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Teen Substance Abuse & Overdose Statistics

New statistics come out every year for just about anything you can imagine. Doctors, psychologists, economists, etc., come together and boil life down into a series of numbers. Why? Because measurable data is the most concrete form of information–it is the basis for many of our scientific decisions, problem-solving, and predictions. Without statistics, all of the data gathered piles up in the corner–harder to relate or understand.

Statistics are loud. We see them and understand them intuitively because numbers make sense; numbers follow a pattern. They are the attention-grabber, the highlight reel–but they are rarely the focus. They melt into the background of whatever words surround them. 

But today, here, right now–the statistics are everything. 

In 2019, 4,777 young adults died from an overdose. The most common cause was heroin and other opioids, with prescription medication coming in second–and 50% of teenagers think that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs. And we know addiction is a lifelong struggle, right? 95,000 total people died of an overdose or substance abuse-related death in 2019.

The statistics are still being compiled for 2020 during the opioid epidemic rise in fentanyl overdoses our country has been facing. The numbers are expected to be on the rise. 

This is not the highlight of a larger argument nor the opening hook for a long article. These numbers are real, and they are powerful enough on their own. Talk to your kids. Raise awareness about the overdose rate and about everything our teenagers deal with day to day. Be a resource. Be a light. 

This is not just happening behind closed doors; it’s happening in our front yards, in school bathrooms, in public. 4,777 teen substance abuse-related deaths in 2019 alone… don’t let your child become just another statistic.

If your child is struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues, please give us a call at 888-966-8604 or visit us online at clearforkacademy.com. We want to help.

 

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Will School Get in the Way of My Teen’s Recovery?

Has your child recently finished rehab or drug counseling? Are you struggling to find the balance between back-to-school stress and recovery? You’re not alone; this is a hard part of the year for us at Clearfork Academy because we see so many families tackling this problem. If you’re concerned school may get in the way of your child’s recovery, let us walk you through what you can expect and how to help your family adjust to a new normal. 

1. How long after treatment can my teen go back to school?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions. Should you wait three weeks? One day? The best time frame is not a hard-and-fast rule, because each situation is unique. This is a difficult transition and can potentially be triggering for your child. Pay attention to their habits as they leave treatment–are they making friends with other kids in recovery? Do they take an active role in their recovery process or wait for you to prompt them? 

There is a party culture and peer pressure in schools, so make sure your child has the tools to succeed before sending them back in. Have conversations about your child’s triggers and what coping strategies they can use in a social setting. 

 

2. What should we talk about before my teen goes back to school?

It’s easy to make a laundry list of topics to discuss before sending your teen back to school, but some of the most important conversations can get lost in the mix that way. Focus your efforts on a few key areas: boundaries, triggers, and people. 

– Boundaries & Triggers

Setting healthy boundaries is a critical step in long-lasting recovery–remember: it’s a life-long commitment. What are the positive boundaries we can set to help avoid negative triggers? If your teen used to stop by a popular smoking spot before or after school, don’t just give them a vague lesson in avoidance. Replace things they should avoid with a positive alternative. Instead of going for a smoke with their friends after school, maybe they can stop for a snack on the way home or get involved in an activity like sports, drama, or community outreach to fill in the gaps. Sit down and make a plan on what their before and after school will look like. It’s also important to note these should involve positive things that your teen enjoys. If they don’t like the plan, it can feel like a consequence and has a higher-potential to fail. 

Have good places, good substitutions, and good habits ready for your child to pull from for any situation that could be triggering. 

– People

Peer pressure is one of the big concerns for parents when sending their teen back to school during recovery; however, not all peer pressure comes from wild parties or bad influences. Role models and icons come in all shapes and sizes–musicians, celebrities, and even people your teen knows in real life. Don’t tear down important figures, but it’s okay to stress that everyone can make good and bad decisions. Your tten may love a rock band’s music, but that doesn’t mean they have to play guitar and do cocaine, right?

It’s not just peer pressure to partake in drugs that needs to be on the radar–even old friends and teachers could be a potential point of failure. Good friends don’t always have bad intentions–they could be trying to have fun, or loosen up and not understand potentially triggering situations for your teen. Have the conversation NOW with your child and help them set their boundaries. Roleplay some ways they can discuss them with their friends and peers or how to get out of a triggering situation. 

Teachers can be pillars of support or cracks in your child’s armor. Identify the positive adults at school with your teen and find out ways they can spend more time with that teacher. If there is an authority figure your teen butts heads with, strategize how to diffuse conflict and maybe even how to avoid that adult as much as possible. 

There is no answer that will fit every family, but having some deep conversations can really make all the difference in your child’s success as they return to school. Recovery is an ongoing process and it’s important to identify positive support and potential weaknesses to help stay on track. 

 

If your teen is struggling with substance abuse or mental health, 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 or just to talk and help you answer some questions. 

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What To Talk To Your Teen About Before School Starts

As we gear up to go back to school, we all start planning for the physical aspects, right? School supplies and new clothes are purchased, the fridge is stocked up with after-school snacks, and appointments for haircuts and dentist check-ups were a success. Heck, we just had Tax-Free Weekend because even the government knows that this is a big time of year for parents! 

The physical needs are a little more obvious, a little more intuitive, but I encourage you to take a moment this year to think about your kiddo’s mental needs as well. They’re walking back into school and back into peer pressure. 

Peer pressure can be positive or negative, but in either case, your teen has the right to decide what their non-negotiables are this year. The best way to make sure your teen is equipped to handle peer pressure is to make sure they know about their own voice. It might be cliche, but communication really is key. 

There are three forms of communication that your teen should be empowered to use before they walk back into that school building this year: peer, parent/teacher, and self. 

The emotional quotient, or EQ, is all about how we feel. How does peer pressure make your child feel? How does talking to authority figures make them feel? Plan ahead with your child’s EQ in mind now and practice communication tacticsit can make all the difference. 

 

1. Peer Communication

 

Peer pressure is inevitable, and again, there is a good and bad side to it. Pressure on how to look, on who to hang out with, and on how to act. School is one giant social cue waiting to happen, and that is a lot to handle during puberty!

Empower your child to set healthy boundaries of their own and to set up non-negotiables to guide them under this pressure. If someone encourages them to act or communicate in a way that compromises their boundaries, it’s okay to communicate how that makes them feel. 

Practice makes perfect! Give your child some key phrases to say in the heat of the moment so they can avoid unnecessary confrontation. “Hey, that made me feel __. Please stop.” 

 

2. Parent/Teacher Communication

 

The adults in a teen’s life are here to be resources, but we can get lost under the tidal wave of pressure these kiddos face. Emphasize that communication with a trusted adult is not tattle-taling or snitching; it’s upholding the boundaries your child sets for themselves. 

And this doesn’t always have to be a ‘get so-and-so in trouble’ situation: sometimes it’s good to vent to an adult just to get things off their chestno strings attached. Tell your child that the little voice inside of them is very smart, and it knows when something doesn’t feel right. 

This is another great opportunity to practice together. Communicating with parents/teachers should be done calmly and with respect whenever possible to achieve the best, most direct results. 

 

3. Self-Communication

 

It may seem obvious to some of us adults, but clear and honest self-communication is so important. It’s that little voice again, the one that tells us how we feel and advises us how to act. Sometimes communication with ourselves is positive, but it can be negative too.

Talk about positive self-talk with your kiddos and empower them to be their own cheerleaders. Okay, maybe with a less cheesy spin: encourage them to be their own advocates. It’s healthy to give yourself a pat on the back and to second-guess yourself. It’s part of being human. 

Self-communication happens a lot internally, but it can also be expressed externally! Writing in a journal, creating private audio diaries, and even drawing are all great ways for your teen to talk to themself and work out the issues they face.

 

A lot of pressure and anxiety come with going back to schoolfor kids and parents. So, have a plan, have boundaries, and communicate. For additional resources or if your child struggles with substance abuse/mental health, Clearfork Academy is 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.

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Back-to-School: Teen Alcohol Use

School is almost back in session, and so are the back-to-school parties. Experimentation with alcohol may seem like a rite of passage, but we lose nearly 5,000 teens a year to alcohol use.   

The shift from childhood to adolescence to adulthood can be jarring, particularly because of the emotional, physical, and hormonal changes that come with it. Studies have associated underage drinking with the increase in independence teens find as they get older, meaning teens could be more likely to drink just because of their age range. 

One in seven 8th graders try alcohol for the first time within the first few weeks of school, not because they are actively seeking to engage in risky behavior, but often in tandem with growing older. 

Risk-taking behaviors, such as drinking and driving, are the most significant cause of alcohol-related teen deaths. The brain keeps forming well into our twenties, which puts teens at the cognitive disadvantage of not being fully developed as they gain more and more independence. Impulse control is one cognitive process still under construction for adolescents and can make it harder to avoid taking risks or succumbing to peer pressure.

If a child starts actively drinking by the age of 15, they have a much higher chance of creating a long-term dependence on alcohol. Expectancy has also been associated with underage drinking: if a child expects it to be a pleasurable experience, they are more likely to try it for themselves. 

So, how do we help provide guidance as parents during this particularly vulnerable part of the year? It starts with setting our intentions and expectations as we transition from summer (a time of independence for many kiddos) to school (a more structured routine). Start having conversations about drinking now, before the temptations start. 

Discuss the boundaries your home has with alcohol, whatever they may be, early and reiterate them as often as necessary.

If your family needs additional support for your unique situation, please give us a call at 888-966-8604 or email us at help@clearforkacademy.com to connect with one of our specialists. Our phone, email, and hearts are open 24/7–let’s connect.

 

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Fentanyl: What You Need to Know NOW

Fentanyl may be a funny-looking word, but the risk it poses to our kids and our community is no laughing matter. It’s a synthetic opioid, meaning that it is created artificially in labs and used to treat patients after surgery or those in severe pain (such as late-stage cancer patients). Fentanyl is closely derived from morphine, which is a naturally occurring opioid; however, fentanyl is about 80 to 100 times stronger. 

 

Unsurprisingly, this powerful drug has made its way onto the black market and has emerged onto our streets. Fentanyl can be absorbed through medical patches or injections and can also be taken in pill form. The really dangerous part of this drug is that it is often disguised to look like other drugs or is laced with other drugs. Drug dealers use fentanyl as a replacement or additive to other drugs because of its cost-effectiveness. A very small amount of fentanyl produces a big high, which puts more money in dealer’s pockets as they minimize their use of more expensive substances. 

 

Fentanyl is the number one cause of drug overdose in the United States, rising from 14% of drug-related deaths in 2010 to 59% by 2017. 

 

Though it is often not taken purposefully, a run-in with fentanyl one time can lead to death; even in survivors, severe organ damage and long-term psychosis are common effects. It also has a heightened risk of a condition known as hypoxia. Hypoxia slows breathing and the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain. This results in lasting brain damage, coma, or even death.

 

If this wasn’t bad enough, opioid drugs such as fentanyl show an increase in addiction because of how they affect brain chemistry. The brain adapts to the drug after prolonged use and makes it much harder to derive pleasure from anything besides the drug itself. That means that one hit can leave your kiddo chasing that high again and again. 

 

Even buying marijuana through illegal avenues can lead to life-threatening results, simply because we never know what it could be laced with, and there are no guarantees of its safety. So, parents, it’s time to educate yourself on the fentanyl epidemic and have a conversation with your kids. For more information on fentanyl, visit us at ClearforkAcademy.com, drugabuse.gov, or samhsa.gov

 

If your child is struggling with substance abuse or mental health, Clearfork Academy is 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

 

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5 Easy Questions To Ask My Teen If I Suspect Substance Abuse

If you’ve started to suspect your teen may have a substance abuse problem, it can be tricky to navigate how to confront the situation. What questions should you ask? How should you even broach the subject?

You may be surprised to learn that it doesn’t have to be clinical and it definitely shouldn’t be accusatory. Open-ended questions that encourage dialogue are helpful and will also communicate that you see them. You’re aware of their habits and of the changes they’ve been going through. 

Here are five questions that can soften the field for conversation and get to the root of the issue–is your teen using drugs? Or is there something else going on with them?

 

1.  What’s going on with your hair?

Okay, maybe not always in these exact words–but the goal is the same regardless of phrasing: to point out a change in appearance. Are they showering regularly? Are they no longer interested in their beauty routine (makeup, doing their hair, etc.) and uncharacteristically disinterested in how they look? Have they been wearing that same t-shirt for three days straight?

Whatever the case may be, look for the appearance change and ask a relational question regarding that change. 

 

2. What’s going on with your attitude lately?

You have a relationship with your kiddo and it’s okay to ask this question. A change in attitude could be anything from irritability coming home from school to poor treatment of family members at home like their siblings. Isolate specific instances like this and ask where this attitude change is coming from: Why did you get into a fight with your dad? Why are you arguing so much when it’s time to do chores recently? 

Look for behavioral changes and changes in their cognitive process. If they hit you with the “I don’t know,” ask more questions because there’s a big one we’re trying to get to the bottom of here–are they using?

 

3. What happened to your old friends?

Growing out of old relationships and forming new friendships isn’t uncommon in adolescents, but it could also be a sign of larger issues. Ask questions about the kids you’re used to hearing about or seeing that aren’t around anymore. It shows an interest in the relationships your child is keeping (which is always good) and is also a great tool to see if others are noticing changes in your teen. 

Have they stopped seeing their old friends because of these new habits? Ask about their relationships. So often we see kids trade their “good friends” for “bad friends” because those are the kids who are also using, right? 

 

4. Why are you missing baseball practice?

Of course, baseball practice can be substituted for any important activity in your child’s life–band practice, work, drama club–the problem is that this activity is no longer a priority for them. It’s important not to be accusatory when asking this question in particular, we just want to see the root cause. Is it general disinterest? Or something deeper?

Look for the things they’re giving up and no longer participating in and ask pointedly, “Why haven’t you been doing your homework? Why didn’t you go to that job interview?”  If your question is met with a shoulder shrug or non-answer, just keep asking. Your child’s shame is also playing a role in what’s at stake here. There will be a lot of layers to dig through, so don’t back down. 

 

5. Where is your money going?

If your teen’s money is disappearing or you find them asking for more money than usual, it’s important to ask where it’s all going. If money is going down the drain but they aren’t wearing new clothes, going out to the movies with their friends, or fixing up their car, it has to be going somewhere. 

An influx in spending is one of the most telling signs for a possible substance abuse problem and definitely cannot be ignored. Moms and dads, don’t be afraid to ask your kiddo where it’s all going. 

 

Now it’s your turn to get strategic. Plan out how you want to broach these tough questions and be ready to have some difficult conversations. There may be layers covering up the root of their issue, but you can dig down to it. And if you need help with what questions to ask, we’re 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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Substance Abuse Resources for Parents

As parents, we want to have all of the answers for our kids, right? This can be incredibly challenging for parents of teens struggling with substance abuse. As your family tackles this complex topic, how can you educate yourselves and develop strategies that work for you? Clearfork Academy is here with three essential resources for parents that will fill your cup with knowledge, your toolbox with solutions, and hopefully your hearts with comfort. Let’s take a look.

 

1.  The Big Book

The Big Book is the all-encompassing guide to the twelve-step program of AA and the building block of many substance abuse programs we see today. This text lays out the cornerstone concepts of recovery, shares stories from men and women that have overcome addiction, and will give every parent a solid base to build from on their own. 

There’s no right or wrong way to read the Big Book, but we do recommend taking notes, using tabs to highlight sections you find meaningful, and reading through it more than once. Each new dive will lead you to new discoveries. Compulsivity and your child’s experiences can be examined. This book will help you really understand the ways you can help as a parent. 

Both AA and the sister program, Al-Anon, have more recommendations and great resources on their websites as well. 

 

2. Radical Candor by Kim Scott

Radical Candor by Kim Scott is a fantastic resource for leadership strategies and communication. Scott bases her book on a quadrant system that breaks down boundaries/expectations, communication, incentives, etc. This is a necessary resource because it arms parents with the tools they need to really impact their teen’s development during all of these crazy changes. 

We’ve seen parents throw money at problems, avoid discipline for bad behaviors, and overall just lack a clear outline of expectations. This book will help you identify your non-negotiables as a family, strategies for implementing real change, and coping strategies for when communication breaks down.

 

3. Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave by Ed Welch

Lastly, Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave by Ed Welch is an invaluable resource that molds the worlds of spirituality and science together to talk about recovery. Not only does it break down the science behind addiction, like maladaptive patterns of behavior, but it also centers itself on strong religious beliefs to help families find hope in the power of the gospel. 

Welch discusses questions regarding shame, the status of addiction as sin/disease, and more in a way that is really accessible to all readers. This is one of the best compliments of these resources that we have seen. 

 

So, now that you’re armed with some great resources to expand your knowledge of substance abuse, it’s time to get to work. Read and research whatever you can get your hands on–there is no such thing as too much information. 

For additional resources, please call us at 888-966-8604, email us at help@clearforkacademy.com or visit us at clearforkacademy.com to see our glossary of substance abuse and recovery terms. Our team of specialists is standing by to help your family with your unique situation or just to talk and help you answer some questions. 

 

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Calling the Police on Your Child for Substance Abuse

When a child is struggling with substance abuse, many families try to handle the situation in-house for various reasons like embarrassment, finances, and the perceived best interests of the kiddo. Sometimes that works, but sometimes it doesn’t. If the situation escalates, your family faces a tough question: 

“When is the right time to call the cops and bring in somebody other than a family member to take legal responsibility for my teen?”

The answer isn’t black and white. Police involvement is never ideal for parents. You never want to get your child into trouble, but taking accountability for their actions is sometimes needed when their safety or the safety of others is at risk. Calling the police is a way to get the law in your corner for recovery and prevent your teen from continuing down a more destructive path. 

Here are the two most important factors to consider when calling in outside help like the police:

1. What is your child’s mental/emotional state?

If they are having thoughts of self-harm, suicide, or even homicide, it’s time to get the police involved. If your teen’s physical and biological well-being is beyond your help, seeking help from an establishment to stabilize them is essential.

2. Do they pose a danger to the world around them? 

Destructive behavior, damage to property, stolen possessions, threats of physical harm, and even real cases of bodily injury are common. These behaviors are red flags that your teen may need outside help.

 

As parents, you have to set the tone and be ready to follow through on your commitment. If your boundary is, “If you bring drugs into my house, I will call the cops on you,” monitor the actions of your child. If they disregard your boundaries and expectations, it’s time to follow through and get the police involved. 

Substance abuse should not be taken lightly, and it’s key to remember that there can be legal ramifications for both teens and parents. Harboring drugs and paraphernalia is most common, but substance abuse can even lead to harboring weapons and illegally obtained money in your home. Believe us, we’ve seen it. 

Set your boundaries and expectations, then repeat them over and over to your child. Before calling the police, before involving a mental health authority, establish those boundaries and expectations. If your child falters on upholding them, then it is time to call the police. Remember, if their mental/emotional health is in danger (especially from self-harm, suicide, or homicide), substance abuse can only make this worse—step in. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and dial 911 to save your child’s life. 

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

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What is a Family Contract? How Do I Make One?

A family contract can be one of the most critical steps in getting your family back on track after treatment, especially for your kiddo who is trying to re-adjust at home. But family contracts aren’t just for families discharging from a treatment facility–a family can benefit from one at any stage of the recovery process.

 

What is a Family Contract?

In short, a family contract is an agreed-upon set of boundaries, rules, and expectations for your household and family dynamic. How do you want to treat each other? What are your expectations for your child as you move forward together? The family contract is a great way to put everything on the table immediately. It takes the guesswork out of maintaining a healthy parent-child relationship during the recovery process at home. It does not have to be a lengthy document–contracts are typically one to four pages in length, depending on the family. Write down whatever feels best for you!

 

Why do we need a Family Contract?

Setting these boundaries will add a sense of accountability and responsibility for your teen and give them tangible goals to aspire towards as they continue their recovery. Create a list that incorporates your family values, and don’t forget to establish consequences or accountability measures should expectations fail to be met. Drafting a family contract will help your family avoid the common pitfall of going straight to accountability measures without first laying out the boundaries you expect. 

 

How do I make a Family Contract?

It is important when drafting a contract that you have an open panel discussion. Your child should have buy-in to the contract, as well as a trusted counselor/therapist (if applicable). Allowing input from these sources will help facilitate real changes and adherence to not only what you want but what your teen wants for themselves. Opening the floor to discuss the contract rules will encourage conversation and allow self-expression from your kiddo on their feelings. Everyone has different aspects that they deem to be the most important–talk about the boundaries you value most and allow your kiddo to do the same. 

Practice active listening regarding the items your child suggests; they may even have boundaries and goals for you as a parent! Avoid shutting down their suggestions and allow them to share their perspective. Remember: you aren’t just their parent, you are also their biggest advocate and supporter. 

A successful family contract that follows these guidelines will bring your family together and establish open lines of communication right from the start. The goal is never to make your child dread signing the bottom. Everyone should sign with a clear conscience and a light heart as it represents the collective.

 

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.

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How to Have a Healthy Relationship With Your Teen Who’s Struggling With Substance Abuse

If your teen is struggling with substance abuse, it’s going to call for a shift in your relationship. But this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, it could be the best thing for both of you at this juncture. 

Figuring out how to have a healthy, meaningful relationship with your teen can be hard in the best of circumstances; families struggling with substance abuse can often find this basic need to be even more challenging. Where do you start when communication breaks down, and new worries are introduced into your family dynamic? 

There are two key things to remember as you embark on this journey of recovery with your teen: 

 

1 . This is not your fault.

Taking the blame is one of the most common reactions for parents, but just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s right. Too often, when we think things are our fault, the logical next step is to try and fix it. But this isn’t a problem you can fix alone, nor is it your fault. When we try to fix things that aren’t our problem, we risk making things worse. Let go of any feelings of blame you may be holding on to. Remember the serenity prayer:

“God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.”

 

2.  It’s ok to be the cheerleader.

Be a cheerleader, a strong embrace, and the shoulder to cry on when they need it. The authority comes naturally as a parent; you set the boundaries and expectations, which are not things to forfeit. But your teen isn’t just in need of the parent role. They also need an advocate. Be their cheerleader during these tough times and advocate for their success. Encourage their heart and their mind. 

Step out of the role of control because you can’t control this situation. And don’t be afraid to advocate for the inner fortitude of your child. Cheerlead when you can instead of being an authoritarian. 

 

Having a healthy relationship with your teen struggling with substance abuse isn’t easy, but you’re not alone. There is support for your teen, for your family, and for you! 

 

Want to learn more? Watch our most recent YouTube video: https://youtu.be/lBKeM418n24

 

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

 

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Delta-8 THC and the Dangers of Other Over-the-Counter Drugs

A new over-the-counter drug is making its way into stores and onto the streets: Delta-8 THC. You’ve likely heard a lot of stories about this strain of “legalized weed,” and we’re here to help you separate the facts from the myths. 

 

What is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC is a close cousin of Delta-9 THC, or what we commonly refer to as marijuana. The major difference is that Delta-8 has less apparent psychoactive effects, and the majority is grown under legal standards of less than 0.3% THC content from cannabis. The low THC content creates a more subdued high when smoked or vaped (though the intensity rises if ingested as an edible). Because of this, a common misconception that Delta-8 is not harmful has begun circulating. 

 

What are the effects of Delta-8 THC?
Common Delta-9 THC side effects like cottonmouth, paranoia, inflamed eyes, and anxiety have been reported, but are less apparent in Delta-8. This sounds great in theory, but it’s important to remember that Delta-8 is still a psychoactive drug. Just like Delta-9 THC, Delta-8 does still have addictive properties and can be harmful when over-consumed.

 

What are the dangers of Delta-8 THC?
The real danger of Delta-8 is the wide availability: it can be purchased without a medical card in 39 states. It is being sold in CBD shops and gas stations, often as fruit flavored gummies. This is especially dangerous because children could easily mistake it for candy. Even a single dose can be extremely harmful to young children.
This drug’s wide availability in retail stores has also led to an increase in Delta-8 THC on the street. This is the danger of over-the-counter drugs: they don’t stay over-the-counter. Almost anyone can buy it and then choose to re-sell it to a younger and younger demographic. Even if your kiddo is too young to buy it in a smoke shop, the potential of their exposure to THC has still increased as Delta-8 circulates.

 

We urge parents to research Delta-8 THC, and other over-the-counter drugs. Stay informed, and reach out to the Clearfork Academy team if you’re concerned that your teen may have a substance abuse problem. 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
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How To Prevent Relapse

How do we prevent a relapse? This is the question that is asked most often on the heels of substance abuse treatment. After the long road of recovery, we all want to ensure that it is a permanent solution. However, addiction is not so simple. There is no guarantee that relapse won’t happen, because ultimately there is nothing we can do to control the behavior of another person — no matter how much we may wish we could.

While there are no guarantees, we
can take steps to make relapse less likely and to mitigate the emotional fallout if relapse does occur. The first step is accepting that you cannot prevent relapse by force of will or good intentions. 

 

Set Healthy Boundaries

As parents, caregivers, or friends, you can set healthy boundaries to lessen the likelihood of risky behaviors that could lead to relapse. Communicating your boundaries upfront after your teen leaves treatment is a necessity. Make your rules and expectations clear from the beginning and stick to the boundaries you put in place. 

It can be difficult to do, because empathy plays a factor. Wanting to be lax on rules or allow grace periods is a way of trying to maximize your understanding, but it can often do more harm than good for your teen.

Create boundaries that revolve around timelines, that are realistic, and that are specific. We recommend writing them out and posting them on the refrigerator or somewhere in plain sight — this stability and consistency is a key part of maintaining your child’s recovery.

 

Give Them Tools For Success

Another way to make relapse less likely is to ensure you are giving your kiddo the tools they need to succeed. Spend time together, discuss ideas, encourage positive social interaction, and help them learn how to manage the big things in life like work, school, and relationships. 

 

Let Go & Let God

It’s okay to let go of what you cannot control. Be in charge of what you can and let God take care of the rest. A beautiful reminder of this can be found in a prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr:

 

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking as Jesus did, the sinful world as it is not as I would have it, but trusting that you will make all things right if I surrender to your will so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with you forever in the next.”

 

Avoid Giving Unsolicited Advice

Always remember that it isn’t your responsibility to control your teen, only to give them the tools to make the best decisions for themselves. Be loving, supportive, and provide words of positive affirmation when you can. 

 

Avoid the pitfall of giving unsolicited advice; it may not always be received with open arms and can even be distracting to your child. Keep your comments as concrete and supportive as possible.

 

So, how do you prevent relapse? In a nutshell, you can’t. But you can be there for your child, and let them know the depth of your love and compassion for their struggle. Give them the tools to succeed and let go of the things that you cannot control. Give them your love and give them your support.

 

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
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I Think My Teen is Smoking Weed

Has your teen been acting out of the ordinary? Are you smelling an over-use of cologne or maybe even the musty smell of marijuana on their clothes? These could be red flags that they’re hiding a new past-time. 
Recreational drug use can be alarming, but don’t panic if you think your teen may be smoking weed! It’s important to determine what’s actually going on before jumping to conclusions. If you have cause for concern, here are some practical steps you can take:

 

  • Understand the Situation

The most important thing for you to do is try to gain an understanding of the situation. This goes beyond figuring out if your teen is smoking weed, and into your own knowledge of marijuana. It’s time to do your research.
Find out more about what marijuana was historically and what it is today. What are the different types? The brands? The intensities? There is a multitude of information out there on the subject. Educate yourself, but don’t fall into a blackhole of marijuana articles. Knowing the facts will help you talk to your teen and better understand their situation.
Click here for more information on marajuana abuse.

 

  • Start the Conversation

Now that you know more about the drug, you can start to figure out what your child’s relationship to weed may (or may not) be. Opening a judgement-free conversation is key to learning more about their situation. Was it a one time usage? How often are they smoking and how much? Where are they getting their supply? 
Let them take part in the conversation. Coming to them as an authoritative parent could cause your teen to withdraw or push back. That’s not the goal. You want them to feel safe talking to you, and explaining their side of things.

 

 

  • Address The Behaviors

If your child is smoking weed, it’s okay to confront them. Sometimes it’s easier to address the behaviors and not really the person or the use. Regardless of whether or not they view smoking as bad or unhealthy, there are likely underlying behaviors that are cause for concern. Are they staying up too late? Are they spending too much money buying weed? Have they started engaging in risky behaviors like theft or skipping school? 
By addressing their behavior, the conversation moves away from just a difference of opinion in recreational drug use. If smoking weed is causing them to behave in ways that go against your family’s core values or expectations, make that the central point of your conversation.

 

  • Get Professional Help

Whether it’s for your teen, your family, or yourself, it’s ok to get help! Dealing with drug use can be overwhelming and put an enormous strain on everyone involved.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or to look at treatment options if the behavior continues and especially if it worsens.

 

If you think your teen may be abusing marajuana or other substances, you can always reach out to us here at Clearfork. Our website has lots of information on teen drug use, treatment options, and how we may be able to help. www.clearforkacademy.com 
We also have substance abuse specialists available 24/7 to evaluate your situation and help determine what your next steps should be. Please give us a call at 888-966-8604, or email us at help@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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Admissions: What to Expect

If your child is struggling with substance use or mental health issues, there are already so many hurdles with which your family is coping. That’s why Clearfork Academy makes our admissions process as simple as possible.
We’ve broken down the admissions process into these 5 simple steps:

  1. Contact us
  2. Provide clinical information
  3. Fill out insurance verification of benefits form
  4. Review
  5. Schedule an admission date
Checking your child into a residential treatment facility is already challenging enough, so we strive to make everything else go as smoothly as possible. What do our 5 steps entail?

1.  Contact Us

Making contact is the first step, but we know it can often be the most difficult. Clearfork has a multitude of different ways to initiate contact via our website clearforkacademy.com. These include: by phone, though our online form, and over an interactive chat feature.
Many parents find a phone call is the most convenient option and we assure you that our team is standing by to accept your call. We also have an email dedicated to the admissions process:  admissions@clearforkacademy.com.

 

2.  Provide Clinical Information

This is the stage where we have a conversation about how your teen is struggling. Providing the pertinent clinical information allows us to define what treatment options would best fit their unique needs and assess our ability to provide recovery options. 
We don’t admit every teen in need: During the clinical assessment and approval process, we make sure they are a good fit for our community and that our treatment options will meet their needs. Accurate and transparent clinical information is the key to ensuring we help you find the best care possible for your child.

 

3.  Fill Out Insurance or Verification of Benefits Form

Most families qualify for reduced out-of-pocket costs based on their insurance coverage. Clearfork Academy is in network with Magellan & Blue Cross Blue Shield, a preferred provider with TRICARE, and works well with other insurance providers as an approved out-of-network option. 
The easiest way to check your coverage status is to fill out our verification of benefits form, but we have other ways to evaluate coverage as well. We work on a case by case basis to make sure we get the right plan in place for you. 

 

4. Review

The review step is exactly like it sounds: Our team will review all of your family’s information and formulate the best care strategy for your teen. We’ll ascertain if your kiddo is a good fit for the Clearfork program.
This is also the time we will ask for confirmation that Clearfork Academy is the facility for you!

 

5.  Schedule an Admission Date

Now it’s time to schedule the admission date and time. There are a multitude of times that we’re available, and we can accept admissions 24/7. However, because we like to give kiddos the opportunity to meet our staff and tour the facility during our normal operating hours, we prefer to avoid late night arrivals.
Once the admission process has been completed, our team initiates programming and the healing process can begin.

 

If you have a child that may be struggling with a substance use and/or mental health disorder, please give us a call at (888) 966-8604, email us at help@clearforkacademy.com, or visit our website at www.ClearforkAcademy.com. We are standing by and ready to assist your family on the road to recovery.

 

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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Home Drug Tests 101: Don’t Let Your Teen Trick You

Home drug tests are an easy and affordable way to monitor your teen’s drug use. They’re widely available at most drug stores and even some grocery stores! When you need answers now, or don’t want to go through a clinic for your test, they can be a great solution.

 

However, home drug tests are not an infallible solution. Like anything, they have margins for error and there are ways to manipulate the results. Don’t let your teen trick you, here are the 5 most common ways to tamper with home drug test results:

 

1. Dipping the cup in the toilet.

Drug tests taken at a professional drug screening facility are done in a restroom with a waterless toilet bowl. Believe it or not, this is because one of the easiest ways to skew home drug test results is by dipping the cup in the toilet before use. By dipping the cup or strips in water, it can dilute the urine sample or even give off a false negative before the actual test takes place. 

 

2. Using someone else’s urine.

It may seem gross, but a lot of people have fooled drug tests by using someone else’s urine for their sample. Anything can hold a urine sample, and the quantities are often small enough that they can be easily concealed in clothing. Specialty canisters and bags are also sold online specifically for this purpose. 

 

3. Adding chemicals to the sample.

You don’t need a high understanding of chemistry in order to manipulate the toxicology of a urine sample. Almost any bathroom or household cleaning product can be added to a sample in order to give a false negative or inconclusive read. Common additives include eye drops, soap, and bleach. There are also sample fabrication kits available for purchase online. 

 

4. Test avoidance.

Sometimes, simply postponing the test is the best way to avoid drug detection. A wide variety of drugs do not stay in the system for longer than 72 hours after use. With such a small window of detectability, delaying the test admission by 2 to 4 days can dramatically increase the probability of passing — even if drugs have been used. 

 

5. Temporary drug detox.

This strategy is similar to test avoidance, because it’s all about giving the body time to work through the chemicals that will produce a positive test result. Temporary drug detox involves abstaining from drug use for a small amount of time, consuming large quantities of Jell-O or gelatin, or other substances that can dilute urine or flush out the system. This strategy can be hard on the body and comes with possible health side effects, but it is very efficient.

 

Don’t let your teen trick you out of getting the help they need. Awareness is half the battle. Help your family guarantee detection by understanding how to best administer your home drug test.

 

If you have a child that may be avoiding drug tests or drug detection, we encourage you to reach out to us at Clearfork Academy. 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!
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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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A Day in the Life at Substance Abuse Treatment

Leaving your child in someone else’s care is one of the hardest things for any parent to do. Even when our brain knows it’s the best thing to do, the heart has trouble letting them go. We’d be lying if we said it was easy, but having clarity on what life will look like for your child while they’re away can ease this anxiety. 

We want to give you the confidence that Clearfork Academy is truly creating the best environment for their recovery, so here is what a day in the life of your teen looks like during their substance abuse and mental health treatment. 

 

Our Morning

Our days are robust and full of activity. Some might even say exhausting, but this is what we strive for. We pack in as much therapeutic activity as we can to get the maximum amount of long-term benefit and mental healing for each minute your child is with us. 

We start early. Before 8 a.m., we do the normal waking-up routine of getting dressed, brushing our teeth, having breakfast; then we do what we call “The 3 Gs”:

– What is our Goal?
– What are we Grateful for? 
– What are we expecting God to do today?

It’s our way of setting purposeful intentions from the very beginning each morning, and it helps us get into a positive mindset to tackle the rest of our day.

With our minds now focused, it’s time to start the school day. Lessons go for four hours, from 8 in the morning to noon, to make sure they are staying sharp and not sacrificing their education while in treatment.

 

Our Afternoon

There’s a brief time set aside for relaxation and mental rest in between the end of our school day and when we break for lunch. Then, we’ll eat together before our 1 o’clock group. This group session is focused around a life skill that your child can take with them for real-world application every day. 

Here, we’ll cover topics like time management, conflict resolution, and other skills that may be hard to learn independently. These are all best practice, teachable moments that can have a massive impact on their future success and happiness, which is why we’ve made them a part of our core curriculum. 

At 2:00, we jump into process group. We really get into that next level of engagement;  it’s not a time to simply complain about our day. This is where we get to know the intimate details of each other’s hearts. There will be laughter, tears, and bonds formed here to get your child through their treatment while they discover their own sense of self. 

There is also an hour dedicated to fitness. We have a variety of planned structure activities designed to work out your child’s body and mind. We practice calisthenics, cardio, and offer free weights and other various exercise equipment. The exertion is a great way to stay healthy, and the physical activity is its own form of therapy. They can work out whatever is on their mind through sweat, grit, and their own strength.

Later in the day we have our family sessions and one-on-one counseling time. Family sessions are designed to address your family’s unique needs, so everyone can begin to heal. During one-on-one counseling, our therapists work to help your teen understand the underlying causes of their addiction and find lasting change. 

 

Our Evening

After we have dinner, and our nurses make medication rounds, we spend time in our smart recovery and 12-step based NA or AA style group sessions. This is the time we will really talk about the in and out of addiction: the signs, the symptoms, the steps to recovery, and the interventions. We diagnose what the nuts and bolts of teenage substance abuse are and break it down for them to understand what they’re dealing with. These can vary from speaker meetings to step studies, etc. 

Next, we have a time for meditation and self-reflection, and this is when we will also do an informal discussion to share about how the day went. We check in every morning with our “3 Gs”, and at night we check out by sharing our wins for the day. 

Lastly, we will cap off our rigorous day with a full 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. This is crucial; it’s the brain’s time to store information, process memory, and this is when the body does it’s best healing. 

 

In a Nutshell

Our weekdays are packed to ensure your teen is getting the structure and every facet of therapeutic activity that they need for their recovery. The weekends are still full of clinical engagement, but it’s also a time for rest. Their minds and bodies can relax a bit more in anticipation of the week to come. 

At Clearfork Academy, our thirteen-week program is based on our core values and best practice interventions to help your teen process, understand, and recover. This isn’t a band-aid. These are lifelong skills for long-term success.

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!

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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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5 Signs of Teen Drug Use

Are you concerned that changes in your teens behavior may be the result of drug use? It can be difficult to understand your teenager’s actions in the best of circumstances; we know it’s even harder if you have real concerns about their health and well-being. To help you determine what could be cause for concern, we’ve put together a list of the top five signs of teen drug use. 

 

1. Physical Symptoms

Physical changes can vary depending on what drugs your teen may be using. When the body is being suppressed by a substance, there can be a variety of consequences. Here is a list of specific things to look for, but keep in mind that your child may only show one or two from this list: 

        • Bloodshot eyes

        • Bruises or marks on their arms

        • Shaking or tremors

        • Unusual sores or rashes

        • Frequent nosebleeds

        • Lingering cough, runny nose or flu-like symptoms 

2. Severe Fatigue

After coming down from a high, teens may feel very fatigued. This leads to long periods of sleep, constant drowsiness, and a lack of focus. If your teen is experiencing these symptoms, without a medical reason, take note. This could be a sign of substance use. 

3. Personality/Mood Changes

Again, depending on the type of substances being used, these symptoms can vary. Pay attention to anything that seems out of character for your teen. Here’s a list of the most common ways these mood changes present themselves when substance use is involved:

        • Depression

        • Anxiety

        • Sudden rage

        • Violent outbursts

4. Change in Priorities

When teens begin using drugs, they tend to lose interest in things they were once very involved in such as sports, hobbies, or clubs. Even their grades can begin to suffer as they withdraw from regular activities. If your child is beginning to pull away from the things they once loved, pay attention. This is a huge red flag!

5. Getting Into Trouble

Are you getting calls from school about behavior problems? Or maybe your teen is involved in some sort of illegal activity, such as theft. Teens can act out when withdrawal or cravings hit, and are willing to do nearly anything to get their hands on whatever substance they’ve been using. If your child is getting into trouble, it’s important to get to the bottom of it. Drug use could definitely be a contributing factor.

 

If you’ve noticed any of these signs or symptoms in your teen, please get them the help they need. At Clearfork Academy, we offer intensive outpatient and residential treatment for teens struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues. Our admissions specialists are available 24/7 to discuss your child’s unique situation and provide guidance on your next steps. 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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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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Can My Teen Still Graduate If He’s In Residential Treatment?

If your teen needs residential treatment for substance abuse or mental health issues, we know there are already lots of things you worry about. Education is likely somewhere towards the top of that list; we get it. While they work on their physical/mental health, you don’t want your teen falling behind academically. At Clearfork Academy, the education of your teen will always be a priority! 

 

We partner with The University of Texas Charter School to bring the best in education right here to our campus at Clearfork. They have been around for over 20 years and have 25 campuses across the state. The format of this program is specifically designed to help meet the educational needs of kids in unique settings/situations, including residential treatment.

 

“We work with Clearfork, knowing the students are in a therapeutic setting working on their health. Our school provides educational services to keep them on track for graduation.”Cristy Cunningham, Principal

 

Through our partnership with the charter school, we are able to assist our clients with all of their educational needs. We’ve answered some of our most frequently asked questions below so you can better understand how Clearfork Academy is able to provide quality education for our teens.

Q: Will my child still graduate on time?
A: That is always the goal. A student’s graduation plan is set up from the beginning based upon their transcript at enrollment. We make sure they continue in the courses they’ve started before arrival, and that they progress as necessary. The teacher/student ratio is typically 1:10 or 1:12, so our teachers are able to work with each individual student according to their specific needs.

Q: What if my teen is already behind?
A: Our program is also designed to help students with credit recovery. We will assess your child’s needs, and make a plan to get them back on track!

Q: What does a typical school day look like while my teen is in treatment?
A: There are four hours of educational services each day. Those hours are divided up by four different content areas. We primarily focus on math, science, social studies and English, but also ensure that elective and language credits are also completed. Students come into the classroom at 8 a.m., and are dismissed around noon each day. There are two teachers and an educational aide on-site, and the students rotate classes during the day. We use a combination of direct instruction and online assignments to cover all core and elective content.

Q: How can I stay involved with my child’s education?
A: The parent portal is available for you to view your teen’s grades at any time. There are also opportunities for parent/teacher conferences, as well as report cards and weekly updates.

Q: What happens with school credits when my teen completes their treatment?
A: We are accredited by the Texas Education Agency, so all of our credits transfer to any educational institution. If a student is not from Texas, we will do the research to make sure their earned credits will meet the necessary requirements. Staying enrolled with the University of Texas Charter School through graduation is also an option, depending on the student’s needs.

 

For more on this topic, be sure to watch Austin Davis, LPC-S, Founder/CEO interview Cristy Cunningham, Principal, UT Charter School at Clearfork Academy: Watch Now!

If your teen needs treatment for a substance abuse problem or a mental health issue, don’t wait until school is out to get them the help they need. At Clearfork Academy, we’ve helped hundreds of teens find a new path and a new legacy! Our clinical admissions specialists are available 24/7 to provide guidance on 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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Navigating The Holidays With A Struggling Teen

The holiday season is a stressful time of year for many families. If your teen is struggling with substance abuse, that stress can multiply exponentially. We understand, and you’re definitely not alone! You may have a kid at home that is fighting addiction on a daily basis. Or maybe you have a teen already in treatment. Whatever your situation, here are some practical tips to help you get through this holiday season.

 

For the family with a teen at home struggling with addiction:

If your teen has a problem with drugs or alcohol, the holidays can be especially hard on you as a parent. You want to celebrate as usual, but the stress and worry about your teen can take over quickly. Here are some ways you can still find joy this holiday season.

 

Tip #1: Let go of your expectations. 

This holiday season may look different than last years, and that’s ok. Don’t pretend that everything is ok if it isn’t. Be present in the moment with your teen and give them space to feel their feelings. (And allow yourself space to feel your feelings too! Feelings can be uncomfortable, but they are a normal part of the human experience!)

Tip #2: Accept your current reality. 

No matter who  sits around your table this year, try to find peace and joy in what you have. 2020 has been full of surprises! Navigating through the holidays with an addicted teen can be equally unpredictable. One day at a time, your family will get through this!

Tip #3: Find gratitude in the small things. 

Oftentimes, our minds gravitate to what isn’t right about a situation. This year, I challenge you to intentionally look for the good throughout the holidays. Thank God for the little blessings. You have been blessed for many years, and substance abuse cannot take that away! 

 

For the family with a teen already in treatment:

If your teen is in treatment for substance abuse, we know it’s especially painful being separated during the holidays. Looking back on holiday traditions that your teen is missing this year is hard! We empathize with you, and we want to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Remember when we mentioned that feelings are good and normal- despite being uncomfortable at times? Allow yourself the space to feel the uncomfortable stuff, while also reminding your brain of what’s true. When you feel down, remind yourself that the truth is that your child is in the right place, getting the help they need so that they CAN be a part of all of the holidays to come! Here are some tips to help you through this difficult season.

 

Tip #1: Be encouraged.

Know that your teen is right where they’re supposed to be! They are busy doing the work that must be done to restore their health. It’s hard, but it is worth it! The ultimate goal is for your teen to be sober, full of joy, and back on track. That’s exactly what they’re working on while in treatment! 

Tip #2: Relax while you can.

You don’t need to worry about your teen. They aren’t sneaking off to get high, or going to parties with kids that are a bad influence… Not this year! Take a breath, and realize that the responsibility isn’t on you this holiday season to keep them out of trouble. You don’t have to monitor their every move. You can rest easy, and know they are safe in recovery. 

Tip #3: Stay the course.

We know it may be tempting to pull your child out of treatment during the holidays. You miss them, and you want to be together. It’s so important to remember that leaving treatment too soon can result in huge setbacks. (Even if you’ve seen improvements.) The health and recovery of your teen likely depends on them staying in treatment. They must complete the course set before them! Remember, you’re sacrificing this holiday season so your family can have the next 20, 30, 40+ years of holidays together!

 

If your son is in treatment at Clearfork Academy, know that he is loved and well taken care of here! Our boys are being treated to some delicious holiday meals, and fun activities. Your son is putting in the recovery work, and finishing what he started. He is busy learning, growing, creating new habits, and ultimately- getting healthy!

 

If your teen needs help, don’t put it off any longer! Don’t wait until after the holidays, time is of the essence! At Clearfork Academy, our clinical admissions counselors are on call 24/7, even during the holiday season! Please reach out and let us help you take the necessary steps to get your teen on the road to recovery! Give us a call at 888-966-8604, email us at help@clearforkacademy.com or visit our website at www.ClearforkAcademy.com!

 

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Here’s Why Clearfork Academy Is The Best Treatment Option, Even If Your Son Isn’t A Christian!

 

 

You’ve landed here in your search for answers. You’re trying to find the best way to help your son with his substance abuse issues. You’ve seen what Clearfork Academy has to offer, and you like what we do here… but you’re a little hesitant. Because we are a faith-based organization, you’re wondering if your son will fit in. Are you a Christian, and your son is not? Has your family never done the “religion” thing? Does your son have completely different religious views from Christianity? How will all of this affect his treatment if he comes to Clearfork Academy? Will he feel uncomfortable or left out?

 

Let me start by saying, your son’s health and recovery will always remain our #1 priority.

 

“I am a clinician first! By choice and by law. My world view is through Christianity, but we are person-centered here at Clearfork Academy.”Austin Davis, LPC-S, Founder/CEO

 

Person-centered therapy has a way of sparking a desire for personal growth in the boys we treat. We want them to be comfortable here and know they can trust us. If your son is into sports, music, sneakers.. that’s where we are going to start! We want to build a relationship and rapport with him, so we can help him take those first steps towards recovery.

 

We are God-centered in the things we do day-to-day. We have chapel, devotions, and prayer before meals, but NOTHING is ever forced.  Once a relationship is built, and your son is used to our culture/community, then we will discuss “the faith thing.” Only when he’s ready. He will decide when/if that is something he wants to talk about.

 

Rest assured, your son does not have to be a Christian to come to Clearfork Academy. Likewise, we aren’t looking to brainwash your kiddo with our religious views. We care about your son. We care about his health and recovery. We are here to help teens like him overcome their addictions, and find a new legacy! 

 

If you still have questions or concerns, contact us today. Our clinical admission counselors are standing by, ready to provide you with professional guidance on your son’s unique situation. Please call us at 888-966-8604, email us at help@clearforkacademy.com or visit our website at www.ClearforkAcademy.com!

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How Do I Talk To My Teen About Drug/Alcohol Use?

 

 

As a parent, we know you worry about your teen! You worry about their grades, their friends, their health, their future… and the list goes on. But, it can be overwhelming when those worries turn into things like, “Why is he staying out so late?”, “Has he been drinking?”, “Is he using drugs?”

 

If you’re concerned about your teen, don’t let those questions go unanswered. As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Addressing the problem early gives your son or daughter the best chance of success.

 

We know it can be intimidating to initiate the conversation. What to say, what not to say… It feels so heavy. But the truth is, you don’t want to wait to start asking questions until the school calls because your teen was caught with drugs. Or even worse, you don’t want to wait until they’re in the ER due to an accident or overdose. It’s never too early to start the conversation. 

 

If you need to talk to your child about drug or alcohol use, here’s a list of do’s and don’ts to help you get started:

 

🚫 Don’t accuse them.

👍 Ask questions.

 

🚫 Don’t try to make them feel guilty.

👍 Listen to them.

 

🚫 Don’t take it personally.

👍 Come alongside them.

 

🚫 Don’t talk down to or shame them.

👍 Get them professional help.

 

“It’s so important to have a relationship with your kids where you’re talking about the good days, the bad days, and the current events in the world. So when the time comes, the relationship is already there and you can ask the hard questions.” – Austin Davis, LPC-S, Founder/CEO

 

If you think your son or daughter may be struggling with substance abuse, don’t wait! Ask the questions. Have hard conversations. Seek professional help!

 

Our clinical admission counselors are standing by, ready to provide you with professional guidance on your unique situation. Please call us at 888-966-8604, or visit our website at www.ClearforkAcademy.com!

 

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Why Is Gender-Specific Treatment Best For My Son?

 

At this point, you’ve either already decided that your son needs treatment, or you are very seriously considering it. Either way, you’re at a fork in the road and doing your best to research and collect information. You’ve found yourself on this blog because your son is struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues. You want the very best treatment for him, and so do we! 

When it comes to selecting a treatment center, there are tons of factors to consider. We believe that finding a gender-specific treatment center is absolutely critical to your son’s recovery.

Let’s face it, teenagers are easily distracted by the opposite sex. Gender-specific treatment allows our ‘boys to be boys’ without the distractions that can arise from co-mingling. Our goal is to create a safe environment and eliminate distractions so that your son is able to truly heal and recover. As a parent, you can expect the best results for your child in a gender-specific treatment program. Here’s why:

 

Safety 

Teenage relationships with the opposite sex often create a sense of insecurity. In a treatment environment, we want to create as much safety and security as possible. When kids feel safe, they begin to open up about the emotional things that they might not usually discuss. That openness is such an important part of the recovery process.

 

Stability 

When we remove the emotional ups and downs of teenage relationships, we can provide a more stable environment. That stability gives teens a chance to focus on their health and recovery.  

 

Results

At Clearfork Academy, we treat teenage boys ages 13-18. We remove the distraction of the opposite sex, and focus on the specific needs these boys have. They’re able to bond with their peers and our staff in a unique way because of the gender-specific environment. This leads to better outcomes and better long term results.

 

Consistency throughout the course of treatment gives us that gender specific autonomous focus on our boys each and every day.” – Austin Davis, LPC-S, Founder/CEO

 

If your son needs help, we would be happy to provide the safe and stable treatment environment he needs. Call to speak with our clinical admissions specialists at 888-966-8604, or visit our website at ClearforkAcademy.com for more information.

 

For more resources on gender-specific treatment, please visit- https://clearforkacademy.com/glossary/gender-specific-treatment/

A message from our Founder/CEO, Austin Davis LPC-S

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5 Signs That Your Teen May Need Substance Abuse Treatment

 

Parents frequently ask us, “How do I know if my teen needs treatment?” We have compiled a list of five common signs that your son may in fact need clinical treatment:

 

1. Loss of self-control 

Mood swings, stealing, abnormal behavior

 

2. Thoughts of getting high throughout the day 

An inability to focus, craving the use of substances

 

3. Withdrawing from normal activities 

Instruments are collecting dust, he’s dropping out of sports, and other extracurricular activities

 

4. Using more often, or in larger quantities 

Possibly experience withdrawal symptoms when not using

 

5. Using substances even when it affects relationships or puts him in danger

Unable to prioritize anything above the need to use

 

Have you been seeing some of these signs and symptoms in your teen? You’re in the right place! If you’ve been asking yourself, “Is it really that bad?” or “Does he actually need help?” The truth is, you probably already know the answer.

The bigger question may be, “Am I ready to send my teen to treatment?”

We know that as a parent, this is scary and difficult. Can we just take a moment to encourage you? You’re not alone! We’ve worked with thousands of families from all over the country in your same situation. There is hope! You may be feeling overwhelmed, but our staff is trained and ready to help your son step into recovery! 

If the 5 warning signs above sound like what your son is going through, don’t wait! Get your teen help now. We have multiple treatment options available to fit their needs, whatever they may be.

 

→ Intensive Outpatient: This option is typically best for those in the early stages of addiction. We will customize a plan to fit your teen’s needs, and provide them with the guidance they need to overcome addiction.

Residential Treatment: If your teen is suffering from a severe addiction, inpatient treatment is the way to go. At our 80-acre Texas Ranch, we can provide a safe place for them to begin the recovery process. Their treatment will include full-time therapy, and daily activities led by our trained professionals.

→ Medical Detox: This is the first step towards clearing the body of substances so the mind can begin the treatment process. If your teen needs to detox, we have a medical staff that will customize and oversee their care to ensure health and safety.

→ Academic Sober Living: After completing our primary treatment, if your teen needs a longer term solution, we are happy to offer that option.


Are you still 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

Our clinical admission specialists are standing by, ready to provide you with professional guidance on your unique situation, please call us at 888-966-8604, or visit our website at www.ClearforkAcademy.com!