general, forming bonds with others makes life easier and helps strengthen our feelings of self-worth. And, according to a recent study, loneliness makes people more vulnerable to mental health challenges like mood disorders.

Ways to Break out of Your Isolation Cycle

If you need help finding ways to stop feeling isolated, try the following.
  • Join a club: Connect with peers who share some of the same interests as you, whether they are athletic, artistic or otherwise.
  • Volunteer: Volunteer service is an excellent way to give back to your community, and it helps you meet plenty of new people.
  • Go to support groups: Surrounding yourself with others who are working on their recovery can be enormously helpful. You will meet people who have faced similar challenges and dealt with some of the same issues.
  • Adopt a pet: Bonding with a pet can create one of the purest relationships you will ever have. Pets offer unconditional, non-judgmental love and ask for nothing in return but that you love them back.

Ask for Help When You Need It

If you are a young adult struggling with substance misuse, it’s time to explore your treatment options for getting your life back on a positive path. It is important to admit when you can’t go it alone. At Hope Academy, we specialize in peer-based young adult rehab for young adults. Contact our admissions team to learn more.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Things to Look Forward to in Sobriety

Being nervous about addiction recovery is common, especially for young adults who have begun to rely on drugs or alcohol to replace healthy coping mechanisms and are now facing decades of sobriety ahead of them. While it’s true your life will change significantly, it can be better than you ever imagined it being when you were misusing substances. Here are some reasons you should be excited about the gift of recovery.

1. Your life will no longer revolve around drugs and alcohol.

Addicted people spend a significant amount of time planning where and how to get the next dose of their preferred substance. Once you get sober and stop chasing a constant high, you will feel incredibly free from these intrusive thoughts, and you will no longer waste time on allowing drugs and alcohol to rule your life.

2. You will become more self-aware.

Rather than spending hours clouding your mind with a haze of drugs and alcohol, sobriety will put you back in touch with your true emotions. Once you can fully feel again, you can embrace your potential and learn who you really are without the influence of toxic chemicals.

3. Your friends and family will know they can count on you.

Once drinking and taking drugs become the highest priority in your life, you start to push aside all your other responsibilities. When you are frequently drunk or high, you are letting your family and friends down. Addiction recovery will give you the chance to repair those damaged relationships and become someone your loved ones can fully rely on.

4. You will welcome joy and gratitude back into your life.

During active addiction, you come to rely on drugs or alcohol as the sole source of your happiness. However, the sense of well-being or euphoria these substances create is not only short-lived; it is artificial. Working on recovery gives you the opportunity to discover who you truly are as a person. You will grow into your full capacity, and you will learn that you are worthy of experiencing genuine joy and gratitude.

5. You will learn how to deal with life’s challenges.

There is no instruction manual or road map for life, which can sometimes feel overwhelming. Addictions often develop when people begin using drugs or alcohol to deal with stress or numb painful emotions. In addiction recovery, you will learn better ways to cope with whatever roadblocks or obstacles you encounter, and you will also develop a more positive outlook in life. While nobody has all the answers, the things you learn about yourself in addiction treatment will equip you to keep a clear head and an open spirit.

6. Recovery will allow you to start over.

One of the many gifts recovery gives you is that you will have the opportunity to make a complete transformation in your life. You will go from being hopeless, ashamed and alone to embracing a future that is bursting with possibilities and potential. When was the last time you felt proud of yourself, or that you could take on any challenge and emerge as a stronger person? Addiction recovery will give you that hope and optimism again. While it is not an easy journey, it is one worth making because you will experience so many positive changes.

Get the Help You Need Today

At Hope Academy, our mission is to help young adults recover from addiction. Our California substance abuse treatment center offers clients a fresh start through detox, drug and alcohol recovery, dual diagnosis counseling, sober living and aftercare. We also provide life skills, college and career planning and coaching that provide a solid foundation to move forward as a successful adult. Contact us to verify your insurance and learn more about admissions.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Maintaining Your Emotional Sobriety

Though everyone in recovery from drug and alcohol misuse hopes to maintain a lifestyle that is free of the debilitating effects of their substance of choice, some people lose sight of the emotional part of the equation. Your goal in recovery should be to achieve not only physical sobriety, but emotional sobriety – the ability to live a satisfying and productive substance-free life.

What Is Emotional Sobriety?

Physical sobriety means learning to live without drugs and alcohol. Though it can present several roadblocks, the path itself is relatively straightforward. Achieving emotional sobriety is somewhat more challenging because it involves the ability to face your feelings, particularly those connected to drug and alcohol use.

Everyone relies on specific coping mechanisms to help them deal with realities that are otherwise painful or uncomfortable to confront. People who become addicted to drugs and alcohol begin to find solace in these substances, instead of relying on healthier outlets. As a result, addicts become experts at numbing their feelings instead of facing up to them and dealing with them as they arise. Becoming emotionally sober means learning how to reconnect with your emotions and allowing yourself to fully feel them again.

Initially, you may feel as if drug or alcohol detox is the most challenging part of your recovery. However, learning to process your emotions in a healthy way can be an even more significant hurdle in the long run if you have become accustomed to masking your feelings with chemical dependency.

Achieving Emotional Sobriety

All addiction rehab should involve some element of emotional sobriety. Though your goal in recovery should be an overall sense of happiness, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed if you are having an off day. Rather, emotional sobriety is about being present in the moment, finding your true self and accessing all your feelings, regardless of whether those are good or bad.

Emotional sobriety has a different meaning for everyone in recovery; however, it generally boils down to:
  • Maintaining a healthy emotional balance
  • Accepting reality as it is
  • Letting go of the past
  • Not worrying about what might happen in the future
Achieving harmony and balance in your life involves learning how to leverage proven therapies to process emotions and learn healthy coping mechanisms. Addiction treatment offers many beneficial therapeutic approaches, such as:
  • Life coaching
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Yoga and meditation
  • Individual and group counseling

Find Your Emotional Center

If you achieve physical sobriety but never work on confronting your feelings, you are putting yourself at higher risk of a relapse. Accepting that addiction recovery is a lifelong process can help shift your focus. Although you may experience occasional setbacks, stick to the goals of living in the moment and maintaining control of your emotions. Give yourself permission to embrace whatever you are feeling without judging yourself harshly.

Hope Academy offers a program tailored specifically to help young adults achieve lifelong freedom from chemical dependency and lay the foundation for the rest of their lives. We provide much-needed structure and guidance for young adults and college-aged students who are entering into adulthood and have lost focus on a healthy mindset. Contact us today for young adult addiction treatment in California.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: What Are the Differences?

alcohol abuse
April is Alcohol Awareness Month and it’s the perfect time to increase awareness and understanding of alcohol addiction and its treatment. Today, we’re taking a look at two terms that you’ll likely hear when talking about alcohol addiction: alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

Although these terms are often used interchangeable, understanding the differences between the two can help you to better understand the severity of your addiction and get the help you need.

What Is Alcohol Abuse?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines alcohol abuse as a pattern of drinking that results in harm to one’s health, interpersonal relationships or ability to work. This can include an inability to meet responsibilities at home, work or school, relationship problems and legal problems – all caused or worsened by drinking. Alcohol abuse can also cause harm to one’s mind, body and spirit.

Typically, someone who is abusing alcohol can learn from negative consequences and change their behavior with a brief intervention, including education on the dangers of binge drinking and alcohol poisoning. That said, alcohol abuse is a slippery slope into alcoholism. This is especially true if you begin drinking heavily at a young age, before 15.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependency and alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake and a negative emotional state when not using, notes the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Roughly 16 million people in the U.S. have AUD – and yet less than 10 percent get proper treatment. 

To determine whether your alcohol abuse has progressed into an alcohol use disorder, the NIAAA recommends asking yourself the following questions. In the past year, have you…
  • Experienced times when you drank more or longer than you intended?
  • Tried several times to reduce or stop your drinking but couldn’t?
  • Spent a big portion of your time drinking or recovering form the aftereffects?
  • Experienced cravings, or strong urges to drink?
  • Found that drinking caused job or school troubles or caused trouble with family or friends?
  • Scaled back on activities that you used to enjoy in order to drink?
  • Gotten into more than one risky situation while or after drinking? For example, drinking while driving, walking in a dangerous area or having unsafe sex?
  • Continued to drink even though it made you feel depressed or anxious?
  • Found that you need to drink more to feel the same effects?
  • Experienced withdrawal symptoms like trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea or sweating, when not drinking?
According to the NIAAA, the more symptoms you have, the more urgent the need for change and professional help. People diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder typically require professional help to stop drinking. This can include:
  • Detoxification
  • Disease education
  • Group & individual therapy
  • Interactive workshops
  • Peer outings & recreational opportunities
  • Fitness & nutrition guidance
  • Family therapy
  • Dual-diagnosis management

Help for Alcohol Use Disorders

If you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol dependency, 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. 

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.

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