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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Young Adults Underestimate Health Risks of Vaping

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

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

The Dangers of Vaping

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

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

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

Vaping and Addiction

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

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

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

Addiction Treatment for Young Adults

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

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Staying Sober on Spring Break

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

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

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

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

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

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

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