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What Are the Current Trends in Teen Drug Use?

What Are the Current Trends in Teen Drug Use?

Parents of teens need to be aware that the fastest-growing drug issue in the United States may not be what they think it is. When most people hear the term substance abuse, they may consider the use of heroin or cocaine. However, the drug issues affecting teens the most these days are substances that can be found in their own homes. 

It’s common for teens and young adults to get high from prescription drugs found in family medicine cabinets. The data on prescription drug use shows that thousands of teens have used prescription pain relievers without a doctor’s guidance. This could involve taking a few of grandma’s pills that she is bound not to notice or taking them from friends’ houses. As a parent, there are steps you can take, both practical and educational, to protect your teen.

What Are the Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse on Teens?

The use of prescription drugs is popular among teens not only because they are easily accessible. There is a common misconception that these drugs are “safe” because they are legal and prescribed by a doctor. But many prescription drugs, especially painkillers, are prescribed with careful supervision because they can be dangerous if they are not taken appropriately. 

The side effects of many prescription drugs include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Changes in body temperature
  • Nausea
  • Seizure

The consequences of prescription drug abuse can harm any person’s body, but it’s particularly significant for teens as their brains are still developing. The frontal lobe, which is responsible for making decisions, controlling impulses, and impacting perception, is not fully developed until an individual reaches their mid-twenties. Damage to this part of the brain can impact teens’ ability to make good decisions, the consequences of which could affect them well into adulthood. Drug addiction in the teen years can impact them physically as well as socially for many years to come. 

How Can Parents Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse in Teens?

Here are a few ways you can prevent prescription drug use in your home:

Safely Storing and Disposing Medicines

Most teens who have abused prescription drugs sought them out from friends or other family members. In other words, the drugs they abused were not prescribed specifically for them. If you or someone else at home uses prescription drugs, be sure to keep them in a place your teen can’t access. For example, a lockbox, if necessary. The traditional medicine cabinet in the bathroom may no longer be an ideal place to store medicines. You may want to keep track of exactly how many pills are in each bottle so you will know if any go missing. 

Monitoring Prescription Drugs

Painkillers and other medicines are being prescribed by doctors at greater rates than they use to be. Many people are now asking doctors and pharmacies to have better monitoring systems in place when it comes to prescription drug registries. This can help medical staff know how often these drugs are being prescribed. Over-prescription can lead to misuse and potential overdose. 

Does TikTok Promote Teen Drug Use?

The social media platform, TikTok, is a place to share videos of everything from recordings of original songs to cute animals playing. It’s also a place where some people document their use of drugs, using the hashtag #TripTok. These videos are often made to be funny as users document how certain drugs make them feel and react, often garnering millions of views. Because this platform is popular among teens and young adults, many of those views are by teenagers who may be influenced to mirror the videos that they are watching. TikTok by itself does not promote drug use, as it is prohibited in the platform rules, but that doesn’t prevent other people from finding loopholes around these guidelines. 

It is essential to understand that videos showing drug use do not show drug use consequences. Though this content is prohibited by TikTok guidelines, these videos are still posted and widely shared because of clever hashtags that disguise the actual content. Parents must be vigilant about what teens are viewing on their smartphones and strongly consider setting some boundaries around the use of social media. It’s also important to have ongoing conversations with teens about what they’re viewing, what they’re posting, and what their friends are posting. Encourage your teen to report videos that show or otherwise glorify drug use. 

By opening up conversations with your teen, you can express your concerns regarding drug use. When you talk openly and honestly with your child, they will learn to do the same with you. If they find themselves struggling with substance use, it is essential to get them connected with treatment resources as soon as possible.

As a parent, it’s scary to think that your teen might be in danger in your home or at a friend’s home simply from ordinary things like prescription drugs. To avoid substance use affecting your teen, it is essential that you monitor them appropriately while having honest conversations with them about your concerns. At Clearfork Academy, we not only treat adolescent boys and girls for alcohol addiction and substance abuse: We are also a resource for information on how to protect your teens. This includes recognizing the signs of a possible drug problem, as well as providing information to keep parents informed about the current drug scene. If you think your teen may have a problem with alcohol or other dangerous substances, it is vital that you connect them with treatment resources as soon as possible. To learn about our treatment programs, call (888) 966-8604

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What Are the Dangers of Drinking While Taking Antidepressants?

What Are the Dangers of Drinking While Taking Antidepressants?

Teenage drinking is harmful for a surplus of reasons. Drinking is hazardous for teens who are taking antidepressants in an attempt to manage depressive symptoms. When an individual consumes alcohol while taking antidepressants, it counteracts the positive effects of the drug, which worsens depressive symptoms. In some cases, antidepressants can worsen the effects of alcohol. Therefore, alcohol and antidepressants make no healthy combination.

The temptation to self-medicate with alcohol may be strong if an antidepressant does not seem to be working or isn’t working quickly enough. However, drinking is a short-term, dangerous, and temporary fix to a long-term problem. Depression can be managed with medication and therapy, although it often takes time to find a working combination. If your teen’s medication doesn’t seem to be helping their depression, you may want to be cautious if they are possibly using alcohol as a coping mechanism.

The Effects of Alcohol Mixed With Antidepressants

Not only is there a clear link between alcohol use and developing depression symptoms, but there is also an increased risk of liver and brain damage, among other health consequences. Different antidepressant medications have varying effects, as each one uniquely affects neurotransmitters that regulate emotions in the brain. It is important to recognize that any side effects of antidepressants can be worsened with alcohol. These side effects can include worsened fatigue, nausea, dehydration, impaired concentration, and more.

There are no positive side effects when mixing alcohol and antidepressants. The most serious side effects may include:

Worsened Depression and Anxiety

Antidepressants were not designed to be taken with alcohol, which means drinking can make depression worse and harder to treat. The emotional “boost” from drinking is short-lived compared to the long-term damage that can occur from mixing substances that aren’t meant to be taken together. Drinking can exacerbate existing feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and anxiety.

Dangerous Reactions

Drinking on antidepressants can result in medical complications such as high blood pressure, seizures, nausea, dizziness, and headaches, not to mention fatigue that makes it difficult to function at work or in school. Thus the consequences of mixing antidepressants and alcohol can be both physical and social.

Some of the long-term effects of mixing alcohol and antidepressants may not be detected right away. These can include an inability to form blood clots and damage to vital organs such as the liver. If alcohol is a threat to your teen’s health, you should keep it inaccessible for them within your home.

When to Be Concerned

For many depressed people who turn to alcohol, they don’t necessarily want to get drunk; they just want to feel better. But a person will eventually have to consume larger amounts of alcohol to get to the same level of “escape” as their body develops a tolerance. This damaging cycle can result in what doctors call a co-occurring disorder, which is experiencing a substance use disorder and mental health disorder at the same time. Other times, teens may try to mix alcohol with their antidepressants as a new way to get high. Any time a prescription drug is used for something other than what it was intended for, it is known as substance misuse and can quickly develop into a substance use disorder.

If you think your teen is misusing their medication, it’s important to seek help right away. But bear in mind that a sudden withdrawal from the medication can trigger serious side effects, such as seizures. You should always discuss options with your teen’s medical professional before allowing your teen to quit or wean off their medication.

Be sure to talk with your teen about the importance of taking their medication consistently to see a positive difference. If they stop taking their medication to drink, the drug will not work the way that it is meant to. The dosage must be constant and consistent to feel a difference in mood. Stopping and starting antidepressant medications over and over again can also have the adverse effect of making depression worse.

Effective Treatment Options for Co-occurring Conditions

It is common for individuals to struggle with co-occurring conditions. As mental health problems can cause substance use problems and vice versa, co-occurring disorders must be treated simultaneously.

When patients are screened and treated for mental and substance use disorders together, the quality of care they receive is greatly increased. This is because the treatment approach for co-occurring disorders addresses a whole person, including physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. This can lead to effective long-term recovery from both conditions.

Treatment for co-occurring disorders may include a combination of therapy and tweaking the dosage or brand of antidepressant medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of therapy for patients with co-occurring disorders because it can help clients recognize how thought patterns can affect behavior.

The process of finding the right antidepressant, and the right dosage, can be time-consuming and frustrating. As teens wait for their medication to start working, they may turn to alcohol to self-medicate their symptoms. Early intervention is critical to ensuring your teen’s long-term health and successful treatment of clinical depression. Fortunately, Clearfork Academy is here to help. With several different treatment programs, outdoor summer programs, and detoxes, we specialize in helping young people conquer their substance abuse addiction and go on to live full, healthy lives. Our high success rate speaks for itself: our methods really work! If your teen is struggling with depression and substance abuse, don’t wait. Learn more about us through our website, along with information about insurance coverage. Call us today at (888) 966-8604 to speak with an informative and compassionate staff member. We look forward to chatting with you!

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How Does Alcohol Worsen Depression?

How Does Alcohol Worsen Depression?

Can drinking alcohol make depression worse? For teenagers specifically, the answer is a clear yes. This is because teenage brains are still developing, and alcohol use can impair brain functioning. As depression develops from a chemical imbalance, symptoms can worsen when an individual uses substances like alcohol. It is important to recognize the inevitable link between alcohol use and depression so you can actively work to prevent co-occurring conditions from developing in your teen.

Can Depression Lead to Alcohol Use?

It’s common for people with depression to struggle with drinking problems. Individuals with depression may turn to alcohol and other drugs to self-medicate feelings of hopelessness or numbness. Teenagers with depression are especially more susceptible to experimenting with alcohol as they may lack knowledge of healthier coping mechanisms.

Depression does not motivate everyone to use alcohol; however, without proper treatment, it can play a factor in the development of a substance use disorder (SUD) like alcoholism. People with a family history of mental health disorders and alcoholism are more likely to experience severe depressive episodes after drinking. It’s also important to know that regular drinking can reduce the effects of antidepressants, which are medications that are commonly used to manage depression. 

Can Excessive Alcohol Use Lead to Depression?

If teens regularly consume enough alcohol during this critical period of brain development, they can cause serious harm to their health, which can also lead to a diagnosis of depression. 

It is essential to talk with your teen about the ways that alcohol can lead to depression and worsen depressive symptoms. Some of these ways include:

Hangovers

Hangovers are unpleasant physical effects that result from alcohol use. Symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Light sensitivity
  • Dehydration
  • Trembling from low blood sugar
  • Vomiting
  • Severe headaches

Regular hangovers can result in building up alcohol tolerance, which means it will eventually require larger amounts of alcohol to feel desired effects. Regular hangovers in teens can negatively impact their ability to get up on time for school or jobs, which can damage their ability to complete schoolwork and fulfill other responsibilities. This makes hangovers both a medical and social issue. 

Acting Out of Character

There’s a reason that alcohol is sometimes called “liquid courage.” Teens may feel a temptation to drink at parties or other social events to feel courageous enough to act in ways they never could while being sober. This can lead to lowered inhibitions and making choices that teens will later regret, which will inevitably worsen existing depression symptoms. While alcohol may seem like an ideal coping mechanism to provide temporary relief, the physical and social damage it can cause is not worth the risk. 

On the other hand, pent-up emotions can cause teenagers to lash out when they are under the influence of alcohol, or especially when they are drunk. Understandably, this can have a direct negative impact on friendships. Drunkenness is not ideal for making clear, level-headed decisions.

Intensified Anxiety and Panic

Because depression and anxiety tend to go hand in hand, drinking can result in intensified anxiety and panic attacks once the effects wear off. Even teens who might not have experienced anxiety before can start to develop symptoms of anxiety attacks with regular drinking. 

Negatively Impacted Sleep

Quality sleep is important for anyone’s help, but especially for teenagers who are still developing. The quality of sleep one may get after drinking is of significantly lower quality than going to sleep sober. Alcohol has a direct effect on rapid eye movement (REM) cycles that happen during sleep, which can result in teen increased fatigue and lowered energy levels. Reduced sleep quality will have an inevitable impact on their ability to concentrate in classes. 

Interference With Healthy Coping Mechanisms

The development of healthy coping mechanisms for managing difficult circumstances is a vital part of growing up. Turning to alcohol in times of stress, sadness, or anger essentially robs teens of the ability to practice healthy forms of self-care. When drinking is the go-to response for dealing with negative emotions, teens will be unequipped for life on their own when they become of adult age. This destructive pattern may result in getting kicked out of school, joblessness, and possible homelessness if they lack healthy means of solving problems.

Alcohol use in place of healthy coping skills also causes teens to miss out on opportunities to learn more about themselves when they face hardships. Not every complication in life is harmful, and some can lead to increased resilience in the long run. Alcohol, then, becomes a deterrent for personal growth.

Depression is a condition characterized by feelings of hopelessness and persistent sadness. Teens may turn to alcohol as an attempt to self-medicate symptoms of depression. We know that alcohol worsens depression, and the effects of alcohol can cause negative emotions once the effects wear off. If your teen has depression, it’s essential to talk to them about the dangers of self-medicating with alcohol and any peer pressure they might face when out with their friends. If your depressed teen does have a drinking problem, Clearfork Academy can help. We are a faith-based treatment facility for adolescents and teens who struggle with substance abuse. Our treatments include inpatient and outpatient care, detoxing, and more. We can help treat and manage co-occurring disorders that exist in your teen. To learn more about our treatment programs, you can talk to a member of our staff today by calling us at (888) 966-8604.

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The Sacrifice of Trauma Survivors

The Sacrifice of Trauma Survivors

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the following facts on adolescents and trauma:

  • More than one in seven children have experienced child abuse and neglect in the past year, and this is likely an underestimate. In 2019, 1,840 children died of abuse and neglect in the United States.
  • Every day, more than 1,000 youth are treated in emergency departments for physical assault-related injuries.
  • In 2019, about one in five high school students reported being bullied on school property in the last year.
  • Eight percent of high school students had been in a physical fight on school property one or more times during the 12 months before the survey.
  • Every day, about 14 youth die from homicide, and more than 1,300 are treated in emergency departments for violence-related injuries.

What Is Trauma?

Trauma is a response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms the nervous system and causes stress. While teen trauma survivors may experience different types of traumas, there are some general effects that most survivors often experience. These effects can be physical, emotional, behavioral, or cognitive. For example, it’s common for teen survivors to feel shocked and confused immediately after a traumatic event. They may have difficulty understanding what has happened and why. 

Many survivors feel overwhelmed, helpless, and alone. It’s also common for teen survivors to experience physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, fatigue, trouble sleeping, and difficulty concentrating. In the weeks and months following the traumatic event, teen survivors may have intrusive thoughts about the event or avoid thinking about it altogether. They may also have nightmares or flashbacks.

Some teen survivors become ravenous, while others lose their appetite. In addition, many survivors have difficulty trusting people and feel isolated from others. As a result, teen trauma survivors may act out in school or at home, withdraw from friends and activities they once enjoyed, or have increased outbursts of anger. 

Trauma Lives in the Body

Trauma is stored in the body in a variety of ways. One way is through the nervous system. The nervous system essentially serves as a record of our experiences, and this includes traumatic experiences. When we experience trauma, our nervous system is activated and sends signals to the brain that something dangerous is happening.

This changes how the brain processes information and how we respond to stress. It can also change how our body stores energy and how our immune system functions. In short, trauma can have a profound impact on our physical health.

Another way that trauma is stored is through the endocrine system. The endocrine system regulates hormones, and hormones play a role in how we respond to stress. For example, when we experience trauma, our bodies release stress hormones like cortisol. Cortisol helps us cope with stress in the short term, but if it’s released too often or for too long, it can adversely affect our health. Trauma can also lead to changes in other hormones, like testosterone and estrogen. These changes can impact our mood, energy levels, and sexual function.

Finally, trauma is also stored in the body through our cells. Our cells can change and adapt in response to stress. Trauma changes the way cells function and can “get stuck” if not effectively addressed. When trauma gets trapped, it can progress into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Somatic Therapy

Trauma is a very real and debilitating condition that can have long-lasting effects on a person’s mental and physical health. When someone experiences a traumatic event, their body goes into survival mode, releasing a surge of adrenaline and cortisol. This fight or flight response is designed to help us deal with immediate danger, but it can also have a lasting impact on our bodies. Research has shown that trauma is stored in our cells and that the mind-body connection is key to treating trauma

Somatic therapies, which use the mind-body connection to heal the body, are some of the most effective trauma treatments. This therapy can help to release the stored trauma from our cells and allow us to heal both physically and emotionally.

Trauma stored in the body often presents in the form of muscle tension, pain, and repetitive patterns of thought and behavior. Examples of somatic interventions aimed at reducing trauma and traumatic symptoms include:

  • Somatic experiencing therapy (SE)
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Sensorimotor psychotherapy (SMP)

These therapy methods can be very effective in treating trauma, as they allow the client to access and release stored trauma from the body. Somatic therapy can also help to rewire the brain so that memories of past trauma no longer trigger clients. 

While somatic therapy can be beneficial for treating trauma, it’s crucial to work with a qualified therapist who understands how to safely and effectively lead clients through these types of treatments.

Teen trauma survivors often face a long and difficult road to recovery. Trauma can have a lasting impact on both physical and mental health, and teen survivors may struggle with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, teen trauma survivors may have difficulty trusting others, maintaining healthy relationships, and feeling safe in the world. All of these factors increase the risk of developing a substance use disorder tenfold. While each person responds to trauma in their own way, there are some common symptoms and reactions that teen trauma survivors may experience such as hypervigilance, anxiety, and racing thoughts. It is important to remember that teen trauma survivors are not alone; there is help available. With the right support, teen trauma survivors can begin to heal and move on with their lives. For information on treating trauma in teens, call Clearfork Academy at (888) 966-8604.

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How Should I Confront My Teen Who May Be Using Drugs?

How Should I Confront My Teen Who May Be Using Drugs?

There is no easy way to talk to your teen about their substance use. Many teens who are confronted about drugs may immediately get defensive and deny any evidence that you may place in front of them. They may insist that you do not understand, that their actions are harmless, or that they aren’t in any danger. If you have a history of drug use, they may even accuse you of hypocrisy. Why can’t they use drugs if mom or dad once did?

Step by step, we’ll outline some helpful suggestions for bringing up this sensitive topic with your teenager.

#1. Gather Evidence

Your teen may want to know how you discovered their drug use. Otherwise, they may deny it altogether. Having evidence is key to showing your teen that you know the truth. While we understand the hesitation to search through your child’s belongings, we wouldn’t recommend doing so unless you had a strong suspicion that required it. Privacy is very important, especially for a developing teenager. However, your primary responsibility as a parent is to ensure the well-being of your teen. Invading your child’s privacy is a small price to pay to potentially save their life.

Some common hiding spots for drugs may include:

  • Desk or dresser drawers, especially in between layers of clothing or stuffed in socks
  • Small boxes or pockets, such as jewelry boxes, pencil cases, or backpack compartments
  • Under the bed
  • Hidden between book pages
  • Concealed containers such as makeup, soda cans, boxes of breath mints, etc.
  • Inside over-the-counter drug containers such as Tylenol, Advil, etc.

#2. Prepare for Backlash and Educate

If you experienced substance abuse as a parent, your teen might excuse their substance use as a result of your past substance use. It is important to be transparent with your child about the consequences of your past use. You could explain how you tried drinking, smoking, or using drugs to fit in or self-medicate, only to realize that those were harmful excuses. Highlight specific consequences that occurred from your substance use, whether it was getting kicked out of school, losing certain friendships or relationships, or developing medical problems. Maybe your life wasn’t drastically harmed by substance abuse, but you likely know someone else whose life was.

Avoid letting your experience be used as a justification for continued drug use. Be clear about the risks and the consequences that could have happened without early intervention from an adult in your life. Also, emphasize that the earlier your teen starts to use drugs, the harder it is to stop when they’re older. By that point, they could experience significant long-term physical and mental health consequences.

Explaining the Risks of Teen Substance Abuse

The physical and mental consequences of teen substance abuse are real and well-documented. This is especially true in teenagers and adolescents whose brains are still in process of developing. Teen substance use can:

  • Damage brain chemicals
  • Impair their memories, making it harder to do well on tests in school
  • Reduce their ability to feel pleasure
  • Harm the development of reasoning skills
  • Lead to a damaged liver, hormonal imbalances, sleep disorders, and other mental health disorders

In addition to damaged health, substance abuse can result in academic problems that may lead to suspension or expulsion, damaged friendships, and legal issues if they are caught using.

#3. Resolve to Remain Calm

As uncomfortable as this conversation may be for you, it’s going to be more uncomfortable for your teen. They may feel attacked, judged, or afraid of getting in trouble. However they respond, resolve by remaining calm, even if you’re angry or freaking out inside. This can make a big difference in how honest your teen will be with you. If they respond in anger or denial,  avoid taking the bait. Take a deep breath, pause if you need to, and don’t forget to emphasize how much you love your child. Your love is the primary reason for your concern.

#4. Establish Clear Rules and Enforce Consequences

After confronting your teen about substance use, you must enforce rules and establish consequences for breaking those rules. You may forbid your teen to go out with friends until their schoolwork is done or encourage them to avoid certain friends altogether because of their negative influence. Be clear and firm in your expectations. Similarly, be clear of consequences, such as loss of allowance, reduced television privileges, taking their smartphone, etc. Make sure your co-parent is also prepared to enforce these rules and consequences. If necessary, consider sending your teen to a treatment program.

Recognize Addiction in Your Family History

If substance abuse runs in your family, understand that this puts your teen at an increased risk of developing an addiction. This should give your teen a solid reason to avoid using drugs. If you have used drugs or experienced alcoholism, be honest with your teen about how you wish you had made different choices. Remind them that you don’t want them to repeat the same mistakes.

Confronting your teenager about suspected drug use is something that no parent wants to do. This is one of the hardest steps for your teen’s healing, as admitting there is a problem is a big deal. Fortunately, there are resources available to help you and your teen. Clearfork Academy offers a range of therapies, patient programs, detoxes, and even summer programs for teenagers and young adults. We have a long history of helping teenagers overcome drug abuse and achieve long-term sobriety. By helping to heal from the effects of substance abuse, we help your child heal physically, mentally, and emotionally. Your child will be in good hands with our licensed, experienced, and compassionate staff. We also offer family services for parents that need support resources. For questions about our programs and treatments, give us a call today at (888) 966-8604.

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Why Forgiveness Is Necessary for Sobriety?

Why Forgiveness Is Necessary for Sobriety and How to Do It?

For many people, addiction is perpetuated by unresolved anger, feelings of resentment, and relational conflict such feelings can disrupt the relationship between you and your child. Therefore, there is a lot to be said about the importance of forgiveness as your child begins their recovery journey. In order for your child to have success in recovery, is essential to practice forgiveness

When Anger Is Left Unresolved

Sometimes, being angry at the way things are can be a catalyst for change. However, unresolved anger can be unhealthy. On an emotional level, anger can prevent you from experiencing happiness and can keep you feeling stuck in one place in life. If your child’s substance addiction has caused you to become angry at them and yourself, it is important to address this unresolved anger. 

Remember, addiction affects the whole family, therefore you must work together to manage the challenges that come with recovery. A big part of the recovery is learning how to navigate unpleasant emotions, such as anger, in healthy ways. Some positive ways of managing anger may include: 

  • Writing in a journal
  • Group or individual therapy 
  • Exercise

Forgive Your Child

You might think that forgiving someone for their actions or behaviors means that you are okay with being treated unfairly. You may also think that forgiving your child means excusing them of their actions. Understand that addiction is a disease, and when under the weight of addiction, your child is not their true self.  

Forgiveness means letting go of the anger and resentment that keeps you and your teen from living life to its fullest. It means not allowing your child’s addiction to run both your lives. Forgiveness in this context means choosing not to live with deep-seated anger any longer.

The Importance of Self-Forgiveness

Self-forgiveness is another critical aspect of the recovery journey. While it is common for those in recovery to experience shame and guilt for their actions, as a parent, you may also experience feelings of shame or guilt. It could be so powerful that you might convince yourself that you are not a good parent. However, so long as you support your child’s recovery and not unhealthy habits, you are moving in a healthy direction. Therefore, continually beating yourself up for past mistakes will not change the past. You have to learn how to forgive yourself. The same can also be said for your child. 

Work with your child on self-forgiveness. This will require admitting past mistakes. We all behave in ways that we aren’t proud of from time to time. With the help of a family therapist, you and your teen can recognize the past for what it is and work to do better in the future. Self-forgiveness will help you and your child overcome feelings of guilt, shame, and blame.

How Can We Seek Forgiveness From Each Other?

It can be challenging to seek forgiveness for past mistakes. It requires a hefty dose of humility to admit to someone else your wrongdoings. The first step in asking forgiveness is to take ownership of actions and issue an apology. Avoid making excuses; instead, admit where you went wrong and try to recognize that you did not know any better.

The next critical part involves listening. Your child is also experiencing difficult feelings. Sometimes the best way to get your child to open up takes listening. Listening allows your child to talk through their feelings and express their remorse for how they may have treated you and other family members while under the weight of addiction

What Alcoholics Anonymous Says About Forgiveness

Forgiveness is actually a critical part of the Twelve Steps of recovery in the “Big Book” used in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It’s outlined in steps eight and nine:

  • Step Eight: Make a list of all persons we had harmed and become willing to make amends to them
  • Step Nine: Make direct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others

Mending what was broken is part of breaking the cycle of substance abuse. It can be uncomfortable to confront those we hurt and admit where we went wrong, but many who have done this report feeling a deep sense of peace and freedom afterward, even if they are unable to mend all broken relationships. 

You may want to consider joining a local chapter of AA or parent-teen-focused support groups to help you along your forgiveness journey. It can be helpful to not only receive guidance from others who have walked a similar path but to be in a community with other people who are experiencing the same thing. You can help hold each other accountable and encourage each other to keep moving forward.

Forgiveness is a critical part of the recovery journey. It can also be one of the hardest. Unresolved trauma, and associated feelings of anger, can perpetuate substance use. Therefore, for success in recovery, it is essential for parents and teens to forgive others and themselves for the past. At Clearfork Academy, we understand the complex emotions you may be feeling and can help you and your teen sort through them in the form of therapy and various treatment programs. We are a program that specializes in the treatment of adolescent males ages 13 to 18. Our licensed, compassionate staff can help you process anger or resentment and instead develop healthy coping skills for dealing with unpleasant emotions. Our treatment programs can help walk you and your teen through the process of making amends. For more information, call us today at (888) 966-8604.

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Is It Okay to Date in Early Sobriety?

Is It Okay to Date in Early Sobriety?

The first year of abstinence from drugs or alcohol is critical for your teen’s long-term recovery. It can be an exciting period of time as they learn how to rebuild their lives with new, healthy habits and coping mechanisms. However, it is also a period of vulnerability as they learn how to manage temptations and consider how certain decisions might affect their sobriety.

That first year is particularly vulnerable to relapse, which is why many people choose not to date during that time. The decision, of course, is up to you and your teen. Here, we offer some guidance on how to help your teen prioritize their health, well-being, and sobriety as they go about dating in recovery.

How Can Dating Derail Recovery?

Starting a new relationship can be fun and exciting. It can also present significant challenges for those who are still figuring out who they are, especially for those working to achieve lifelong sobriety. There are many conflicting emotions involved in the first few months and years of recovery, including anxiety, self-doubt, and fear. Relationships can make the recovery process even more challenging, especially since infatuation can feel like an addiction in and of itself.

If or when your teen makes dating a higher priority than their recovery, their progress could be at risk. This isn’t a guarantee but rather a caution for parents and teens. Ideally, your teen will date someone who is respectful of recovery boundaries, does not pressure them to engage in unhealthy or risky behaviors, and genuinely supports their recovery. However, even experiencing a healthy relationship with a supportive partner can trigger substance use if that relationship comes to an end. Break-ups can ignite an individual’s desire to self-medicate with drinking or drugs.

Another way that dating could potentially derail your teen’s recovery is if they date someone from their past, particularly someone who had previously enabled your teen’s substance use. You can encourage your teen by letting them know that they can still care about people from their past, but from a distance, especially as they both work to achieve long-term recovery. This can be considered an act of love for both of them as they learn how to live sober.

What Are Some Additional Risks of Dating During Recovery?

Codependency is one potential threat to early sobriety. This is when one partner functions by feeling needed by their dating partner. In turn, the partner struggling to remain sober may rely on their dating partner to validate their self-esteem or self-worth. Codependency can happen with or without substance use playing a factor. Neither one is healthy or desirable. 

The risk of codependency may lead your teen to avoid certain people, places, or situations that enabled them to use substances in the past. It could mean learning to socialize in different contexts, meeting new people, and starting new relationships. As your teen learns to fill this seemingly social void, the rush of new romance may seem exciting for them. It can be easy to replace one unhealthy behavior with another without recognizing it as yet another pattern of problematic behavior. 

When Is Dating “Safe” in Recovery?

It is generally frowned upon to date within the first year of recovery. Therefore, one year of sobriety is a safe start. A year of sobriety shows that your teen has had a significant amount of time to develop healthier ways of coping with problems and circumstances that previously drove them to self-medicate. It is also a good amount of time to cultivate emotional maturity and stability, two essential components of healthy relationships. A good indication that it may be “safe” for your teen to date is when they can manage prior temptations and choose to remove themselves from situations that can compromise their sobriety.

What Are Some Tips for Dating in Recovery?

Participating in continuing treatment is vital when it comes to dating in recovery. It is essential that your teen stays committed to their sobriety and engaged in their treatment journey. You can encourage your teen to remain in constant contact with their mentor or sponsor, which are valuable resources used to prevent relapse. Have them continue to attend therapy and actively practice the skills they are learning during treatment. As a parent, you can continue to identify and shed light on the behavior patterns that previously enabled your teen’s addiction and always be on the lookout for new warning signs that they may exhibit.

When dating, It is crucial that your teen knows how to set clear boundaries with their partner. This may include letting a new partner know they don’t engage in substance use or other risky behaviors. A good partner will respect this request and not try to pressure them into moving backward during their recovery. If they mock the decision to be sober or otherwise belittle it, that’s a red flag.

The thought of dating after committing to lifelong recovery from addiction can be daunting. However, dating can increase your teen’s confidence during their long-term recovery journey with continued treatment engagement and healthy boundaries. At Clearfork Academy, we help young adolescents feel confident in who they are without the use of alcohol or other drugs. We help prepare young people to face a world of challenges through healthier coping mechanisms. Part of our treatment regimen includes therapy, intensive outpatient care, residential treatment programs, summer programs, and more. Our licensed, compassionate staff are well equipped to help your teen become healthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If you suspect that your teen or young adult is dealing with substance abuse, don’t hesitate to seek support and education about available treatment options. We know what you are going through. Call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604.

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What Is Ketamine?

What Is Ketamine?

Although ketamine may be used as an analgesic in medical settings, it is a concerning street drug. Recreationally, individuals may seek out the use of this substance for its seemingly dream-like effects, which can cause long-term physical and mental health consequences. The repeated use of ketamine can lead to significant damage to internal organ systems as well as increase an individual’s risk of developing an addiction or chemical dependency.

Throughout the last several decades, ketamine has become a popular club drug with many street names: special K, super K, vitamin K, and many others. It is essential for people to recognize these names and to understand the harmful consequences that can result from the recreational use of Ketamine.

What Are the Effects of Ketamine?

Ketamine is a dissociative drug. It distorts the perception of sight and sound and can cause an individual to feel a lost sense of reality. However, compared to other hallucinogenic drugs, the effects of ketamine are relatively short-lasting. While the onset of effects tends to be rapid, general effects can last anywhere between 30 minutes up to two hours.

Short-Term Mental Effects

While hallucinogenic effects will diminish after about 90 minutes, an individual may experience impaired senses, judgment, and motor control that can last up to 24 hours after ketamine is taken. The repeated use of ketamine is associated with both physical and mental health problems. Ketamine can cause:

  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Delirium
  • Amnesia

Short-Term Physical Effects

While under the influence of the drug, the physical effects of ketamine may include:

  • Dangerously high blood pressure
  • Slower breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Bladder and stomach pain
  • Impaired motor function
  • Ulcers
  • Kidney issues
  • Potentially fatal respiratory problems

Potential Long-Term Effects

It is also important to recognize that, even with one-time use, an individual may experience withdrawal effects the day after taking ketamine. These effects can include:

  • Disorientation
  • Impaired judgment
  • Anxiety
  • Flashbacks
  • Mood and personality changes
  • Problems with memory and concentration
  • Psychosis

How Does Ketamine Worsen Mental Health Disorders?

Teens with clinical depression and other mental health disorders are already prone to self-medicating their symptoms. Ketamine, in particular, is dangerous because it can cause dissociative states, which can lead to a lost sense of reality. Taking ketamine may also lead to hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), which is a non-psychotic disorder that causes an individual to experience lasting, persistent visual hallucinations and perceptual distortions.

Ketamine is a very powerful drug that is dangerous to administer unless in a clinical setting and only by specially trained doctors. Even then, the effects of the drug have too much potential to worsen depression symptoms, which can increase the temptation to commit self-harm. Therefore, we do not believe that any mental health professional should recommend ketamine in any form as a treatment for depression.

Understanding Ketamine’s Potential for Abuse

Not only can ketamine cause long-lasting consequences for an individual’s physical and mental health, but it also has an incredibly high potential for abuse. Simply put, ketamine is a drug that stops the brain from interpreting pain messages and causes an altered state of reality. An individual may use ketamine the first time because they are curious about the drug’s effects; however, continued use can quickly become chronic once an individual experiences the drug’s seemingly euphoric effects.

When ketamine is used initially, an individual may experience a high that they perceive as happy or relaxing. When an individual uses the drug repeatedly, they will need more of the drug to achieve desired effects. This is called tolerance and is a significant characteristic of addiction.

There are factors that play into how an individual experiences the effects of ketamine. These factors can also predict how quickly an individual may develop an addiction. These factors include:

  • The intensity of use
  • The purity of the ketamine they are taking
  • The individual’s size, including height and weight
  • The route of administration
  • The frequency of use
  • The combination of use with other drugs

Treatment for Ketamine Addiction

If your teen has experimented with ketamine for recreational purposes or as a treatment for depression, it is important to get them connected with treatment resources as soon as possible. Ketamine addictions can challenging to overcome, but with help from a specialized facility, your teen can experience recovery with grace. Consider placing your teen in a treatment program that recognizes the difficulties with treating co-occurring disorders, such as drug addiction and mental health conditions. Mental health providers specializing in treating co-occurring disorders like these have a higher success in treating ketamine addiction than drug treatment centers that only focus on addiction. This dramatically increases the chance of long-term recovery for your teenager.

Ketamine is a dangerous street drug. The recreational use of ketamine can lead to an altered state of consciousness, leading to a permanent loss of sense of reality. Other harmful effects may include paranoia and anxiety, impaired judgment and coordination, and even depression. Ketamine can cause damaging effects to internal organ systems and can lead to addiction, even with one-time use. It is essential to get help for your teen struggling with ketamine use or addiction. Teens and young adults experiencing drug addiction can find help at Clearfork Academy, which specializes in helping young people conquer a variety of mental health conditions to live fuller, healthier lives. We offer treatment specifically for co-occurring disorders, which can be a game-changer for the mental health of your teen. To learn more about our treatment center and treatment programs, call us today at (888) 966-8604.

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What Is Codependency and Its Connection to SUD?

What Is Codependency and Its Connection to SUD?

Codependency can happen to anyone. However, a person who is closely connected to someone who abuses alcohol or drugs has a significantly higher risk of experiencing codependency. Partners and relatives of someone that is addicted to substances may feel a need to justify their loved one’s substance use, downplay its severity, or enable their substance use as a result of wanting to maintain a relationship with their loved one.

While codependent relationships can happen without substance use playing a factor, addiction tends to perpetuate codependent behaviors in relationships. It is important to understand that codependent relationships are destructive for both partners. However, effective treatments are available to help heal both substance use disorders and associated codependency.

What Is Codependency?

Codependency is a circular relationship where both partners have an excessive psychological or emotional reliance on one another. It is a condition that impairs a person’s ability to have a mutually healthy relationship with another person. A codependent relationship can be recognized as a form of behavioral addiction.

Codependency can look like many things, such as covering up a loved one’s addiction or constantly needing reassurance. Over time, the struggling partner will start to lean on their partner to fulfill all of their emotional and psychological needs. In turn, the other partner will feel validated by feeling needed by the struggling partner. This begins the cycle of codependency.

These types of relationships are unhealthy because they limit both partners’ ability to function independently outside of the relationship. Both partners become conditioned to the unhealthy way of obtaining self-esteem from one another without even realizing it.

What Is the Difference Between Love and Codependency?

Sometimes, codependent relationships can be confused with loving relationships. A partner may be blind to their enabling behaviors, especially when they believe that they are behaving out of love for their struggling partner. They may even define their actions as “loving.” However, codependency is not loved. Codependency is seeking love from a partner based on personal feelings of insecurity. Oppositely, healthy relationships are balanced with mutual give and take. They do not involve one person sacrificing all of their needs for the benefit of the other.

In other cases, one partner may feel like it’s their job to fix the struggling partner. This may happen with romantic partners but can also happen with a guardian and a struggling dependent, such as a mother trying to mask the addictive behaviors of their child. This can look less like fixing and more like taking control. In this case, the mother’s life becomes defined by her child’s addiction.

Examples of Codependent Behaviors

The following behaviors are commonly associated with codependent relationships:

  • A strong desire or desperation to be liked
  • Blurred or non-existent relationship boundaries
  • Taking on way too many responsibilities than is wise or recommended
  • Constantly trying to “fix” other people’s problems
  • A constant need to control others
  • Difficulties making decisions within relationships
  • Poor communication skills
  • Difficulty establishing and enforcing boundaries
  • Low self-esteem or constant self-doubt
  • A deep fear of abandonment
  • Excessive people-pleasing or desire for approval
  • Putting others’ needs before your own

What Is the Effect of Codependency on Substance Use Disorders?

Drugs and alcohol tend to exacerbate issues in relationships, especially when partners already have codependent tendencies. The “enabler” in the codependent relationship will often neglect their well-being or responsibilities to fulfill the struggling partners’ needs. The struggling partner, in turn, may resort to manipulating the other partner into helping them conceal their addiction or shield them from its consequences. The enabler may feel compelled to “fix” any of the problems in the addict’s life that they cannot or will not fix themself.

Codependency can affect an entire family unit, not just the relationship between two people. Young kids that grow up hiding their mom’s or dad’s addiction may repeat their secret-keeping behavior if they find themself struggling with substance use in the future. Children may also fail to develop the social or communication skills needed to thrive in school. These patterns are difficult to break the longer they are left unresolved.

How to Overcome Codependency

While codependent relationships may feel like a never-ending, unhealthy cycle, there are ways to heal from them. The codependent person may benefit from therapy by learning skills needed to increase their self-esteem or to create appropriate boundaries in their relationships. The person struggling with substance abuse will benefit from substance use treatment, particularly treatment for co-occurring conditions. If the whole family is involved in a codependent relationship, particularly children, family counseling may be a good option so everyone can heal simultaneously.

Some of the necessary tools for overcoming codependency include improving communication and learning new behaviors. This can look like conflict management skills and setting boundaries, such as “I will listen to your problems and be supportive, but I need this set of hours to focus on myself and my own needs.” Once you identify the unhealthy relationship patterns, the easier it will be to start replacing old behaviors with new ones.

At Clearfork Academy, we understand that reaching out for help is often the hardest step. It can be heartbreaking to realize that your efforts to help someone you love who is struggling with drugs or alcohol may be causing more harm than good. The good news is that helping someone overcome an addiction is not your responsibility. The struggling person must decide on their own that they want to get better before it can actually happen. Our staff is equipped to help addicts along that path to recovery. With individual or group therapy, residential treatment programs, intensive outpatient treatments, and more, we have a high success rate in helping young people break destructive patterns in their lives. To learn more about how to heal from codependency or to learn more about our treatment programs, please call us today at (888) 966-8604

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Is Alcohol a Gateway Drug?

Is Alcohol a Gateway Drug?

Gateway drugs are substances that are thought to lead to the use of more dangerous or addictive substances. The top three gateway drugs are thought to be nicotine (cigarettes), marijuana, and alcohol. The group of people that are most likely to develop an addiction from using gateway drugs is adolescents. Since the human brain is not considered fully developed until the age of 25, young people are especially vulnerable to the damaging effects of chemical substances.

Alcohol, in particular, is recognized as a leading gateway drug. Alcohol consumption causes abnormal inflammation in the brain, making it especially dangerous for young people. It is important to understand the harmful effects that alcohol use can have on the brain and to recognize the substance as a dangerous gateway drug.

How Does Alcohol Use Lead To Addiction?

Teens or young adults may initially choose to experiment with alcohol because they are curious about the substance’s effects. Since many families keep alcohol in their homes, it is one of the easiest substances for young people to access. While the decision to try alcohol may be voluntary, the chemical effects of alcohol hijack several areas of an individual’s brain.

Some of the ways that repeated alcohol use primes adolescents for experimenting with other substances may include:

Exposure to Dopamine Surges

Dopamine is a chemical that influences the brain’s reward center associated with identifying and motivating pleasurable behavior. Chemical substances like alcohol trigger abnormal surges of dopamine in the brain and body. The use of alcohol even one time triggers a dopamine surge, which the brain identifies as pleasurable. Then, the brain will continue to motivate substance-seeking and substance-using behavior as means of achieving repeated dopamine surges.

With repeated use, an individual will experience an increase in alcohol tolerance. This means that they will need to drink more each time to achieve desired effects. Eventually, the brain will recognize alcohol use as normal, and no longer trigger dopamine surges as intensely as before. This leads individuals to seek highs through harsher drugs.

Experiencing Increased Inhibition and Impulsivity

Being under the influence of alcohol can reduce inhibition and increase impulsivity, which can cause individuals to act in ways that they never would while sober. Some of those actions may include experimenting with harsher drugs, especially if they are not in the right frame of mind to consider the consequences or risks. Young people are especially prone to the influences of peer pressure and curiosity if they are already buzzed from alcohol.

Normalizing Party Drugs

If getting drunk with friends is considered normal for teenagers, it is only a matter of time before teens progress to other drug use. Teens may start to believe that “everyone is doing it” even if they aren’t, which may encourage experimentation. They may not yet see the consequences of long-term substance use among their friend group, which can lead them to believe that it is not harmful. Normalizing one type of behavior makes it easier to progress down a path they may not have anticipated.

Why Young People Are Especially at Risk for Addiction

The developing brain is uniquely vulnerable to both mental health disorders and substance use disorders, such as addiction. Eager to feel accepted by others, it’s relatively easy for adolescents to get involved in dangerous crowds and engage in risk-taking behaviors that they may not realize are harmful.

Unfortunately, adolescents tend to lack the foresight to see how the consequences of one decision can impact their future. A substance use disorder that develops from underage drinking can carry physical, emotional, and psychological consequences well into adulthood.

Additional Risk Factors

In general, some people are more likely to develop substance use disorders than others. Individuals that experience the following risk factors may be more likely to use alcohol as a gateway drug:

Genetics

Genetics shed light on an individual’s unique, chemical makeup. If an individual has a family member or relative that uses substances or has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder, they are more likely to experiment with substances at some point in their life.

Co-occurring Mental Health Disorders

A co-occurring disorder is the presence of both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder. If an individual is already struggling with their mental health or associated diagnosis, they are more likely to use substances. They may turn to substances as an attempt to self-medicate their symptoms or because they are genuinely curious about the substance’s effects.

Childhood Trauma

Unfortunately, not every family knows how to cope when trauma affects a child. This could be anything from a tragic accident, an illness, or abuse. Children who suffer from untreated trauma are also at increased risk of substance use and addiction later in life.

Alcohol is a harmful substance for the developing brain. As adolescents and teens age, they may become exposed to the effects of alcohol through their friend groups. It is essential to recognize that alcohol is a gateway drug that can cause young children to be curious about the effects of other substances. It is important to know what factors can increase an individual’s risk of using alcohol and other substances. If your child is struggling, understand that treatment is available. Clearfork Academy has evidence-based solutions for teenagers struggling with alcohol or substance abuse. Our outdoor, faith-based program is run by experienced, compassionate staff to help your teen on8 the road to recovery. We offer detox, inpatient, and residential treatment programs depending on the severity of your teen’s condition. To learn more about our treatment center, reach out to us today by calling (88) 966-8604.

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Are Service and Kindness Important in Recovery?

Are Service and Kindness Important in Recovery?

Kindness is the quality of being considerate and friendly towards others. It is a force that makes the world go round. Kindness also plays a vital role in successful recovery from substance use or abuse. For example, one simple act of kindness can motivate a person to finally seek out treatment and recovery. When acts of kindness are carried forward, it can encourage people in similar situations to seek help as well.

While kindness does not replace the necessity of treatment, it does play a key role in boosting mood and self-esteem. Showing kindness towards others or oneself can actively heal emotional distress that may have led an individual to use substances in the first place.

Why Is Kindness So Important?

Kindness helps those who feel alone, troubled, or are experiencing mental health triggers find solace in places other than alcohol or drugs. Many people with depression or other mental health disorders use alcohol and other drugs to self-medicate these unpleasant emotions. However, self-medicating does more harm than good. In comparison, a supportive network that is kind and compassionate is far more stable and effective.

Kindness, whether in the form of a listening ear or shown through empathy, shows the struggling person that they matter. Oftentimes, people tend to distance themselves from someone struggling with addiction because they are emotionally unavailable or don’t know how to respond appropriately. At the same time, friends or family members may have boundaries set in place to preserve the relationship with their loved one struggling. They may see kindness as enabling, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Family members can still let their loved ones know that they love and care about them and support their recovery journey.

If your teen struggles with substance use or addiction, showing kindness to themselves is just as critical. They may feel shame and regret for struggling with substance abuse. However, as they work to recover, they will recognize that they still deserve recovery. Take the time to celebrate even the smallest of recovery milestones during their recovery journey.

Kindness as a Ripple Effect

When we are kind, we inspire others to be kind as well. Acts of kindness tend to have ripple effects, which help to establish genuine relationships and social support. Social connections are crucial for both reaching and maintaining long-term sobriety. When temptations or other challenging situations surface during your teen’s recovery, they can lean into their social support systems to keep them on track, avoid repeating old habits, and ultimately prevent relapse.

How Do Alcoholics Anonymous and Other 12-Step Programs Utilize Kindness?

Acts of kindness are foundational to many 12-Step programs, including Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). An act of kindness is an unexpected act of helpfulness toward someone that is done without wanting or expecting anything in return. In 12-Step programs, acts of kindness may involve showing kindness towards peers in your recovery group. Programs may also encourage participants to show random acts of kindness towards strangers, family members, or even toward themselves.

Fortunately, AA makes acts of service relatively easy. If your teen asks their group coordinator, they’ll likely be given a list of service opportunities to choose from. Some of these opportunities may include making coffee before meetings or helping set up and take down chairs. Other opportunities may involve serving community members outside of the treatment center. They can be involved with kindness as much or as little as they choose to be. Remember, no act of kindness is ever too small.

How Can I Practice Kindness Outside Of 12-Step Programs?

AA and other 12-Step programs aren’t the only places to engage in acts of service. There are many opportunities within the community to volunteer and help others. Your teen can start by looking into the local YMCA club, food banks, nonprofits, or house of worship. They can also consider getting involved with their school.

Other easy ways to practice kindness outside of 12-Step groups may include:

  • Raking a neighbor’s leaves
  • Showing gratitude toward someone they love
  • Complimenting others
  • Smiling at others
  • Listening to others
  • Serving at a homeless shelter
  • Checking in with an old friend.

Recovery is a lifelong process that is full of ups and downs. There will be good days and hard days as they heal. However, being engaged in acts of service and kindness towards others will make those hard days more manageable. Having close, supportive relationships will help them stay on the path to a healthier future. They will be surprised at just how far simple acts of kindness, such as calling an old friend to check in, can truly go.

At Clearfork Academy, we understand that the road to recovery is paved with challenges. We believe that kindness plays a critical role in facilitating both short-term change and long-term recovery. Acts of kindness, no matter how small, can help your teen to stay motivated and encouraged during treatment and recovery. Whether your teen is trying to get sober, stay sober, or learn new coping mechanisms, our treatment center is here to help. Our compassionate staff is fully equipped to teach teenagers struggling with substance abuse healthier skills to face their problems. We use a faith-based approach in the great outdoors to help teens break the emotional and physical bonds of addiction. Our treatment methods are evidence-based and proven to work. To learn more about the importance of kindness, or to learn more about the services we offer, call us today at (888) 966-8604

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Yes, Marijuana Addiction Is Real

Yes, Marijuana Addiction Is Real

There is a big misconception that marijuana is not addictive. However, that is false. Contrary to common belief, marijuana is addictive. Estimates from research suggest that about nine percent of users become addicted to marijuana; this number increases among those who start young (to about 17%, or one in six) and among daily users (25 to 50%).

How Many Teens Use Marijuana?

Many teenagers try marijuana, and some use it regularly. As a result, teenage marijuana use is at its highest level in 30 years, and today’s teens are more likely to use marijuana than tobacco. 

In 2019, 37% of US high school students reported lifetime use of marijuana, and 22% reported use in the past 30 days. Past-year vaping of marijuana also remained steady in 2020, following significant increases in 2018 and 2019. In addition, large percentages of middle and high school students reported past-year marijuana vaping—eight percent of eighth-graders, 19% of 10th graders, and 22% of 12th graders.

Many of the nearly seven percent of high-school seniors who report smoking marijuana daily or almost daily are well on their way to addiction, if not already addicted, and might be functioning at a sub-optimal level in their schoolwork and other areas.

Legalization of Marijuana 

The marijuana legalization movement has played a role in sending mixed messages to young people that marijuana is safe because “it’s medicine” or “it’s legal.” Unfortunately, this leaves it up to parents to help set things straight. By understanding the risks, dangers, facts, and statistics on teen marijuana use, you can better address the issue with your teen.

Many states allow recreational use of marijuana in adults ages 21 and over. However, recreational marijuana use by children and teenagers is not legal anywhere in the United States. 

Marijuana Plants Contain Higher Amounts of THC

Today’s marijuana plants are grown differently than in the past and can contain two to three times more tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the ingredient that makes people high. The component of the marijuana plant thought to have the most medical benefits, cannabidiol (CBD), has not increased and remains at about one percent. 

Additionally, the products sold in dispensaries currently are not subject to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards and are not purely isolated cannabinoids; they are therefore not reliable in their potency or concentration of CBD or THC or the inclusion of other ingredients.

Various Ways to Use

These days, teens have more options regarding how to use marijuana. Various ways include:

  • Smoking the dried plant in a rolled cigarette or pipe
  • Smoking liquid or wax marijuana in an electronic cigarette, also known as vaping. 
  • Eating “edibles,” which are baked goods and candies containing marijuana products 
  • Drinking beverages containing marijuana products 
  • Using topical oils and tinctures

Marijuana and the Teenage Brain

One of the primary concerns with teens and marijuana is the effect cannabis has on the developing brain. Despite what many teens may believe, their brains do not finish developing until roughly 25 years of age. During this critical period of development, marijuana can significantly impact the brain’s structure and function. 

Studies have shown that marijuana use during adolescence can affect areas of the brain associated with: 

  • Memory and learning
  • Decision-making
  • Impulse control
  • Motivation

Marijuana use is linked with impaired attention, concentration, and increased risk of addiction and drug abuse. 

Cannabis Use Disorder

Regular use of marijuana can lead to significant problems, including cannabis use disorder. 

Signs that your child has developed cannabis use disorder include using marijuana more often than intended, having cravings, or when using it interferes with other activities. 

If someone with cannabis use disorder stops using suddenly, they may suffer from withdrawal symptoms that include: 

  • Irritability 
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings 
  • Changes in sleep and appetite  

Talk to Your Teen

Given the risk of cognitive impairments, parents and teachers need to talk openly about marijuana with teens, helping them understand its effects on their rapidly-developing brains. 

Marijuana use in teens can lead to long-term consequences. However, teens rarely think they will end up with problems related to marijuana use, so it is important to begin talking about the risks with your teen early and continue this discussion over time. 

Talking with your teen about marijuana can help delay the age of first use and protect their brain. If your teen is already using marijuana, try asking questions openly and curiously, your teen will talk more freely if not feeling judged. 

Talking about drugs with your teen can help them make healthier and more informed decisions about marijuana use. Remember, you are not alone, and help is available.

Marijuana use among teens is at an all-time high. New routes of administration and higher-potency THC increase the chances of addiction in developing brains. Marijuana addiction in teens can negatively impact learning, memory, decision-making, impulse control, and motivation. As parents, it is crucial to know the warning signs and when to reach out for help. At Clearfork Academy, we believe in the potential of teenagers and the power of faith to change the trajectory of their lives. It’s our hope that in the 13 weeks of programming, we can build rapport and create new strategies for holistic sober living for each teen and their family. Teen drug rehab is more than a job to us; it’s a calling. If you or someone you know has a teen struggling with marijuana use or addiction, help is available. To learn more, call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604.

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What Is a Mood Disorder?

What Is a Mood Disorder?

Mood disorders pertain to a “category of mental illnesses in which the underlying problem affects a person’s emotional state.” Teens with mood disorders experience persistent highs and lows in their emotions, making it challenging to lead an everyday life. Teens with these conditions may experience sudden changes in their behavior.

Symptoms of Mood Disorders

Common symptoms of mood disorder include:

  • Appearing sad, irritable, or withdrawn.
  • Having frequent unexplained crying spells, dramatic and rapid mood shifts, and difficulty concentrating.
  • Losing interest in activities previously enjoyed.
  • Acting out in aggressive ways toward people or property.
  • Suffering from low self-esteem or exhibiting extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure.
  • Anxiety, including worrying excessively about grades and school performance, social isolation, and poor self-esteem.
  • Distorted body image.

What Causes Mood Disorders?

Mood changes occur due to an increase in hormones that can affect emotions. While the exact causes of mood disorders are not understood, several risk factors contribute to a person’s chance of developing a mood disorder. These include:

  • Family history: Having a parent or other close family member with a mood disorder can increase your child’s risk of developing a mood disorder.
  • Stressful life events and trauma: Death of a loved one, divorce, violence, and abuse are examples of stressful life events that can trigger mood disorders in teens, especially if they have not developed adequate coping mechanisms.
  • Changes in the brain: Teens with mood disorders may have imbalanced chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters, which help send messages between brain cells. Neurons within the brain may be wired differently in teens with mood disorders, although it is unclear whether this difference is inherited or caused by environmental factors.
  • Drug and substance abuse: Substance abuse can lead to changes in the brain that might contribute to depression and bipolar disorder.
  • Medical problems: Some illnesses, such as cancer and chronic pain syndromes, can increase the risk of developing depression.

Common Mood Disorders in Teens

Researchers believe that approximately 14.3%  of teens experience a severe mood disorder. The most common mood disorders among teens include:

  • Bipolar disorder can lead to feelings of mania and depression.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), associated with seasons, can lead to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness.
  • Cyclothymic disorder is a milder form of bipolar disorder.
  • Dysthymia, or persistent depressive disorder, is a type of depression that lasts for at least two years.
  • Major depressive disorder (MDD), or clinical depression, in which feelings of sadness and hopelessness persist for at least two weeks.

How Can I Help My Teen Who Suffers From a Mood Disorder?

For teens with depression or bipolar disorder, dealing with mood swings, irritability, and other symptoms can be overwhelming. When you’re talking with a teen with a mood disorder, keep these things in mind:

  • Be patient. Your teen may not want to speak and may be very irritable.
  • Regularly check-ins. Check-in with your child after school, on the weekends, around stressful times of the year.
  • Monitor their medication. Know what medicines your child is taking and how they affect them. Keep track of side effects when possible.
  • Offer hope. Reassure your teen that there are ways to feel better, like therapy and medication. Talk about how they’ve dealt with tough times before and gotten through them.
    Get support for yourself. Find support through family therapy and parent support groups for families living with mood disorders. Parenting a teen with a mood disorder is hard work, and you need to take care of yourself.
  • Get help. Talk with your child’s doctor as soon as possible if you think your child may have depression. Ask for help even if your child doesn’t want you to; their illness may keep them from seeking treatment.

Treatment Options for Managing Mood Disorders in Teens

There’s no single way to treat mood disorders. You can successfully manage them with strategies, including therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. If your teen is diagnosed with a mood disorder, it’s essential to work closely with your doctor or another healthcare professional to find a treatment plan that works for them. Treatment options include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT):  This type of treatment helps them explore their thought patterns and behaviors to identify what contributes to the problem — negative automatic thoughts and maladaptive behaviors — and replace them with more positive ones.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT):  In this treatment approach, the therapist helps the teen identify unhelpful avoidance behaviors that may be contributing to depression or bipolar disorder symptoms. The therapist then allows the teen to gradually replace those avoidance behaviors with more practical activities to improve their well-being.
  • Prescribed medications: Treating teens with prescription medications are effective for many teens with depression and bipolar disorder. Doctors usually prescribe the newer antidepressants, SSRIs, for depression, and they have fewer side effects than other antidepressants.

It sometimes seems easy to get caught up in friends, hobbies, and schoolwork. It’s important to remember that every day can be a challenge for teenagers. At Clearfork Academy, we believe that teens with mood disorders can lead enjoyable lives and extraordinary futures; they need the proper support. Therefore, if you suspect your child has a mood disorder, do not delay in seeking help. The sooner they receive appropriate treatment, the better your teen’s long-term prognosis will be. Above all, it’s essential to seek treatment from a professional who has experience working with teens. With proper treatment, education, and coping mechanisms, you can control your disorder and lead a productive life. Our team of licensed clinicians specializes in helping teens struggling with mood disorders and SUD. Our clinicians can intervene if your child engages in destructive behaviors with evidence-based therapies and holistic therapeutic programs. To learn more, contact us at  (888) 966-8604.

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Outpatient Treatment That Includes Academic Services

Outpatient Treatment That Includes Academic Services

Outpatient treatment can offer many benefits for teens who require flexibility in their schedules. If your child needs addiction treatment, but you don’t want their academics to be affected any more than it has been, look into outpatient treatment that offers academic services.

What Is Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient treatment allows children to receive treatment without disrupting their everyday responsibilities such as home and school life. Outpatient treatment is typically the next step after completing intensive inpatient treatment in a rehabilitation facility. It is used when drug use is not severe enough for detox or inpatient treatment or when a person’s behaviors aren’t considered a threat to themselves or others.

Outpatient treatment is also best suited for someone who requires a lot of flexibility in their day-to-day life, such as teens juggling many responsibilities.

The Benefits of Outpatient Treatment

  • Flexibility: Outpatient treatment offers more flexibility than inpatient rehabilitation. Unlike residential treatment, outpatient therapy allows your child the opportunity to go home after therapy, stay involved in school, attend extracurricular activities, or work. It doesn’t have to disrupt their schedule completely.
  • Family involvement: You don’t have to drop your teen off at a residential facility and stay at a distance during their recovery. Family involvement is crucial to teen recovery. It gives the teen support from the people that care for them the most during a hard time in their life. You get to be active in your child’s treatment process and also learn skills to help support their drug-free lifestyle.
  • Skill application: Because treatment is only for a set amount of time throughout the day, they are able to apply the skills and coping strategies they learn in treatment to their natural environment. Unlike residential treatment, which may sometimes occur in a location away from home, teens can learn how to exist in their natural environment without drugs. This can teach them time management, how to juggle responsibilities, and offers a plethora of resources to use when help is needed.

Whether virtual or in-person, IOP is equally beneficial for those who have completed residential treatment or meet the criteria for IOP only.

Why Are Academics Important in Rehab?

Addiction can have a huge impact on a child’s academic performance. School and coursework could be a trigger for your teen’s substance use. Because they spend a majority of their day at school, there are many influences they may face in that environment.

Your child may struggle academically and use substances to cope with the embarrassment or stress they feel. Difficulty with organization and keeping up with their schoolwork could also be challenging. Friends and peer pressure can play a big role in your teen being introduced to substances and lead to addiction.

Choosing Residential Treatment

When you decide that residential treatment is necessary, understand that this decision can disrupt your child’s schooling. Your teen will have to miss school for rehab, where the length of stay is dependent on your child’s progress. Continuing academic coursework during treatment is important to a teen’s recovery.

If a child is out of school for too long, this can cause regression in their skills. For example, if a child does not get enough practice with reading, they may have difficulty returning to school and reading at their grade level. This can cause a teen’s self-confidence to decrease, which can become a trigger for drug use. It can also cause a setback for your teen to progress to the next grade or even prevent graduating.

Choose a Plan That Suits Your Teen’s Needs

During treatment, all or most of the aspects influencing your teen’s addiction must be addressed to get to the root of what may be causing It. Having your child attend a center that offers academic services allows your child’s treatment plan to incorporate their schooling. Not only does it help keep your child on track, but it also allows your child to get academic help like tutoring and teaching your child skills they need to help improve their academics.

Offering Academic Support

Every outpatient program that offers academic services will have its own available options. Some treatment centers are able to have their patient’s academic credits transferred to their high school, which can count towards graduation.

Teachers can assess what areas of school your child needs help with and provide them with assistance throughout their coursework. Whether they are in middle school and need help transitioning to high school coursework or are a senior preparing for college, there are many academic resources available such as:

  • SAT/ACT prep
  • Licensed tutors and teachers
  • alternative school
  • College prep
  • Psychoeducational classes
  • GED testing
  • Alternative schools

Here at Clearfork Academy, we partnered with the University of Texas charter school to help our patients stay on track academically while also helping them through sobriety. We believe that teens have the brightest minds and that addiction has hindered their light. Our partnership with UT charter schools offers on-campus classes taught by teachers that work with our residential staff. We strive to help teens reach success in sobriety and their academic lives. Your teen will have the best resources to live a successful and sober lifestyle. However, the first step towards overcoming addiction is admitting when your teen needs help and taking action to get them help. Clearfork Academy is an addiction treatment center for teens that helps teens manage behavioral and mental disorders. Let us be the home to help your family and teens heal from addiction and enjoy life again. To learn more about our residential and outpatient treatment options, contact Clearfork Academy at (888) 966-8604

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What to Expect Through the Stages of Addiction Recovery?

What to Expect Through the Stages of Addiction Recovery?

Addiction recovery is not a linear process. Since addiction is a chronic condition, addiction recovery follows several stages. The first is pre-contemplation, where the person does not recognize a problem with their substance use disorder. Through contemplation and preparation, the person grows closer to realizing that they have a problem. Then, after gathering information and support from others, they begin their journey through action and maintenance.

One thing to remember is anyone can recover.

The Importance of Knowing the 5 Stages of Addiction Recovery

When entering recovery, a teen may have to deal with cravings, irritability, and other uncomfortable symptoms. It makes it difficult to see the value of treatment or imagine a life free from drugs and alcohol. By understanding the five stages of addiction recovery, your teen can help empower themselves to get through the early stages of sobriety. Ultimately, knowledge about the five stages of addiction recovery can help you intervene at the right time to help a loved one who is abusing substances.

Addiction affects brain chemistry and wreaks havoc on the body, but your teen and family can recover with treatment.

The 5 Stages of Addiction Recovery

The five stages of addiction recovery are pre-contemplation, contemplation, action, maintenance, and relapse. An individual recovering from SUD  may not necessarily go through all the stages in order. They also may need to go through the same stage again.

Stage 1: Pre-Contemplation

People in this stage of addiction recovery do not see a problem with their use of drugs or alcohol. They do not intend to stop using and may become defensive if confronted about their behavior. They may say, “I’m not addicted” or “I can quit whenever I want.” People will seek out “normal” experiences while they continue to use alcohol or drugs in this stage. Though their life may lack any balance, they can’t see what their drinking is doing to them or the people around them.

A person in this stage might think someone else, like their boss or spouse, is to blame for reminding them about their drinking. They usually need external pressure from family and friends to get them to consider quitting.

Stage 2: Contemplation

In the contemplation stage of recovery, people struggle with ambivalence about making a change in their lives; people may feel torn between the desire to move toward recovery and continue using drugs or alcohol. People contemplating constructing a change often ask themselves, “Am I an addict? Do I have a problem? Is it worth it to quit? Essentially, they begin to realize the negative impact of substances in their lives like:

  • Missing out on important social events.
  • Unable to achieve their life or academic goals.
  • May have lost interest in recreational activities.

Despite seeing the consequences of SUD, they still hold some ambivalence over sobriety and seeking treatment. In this stage, teens battling SUD try to find ways to use drugs and alcohol that allow them to function well enough to avoid any potential problems. Unfortunately, someone with a SUD can’t continue functioning well enough without treatment.

Stage 3: Preparation

In this stage, the teen starts working with their family on a plan to overcome their SUD. People in this stage will often make lists and set goals to prepare themselves for SUD treatment and recovery. With their family, they research their treatment options. At this stage, parents and family members must encourage the teen. Parents can do this by gently pressing them as they consider their options and decide whether or not to go to treatment.

Stage 4: Action Stage

The teen commits to remaining sober. This is when healthy behaviors begin to replace unhealthy ones. The teen with the SUD starts to make changes in their life and actively engages in recovery tasks like :

  • Avoid peers, situations, or locations associated with substance use.
  • Building a strong recovery network.
  • Going to therapy or support groups.
  • Attending 12-step meetings.
  • Learning new coping strategies for dealing with stress or cravings for drugs or alcohol.

An addict may make many attempts at staying sober before they manage long-term abstinence. Relapse is common during this stage, but it can also be a learning experience. Keep encouraging your teen as they work through this stage.

Stage 5: Maintenance Stage

Once someone has successfully graduated from a treatment program like a residential or outpatient program, they enter maintenance. This step involves your teen taking active responsibility for their sobriety by continuously using the coping skills and techniques learned during treatment.

Teens will have to maintain a healthy lifestyle, both mentally and physically, while avoiding triggers and stressors that could lead to relapse. To support your teen’s recovery, you will encourage him to continue his counseling, attend 12-step meetings, and avoid situations that could lead to relapse. While there is always a risk of relapse, a relapse-prevention plan will serve them well.

Are you tired of watching your child suffer through addiction? Knowing where your teen is in the process of addiction recovery enables you to talk to them at the right time. If they are in the pre-contemplation stage, a nudge in the right direction may be all that is necessary to help guide them toward seeking treatment. Whatever your situation, education can always give you an added advantage when dealing with adolescents suffering from substance abuse issues, and Clearfork Academy can help. Based in the mountains of Texas, our accredited treatment offers a transformational experience that helps teenagers struggling with addiction, anxiety, depression, and other emotional difficulties to grow and thrive. Our addiction recovery plan focuses on holistic, evidence-based treatments with personalized aftercare plans that guarantee long-lasting results. If your teen is currently struggling to manage their SUD, then the time to get help is now. To learn more about our programs, contact us today at (888) 966-8604.   

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What to Say When Your Teen Is Addicted to the Internet?

What to Say When Your Teen Is Addicted to the Internet?

Internet use is growing at an alarming rate among adolescents and teenagers. A recent report revealed 92% of teens go online daily, 56% several times a day, and 24% almost constantly. That same report indicates that U.S. teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 spend an average of six and a half hours on screen media use.

Many parents are unaware that their child has become addicted to the Internet to the point where they can no longer function in their daily lives. It poses a severe threat to your child’s physical and mental health. Helping your child will require educating yourself about internet addiction and getting help as soon as possible.

The Effect of the Internet on the Teen Brain

For most with internet addiction, the Internet activates the reward system within their brain the same way alcohol does when a person with a substance use disorder takes a drink or a drug. This happens because the brain releases dopamine, making them feel happy and excited. It feels so good that they want to experience it again and again. Over time many teens become desensitized to this artificial stimulation, so they need more and more activity to get the same effect.

A recent study from the University of California, Los Angeles found that heavy use of digital devices can lead to significant changes in the brain. Researchers scanned the brains of teens and young adults ages 14 to 21. Those who engaged in seven or more hours of screen time daily had lower levels of brain connectivity in regions associated with attention and emotional control than those who spent an hour or less using electronic devices every day.

Recognize the Signs of Internet Addiction in a Teen

If your teen is spending hours daily on the computer, it’s time to look at their behavior. Here are some signs that your child may be suffering from an internet addiction:

  • They seem depressed or moody without their phone or computer.
  • They rely on the Internet for support and comfort rather than friends and family.
  • Dropping grades or interest in school.
  • Not eating or sleeping well.
  • Becoming defensive when confronted about their behavior, or they cannot stop using the Internet or set limits on their time spent online.
  • Lying to others about how much time you spend online.
  • Avoiding other activities because of their Internet use.
  • Losing track of time while online so that hours have passed without them realizing it.
  • Failing to meet responsibilities at home, school, or work because of Internet use.

What Causes Internet Addiction in Teenagers?

If you’re worried about internet addiction, do not blame yourself or your child. Addiction is a complex disease and often has its roots in other issues. Teens who spend too much time on the Internet could become addicted to gaming, pornography, gambling, and social media. Other factors that lead to internet addiction include:

  • Stress: For some teens, the online world provides an escape from stressors in real life, such as school problems, family problems, or social problems.
  • Family environment: Family conflict, including low family cohesion, a lack of warmth in the family environment, and not feeling supported by parents, can lead to some teens seeking support online.
  • Social Difficulties: Some teens have difficulty interacting socially. They may find it easier to interact with others online and have more confidence when chatting online than face-to-face.
  • Low Self-Esteem: Teens who have low self-esteem may feel better about themselves online than they do offline.
  • Having a genetic predisposition for addiction: If you have a family history of addiction, your child may be more likely to develop an internet addiction.
  • Mental health issues: If your child suffers from ADHD, depression, anxiety, or another mental health issue, they may turn to the Internet to escape these feelings.
  • Need for approval: Teens feel the need to constantly update their status, post pictures, and keep up with what is happening in their friends’ lives.

Treatment Options for Teens Suffering From Internet Addiction

Parents can utilize the following tools to assist their children with treatment.

  • Set time limits: It’s hard for kids to control their behavior and therefore need some structure. Establish times when the Internet is unavailable. If you’re worried about this being too strict, consider it a temporary measure until your child can control their behavior.
  • Residential or intensive outpatient treatment: Teens can enter a treatment center. Here teens will participate in individual and group therapy, psychoeducation, holistic therapies, and 12-Step outpatient or residential treatment meetings.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment for teens suffering from Internet addiction. CBT focuses on changing thinking patterns and behaviors associated with an addictive disorder.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy: This type of therapy focuses on helping people manage their stress levels, improve their communication skills and avoid maladaptive behaviors like excessive internet use and substance abuse.
  • The 12-step program or SMART Recovery: While these recovery groups serve people with alcohol or substance abuse, their methods apply to behavioral addictions like internet addiction.
  • Block certain sites: Specific sites, like gaming and porn, are exceptionally addictive; consider blocking them on your computer or installing filters.

There’s no doubt that the internet serves as an excellent tool for learning, entertainment, and communication. However, it can pose many potential dangers for teens, particularly vulnerable to addiction. Fortunately, they can treat this condition. At Clearfork Academy, our treatment options include outpatient therapy, support groups, and self-help programs. We understand that it may take time to achieve full recovery; luckily, our resources and staff will work to find treatment and therapies that meet your teen’s individual needs. Such measures will help your teen recover from their internet addiction and help them channel that energy into productive, healthy activities. If your child is dealing with an addiction to the internet, don’t wait another moment. We will provide your teen with the professional treatment they need to begin their recovery. Once your teen completes treatment, they will gain their self-esteem and confidence. To learn more, contact us today at (888) 966-8604.

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How Can EMDR Therapy Help Your Teen Recover from Trauma?

How Can EMDR Therapy Help Your Teen Recover From Trauma?

Early intervention for trauma can help adolescents with nightmares, PTSD, and other emotional issues that arise from traumatic experiences. The causes of this can vary. For some, it is a result of violent acts they have witnessed. For others, it’s the result of physical or sexual abuse.

Meanwhile, others experience PTSD due to a natural disaster or lost a loved one in an accident. Fortunately, EMDR therapy has emerged as an effective treatment for PTSD in teens.

EDMR: The Brain and Traumatic Memories

EMDR therapy is a relatively new type of psychotherapy introduced by Dr. Francine Shapiro to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. It’s a type of psychotherapy that helps people manage the symptoms of trauma, PTSD, anxiety, and other mental health disorders that usually stem from traumatic memories.

Traumatic memories are thought to be stored differently than ordinary memories. Trauma memories emphasize the emotional and sensory, rather than just the words or images. For example, a survivor of sexual assault might remember the feeling of being held down, but not the attacker’s face. Or a child physically abused might experience a trauma response when someone raises their hand. They don’t necessarily remember what happened.

These traumatic memories may become so embedded that their impact continues to resurface in their lives. For many people who have PTSD, EDMR offers an opportunity for healing by helping them to reframe their traumatic memories.

Using EDMR to Dissolve Trauma’s Hold on the Mind

EDMR therapy involves recalling the trauma while simultaneously undergoing bilateral stimulation, including side-to-side eye movements, tapping, or sounds played through headphones. This stimulus stimulates both sides of one’s brain, which helps a person process and store the experience more like a typical memory.

During EMDR therapy sessions, a therapist guides you through a structured process of recalling traumatic memories while stimulating your brain with eye movements or other rhythmic sensory input. This appears to help the brain reprocess the memory and make it less distressing. It also includes using methods like:

  • Eye movements: The therapist will ask your child to track their finger with their eyes as it moves from side to side.
  • Tapping: The therapist will tap their fingers near your child’s head as they follow the therapist’s hand with their eyes.
  • Sounds or tones: The therapist will play tones or sounds through headphones as your child focuses on the noise while following their finger with your eyes as they move it from side to side.

What Can I Expect From Treatment?

The evaluation will include talking about your primary concerns, but it may also involve taking a detailed history from childhood up through the present. Once they have been cleared for treatment, standard EMDR therapy involves eight phases:

  1. History and treatment planning: taking a history, formulating a treatment plan
  2. Preparation: psyching the client up for the work to be done
  3. Assessment: determining which memories will be targeted for reprocessing
  4. Desensitization: reprocessing specific memories
  5. Installation: establishing the new perspective on the memory
  6. Body Scan: checking for uncomfortable sensations in the body related to the event
  7. Closure: ending the session at a comfortable place
  8. Reevaluation: continuing therapy as needed, assessing progress, determining next steps, ending the treatment process with a plan.

Many people report experiencing a “catharsis” or a sense of relief and a feeling of being “lighter” after EDMR treatment. Teens also notice that they feel more energized and positive after experiencing EDMR.

Is EDMR Right for My Teen?

Being a teenager is already difficult enough without dealing with the debilitating effects of trauma. Research shows that childhood traumatic experiences are major risk factors for various psychiatric disorders and SUD. For adolescents and teens with complex cases of depression, anxiety, trauma, and substance abuse, EDMR is often the best choice. Clinical research demonstrates EDMR’s effectiveness in treating these conditions in teens. Teens who have experienced EDMR therapy report that it has helped them to:

  • Overcome painful memories and stop being haunted by the past.
  • Improve the ability to focus.
  • Sharpen concentration skills and learning abilities.
  • Reduce ADHD symptoms and more.
  • Free themselves from fear, anxiety, and panic attacks.
  • Find more peace with themselves.
  • Improve relationships with others.
  • Improve their self-esteem and confidence.
  • Stop feeling so angry all the time.
  • Stop feeling guilty or ashamed.
  • Live happier lives.

We recommend finding a therapist who specializes in EDMR for treatment. EDMR does not involve medication or hypnosis, making it an ideal therapy choice for anyone who may have concerns about these alternative approaches.

EDMR offers hope as a treatment option that uses scientific principles, and clinical results show it has helped so many. EMDR is a relatively recent innovation in the field of psychotherapy. It can seem like uncharted territory to any parent wondering whether it will help their child with their issues. At Clearfork Academy, we understand that EDMR is not a miracle therapy; it takes time to work. However, the neurological effect on your teen’s brain makes it well worth the effort. Understand that the principles of EDMR come from well-established and trusted practices in medicine and psychotherapy. Therefore, we pride ourselves on setting the highest standards for the best possible treatment for our teen participants. While we use many different methods to help our participants achieve sobriety and heal after traumatic events, EDMR therapy is one of our most effective tools in this process. To find out more, contact us today by calling (888) 966-8604.

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What You Need to Know About Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Addiction

What You Need to Know About Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Addiction

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is growing among teens due to social media, societal standards, and constant comparisons to other people’s bodies. In a day and time where body image has become of great importance to teens, it is necessary to look out for signs of BDD. Knowing how to have a healthy self-image is important for maintaining mental health and preventing further co-occurring issues like addiction.

What Is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a mental health disorder that affects people’s perception of their self-image. People with body dysmorphia fixate on specific flaws in their appearance that typically aren’t noticeable to other people. BDD causes an intense fixation on one’s appearance that can disrupt a person’s everyday life. It involves checking one’s appearance in mirrors, repeatedly seeking reassurance from others, or getting cosmetic procedures to fix their “flaws.”

The majority of people in life have flawed beliefs themselves. However, people with BDD let their flaws consume their attention and take drastic measures to fix them. This form of constant negative thinking about one’s flaws can become intense insecurities which can cause depression, anxiety, and often trigger suicidal thoughts.

Signs of Body Dysmorphia

Body dysmorphia typically develops around adolescence and is most prominent during the teenage years. It occurs in both males and females. The most common body parts that a person with BDD obsesses over are the stomach, face, chest, hair, skin, and hips. Such a skewed perception of self can lead to damaging thoughts and behaviors. It is important t understand the symptoms of body dysmorphia as they occur.

Symptoms of body dysmorphia can include:

  • A strong belief that there is a flaw or defect in appearance that makes them appear “ugly”
  • Seeking out cosmetic procedures to fix body issues
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Consistently comparing yourself to others
  • Avoiding mirrors
  • Feeling depressed, anxious, stressed, or ashamed
  • Trying to hide parts of yourself with clothing or other items
  • Constantly exercising

Body dysmorphia can also look like or incorporate other disorders. It is typical for someone with BDD to experience depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance use disorder.

When Addiction and Body Dysmorphia Co-occur

Individuals with BDD have a higher risk of developing an addiction. Dealing with a negative self-image brings on many uncomfortable feelings about oneself. People who abuse substances often attempt to self-medicate to cope with negative feelings such as low-self esteem, suicidal thoughts, stress, and anxiety. Because many individuals with BDD experience these exact feelings, they often turn to drugs and alcohol use to cope with their distorted self-image.

They may even be using drugs and alcohol to cope with other co-occurring mental conditions that accompany BDD. Body dysmorphia can also trigger eating disorders due to food affecting how the body looks and feels. Someone with BDD may use alcohol or drugs like cocaine to increase or suppress their appetite in an attempt to control how they look.

Treatment for Addiction and BDD

Roughly half of the individuals with BDD will develop a substance use disorder at the same time or later on in life. If you or someone you love have a dual diagnosis of both addiction and BDD, finding a residential treatment center that treats comorbidity is necessary for recovery. To fully heal and maintain a drug-free lifestyle, you have to address both illnesses as one influences the other.

The first step in the recovery process for your teen will be to get clean of all drugs. This typically includes safely completing a medically assisted detox program to go through the withdrawal process. From there, your child will meet with a therapist who will continue your child’s treatment process and determine further actions that are necessary for recovery. Depending on your child’s needs, this could range from starting medication to trying different forms of therapy or holistic treatments.

CBT and SSRIs

Two of the most effective treatments for body dysmorphia are CBT and SSRIs. Cognitive-behavioral therapy allows the individual to talk with a professional therapist about their self-image. The therapist will work on techniques that the individual can try to incorporate into their everyday life that helps build higher self-esteem and confidence in appearance. Although researchers have found no direct cause for BDD, it is believed that the problem could be related to the brain’s inability to make serotonin.

SSRIs are antidepressants that are most often used for medication to treat BDD. It is important to remember that a clinical evaluation by licensed professionals will help you get the most accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for recovery.

Teens go through many silent battles that do not get noticed or addressed until it is too late. If you believe your teen may have body dysmorphic disorder and use drugs to cope, reach out for help today. At Clearfork Academy, our programs work to get to the root of the addiction to help teens achieve a sober lifestyle. This includes treating co-occurring disorders such as body dysmorphia or other mental health disorders. We offer a safe and inviting addiction treatment center dedicated to helping teen boys overcome substance use and mental health disorders. Sobriety is hard work, but you and your teen do not need to go it alone. Our staff provides our patients with the support and consistency necessary to beat addiction while teaching coping skills to overcome everyday challenges. If your teen is currently dealing with BDD and addiction, reach out to Clearfork Academy today and call (888) 966-8604.

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What Are the Benefits of Group Therapy Program for Teens?

What Are the Benefits of Group Therapy Program for Teens?

Group therapy can make all the difference in your child’s treatment. Communal approaches to treatment have helped numerous teenagers change for the better, leading happier, more productive lives.

Our group therapy program focuses on support, structure, and help. Let your teen take advantage of a more communal way to address their issues, build interpersonal skills, and lead happier lives.

The Structure of Group Therapy for Teens

Group therapy, a type of psychotherapy,  involves sessions with a counselor and other people facing similar issues. During the group therapy sessions, the counselor or therapist will guide the discussion by introducing a topic and sharing their insights to facilitate the learning process for all members. A group therapy session usually consists of 8-12 members.

Family Relationships

Teens will explore their relationships with their parents, siblings, and extended family members. They may discuss how these relationships impact their emotions and behavior. The therapist will facilitate the teens to discuss topics like:

  • Peer relationships and pressure: Teens will discuss their interactions with friends and classmates and how these relationships affect their moods and even substance use.
  • Academic performance: This topic entails exploring academic achievement and organization, time management, and study habits.
  • Physical health: The group may discuss fitness routines or specific health concerns such as weight management or eating disorders.
  • Sexuality: Though a sensitive topic for many teens, it can encompass various issues such as dating and romantic relationships.
  • Relapse prevention and identifying triggers: The therapist will review methods to prevent relapses. Teens can share their triggers and strategies to cope or avoid those triggers. Teens in the group may offer suggestions on how they deal with these same issues when they arise.
  • Fears about the future: This is an opportunity for them to talk about their worries regarding recovery or life goals and receive encouragement from others who understand.

These topics serve as significant components of the group goals to help the teens progress in their recovery. The therapist must take specific steps to ensure the safety and benefits of each group session. For example, the therapist will make sure:

  • Most participants have a chance to share.
  • The group stays on topic and does not become a social hour.
  • Reduce any angry outbursts and maintain a cohesive atmosphere.
  • Guide other teens in the group to listen and offer support, suggestions, or advice based on their own experiences.
  • Keep the zone judgment-free.

The Purpose of Group Therapy

The purpose of Group therapy for teens is to provide a safe, supportive environment where they can explore their thoughts and feelings and learn social skills. Other benefits to participating in a group include:

  • Practicing social skills: Teens can try out new ways of communicating with others and receive feedback from the therapist and other participants on how it went. Teens can model out family dynamics or friendship dynamics with each other. Additionally, teens practice how to ask for help when needed and how to develop positive relationships with others.
  • Conflict resolution: Teens with mental health issues may experience conflict with friends, family members, and school. Group therapy helps them learn how to manage conflict healthily by providing a model for effective conflict resolution and strategies for preventing and managing it when it does occur.

Learn From Others

Teens can learn from their peers about handling situations and problems in life. For example, if one teen has struggled with self-harm, another teen might share techniques that have helped them stop. Such techniques include:

  • Gaining confidence: As teens begin to feel better about themselves through group therapy, they can feel more confident about socializing with others.
  • Developing trust: Trust is an essential part of any relationship, especially those you’re trying to develop with others in your support system. By talking freely in group therapy without worrying about what others will think or say, teens can start to build trust in others and themselves.
  • Practicing coping skills: Group therapy can teach young people how to cope with stress and make important life decisions without reverting to drug use. Teens in group therapy can practice new coping skills with their peers, which helps them become more comfortable using these skills in other situations, such as with family members or at school.
  • Incorporating the family: Some group therapy may include the parent. They may invite parents as part of family education groups. Family education groups help parents understand adolescent SUD, learn about effective communication strategies, and understand relapse prevention strategies that will help their child maintain long-term recovery from drug or alcohol abuse.

Group Therapy at Clearfork Academy

At Clearfork Academy, we provide group therapy for addicted teens to address their SUD and co-occurring mental health issues. Our trained and licensed clinicians help teens develop new coping skills, work through family issues, and learn new ways to interact with others. Our group therapy sessions have helped teen participants:

  • Increase social functioning and self-esteem.
  • Help teens understand how their behavior impacts others.
  • Provide a sense of support and community.
  • Provide an opportunity for teens to practice what they learn throughout the treatment program in a safe, supportive setting.
  • Encourage positive behavior changes.

Group therapy can serve as a powerful forum for teenagers struggling with mental health or SUD. At Clearfork Academy, we make every effort to help your teen navigate challenges by providing a holistic approach that focuses on the whole person. Our clinicians specialize in treating adolescents who have SUD and co-occurring mental health issues. Our cutting-edge therapeutic approach, which we have developed over the years, has been used to help boost self-esteem, develop coping skills and enhance social interactions. We have helped hundreds of teens gain coping strategies and become their best selves. If your teen is currently struggling to manage their mental health or SUD, then the time to get help is now. Our admissions staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Help your teen begin the process of healing today. To find out more about our programs, reach out to Clearfork Academy by calling (888) 966-8604.

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What Are Edibles?

What Are Edibles?

Today, edibles are a popular way to consume cannabis products. Just like smoking or vaping marijuana, edibles pose many risks to teens. Some edibles contain THC or CBD. THC and CBD are both cannabinoids found in marijuana, but they are different from each other. Edibles that contain THC can make a person high. However, a person cannot become high off of CBD edibles. People usually consume CBD edibles in hopes of improving their health. 

Still, they both affect the body. 

What Are Edibles?

Edibles are food items, usually sweet treats, made from or containing cannabis. Some edibles contain either THC or CBD. Since THC edibles are still drugs, they can be extremely harmful if used chronically – especially since they have addictive qualities. These edible treats usually look like ordinary treats such as cookies, brownies, and other baked goods. Yet, unlike ordinary treats,  marijuana edibles contain higher levels of THC.

What Is THC?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a substance found in the cannabis plant that has a psychoactive impact on the people who consume it. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), THC’s chemical structure mimics the brain’s chemical anandamide, neurotransmitters that influence thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination, and time perception. Because of this, the body accepts and allows THC to alter one’s mind. This component makes one feel high or euphoric from using cannabis products like edibles or marijuana. 

Subsequently, when a person consumes THC, the chemical attaches itself to the already present cannabinoid receptors in the brain. The now attached THC alters the user’s memory, thinking, concentration, and coordination while also activating the brain’s reward system, which ultimately increases dopamine levels. The hormone dopamine drives the urge to repeat rewarding and pleasurable behaviors making marijuana addictive. 

What Are the Risks of Using THC Edibles?

THC edibles can lead to dependence, psychosis, and other health risks. For example, people who are sensitive to the psychoactive properties of  THC may experience intense feelings of anxiety or paranoia. Additionally, people with mental health issues like schizophrenia may become agitated and violent after consuming THC edibles. Other THC risks include:

  • Impairing motor skills and concentration for up to three hours after consumption.
  • Diminishing motor functions such as walking, driving a vehicle, or performing routine tasks.
  • Adolescent users of THC may perform worse on cognitive tests.
  • Continued use of THC may cause a SUD to marijuana or more potent substances.
  • THC use lowers IQ, memory, and cognition, especially in adolescents.
  • THC can adversely interact with other drugs or certain medications.
  • Heart problems due to rhythm irregularities.
  • May aggravate symptoms of trauma, depression, and anxiety.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant. It does not cause a high but may treat various ailments. Unlike marijuana’s cannabinoid, THC, CBD does not produce psychoactive effects. While marijuana use can lead to dependence, current research suggests that CBD is not addictive. This is likely because CBD lacks the properties common to other cannabinoids such as THC.

Unlike THC, CBD does not bind to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Instead, CBD impacts the endocannabinoid system by activating the serotonin and adenosine receptors. Subsequently, people with seizure disorders, chronic pain, anxiety disorders, and many other ailments turn to CBD edibles like hemp oil, hemp powder, gummies, and cookies to treat their pain or anxiety. 

What Are the Risks of Using CBD Edibles?

CBD doesn’t hold as many dangers as THC. However, it is important to monitor the frequency and amount of consumption. You should also consider the means and process of manufacturing and harvesting hemp or CBD. The FDA has not required manufacturers of CBD hemp oil or edible products to prove that they are safe or effective. 

Side effects of CBD may include dry mouth, lightheadedness, drowsiness, and in some cases, liver injury.

Signs Teens Are Using THC Edibles

There are a few signs that your teenager is using THC edibles. Though teens may try to conceal THC use in sweet edibles like candy or cake, the chemical will impact your teen’s behavior. Fundamental behavioral changes include:

  • Unexplained presence of intense emotions like anxiety, agitation, or euphoria.
  • Isolation from loved ones in an attempt to hide their THC use.
  • Developing or exacerbating mental health issues. 

Finding Treatment for THC Substance Use Disorder

If your teen’s cravings for THC or CBD interfere with their daily life, it’s time to seek help. At Clearfork Academy, we offer support for those struggling with all forms of SUD—including those involving marijuana edibles. We provide adventure therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, medical detoxes, and a supportive environment to help your child. 

The use of edibles may be legal in some areas, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any harmful effects associated with them. As more states continue to legalize marijuana, edibles will grow in popularity. Yet, they can damage a teen’s health and cause addiction. The long-term effects of marijuana edibles aren’t entirely known, but studies have proven that the drug negatively impacts cognitive function and brain development in adolescents. THC found in edibles can also trigger psychotic symptoms in young people. Unfortunately, many teenagers who use edibles develop cravings for THC or CBD. Such cravings can interfere with their daily lives, having adverse effects on their physical or mental health. If your teen is experiencing problems with these cannabinoid products, it’s time to seek help. At Clearfork Academy, we offer support programs for all types of addiction, including marijuana edibles. To find out more about our treatment programs, contact our admissions team at (888) 966-8604.

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Why Is Rehab Important Versus Outpatient Therapy?

Why is Rehab Important Versus Outpatient Therapy?

Parenting comes with many challenges that often cause you to sacrifice parts of yourself for your child. However, when your child is struggling to overcome a substance use or mental health disorder, you may feel like you are at a loss on how to help your child. It may be time to consider professional help, such as inpatient or outpatient therapy.

Inpatient Rehabilitation

Inpatient rehabilitation also referred to as rehab, is when a person stays in a 24-hour care treatment facility. However, your length of stay depends on your diagnosis the severity of your symptoms. For some, treatment may last a few days, while it can last a few months for others.

Short-term inpatient treatment can happen in rehabilitation hospitals or specialized wings of acute-care hospitals. The most common form of intensive inpatient treatment is in addiction treatment centers.

Outpatient Rehabilitation

Outpatient rehabilitation programs consist of clinic visits or other therapeutic programs that do not require 24-hour supervision. Outpatient treatment helps when a person’s symptoms and mental health status are not severe enough for inpatient care or if that person does not show signs of harming themself or others. This treatment is more flexible with a patient’s schedule, and they are allowed to return home when they finish their appointment. Outpatient treatment typically consists of:

  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Medication management
  • Family counseling
  • Group therapy.

Signs Your Teen Needs Inpatient Rehab

Here are four indicators that your teen needs inpatient rehabilitation:

  1. Repeated relapse: If your teen has made numerous efforts to quit substance use and has repeatedly relapsed, then a more intensive approach is necessary. Repeated relapse can signify that previous efforts are not working, and there needs to be a reassessment of their plan. Many factors can contribute to why your teen is relapsing, and an intensive treatment center can address the issue.
  2. Dual-Diagnosis: Drug use is often associated with self-medicating. If your teen has any underlying mental health conditions, they may be using drugs to cope with other uncomfortable symptoms. Residential treatment will give your child access to medically assisted detox, therapy, and medication management. Drug use is most associated with mood, anxiety, and personality disorders but can co-occur with any mental illness.
  3. Safety Issues: If your child’s behaviors have caused a concern of safety for themselves or others, seek professional care. Inpatient treatment will monitor their behavior, and staff will keep them safe from themselves and others. Disorders such as bipolar, schizophrenia, and substance use can have psychosis features such as hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions. They could also contribute to difficulty controlling emotions. Such factors can cause dangerous behaviors that need professional care. Inpatient care can also help administer medications that assist with emotional regulation and mood stabilizers while observing direct side effects if any happen. They will also prevent the patient from developing a dependency on any medication.
  4. Understand Their Actions Have Consequences: If your teen is not learning that the negative effects of their actions result in consequences, this is a sign for intensive help. One of the key components to recovery is learning how their past actions brought harm to their lives and others. If they cannot take full accountability for their actions, they will continue to develop negative habits. Residential facilities give your teen the chance to remove themselves from their old environment that influences their behaviors and focus on making a full recovery.

Finding a Treatment Center

Talk to your child’s pediatrician or clinician once you realize that your child needs more intensive care. They can help you discuss which treatment option suits the child’s circumstances. They may want to assess symptoms to examine your child’s current mental and psychological state.

The next step is to start looking for a treatment center. You should include many factors in your decision, and your search should be comprehensive. You should only consider fully licensed and accredited facilities. Since teens experience different symptoms than adults, they require different care for detox. Teens also require a treatment center that is age-specific. Being in an age-specific environment will connect them with other teens who share similar experiences, which can be comforting.

Family involvement is also crucial to teen recovery, so look for a center that provides family programs and visitation. The center you choose will be home to your child for however long they need to complete treatment, so make every effort to find one that best suits them. Finding a professional and highly trained center will give them the best chance of full recovery.

The thought of sending your child away and placing their care in the hands of people can feel scary. For some teens struggling with addiction and mental health problems, removing them from their previous environment can be the most beneficial aspect of treatment and recovery. It doesn’t mean you failed as a parent. It simply means their condition has gotten out of your control, and professionals who specialize in treatment will help your child return to a healthy lifestyle. If you or someone you know is searching for an inpatient teen addiction and mental health treatment center, Clearfork Academy can help. We are committed to providing care that will meet the needs of every one of our patients. Our goal is to help our patients make a full recovery and stay healthy long after leaving our program. To learn more about our programs, reach out to Call Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 966-8604.  

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7 Tips for Talking to Your Child About Trauma

7 Tips for Talking to Your Child About Trauma

Adolescents and teens experience trauma more than adults. However, children may not understand how to acknowledge and express their feelings around traumatic situations. Knowing how to approach your child and get them to open up about their feelings around trauma can be difficult. 

#1. Start The Conversation

Provide your child with the opportunity to talk about the experiences related to their trauma. If a child isn’t willing to discuss their trauma, that doesn’t mean they don’t have any feelings about it. Children and teens are always experiencing new emotions and learning about the world around them. 

Trauma can evoke uncomfortable feelings that they might not know they can express. Even if you can’t tell whether they have emotions related to a traumatic situation, initiate a conversation about it anyway. Find a time that works best for having an intimate conversation. Create a safe and loving environment for them to feel comfortable opening up. You can start by asking questions about how they feel.

#2. Listen to Their Feelings

As a parent, you should always strive to listen and understand your child. When you initiate the conversation, give them your undivided attention. When they speak, don’t try to cut them off or tell them how they should feel. Through active listening, you can validate their emotions and let them know that you hear what they are saying. 

#3. Express Your Feelings

If a child never learns that it’s okay to feel upset, sad, or scared, those emotions can become uncomfortable and cause them to avoid feeling them altogether. If there’s one thing you’ve heard as a parent, it is to always be a good role model. 

Whether parents realize it or not, children are constantly observing them. When they do not see their parent express feelings and emotions safely and healthily, they may begin to lack the ability to express feelings. However, be careful not to share in a way that causes the child to take on your feelings. Try saying things like, “I also feel sad or scared when we talk about this” or “sometimes I cry when I think of talking about this, too.”

#4. Reassure Them

As an adult, you likely understand that you heal at your own pace. However, it can be hard for a child to understand that over time things will get better. During the conversation, reassure them. Let them know that as they move forward in life, things will get better again and that you will be there to support them along the way. 

#5. Encourage Self Expression

Holding in emotions is like creating a ticking time bomb. When both children and adults suppress their feelings surrounding trauma, outbursts become more frequent. You also risk falling into a deep depression. 

Finding alternative ways to release emotions can help you feel less overwhelmed by them. Creativity has been shown as an art form to aid healing and therapy. Encourage your child to express their feelings in a creative way, such as through painting, drawing, writing, poetry, or music. Having an outlet that allows them to release what they feel can also act as a way to help them heal. 

#6. Make Sure They Don’t Blame Themselves

When something terrible happens, children may believe that they did something wrong. Make sure your child is not pointing fingers at themselves for anything they didn’t do or cause. Children tend to have a more distorted view of trauma compared to adults. They may sometimes remember details more extreme than they are or blame themselves for something they didn’t do out of fear that they “misbehaved.” Remind them that it is not their fault and to not put the blame on themselves. 

#7. Talk About Therapy

Sometimes trauma interferes with a child’s life to the point of needing professional help. Children should understand the importance of mental health and the value of therapists. Children go through things that even sometimes, as a parent, you might not know of a way to help them through it or may need a clinician to assess the situation. 

You can start by explaining to them what a therapist is. One approach would be to compare them to their pediatrician. That is, a therapist is someone that they can see when they are feeling mentally unwell. Don’t try to overcomplicate how therapy works—explain that they can talk to their therapist about feelings that make you feel sad, happy, or mad in therapy. 

Helping your child address their trauma takes educating yourself on how to provide the best resources for your child’s trauma

If you are worried about your child’s mental health and suspect that they are using substances to cope, understand that help is available. Clearfork Academy treats addiction and co-occurring mental illnesses in teens through a wide variety of services. Sprawled across 80 acres overlooking Eagle Mountain Lake in Fort Worth, Texas, we provide our patients a home away from home. Our facilities and programs allow teens the opportunity to get away from their current environment and dedicate their time to a full recovery with minimal distractions. Our programs help teens identify the root cause of their addiction and mental health challenges. From there, we teach them healthy coping strategies and lifelong skills to assist them through life’s many stressors. If your teen is ready to turn over a new leaf and get the help they need, don’t wait; get help today. To learn more about our programs, call Clearfork Academy at (888) 966-8604

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Oppositional Defiant Disorder and SUD

Oppositional Defiant Disorder and SUD

It’s not uncommon for kids to go through a period where they exhibit moodiness or defiant behaviors. The term “terrible twos” or the early teen years are typically known as the most challenging years for parents and their child’s behaviors. However, these behaviors could be signs of an underlying behavioral disorder.

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) affects up to 16 percent of children and teens. If your child’s behaviors raise concern on whether there may be an underlying condition, understand that behavioral disorders are common in children. It is helpful to know the symptoms and how to seek treatment.

What Is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a behavioral disorder often diagnosed during childhood. There is no known cause of what causes ODD, but there are theories about how it may develop. A child with ODD is defiant, uncooperative, and aggressive towards siblings, peers, authority figures, and parents.

ODD is more common in boys during their childhood years. Symptoms typically develop and become noticeable between the ages of 6 to 8.

Signs Your Teen May Have ODD

The symptoms of ODD can happen in children who do not have this disorder. The defining aspect of whether or not it is ODD is the frequency of how often the child displays these symptoms. It will also interfere with daily routine and activities. These behaviors will occur at home with parents or siblings and at school with teachers and other classmates.

Symptoms may include:

  • Blaming others for their own wrongdoings
  • Combative with adults and authority figures
  • Exhibiting a short temper
  • Disobeying rules, demands, and requests
  • Refusing to do what is asked of them
  • Throwing excessive temper tantrums 
  • Speaking harshly or aggressive to others
  • Seeking revenge, mocking, or being vindictive towards others

These symptoms can occur naturally or if a child is experiencing budding hormones. It is important to speak to your pediatrician or pediatric mental health professional for a proper diagnosis.

Risk Factors

While the causes of ODD are not entirely understood, there are risk factors. Risk factors include:

  • Mood Disorders: Improper functioning of neurotransmitters can influence ODD symptoms and lead to other disorders. ADHD, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders may influence ODD.
  • Family Challenges: The environment a child grows up in impacts their behavior. Common challenges include inconsistency in whether parents are present or not, emotional instability, and substance abuse.
  • Genetics: Adolescents can also have ODD if they have a family history of other mental health disorders. For example, if ADHD or mood disorders run in the family, chances are your child can develop ODD.
  • Emotional Regulation: Temperament also can affect whether a child develops this disorder. If a child struggles with emotional regulation and controlling their behaviors, it can manifest into ODD.

ODD rarely occurs as the only disorder in adolescents. Another co-disorder that is common in individuals with ODD is substance use disorder.

Co-occurring ODD and SUD

Alcohol and drug use are common among teens who have ODD. Drugs and alcohol are often a means to cope with underlying issues, and it can lead to substance abuse which can exacerbate the symptoms of ODD.

Teens may also use substances to defy parents or authority figures. If they know that the parents do not tolerate substance use, they may use substances to break the rules.

Treatment Options for ODD and SUD

It can be tricky to know how to approach treatment options for ODD or if the behaviors are the result of ODD. The key defining points are the frequency of the behaviors and whether they disrupt their daily living. When talking to your child, they won’t see their behaviors as an issue or their fault but instead blame others. It is why you must speak up and describe behaviors to their pediatrician or mental health professional. Seeking a qualified professional will help diagnose and find treatment for your child.

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for getting this disorder under control. When looking for diagnosis and treatment, contact a psychologist or psychiatrist that specializes in behavioral disorders. They will also be able to assess and diagnose any other co-occurring disorders such as substance abuse. Treatment options for ODD and SUD include:

  • Individual and Family Therapy
  • Parent training and Parent-child Interaction Therapy
  • Social skills training
  • Medication
  • Lifestyle changes

If you are concerned that your child may have ODD or a substance use disorder, talk to their pediatrician or mental health professional right away. Seeking help today will provide your teen the best chances to manage their mental health and substance use disorders.

If you believe your teen may be struggling with ODD, substance use, or other co-occurring disorders, know that help is available. Clearfork Academy is a treatment facility dedicated to helping teenage boys overcome drug use and co-occurring disorders. Our facility resides on a charming ranch overlooking Eagle Mountain Lake in Fort Worth, Texas. We offer a variety of therapeutic programs that we specialize in to meet your child’s specific needs. The staff at Clearfork are highly trained and can offer the highest and dedicated quality of care. As a parent, being involved in your child’s recovery is essential to helping them maintain sobriety and let them know they have support from the ones they love. Know that you and your teen do not have to go it alone. If you are looking for a safe and caring treatment facility for your teen, Contact Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 966-8604

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How Does Gender-Specific Treatment Benefit Teens?

How Does Gender-Specific Treatment Benefit Teens?

Teenage males are at a higher risk of developing an addiction and other mental disorders than their female counterparts. When working to improve their overall wellbeing, it is essential to provide them with treatment focused on improving their mental health. Doing so will help them manage mental health and substance use disorders (SUD).

Gender-specific addiction treatment is a treatment approach that focuses on gender-specific issues to help adolescents manage substance use disorders and other mental health challenges. Let’s further explore how gender-specific treatment can benefit teenage boys.

Treatment Approaches

Treatment to address mental health and substance use disorders can vary based on gender. For example, treatment for women may address body image, sexual assault or abuse, pregnancy complications, and other health concerns specific for females. Treatment may address emotional challenges, substance abuse, mental health problems, trauma history, behavioral problems, and other challenges specific to males.

Interventions focus on helping boys and young men develop healthy relationships with themselves, peers, and others. In addition to therapy sessions, gender-specific programs provide activities explicitly designed to engage teenage boys to learn more about self-control and positive coping skills.

What Are The Benefits of Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment?

There are many benefits to treating teen boys with a program tailored specifically to their needs. These programs focus on understanding why young men tend to drink, use marijuana and cocaine more than young women.

Such a program is an excellent way for male adolescents struggling with substance use problems as it provides them an opportunity they may otherwise not get elsewhere. Male-specific addiction treatment will also focus on improving the mental health of adolescent males who have a higher risk of developing an addiction or mental disorder in the future.

Other benefits include:

  •  Improving outcomes and reducing relapse rates.
  • Addressing peer pressure or toxic masculinity within their community.

Higher Success Rates

Programs focused on male teenagers have higher success rates than those targeted at females because they target different areas of need, including:

  • Impulsivity
  • Aggressive tendencies
  • Family conflict

Gender-specific treatment also helps stop the stigma associated with addiction and mental health disorders often faced by young men and teens.

Recognizing Themselves in Each Other

One of the most critical aspects of gender-specific addiction treatment is that it helps individuals recognize their similarities with others. Additionally, gender-specific addiction prevention programs could help men avoid the stigma associated with mental illness or substance use disorders.

Seeing themselves in others will help dissipate the shame they may experience with having a SUD. They will also understand that they are not alone. It can also lead to greater self-awareness and understanding among teenage boys who feel marginalized. In turn, this could help them learn how to manage any potential addiction or mental disorders they may encounter in the future.

Sharing Honestly

One of the most important reasons to have a gender-specific addiction treatment for teen males is because it provides them with a safe space to be open and honest about their struggles.

Programs like these prevent additional problems in their lives and improve their mental health. If they can share openly with their therapist, they are also more likely to follow through with treatment that helps them overcome their mental health and substance use disorders.

It’s hard for men who suffer from addiction and mental illnesses to live up to society’s expectations. However, with gender-specific treatments for teen males, these individuals can get the help they need without feeling judged or different from other participants.

Men Experience Addiction Differently

One of the most critical aspects of addiction treatment is creating individual treatment approaches because each person experiences addiction differently. Additionally, male adolescents face higher risks of addiction and mental illnesses than female adolescents, suggesting that treatments based on gender can make all the difference. However, this does not mean that all teenage girls are immune from the same issues as some adolescent boys.

However, therapy must consider the unique interests and challenges teenage boys face. For example, adolescent males may share different interests from most females, and therefore certain therapeutic activities may benefit their recovery. Furthermore, their brains function and develop differently from teenage girls at this stage of their lives.

Males Are More Likely to Use Substances

Ultimately, males are more likely to use alcohol and other substances and often find it challenging to quit independently. At Clearfork Academy, our male-specific treatment programs center around the needs of teenage boys and young men. It helps them overcome addiction with a higher success rate than other treatments that incorporate both genders.

Adolescence is a time of uncertainty and change. Gender-specific treatment for teen males is conducive to your son’s treatment and recovery. By addressing specific challenges that male teens face, such as masculinity and peer pressure, gender-specific treatment centers such as Clearfork Academy thrive at helping teenagers struggling with mental health and substance use disorders. Treatment programs that address gender-specific issues lead to more success in reaching their intended audience than those that do not consider the unique needs of male teens. Clearfork Academy also offers a range of conventional and holistic treatment options to ensure teenage boys have the appropriate resources needed to overcome substance use disorders. Our gender-specific treatment also provides specialized and individualized care for young men. If your teenage boy is currently struggling with addiction, then it is time to reach out for help. Learn more about our gender-specific treatment programs by calling us today at (844) 387-8780.

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The Impact Of Pre-teen Drug Use

The Impact Of Pre-teen Drug Use

As a parent, it is important to know the risks and consequences of pre-teen drug abuse. Pre-teen drug use puts your child at a higher risk for developing long-term complications that can impact their life. Since teens deal with many daily stressors, including familial, peers, and social media, they may also find themselves in social circles that revolve around smoking cigarettes, marijuana, or getting drunk.

Social media also influences how adolescents are exposed to drug use. Seeing other people enjoy drugs for its fun might provoke teens to use substances, too. Exploring one drug can act as a gateway to other substances out of curiosity. Exposure to such strong drugs at a young age can have consequences that can affect teens well beyond their adolescent years. Let’s look at the impact of pre-teen drug use to understand better what influences it and how to prevent it.

The Rise of Pre-teen Substance Use

Even with early prevention strategies like D.A.R.E., many elementary and middle schools are finding an increase in drug use with students.

Alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana are the most commonly used substances among adolescents. Although middle school years are typically where drug use starts to become more prevalent, elementary students are starting to become the focal point of kids interacting with drugs.

Data has shown that:

  •  Alcohol is the most abused substance, showing that by the 12th grade, almost 60 percent of students have abused alcohol.
  •  According to the same study, roughly over 80 percent of students have reported using drugs during the school day.

Many people question why drug use is on the rise among adolescents. In addition to the current pandemic, many disruptions in teen’s life contribute to their drug use. With the loss of peer interaction, increased stress, and routine of going to school, many kids spend their free time exploring drugs to cope. It also includes a younger age group of kids, where drug use can be detrimental if not caught in time.

The Dangers of Drug Use for Pre-teens

The earlier and younger a person uses drugs and alcohol, the more they put themselves in danger of facing the potential consequences. There are three main areas affected by drugs and other substances.

#1. Development: Substances typically fit into three specific categories:

  • Depressants or “downers” such as Xanax or alcohol slow down the brain and body, causing slower heart rate, decreased energy, and low body temperature.
  • Stimulants or “uppers” such as cocaine or meth speed up the brain causing rapid heart rate, increased energy, and other physical symptoms.
  • Hallucinogens impair the brain and body’s sense of reality, causing delusional thoughts and hallucinations. These forms of drugs can seriously impact the development of a teen’s brain.

#2. Physical: Heavy drug use and addiction take a huge toll on the body. The younger a person begins substance use, the longer they use it, the more it wears down the body. Each substance has different effects on a person.

Long-term effects of alcohol abuse include:

  • Heart problems
  • Liver damage
  • Digestive problems
  • “Beer belly”

Long-term effects of tobacco use:

  • Damage to the lungs
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Shortness of breath

Long-term effects of marijuana use:

  • Poor memory
  • Breathing problems
  • Psychosis symptoms
  • Mental health issues

#3. Behavioral: Pre-teens are already going through behavioral changes due to budding hormones and learning how to navigate the world. Combined with the early use of substances, behavioral changes can be dramatic, and consequences will follow.

Pre-teen drug use also trickles into teen drug use once they become dependent on the drug. Behavioral changes like anger, irritability, and impulsiveness can increase as they age. The recklessness that potentially follows can result in actions that can lead to legal issues. Many teens find themselves involved in risky behaviors such as D.U.I.’s or altercations with peers or other people.

What to Do if Your Pre-teen Is Using?

If you suspect your child is using substances, address the situation as soon as possible. As a parent, it can be easy to freak out knowing your child is using drugs, but try to remain as supportive as you can. Try not to approach it aggressively or harshly. Remember, conversation over confrontation is always the answer.

Instead, sit them down and have an open conversation about why they feel the need to use drugs and if any underlying issues are causing them to do so. If you believe that drug use has become a serious problem, reach out for help by contacting your pediatrician or pediatric mental health professional.

The earlier and longer a child begins drug use, the more serious the consequences rise for the quality of their life. At Clearfork Academy, our mission is to help male teens recover from substance abuse and mental health issues. We believe that it is never too late to start over in life and take control of your mind and body. Addiction and mental health disorders can be an aggressive cycle to break, which is why we believe you and your teen shouldn’t have to deal with ending substance use alone. Our highly trained professional staff are work to help your teen through the detox process as safely as possible with medical assistance if needed. If your teen requires treatment for their substance use or any other co-occurring disorder, get help today and take the first step to get your teen on the road to recovery. Find out more and reach out to us by calling (888) 966-8604

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A Therapeutic Approach to Marijuana Addiction

A Therapeutic Approach to Marijuana Addiction

During the teenage years, the exploration into drugs and substances is more common than what parents would like to accept. Whether it is influenced by peers or a drug they stumbled upon, teens often find their way into the world of substances. Unfortunately, exploration and exposure can lead to addiction.

After alcohol use, the most common substance used among teens is marijuana. Luckily, there are treatment programs available to help your teen recover from marijuana abuse.

What Is Marijuana Addiction?

Marijuana, also known by other terms like “pot” or “weed”, is a psychoactive drug that many people enjoy for the “high” effect it brings when consumed. There is much discussion around whether one can truly be addicted to marijuana the same way some are addicted to other drugs like meth or alcohol. The perception that users don’t experience severe withdrawal symptoms from stopping marijuana use, causes a belief that it is not an addictive substance. But it has been proven that is simply not the case, especially in teens.

Marijuana use disorder is when a person has grown a dependence on the drug and feels withdrawal symptoms after stopping use. Drug dependence occurs when the brain adjusts to large amounts of a drug, which causes the person to need higher amounts and use more frequently.

Signs Your Teen Could Be Using

Marijuana affects your teen behaviorally, cognitively, and physically. If you are concerned that your child is misusing marijuana, these are a few red flags you should be on the lookout for:

Behavioral signs

Marijuana addiction can cause behavioral changes that can be noticeable to other people, especially parents. There are many behavioral changes that are associated with the use of marijuana. Teens can become “spaced out” or seem very mellow and relaxed. This may come across as slower speech, lack of eye contact, or disappearing into their own bubble for long periods of time. For some teens, the behavioral effects can be agitation, irritability, or disorganization.

Cognitive signs

Teens who regularly use marijuana will often have foggy memory and have a hard time staying focused. They may not remember anything that happened while or before they used marijuana. Emotional regulation or a complete lack of emotions are very common in regular users.

The cognitive effects of continuous heavy marijuana use in teens can reflect academic performance. Poor concentration, time management, not being able to retain information makes it very hard for teens to perform well academically.

Physical signs

Physical signs are often the most prominent signs of marijuana use. When your teen is under the influence their eyes may become low, glassy, and/or bloodshot red. Their eyes can also become very dry causing them to rub at them. Slight weight gain can happen due to becoming extremely hungry, also called the “munchies”, after reaching the high. When under the influence of marijuana, THC tricks the brain into believing that the body is hungry instead of full. The smell of marijuana is very potent and lingers onto clothing for long periods of time which is an obvious sign of usage.

Impaired coordination such as stumbling around or slower movements can be seen after usage. A teen using marijuana may often appear to be intoxicated as if they have consumed alcohol. Delayed reactions and slurred speech may become apparent when under the influence.

How To Help

If you suspect that your teen is using or abusing marijuana, knowing how to take the proper steps to help them is key to recovery. As a parent, it can be easy to let your emotions get the best of you but offering a caring approach to addressing your concerns is best. Here are a few strategies to use when helping your teen deal with marijuana addiction.

Set boundaries. One key aspect of helping your child recover from substance abuse is setting clear boundaries for all parties to respect. Setting rules regarding their substance use places restrictions on what behaviors you will and won’t accept while setting a consequence for them. This could mean requesting that no form of marijuana or any other drugs be brought into the house at any given time.

Discuss peer pressure. During the adolescent years, friends typically have the highest level of influence on teens. They find their sense of self-worth and acceptance from who they hang around and interact with. Set aside time to have a conversation with them about making healthy and independent choices without the influence of peers. Teach them that it is ok to not want to partake in the actions of their peers and how to say “no” to something they don’t want to do.

Find professional help. Helping your teen physically quit using marijuana is only one part of the process. Marijuana and substance abuse often co-exist with a co-occurring disorder that the teen may be trying to mask. Many teens turn to drugs to cope with illnesses such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or ADHD. Allow their pediatrician or mental health professional to do a thorough assessment of your teen so that they receive the right form of treatment.

Provide support. Positive reinforcement in your teen’s life is crucial to helping them feel confident about themselves. It lets them know when you are proud and encourages them to do their best again. Creating a strong and supportive bond with your teen might help prevent potential drug use because they are more trusting of you.

If you are concerned that your teen is addicted to marijuana or other substances, know that there are resources available for help. Clearfork Academy offers treatment programs for various forms of substance addictions along with co-occurring illnesses. We safely assist our patients through the detox process with our medically trained professionals, where after completion they transition into our residential program. Drug use often manifests due to teens wanting to cope with internal feelings that bring them discomfort or sadness. Through our recovery program, we strive to teach your teen healthy coping strategies that they can carry with them throughout their life. We offer both residential and intensive outpatient treatment programs to best fit the need of your child and their schedule. It is never too late or too soon to get your child the help they need. Contact Clearfork Academy at (888) 966-8604 to find out more about our treatment programs today. 

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Reasons for Teens to Start Treatment During Winter Break

Reasons for Teens to Start Treatment During Winter Break

Winter break is a time away from school for teens. With the excitement surrounding the holidays and being free from academic obligations, this break may mean something different for teens with mental health and substance use disorders.

An abundance can mean two things for teens dealing with mental illnesses or substance abuse. It can either mean more time to continue self-destructive behaviors or deal with untreated symptoms. Or, it might mean putting off treatment. However, the advantages of starting treatment during winter break help teens start the New Year off on the right track and regain control of their life. 

Advantages of Starting Treatment During Winter Break

#1. No distractions. Winter break offers an ample amount of free time for your teens. Since school will be out, their academics won’t be in the way of their schedule. They won’t have any school obligations that need to come first, nor will their peers be around to distract them. 

#2. Supervision. Leaving your teen unsupervised with lots of idle time can be a recipe for disaster. While teens need their freedom and space to be themselves, they also require supervision and close guidance. For teens with substance use, free time without adults is typically the perfect opportunity to use. They can hang out with their friends or other people that influence their drug use. 

#3. Insurance. At the beginning of the year, most insurance plans reset their out-of-pocket maximums and deductibles. If you have already met those maximums, your insurance may go ahead and cover the rest of the cost for your treatment. Treatment services can often be very expensive for families, which is why using all the opportunities to lower the cost is important. 

#4. Winter break can trigger other problems. The holidays and colder weather can trigger other symptoms like depression or anxiety. Seasonal affective disorder, also referred to as the winter blues, is most commonly triggered by the approach of the colder season and the holidays associated with it. The best way to prevent your teen from entering this form of depression is to get treatment for it before the time rolls around. 

#5. New year, fresh start. One of the biggest aspects of recovery is unlearning all of the unhealthy habits that lead to substance abuse in the first place. As your teen goes through the treatment process, they will be taught new coping strategies and learn healthier habits to carry with them for the rest of their lives. 

The Harm of Waiting Too Long to Seek Treatment

In the same way, there are benefits to starting treatment during winter break; you should not wait too long to get help.

Symptoms Can Worsen Over Time 

Addiction is such a complex disease because it can ultimately gain control of a person’s overall well-being. As use gradually increases, the body, mind, and spirit begin to suffer at the hands of the substance. Drugs and alcohol also have a major effect on the brain. With increased use, parts of the brain begin to change, resulting in long-term damages. 

For many mental illnesses, symptoms can also worsen over time. With more aggressive illnesses like bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder, getting evaluated and potentially starting medication should be done as soon as possible to prevent worsening of psychosis symptoms. It is what makes getting treatment for your teen’s illness at the right time so crucial.

Self-Harm or Suicidal Thoughts May Increase 

Self-harm or suicidal thoughts are more common in mental disorders and substance abuse than people know. Many people who abuse substances have co-occurring disorders due to coping with one disorder by using drugs. Disorders like depression often create unusual thinking patterns that involve harming oneself or ending their life. For teens, suicidal ideations and self-harm tend to be higher at their age. With the help of therapy and medication, these symptoms and thoughts can be relieved. If you notice any form of self-harm or your teen mentions suicide, you must get help right away.

Continued Damage to Relationships and Life 

Addiction is an aggressive disease. It causes people who use the drug to grow dependent on it, causing a need for higher drug levels and more frequent use. The cravings can grow so intense that your teen can start to neglect daily responsibilities and relationships over the need to get intoxicated or high. The need to be under the influence becomes a priority over grades, work, friendships, and other activities that were once important to your teen. 

A part of addiction treatment is repairing relationships and other areas of life affected by your teen’s substance use. Waiting too late to get help can cause your teen’s substance use to increase to the point that their world strictly revolves around drugs and alcohol. 

If your teen is currently dealing with substance abuse or a mental illness, know that the sooner they get help, the sooner they can get relief. Often teens become very good at hiding their pain and symptoms, causing them to use any time alone as a way to engage in self-destructive behaviors. Our goal at Clearfork Academy is to help male teens form a healthy identity and discover who they are without the need for substances. We serve as a recovery center for substance abuse, mental health disorders, and any co-occurring issues. Through our inpatient and outpatient services and our belief in the power of Christ, your teen can turn their lives around. Your teen needs the best opportunity for recovery, and Clearfork Academy is that opportunity. Therefore, if you are currently in search of a safe, secure, and caring treatment facility, contact us today by calling at (888) 966-8604

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Guide For Co-parenting Adolescents With a SUD

Guide For Co-parenting Adolescents With a SUD

Watching your adolescent or teen struggle with mental illness is never an easy thing. It can be difficult to know what to do or say, even when your best interest lies in your child getting the help they need.

It is common for parents to go to great lengths to protect their adolescents from illness, injury, and hurt. When addiction and substance use begins to play a factor in their life, it can be shocking for a parent to understand how or why their child got to that point. Whether a parent experiences feelings of guilt, blame, or resentment towards their teen, there are unique things to keep in mind that can set your child up for an effective and efficient recovery journey.

Becoming an Educated Parent

Substance use and mental illness within any given home may pose numerous challenges. The most important factor in staying optimistic and understanding during it all is for each parent to become educated about addiction, mental illness, and substance use to the best of their ability. It also helps reduce intense feelings of guilt or shame, both for the parents and the child.

For example, many people do not learn to question the nature of addiction throughout their lives unless they become directly affected by it. Instead, people submit to stigmas and stereotypes created by society. With this, one of the most important things to understand about addiction and substance use/abuse is that they develop from a combination of factors, including:

  • Biological, genetic makeup
  • Parental influences
  • Home environment
  • Social influences
  • Psychological conditions, such as co-occurring conditions

When you first learn that your child is using substances, you may feel separated from them. Educate yourself about your teen’s substance of choice. Consider things like its addictive potential or how they came to use that specific substance. Question the myths and stereotypes of addiction, and hear your teen out. Learn more about the nature of addiction and how to be a supportive parent during their recovery journey. Both parents must be on the same page about what they know and understand about addiction.

Find Social Support

Educational opportunities may also come in the form of parental support groups. For parents who have a child with a substance use disorder, it is crucial to find a group that can help them feel supported and loved. You may feel like your teen’s condition is a burden on you, thinking that where your child is at is your fault. No matter where you stand with your teen, having positive social support can increase your understanding of mental health and minimize the consequences of stress, trauma, and other mental distress.

Addressing the Elephant in the Room

Every parent discovers teen substance use differently. Whether this is the first time, you’re addressing it or the fifth, how you have a conversation with your teen matters greatly. While learning about substance use, you will come to understand that substance use typically begins from feelings of isolation, lack of self-worth, or mental distress. Consider these factors when you talk with your teen about their substance use.

For example, when talking with your teen, you may want to consider:

  • Your tone of voice
  • Your word choice
  • Avoiding judgment
  • Avoiding shame

and instead, approaching the conversation from a place of:

  • concern for your teen’s past, present, and future
  • curiosity for how it all began
  • care and compassion for your teen
  • caution for all things considered

Co-parents must agree about how to go about having a conversation with their teens about their substance use. The home environment and parental influences are two crucial factors that influence why a teen may use substances, have parental dysfunction, or have disconnection. Co-parents must learn to ask questions without placing blame, treat their teens with dignity and respect, and set necessary boundaries for their teens moving forward.

How to Go About Utilizing Teen Treatment

It is the role of the parents to address what steps need to be taken for your teen to get the treatment that they need to recover from their addiction or substance use. Considering your teen’s age, it may help to discuss treatment options for your teen with your teen. Forced treatment rarely provides long-term recovery, so getting your teen on board with where you stand as a parent is necessary.

Consider the severity of your child’s addiction. Have a mental health professional evaluate your teen’s situation, as they will be able to recommend treatment centers or programs that could benefit your teen. Always remember to keep your best foot forward with your teen. As hard as it may be to send them to a treatment facility, all you and your partner want is what is best for your child.

Co-parenting a child or teen with a substance use disorder can be overwhelming. You may struggle to know what is best for your child, even with the help of your partner. You must obtain as much knowledge as possible about the nature of your teen’s addiction so that you can better understand their unique situation. Clearfork Academy is a teen treatment center that offers inpatient and outpatient programs, depending on the individualized needs of your teen. Our programs foster leadership, emotional, and behavioral skills that will empower them to take responsibility for their substance use. We believe in the potential of teenagers, and the power of Christ, to take charge of their lives. Remember, unity is required to help your teen manage their addiction. For more information about how to co-parent a child in recovery or about the treatment options that Clearfork Academy offers, give us a call today at (888) 966-8604.

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Mental Health Treatment for Teens: How Has It Changed Over Time?

Mental Health Treatment for Teens: How Has It Changed Over Time?

The field of mental health, as well as mental health treatment, is continuously evolving. Understanding how far mental health treatment has come requires looking back on history and seeing where treatment first began. 

When It All Began: The Colonial Era – 1900s

Mental illness has always been a topic of discussion, although it took several centuries for members of society to understand the nature of mental health. In colonial America, caring for individuals with mental illnesses or disabilities was a shared responsibility among town members. Each town provided farm shelters to support those in need, although these shelters grouped individuals with mental illness, criminals, and poor people. 

Many people argued that poor farms would create better living and work conditions for these individuals, but these places were unkept and quickly became overcrowded. Families struggled to care for their relatives with mental illness due to financial constraints and could not care for their loved ones privately because most were considered “insane.”

Living conditions among these populations continued to worsen over the years. Soon, the government was forced to take responsibility for these populations by moving them to the countryside and into institutions and asylums thought to fit their needs. Individuals living with mental illness were often sent to “insane” asylums. With this, the government neglected to understand that mental health has multiple and complicated facets. 

Evolving Treatment: The 20th Century

This new era brought new forms of addressing mental health and treatment. Still, most of these introduced treatment methods aimed to fix societal perceptions of mental health instead of actually helping those that struggle with a mental illness. 

Treatment methods included:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Electroshock (ECT)
  • Pharmaceutical drugs like antipsychotic drugs and other medications
  • Psychosurgery

Although not wholly evolved, this time period did make strides at improving education about mental health. Advocates like Dorothea Dix spent their lives improving treatment for those who struggled with mental illness. Towards the end of the 20th century, the introduction of new mental health programs aimed to address case-by-case needs of treatment instead of thinking that one specific treatment can cure all cases. 

Addressing How Modern Mental Health Treatment Came to Be

The first approaches for mental health treatment involved torture and general disregard for the subjectivity of mental illness. After decades of advocation for those who suffer and the development of numerous treatment therapy modalities, mental health awareness continues to blossom. 

Mental health treatments now handle mental illness effectively, knowledgeably, and morally compared to the past. There are now thousands of mental health and substance use treatment centers across the United States, and each offers something special and unique about approaching mental health healing and recovery. 

Combination of Traditional and Holistic Approaches

Most treatment approaches now utilize a combination of traditional approaches to therapy, such as one of the many forms of psychotherapy, and holistic approaches, such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, and even yoga. Thinking back on how mental health treatment began, it is profound that mindfulness is now considered a necessary aspect of self-discovery and healing. 

Although the stigmas of mental illness still surface, it may help to understand that stigmas develop from a place of misunderstanding, lack of knowledge, and lack of awareness. The field of mental health and treatment has inevitably come a long way and continues to evolve with every new year. 

Advances in Teen Treatment for Substance Use

Substance use among adolescents and teens has been an ongoing health problem. Alcohol and drug use among teens poses unique challenges, especially related to biological development and maturity. Treatment initially began the same way mental health treatment did, by sending those that struggle to mental health asylums or correctional institutions. 

Nearing the mid-late 1900s, churches and hospitals started to realize that adolescent drug use differs from adult drug use in many ways, and each would benefit from different treatment approaches. Current advances in substance use disorder for teens highlight individualizing client care through thorough assessments of personal history and drug use. After the assessment, the teen will be referred to one of the following treatment levels:

  • Early intervention services, such as educational programs
  • Outpatient treatment, where a teen engages in weekly treatment that is recommended by mental health professionals
  • Intensive outpatient, where a teen engages in longer and more intense treatment during the day but still live at home
  • Residential/inpatient treatment, where a teen lives in a residential setting and experiences long-term treatment for up to a year
  • Medically managed intensive inpatient, which is recommended for teens that require detox or that experience severe mental health issues that need 24/7 care

Do you ever wonder how mental health treatment came to be? There have been significant advances made since the field of mental health treatment first began. Modern science has learned much about the development of mental illness and the evaluation of treatments for those struggling with mental health and substance use. Mental illness was once treated as taboo, although we now know that nearly 1 in 5 people struggle with mental illness at any given time. Mental illness and substance use are complicated conditions that affect all areas of a person’s life. At Clearfork Academy, we understand that mental conditions and substance use problems can feel defeating. We offer specialized care for teens that are looking to experience peace from their addiction or mental health distress. Our programs take into account the modern mind of a teenager in today’s day and age. To learn more, call us today at (888) 966-8604.

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Cutting Ties With People Who Imperil Your Recovery

4 good sober friends

When addiction develops, substance use takes priority in your life. In recovery, it is important to maintain positive relationships and avoid the relationships that influence harmful behavior. Depending on your age, you may discover the effects of substances through peers. You may even find yourself surrounded by friends that encourage substance use. However, recovery requires more than quitting your substance use; it requires you to rid your life of the people that enable and contribute to your triggers to use. 

Evaluating Your Relationships

While it might be obvious to recognize what friends or friend groups contribute to your substance use, it might be more difficult to recognize who else may be toxic to your recovery. After being in a bad or harmful relationship, you might struggle to understand what a healthy friendship looks like. 

When evaluating your relationships, try to recognize what friends put your recovery first and support you in your journey. If you have friends that still use drugs or alcohol, it does not mean that they are bad people. It means that those people will try to encourage you to use. No matter the age, people want to experience similar altered states of mental consciousness with other people. It is crucial that you do what you can to avoid these people entirely so that they do not cause damage to your treatment and recovery journey. 

While you are evaluating your friendships and relationships, reflect specifically on:

  • The friends that always need to be drinking or using drugs
  • The friends that always seem to be discussing some drama
  • The friends that enable your substance use
  • The friends that do not openly support your recovery
  • The friends that struggle with their own mental health conditions
  • The friends that continuously criticize you and your actions
  • The friends that always seem to be negative

Look For Positive Qualities, Too

From the opposite perspective, you can also look for positive qualities in the friends that you believe will add to your recovery experience. 

Reflect on qualities such as:

  • The friends that support your recovery journey
  • The friends that make you feel comfortable
  • The friends that want the best for you
  • The friends that share similar interests outside of substance use
  • The friends that help foster healthy habits when dealing with stress
  • The friends that encourage self-discovery and foster personal growth

Your recovery and health must be the most important thing in your life to achieve lasting recovery. It is essential that you learn to separate yourself from the people in your life who encourage substance use and cause you to experience stress and anxiety. As you learn to work through these emotions in a healthy way, you must avoid any unnecessary additions of stress.

How to Cut Ties With Toxic People

There is no right way to cut ties with someone. In most cases, no matter how you say it, the other party will not take it lightly. Speak with a therapist or counselor who can offer you guidance on making your recovery process go more smoothly. Further, professional help will provide you with ways to navigate and manage any negative responses and emotions that you may experience. 

While you evaluate your relationships and reflect on the person you’d like to be, here are some general tips that may help when looking to cut ties with a friend. 

  • Establish Boundaries: Boundaries help you keep yourself accountable, especially in your recovery. Do you think it is best to quit all communication with this friend? Is there a realistic way to avoid them altogether? Create boundaries that you will be able to follow. It might mean stopping all discussions about drugs and alcohol, only seeing a person at a sporting event, or cutting ties altogether.
  • Practice Honesty: Try not to beat around the bush when you decide to have a conversation with a toxic friend. Be confident about the person you would like to become and that their behavior will not benefit your recovery. Be honest if you need to end a friendship so that neither of you has to wonder why.
  • Avoid Feelings of Guilt or Shame: You will likely experience feelings of guilt for ending a relationship. You should neglect to feel guilty about doing something good for yourself- as you deserve it! If they are a true friend, they will support your attempt at recovery. Maybe in the future, they will realize their harmful behaviors on their own and want to make amends.

Recovery requires you to evaluate many different categories of your life, including your relationships. Toxic relationships enable you to think, feel, and behave in certain, often unhealthy, ways. When your life becomes overwhelmed with addiction, you are more likely to prioritize the friends that enable your substance use. When this happens, it is time to reach out for help. At Clearfork Academy, we can help you recognize the toxic relationships that contribute to your feelings of stress and negativity. It is essential that you evaluate your relationships to deem what friendships need to be cut out of your life and what ones need to be more emphasized. When you are ready, we are here to help you. We offer a range of treatments and therapies to assist teenage males in evaluating boundaries and practicing honesty. Remember, your recovery comes first. Let us guide your recovery journey. To learn more, reach out to us at Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 866-5212.

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What Are the Risks of Using Marijuana to Reduce Anxiety?

thoughtful young man sitting on a couch

In the United States, marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug among teens. In fact, according to a recent study, nearly 27 percent of high school students have tried marijuana. However, using marijuana can perpetuate symptoms of anxiety. 

With all these harmful effects in mind,  many teenagers continue to consume marijuana to reduce anxiety. Yet, the risks of marijuana often outweigh any benefits. Let’s look at the risks of using marijuana to treat anxiety and explore alternative therapies. 

About Marijuana

Marijuana is high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC composes most of marijuana’s psychoactive components. The content may vary depending on the strain of marijuana and its intended use. While marijuana might treat anxiety, many teenagers also use it for recreational purposes in social gatherings or at home. Since marijuana is becoming easier to attain, teens could quickly develop a substance use disorder. 

The Link Between Marijuana and Anxiety

The ongoing controversy about the safety of marijuana continues to evolve significantly regarding teenagers. Teenagers experience pressure because of their schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and relationships. Alternatively, anxiety remains a serious issue among teenagers. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to your teen’s behavior to help you understand the signs of anxiety. 

Some examples of anxiety include: 

  • Separation Anxiety: Experiencing severe fear when separated from loved ones or caregivers.
  • Phobias: Showing severe fear regarding certain circumstances or things like going to the mall or encountering insects or animals.
  • Social Anxiety: Exhibiting terror over places where they will encounter people.
  • General Anxiety: Worrying about the future or fearing the worst-case scenario happening.
  • Panic Disorder: Experiencing sudden, unexpected, intense fear that comes with symptoms like heart pounding, having trouble breathing, or feeling dizzy, shaky, or sweaty.

When anxiety becomes severe, many teenagers use marijuana to reduce symptoms. They might feel drawn to it because of its euphoric effect. In addition to peer use, willingness to use might be influenced by how some adults respond to marijuana and its portrayal in media.  

According to a 2017 national survey of more than 9,000 Americans, 81 percent of participants stated that marijuana provided the following benefits:

  • Increased sense of calm
  • Improved relief from stress
  • Improved sleep

However, marijuana holds many disadvantages. Further, these adverse symptoms have a more pronounced effect, particularly in teenagers. 

THC and the Adolescent Brain 

A study discovered that the THC in marijuana causes harm to the adolescent brain. THC directly interferes with the central nervous system’s processes that regulate emotional and cognitive behaviors. The study also reveals that continued marijuana use can lead to risky behaviors such as increased marijuana use and aggressive and delinquent behaviors.

Additional consequences of marijuana use among adolescents include:

  • Poor decision making
  • Lower aptitude for learning and recalling information
  • Short term memory loss
  • Poor performance on tests due to lack of attention and memory
  • Slower processing speed, poor verbal skills, and sequencing abilities

What Are the Dangers of Using Marijuana?

Marijuana use can pose many dangers, such as impaired judgment and loss of motor skills.

Other common dangers of marijuana include:

  • Marijuana is highly addictive and can lead to a substance use disorder.
  • Teens can experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using marijuana. Marijuana withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, depression, lethargy, loss of appetite, irritability, and cravings for marijuana.
  • Continued marijuana use may cause sudden mood swings and increased anxiety among teens.
  • High doses of marijuana can cause teens to experience psychosis. These hallucinations could be auditory or visual.
  • Continued dependence on marijuana may lead to teens being more passive or withdrawn from their environment or previous interests.

Anxiety-Relieving Activities 

If anxiety becomes severe, your teen can benefit from behavioral therapies to reduce anxiety. Such treatments often include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Using CBT will help your teenager reduce their anxiety. CBT treats anxiety and depression and can uncover the root of their negative feelings. It also functions to change the thought patterns from negative to positive. By instilling effective thinking patterns within the teen, their behaviors improve.

In addition, there are many other natural options for anxiety relief that don’t require the use of medical marijuana or any other medication. 

Practices that help reduce anxiety include:

Utilizing these practices will build the foundational elements necessary for a teen to continue to develop and grow. Such tools will also help them confront challenges, develop problem-solving skills and attain better confidence and self-esteem. Taking any medication or using marijuana to treat anxiety always poses a risk. Therefore any medication to treat anxiety should be discussed and approved by a healthcare professional. 

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Relapse: Does It Happen to Everyone?

thoughtful man

There isn’t always a simple answer to why someone relapses. Relapse is a common occurrence in the recovery process, mainly because a substance use disorder (SUD) is a chronic condition. However, with the right preparation, it is also preventable. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can manage your triggers and cravings to avoid relapse

Relapse Statistics

As an evolving theory, drug relapse entails many details that make it hard to define. Some experts view relapse as a process, while others recognize it as an outcome of an individuals’ actions and choices. 

As a chronic condition, SUD, like any chronic condition, is susceptible to remission. Current statistics on the relapse rates of SUD support this. Studies have revealed that more than 85% of individuals relapse and return to substance use within the year following treatment. The same study claims that more than 2/3 of participants in recovery relapse within weeks to months of beginning addiction treatment.

While the statistics might seem high, studies also show that people who remain substance-free after years of sobriety experience a significant increase in long-term sobriety. Being substance-free gives the mind time to heal and adapt without substances. Though cravings never leave, they do drastically subside.

Is Relapse Inevitable?

Preventing relapses requires an understanding of what drives your addiction. Many people consider relapse inevitable in the recovery process. Yet, establishing a firm understanding of your triggers can assist in preventing a relapse. Reasons for relapses vary for each person, especially for adolescents. As a teen, stressors can occur during the exams period, the college search process, social pressure, romantic relationships, and parental issues. Therefore, it is important to recognize these warning signs. 

Some warning signs include:

  • Experiencing symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders
  • Stress and anxiety lead to desiring substances to find relief
  • Increased emotional distress and interpersonal difficulties, especially with friends or family
  • Returning to former friendships who use or visit places where substances are available
  • Being around substances at a social gathering such as a Holiday or birthday party

Before these triggers worsen your state or emotions, seek professional help. 

Preventing a Relapse

Re-establishing and protecting your support systems, staying active, and doing something you enjoy can help you stay on track with your recovery. Living a balanced life and not focusing solely on your SUD helps you sustain longer recovery. 

Further, consider the following factors to support prevention

  • Set specific goals
  • Use positive self-talk
  • Change negative habits
  • Establish social support
  • Set boundaries

Review Your Relapse Prevention Plan

If you find yourself struggling to resist drinking or using substances, review your relapse prevention plan. 

Here are some helpful tips for keeping your sobriety on track:

  • Keep a Journal of Your Feelings and Thoughts: Writing your feelings and thoughts down every day helps you process them and make sense of what’s going on in your life. It will also help you make better decisions about how you react to certain events. It can also provide a creative outlet for your creative self.
  • Attend Recovery Groups: Attend support groups for relapse prevention. These meetings help many individuals struggling with SUD gain the tools, wisdom, and support they need to stay sober. You can find options online or in your local community.
  • Create a Plan of Action for Your Recovery: A plan will map your actions for the short term, the long term, and the future. A solid plan will also include coping skills, support systems, and emergency services. When creating a plan, be sure to set reasonable goals and expectations.
  • Communicate: Make sure to maintain contact with your therapist, family members, friends, and peers about your feelings or concerns for support. Having a strong support network will ensure that you have people to call on for help in times of challenge.
  • Attend Therapy Sessions: Therapy sessions are a great way to work through difficult emotions. It helps you learn how to cope with any underlying mental health issues. Make a plan so that attending regular visits will be easier. It’s the best way to keep yourself safe and healthy.

Clearfork Academy Can Help You

Clearfork Academy specializes in relapse prevention and assisting teens who have experienced relapses. We are here to serve you, whether this entails starting treatment for the first time or seeking another chance. Clearfork Academy offers help with every step of your recovery, from identifying warning signs of relapse to connecting you with recovery support groups to evidence-based therapies to detox programs. We can help. 

Relapse may seem inevitable, but taking action will help. Understanding your impulses and triggers is the start to prevent relapse and get you on the right track to recovery. At Clearfork Academy, we offer programs and therapies to help you identify the factors that drive your addiction. We also understand that what drives addiction varies among each person. Therefore, we offer a range of treatments and therapies including, medical detoxes, residential treatment, and outdoor adventures, to ensure that you have the best access to care. Once you identify these triggers, we will help you establish coping mechanisms that will create barriers that resist the temptation to use substances. After completing the treatment program, graduates follow an aftercare plan to sustain their sobriety and recovery. Of course, we remain a pillar of support should you meet challenges on your road to recovery. To learn more about our programs, contact us today by calling (866) 650-5212.
 

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Clearfork Treatment Modalities

Clearfork Academy serves adolescent boys, thirteen to eighteen years of age, as they undergo substance abuse and mental health treatment. But how does Clearfork make our program impact each kiddo? What are our treatment modalities?

Clearfork is built on seven core techniques that encourage a linear progression through treatment. It isn’t one size fits all and it isn’t composed of just one thing. It is as complex as a tree – from fruit to root, there are so many facets of each child and their unique situation. We admit these teens into treatment based on the low-hanging fruits that we see, but our seven treatment modalities are designed to target the well-hidden roots. 

 

Narrative Therapy

In narrative therapy, we address the personal narrative each child is spinning and make sure it’s framed in the proper context. When we view our story internally, things have a tendency to get messy as bias and emotion play their parts. Our goal is to look at these stories and help their expression be at an appropriate time and place. How are the characters interacting? What different archetypes are at play here? Someone that may have seemed like an antagonist, may actually be the person that cares the most. 

It’s all about building a healthy storyline and worldview while creating a safe space for the boys to share their feelings.

 

Family Systems

Similar to narrative therapy, family systems provide a systemic look at what’s occurring in each boy’s life. We construct genograms to find patterns of struggles within families and build alliances with these commonalities. Was there something broken in the system that contributed to their actions? How can we use positive connections to move forward?

 

DBT & CBT Therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy and dialectical behavior therapy work together to help us understand ourselves and gain control of our actions. CBT focuses on thought–how to recognize troublesome thoughts and redirect them towards positivity. DBT focuses on self-management–personal acceptance, safety, and emotional control are invaluable skills for any young person today. 

More and more teens are coming to us with what we call a “big-T” trauma. This trauma is addressed in a safe environment. EMDR and other talk therapies are also used as we work through some of these core issues. 

 

Logotherapy

A full week is dedicated to logotherapy as our boys really contemplate what is valuable, meaningful, and gives life purpose. This is a strong foundation that they can take with them for the rest of their lives, through any situation. When grasping something of high importance, it’s much harder to focus on temptation, depression, etc. because the thing we are holding is so much more important to the individual. 

 

Aftercare & Solution Focus

We know every family wants the next steps and what aftercare looks like once treatment is finished, so we spend a full week dedicated to aftercare and solution focus. A pivotal part of long-term success is focusing on what’s ahead rather than what we leave behind. There is always a next opportunity, a next time, a next moment to be better–focusing on what comes next creates a canvas of possibility. 

As the frontal lobe develops in adolescents, it can be hard to think with logic rather than emotion. We encourage mapping out plans, goals, and stepping away from emotion-ruled decision making. 

 

Play Therapy

Lastly, it’s time for some fun after all of that hard work. Clearfork arranges age-appropriate events to get the boys moving mentally and physically. We’re proud of our beautiful campus that boasts things like our rope course, lake, and even equine therapy! We engage in a tactful, fun way to let their brains experience real-life examples of what comes next. And the best part? Everyone has a blast and proves to themself they can tackle any obstacle we throw to them during play therapy. 

 

So, we’ve pulled back the curtain on the seven treatment modalities we use here at Clearfork Academy. Our methods are intensive, fun, and geared towards growing each young man that joins us on campus. 

If you have a child struggling with substance abuse or mental health, we are here to help! Reach out to us. Please call us at 888-966-8604, email us at help@clearforkacademy.com, or visit us at clearforkacademy.com. Our team of specialists is standing by to help your family in any way we can.

 

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The Effects of Trauma in Teens

Spotting the underlying trauma that oftentimes manifests itself as substance abuse can be hard. As providers, parents, and friends we see the issues that are present right now most clearly, but where do these problems stem from? In some cases, substance abuse and behavioral changes result from trauma

Traumatic stress can stem from anything that threatens the physical or psychological well-being of your teen and traumatic stress is not one-size fits all. Not every distressing event will cause trauma and what does cause trauma varies from person to person. Something traumatic for your teen may not be traumatic for another child or adult. 

Once we realize that trauma has a variety of triggers, how it manifests itself in each individual is also varied. Trauma can produce a multitude of side effects including:

  • Poor impulse control, destructive behavior, or aggression

  • Low self-esteem, shame, or guilt

  • Disturbed body image

  • Trouble sleeping, excess sleep, or nightmares

  • Difficulty regulating emotion and expressing emotions

  • Unexplained physical symptoms and increased medical issues (i.e. asthma, skin rashes, etc.)

  • Social isolation and difficulty relating to or sympathizing with others

Trauma that exceeds these symptoms can develop into clinically diagnosed posttraumatic stress disorder (or PTSD). In these cases, PTSD can cause your teen to re-experience the trauma, avoid situations that are reminiscent of the trauma, and to numb themselves emotionally. 

If a teen is dealing with traumatic stress, substance abuse issues are often a gateway to avoid or defuse this negative emotional state. It is arguably the most common maladaptive coping mechanism for traumatized teens. 

This is where substance abuse can get tricky; if adolescents are treated for their traumatic stress and substance abuse separately, they are more likely to experience relapse and revert back to drug use after a trauma-triggering event. That is why increased communication between mental health professionals and drug treatment providers is so important. 

Our staff is trained and equipped for treating teens suffering with the effects of trauma. In fact, almost half of the teens that undergo treatment at Clearfork Academy are also dealing with trauma. If your teen is struggling with mental health or substance abuse, we want to help! Please call us at 888-966-8604, email us at help@clearforkacademy.com or visit us at clearforkacademy.com. Our team of specialists is standing by to help your family with your unique situation.

 

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The Mental Health Effects of Covid-19 on Teens

No one could have prepared for the sudden COVID crisis of 2020, and that includes our kids. It’s been undeniably hard on everyone, and when one of our greatest coping mechanisms is the positive reinforcement we get from our friends, what is your teen supposed to do when they’re cooped up at home?

How is the pandemic affecting them?
What are some signs that parents need to be on the lookout for?


Depression is More Prevalent

Sadly, depression has seen a big rise since the start of the pandemic. Teens are even more susceptible to its effects because of their natural hormone imbalances and brain development. They don’t yet have all of the coping skills that adults have crafted over a lifetime.

It can be more than just the blues; severe depression is something to be concerned about. Changes in your child’s behavior or mood could be indicators that they are struggling emotionally and are in need of help.


Signs of Depression

Teens can be moody, even in the best of circumstances, so keep your child’s unique personality and patterns in mind as you go through the possible signs of depression:
        • Irritability
        • Mood swings
        • Withdrawal and isolation
        • Excessive sleeping or napping
        • Loss of appetite
These are symptoms that will typically last for an extended period of time. You should monitor how long you notice certain behaviors. Has it been one or two days? A week or longer? The more severe signs of depression require urgent attention:
If you’ve seen these behaviors in your teen, please seek professional help right away.

 

What You Can Do to Help

If you see any of these behaviors that give cause for concern, don’t be afraid to ask your child about it. Having open lines of communication can be an extreme comfort for you and for them. Urging them to speak to a trusted friend or adult can also foster healthy ways for them to express their emotions in a safe space.

Remember to also lead by example. Talking about your own feelings can prompt input from your teen. Keep a positive outlook even when dealing with your own stress. Take care of yourself, each other, and encourage time spent together as a family.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Calling your pediatrician, counselor, or a treatment facility like Clearfork to get an assessment of your child’s mental state can make a big difference. It’s never too soon to ask questions, but there could come a time where it is too late. 

Take your child’s mental health seriously, and above all, just be there for them. Let them know that you care. 


If your child is struggling with substance abuse or mental health, we’re here to help. Our clinical admissions specialists are available 24/7 to help with your unique situation. Please call us at 888-966-8604, email us at help@clearforkacademy.com, or visit our website at
www.ClearforkAcademy.com!

 

Are you wondering if your teen may have a substance abuse problem? Download our free “Teen Substance Abuse 101” guide. This comprehensive guide will walk you through discovering if your child has a substance abuse problem, and what to do next! Download your free guide here: Download Now
Want to learn more? Click here to check out our YouTube Channel!

 

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Teen Brains: Primed For Addiction

Addiction can happen to anyone — it does not discriminate based on age. In fact, addiction actually has its easiest targets in teens and young adults. But why is that?

Teens are more susceptible to drug and alcohol addiction because of their brain chemistry. Your teen is primed for addiction, in short, because their brains are still developing. 

 

Why “Just Say No” Isn’t Always Effective

Teenage years are actually the prime development time for a person’s brain, the time when we start laying the building blocks for impulse control, maturity, and decision making that we will carry with us for our entire lives.

Because these important centers of the brain aren’t fully developed, it is much easier for a teen to partake in risky behaviors, including substance abuse. It’s not always about just saying no — their ability to understand the long term consequences of their actions versus short term perceived gains is compromised; until their brain reaches a fully matured state, saying no isn’t always the obvious choice.

 

What Drugs Do to the Teen Brain

Think of your teen’s mind like a canvas. As they grow and live new experiences, create memories, and build meaningful relationships, this canvas gets more and more colorful. Drug addiction begins to fill in these blank areas and overwrite the new, colorful regions with black ink splotches. 

The euphoria, sense of control, and thrill of rebellion are all exciting lures that can start any young adult down the path of substance abuse. Drugs change the brain, and these changes happen much faster in teens than adults because of the blank slated areas that haven’t been dedicated to substance or experience yet. 

These foreign substances even have the ability to erase pieces of the brain that are still under construction, or alter areas such as memory. Seeking immediate gratification is tempting for anybody, and even more so in teens. 

 

Why Professional Treatment is Important

We want to stop these changes from being permanent and mitigate the risk of lifelong addiction into adulthood:

“If you let the ink dry long enough, that’s not going to come off the canvas. What we really want to do is try to create moments, either to erase what is happening or what has happened on that canvas, or to overlay enough events that are positive to overshadow and overcome them.” — Austin Davis, LPC-S, Founder/CEO of Clearfork Academy

 

Don’t wait to seek help for your teen, keep their canvas colorful! If your child is struggling with substance abuse or mental health, we’re here to help. Our clinical admissions specialists are available 24/7 to help with your unique situation. Please call us at 888-966-8604, email us at help@clearforkacademy.com, or visit our website at www.ClearforkAcademy.com.

 

Are you wondering if your teen may have a substance abuse problem? Download our free “Teen Substance Abuse 101” guide. This comprehensive guide will walk you through discovering if your child has a substance abuse problem, and what to do next! Download your free guide here: Download Now

Want to learn more? Click here to check out our YouTube Channel

 

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Teen Detox: What to Expect

It can be scary to watch your child struggle with substance abuse. Detox for your teen can be just as scary, so it’s important for them to have a safe facility to clear everything out of their bodies and a strong support system at home — you! 

What is Drug Detoxification?

Detoxification, more commonly known as detox, is the process of allowing the body to naturally expel any drugs or harmful substances within it. This process is most beneficial when a trained medical professional is present to manage withdrawal symptoms and administer treatment. 

The detox process is different for everyone, and the length of time it takes the body to work through these substances depends on a variety of factors such as:

        • The types of substances used

        • Their genetic makeup and family health history

        • Pre-existing medical or mental health conditions

        • The duration of their addiction

        • The amount of a substance that has been taken at one time

        • The method of usage (smoking, snorting, injecting, etc.)

The average drug detox time takes between 3 and 7 days, but varies based on your child’s unique situation. 


What are the Side Effects of Drug Detox?

Drug detox can be a frightening experience for your teen. It is important to know exactly what they may experience so you can give them the support they need, from a place of understanding. Symptoms of drug detox include:

        • Anxiety or nervousness

        • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping

        • Body aches and body discomfort

        • Nausea

        • Mood swings

        • Difficulty concentrating 

Because these side effects can be severe, a medically-supervised detox is almost always recommended. Fortunately, Clearfork Academy is medically licensed to have up to eight beds for medical detox. This means that we have a team of dedicated doctors, nurses, and a psychiatrist on hand to ease this process for your child. 

We have medical protocols in place to handle each symptom at varying severities. That includes medical rounding, medical intervention, and medication administration to lessen some of these symptoms as necessary. 


How Does Clearfork Academy Handle Drug Detox?

Our first priority when handling a teen going through detox is to ensure their medical stability. The drugs are allowed to flush out of their bodies so restore health to their organs and brain before we begin next steps. Detox may remove the impurities from your child’s body, but it is not enough by itself to keep them healthy long term. 

Clearfork Academy also addresses the heart and mind of each teen to facilitate lifelong recovery. Our therapeutic process encompasses one-on-one sessions, group therapy, and the deeper exploration of their unique thoughts and feelings. The psychological part of their addiction needs to be discussed as well. Our multi-step approach to drug detox is focused on immediate medical care, but also the mental and emotional care that must be completed afterwards to ensure lasting success. We take care of the medical aspects of their recovery first so that we can focus on repairing their self image, confidence, and address the factors that led them to drug abuse in the first place. 

 

If your child is struggling with substance abuse or mental health, we’re here to help. Our clinical admissions specialists are available 24/7 to help with your unique situation. Please call us at 888-966-8604, email us at help@clearforkacademy.com, or visit our website at www.ClearforkAcademy.com!

Want to learn more? Click here to check out our YouTube Channel

Are you wondering if your teen may have a substance abuse problem? Download our free “Teen Substance Abuse 101” guide. This comprehensive guide will walk you through discovering if your child has a substance abuse problem, and what to do next! Download your free guide here: Download Now
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12-Step Program for Teens

Let’s jump right in and answer two of the most common questions we get asked:

  1. Is Clearfork Academy a faith-based program? Yes. 

  2. Does Clearfork Academy use the 12 steps? Also, yes!

That’s right, Clearfork Academy is a faith-based, 12-step recovery center for teens struggling with substance abuse and mental health. On our campus, the 12 steps are posted on our wall, and are reviewed every evening. We also have group meetings on Saturday mornings. At the same time, our treatment modality is Christ-centered. While others may struggle to blend faith and recovery, it’s what we do best. At Clearfork, our Founder/CEO (Austin Davis, LPC-S) completed his undergraduate degree in pastoral ministries and went to seminary. He then earned a Master’s in Divinity as well as a Master’s in Counseling. With the help of his background, we are able to seamlessly combine the faith-based aspect with the 12-step program. We offer our teens a well-rounded curriculum with health and recovery always being our #1 priority!

 

“I love the 12 steps! The first three steps are very God-focused. He’s going to restore me to sanity, He’s going to take care of my problem and then I’m going to have to have an understanding of who this God is. That’s where Clearfork brings such a unique position on this. We’re going to bring in that ‘faith stuff’ from my background and education. When we talk about ‘the God of our own understanding’, it’s going to be the God who saves. It’s going to be the God who restores. It’s going to be the God who provides. It’s going to be the God who desires praise and relationship!”Austin Davis, LPC-S, Founder/CEO

 

At Clearfork, we want our teens to have an understanding of who God is and what God does as they work through the 12 steps. Teens in treatment at Clearfork Academy aim to complete one of the 12 steps each week so they can receive their chip before they leave campus! We also encourage them to continue going to meetings, and to get a sponsor after they’ve completed treatment with us.

 

If your child is struggling with substance abuse or mental health, we’re happy to help. Our clinical admissions specialists are available 24/7 to help with your unique situation. Please call us at 888-966-8604, email us at help@clearforkacademy.com, or visit our website at www.ClearforkAcademy.com!

 

Are you wondering if your teen may have a substance abuse problem? Download our free “Teen Substance Abuse 101” guide. This comprehensive guide will walk you through discovering if your child has a substance abuse problem, and what to do next! Download your free guide here: Download Now

 

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Families Matter at Clearfork Academy

As a therapist, you know when a teen is struggling with substance abuse the whole family is affected. At Clearfork Academy, we know this is not something that can be overlooked. Having the support of family is critical for a teen to recover. 

 

When you’re looking for a treatment facility to refer clients to, we realize it’s important for you to know how the entire family is included in the recovery process. Here are just a few of the ways Clearfork Academy includes and takes care of our client’s families.

 

1. The first thing you should know is that we have a full-time Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist on staff. We want to therapeutically embrace the entire family system so each perspective is heard, and the entire family unit can begin to heal.

 

2. The families of addicted teens are often unaware of their role in the recovery process. For that reason, we offer a Multi-family Education Group on Saturday mornings. This group is led by one of our therapists, and different topics are presented each week regarding the family system and recovery. We educate on things such as boundaries, codependency, dysfunctional family roles, and more. The families are also able to ask questions, discuss and learn from each other during this time. This has proven to be an invaluable resource for many of our clients.

 

3. We also offer a Family Support Group to the families of our teens. We connect with these families beginning at the time of enrollment, and we stay connected! Our family support group meets every Tuesday. It is our goal to support the families of our patients, and to stay engaged with them. This support group is for the families of current patients, and for the families of our alumni. We continue to offer family support through our parent Facebook group well after graduation.

4. Speaking of alumni, Clearfork Academy actually has a full-time Alumni Relations Coordinator. Their main focus is staying engaged with alumni families. These families often need additional care and support after their teen has returned home from treatment. We are here for them as long as they need us!

 

When you refer a teen to our program, you can rest assured we will take care of the entire family. Not only that, we will also keep you –  the referring therapist, informed too. Within 48 hours of admission, the primary counselor for the enrolled teen will contact you. After the initial exchange of information, the counselor will update you on a weekly basis (or whatever schedule works best for you). We love collaborating with other professionals to ensure that these teens and their families are well taken care of throughout the entire recovery process.

 

“As a clinician for nearly 20 years, I’ve been hard pressed to work with such a team as Clearfork Academy when collaborating with a program that can help teens and families find help in their most dire of days. Clearfork and their team are unique based on their responsiveness to the population and our industry. In the five years I’ve been working and referring with Clearfork, they have asked fantastic questions of their constituents, been responsive for their program growth and the results of which have propelled Clearfork to a renowned Texas treatment facility that embraces core values, unique continuum of care for teens and a family program that is robust. It has been my honor to be called a clinical partner, problem solver, connector and case manager alongside Clearfork’s staff these past several years and can strongly recommend their milieu/programming to help with your most complex cases.” – Joseph A. Dias, M.Ed., LPC-S

 

If you’d like to learn more about what Clearfork Academy can offer, we’d love to connect with you! Please give Missy a call at (214) 592-7012 to schedule a lunch, a campus tour, or even a Zoom meeting. You can also email help@clearforkacademy.com, or visit our website at www.ClearforkAcademy.com for more information.

 

 

Are you wondering if your teen may have a substance abuse problem?
Download our free “Teen Substance Abuse 101” guide. This comprehensive guide will walk you through 
discovering if your child has a substance abuse problem, and what to do next!
Download your free guide here: Download Now