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How Can I Prevent Drug Abuse in the Modern World With Young Teens?

How Can I Prevent Drug Abuse in the Modern World With Young Teens?

Today, teenagers see drug use glorified in music, movies, and television shows. Such media and even peers tend to promote drug use to escape or feel good. Yet, many young people who experiment with drugs often become addicted. 

A parent might wonder, what are some of the reasons for the growing rise of drug use, and what strategies can they adopt to protect their children? 

Reasons for the Growing Drug Use Among Teens

More children are being exposed to drugs than ever before. Some of the reasons for the drug abuse among teens include:

  • Rebellion and status: Teens may engage in drug use because they feel bored with their lives or need something new to do, so they try it out as an act of rebellion against their parents or society. 
  • Exposure to drugs at a young age: Many parents have little control over their child’s exposure to drugs. Most children will encounter drugs before reaching high school. With the growing rise of prescribed medications, doctors continue to prescribe stimulants, opioids, or opiates to the youth. Furthermore, young people have easy access to these medications through their parents’ medicine cabinets, online pharmacies, or peers.

Increased Stressors and Trauma Cases 

Children today must deal with many stressors that were less common 30 or 40 years ago. Such stressors include:

  • Living in a violent home or in a community where drug use is prevalent
  • Living in a neighborhood where unemployment and poverty are widespread
  • Experiencing a traumatic event such as an accident, the death of someone close, a natural disaster, or violence
  • Experiencing physical or sexual abuse
  • Widespread bullying, especially cyberbullying
  • Experiencing familial insecurities like mental health disorders, abuse, financial insecurity, neglectful parents,  and marital disputes

Popular Culture Glorifying Drug Use 

Many mainstream films, television shows, and musicians glorify substance use. Movies like 21 Jump Street, The Hangover, and Pineapple Express have promoted drug abuse. In contrast, television shows like Skins, Breaking Bad, Euphoria, and Party Down have also been criticized for glorifying illicit substances. 

Lack of Parental Supervision in Family Unit

A child’s first line of defense against drug abuse is parental supervision, communication, education, guidance, and love. However, for various reasons, many parents do not pay enough attention to their children’s behaviors and actions. Thus, these teens are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as using drugs

Strategies to Prevent or Minimize Drug Use

Although more and more teens are exposed to drug use, there are measures that parents can take to prevent them from becoming addicted to drugs. Here are some tips for preventing drug abuse in teens:

  • Know your teen’s friends. Teens tend to emulate their friends as they try to find their identity. If your teen has a friend who uses drugs, they are more likely to start using them. If you suspect that one of your kids’ friends uses drugs, you should talk about the issue with your teen and try to convince them to make new friends. Check out their social activities and whereabouts when they’re not at home. The best way to do this is by establishing a safe environment for them to confide in you about these details.
  • Maintain open communication. Parents will find it easier to monitor their teens if they have open communication. You can have an honest conversation about drugs by discussing real-life stories on television or the Internet or sharing some of your own experiences in your teenage years.
  • Set clear rules and consequences. Communication about rules and consequences is a must for every parent who wants to protect their teen from drug abuse. It would help if you made it clear that using drugs will not be tolerated under any circumstances and that adults in the home will be treated as role models and authority figures.

Talk About Drugs Early and Often

Kids notice everything, including ads for alcohol on television and movies that make drug use look cool. Maybe your child hasn’t asked you any questions yet. That doesn’t mean he isn’t listening. You can still introduce the topic by bringing up an ad or a music video they have watched. So be sure to talk openly about what they see when they’re young so that they understand that these images don’t tell the whole story.

Involve Your Child in Extracurricular Activities

Teenagers involved in sports, art, and other extracurricular activities are less likely to get involved with drugs. Taking part in these activities also helps teenagers develop good friendships with people who do not do drugs. This gives them a positive influence, which helps prevent them from falling into a life of addiction.

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Behavioral Disorders in Adolescents

Behavioral Disorders in Adolescents

As an adolescent, you are going through a variety of changes, developing into who you are as a person both physically and mentally. During this period, behavioral disorders may present themselves more clearly and cause a variety of obstacles to overcome. However, adolescence is a common time frame for these disorders to become prevalent.

Behavioral Disorders

Behavioral disorders are considered patterns of disruptive behaviors that occur for at least six months. These disorders can have a variety of behaviors involved, such as lack of attention span, impulsive behaviors, hyperactivity, and unusual or defiant behavior. Common diagnoses of behavioral disorders in adolescents include attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Conduct Disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). These common diagnoses can cause adolescents trouble in school and work environments.

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD causes adolescents or individuals with this diagnosis to struggle to retain focus and attention or hyper-focusing on various matters. While these behaviors often onset in children and adolescents, the behaviors can continue to worsen throughout life if not handled properly. The following behaviors are commonly seen in adolescents diagnosed with ADHD:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Losing items consistently
  • Fidgeting
  • Making careless mistakes
  • Impulsive decision-making
  • Struggle to resist temptations
  • Impatience

While ADHD is not curable, there are many healthy habits you can implement into your lifestyle to help manage these symptoms. Eating healthy, keeping healthy sleep habits, and scheduling your day can help make basic functioning run smoothly.

Conduct Disorder

Conduct disorder in adolescents is often viewed as a consistent form of delinquent behavior. With an increased tendency to act out of impulsivity, aggression, and disobedience, the results of this disorder are more extreme. The following symptoms are common with this behavioral disorder.

  • Aggression
  • Destruction
  • Deceitfulness
  • Lying
  • Manipulation

One of the most important ways to work through conduct disorder is to learn skills to help regulate your emotions. Many symptoms arise from heightened anger and the inability to control impulses.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

ODD in adolescents is portrayed through a long period of disobedience and hostile behaviors. This can arise in young children but is often worse during adolescence. The following symptoms of ODD are important to be aware of and recognize if you find you are frequently experiencing these.

  • Increased irritation
  • Temper tantrums
  • Low self-esteem
  • Blaming others
  • Refusal to obey

Behavioral Disorders in Adolescents

Reviewing the three most common behavioral issues shown in adolescent males, you may notice that many of the symptoms of the three disorders are very similar. ADHD is typically the most differing of the three disorders discussed above. With ADHD, the main struggles adolescents find they are dealing with is their ability to retain attention on a subject and focus on success in educational settings. This can cause grades to fall and a lack of attention span. 

Creating a study schedule with planned breaks every so often can help reset the mind. If you allow your mind a chance to focus on something else and then come back to regain focus, it can be easier to engage with the material.

With ODD and Conduct Disorder, the behaviors shown have a higher potential for violence. Conduct Disorder typically involves a higher level of violence and misbehavior through the adolescent’s actions. ODD is often more behavioral through throwing tantrums and expressing heightened emotions, while conduct disorder involves physical acts of violence out of anger. 

Managing Behavioral Disorders

Learning to manage behavioral disorders as an adolescent can be challenging as you are working toward becoming an adult and taking upon more responsibilities. It is recommended to seek psychological help if dealing with a behavioral disorder to ensure you are making progress and learning appropriate coping mechanisms. 

This form of psychological treatment is focused on your well-being but will also include your parents. By working with the family unit, the goal is to set clear expectations of rules and boundaries, work to improve communication, and bring self-awareness. Discussing the issues that a behavioral disorder has brought on can help each family member express their concerns and work together to create a plan that everyone feels will lead them to success. 

Working on getting help and regulating your behavioral disorder as an adolescent can make the management of this disorder much easier in the future. If you push aside the consequences of your behaviors, they will likely catch up to you and cause more serious conflict in the future. Working to regulate these behaviors and emotions at a young age can help implement these habits more easily. Working to provide mental stability will help you set yourself up for future success.

Behavioral disorders are common concerns during the age of adolescence. Understanding the various forms of behavioral disorders and how to manage them can help teens avoid getting drawn into the negative symptoms brought upon by these disorders. At Clearfork Academy, we understand that behavioral disorders such as ADHD, ODD, and conduct disorder are common among teens. These disorders can cause a variety of struggles, but our programs can help. We provide teens with the appropriate therapy and treatment to help them manage their behavioral disorders. With us, teens will learn to cope with behavioral disorders and get back on track by gaining the skills needed to manage their disorders. If your teen currently needs help, don’t wait; act today. To learn more about the common types of behavioral disorders in adolescents and how to manage them, contact Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 966-8604.

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The Link Between Teen Body Image and Substance Use

The Link Between Teen Body Image and Substance Use

Adolescence presents many challenges. It is when teenagers begin seeking their friend’s approval, struggle with an array of complex physical and emotional feelings, and find it difficult to maintain self-esteem. It is also the age when teens develop insecurities about how they look. Therefore, teens could partake in unhealthy habits such as using substances to cope.

Teens who think they have a poor body image show higher rates of substance use. If untreated, this habit can wreak havoc on a teen’s life. Learning to be comfortable in their skin and fostering a greater sense of self-esteem can help teens find their way to addiction recovery, and Clearfork Academy can help.

Body Image and Mental Health

Body image and mental health are intertwined. Unhealthy relationships with your body could lead to developing a mental health condition. A key factor in body image struggles is peer engagement. Kids can be cruel. They make comments and tease others about things in a way that they think is harmless. They might comment on:

  • What someone wears
  • How they look
  • Body image

There is a fine line between teasing and bullying. Teenagers are far less likely to be mindful of their words. Unfortunately, some adults are not much better, and parents could make their children feel self-conscious. Such words may cause teenagers to develop a negative self-perception about their bodies. They may lose confidence, leading to isolation, decreased performance in school or work, and avoiding social interaction. If left untreated, a teen could develop body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder is a severe mental disorder caused by negative body image. BDD is a mental health disorder often defined as individuals constantly worrying about how they look. These individuals begin to obsess over a characteristic or feature that isn’t serious or is non-existent. While these compulsive thoughts surrounding body image may feel real to the individual, their thoughts are typically irrational. Sometimes individuals can recognize their thoughts as irrational, but individuals diagnosed with BDD are often unaware.

When untreated, BDD causes further emotional distress. Further, parents may not understand BDD and confuse it for vanity. Such perceptions could either reinforce the child’s beliefs or make light of how the child feels. Therefore, parents need to educate themselves about BDD so that they can spot the signs when they occur.

Recognizing Symptoms of BDD

It can be difficult to recognize symptoms of BDD; however, it is essential to know these signs. Telltale signs include:

  • Constantly asking their friends or family about how they look. They do this to look for reassurance; however, they rarely believe the answers.
  • Constantly looking at their reflection or comparing their body to another person.

These signs may seem harmless at first, but these symptoms become more severe over time. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Excessive dieting
  • Exercising too much
  • Practicing unhealthy methods of weight loss like vomiting or taking laxatives

Body Image and Substance Use

Teens often use substances to cope with negative feelings surrounding body image. Research from Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse indicates that adolescents use substances as a “weight control strategy.” In their article on body image, acculturation, and substance use, the authors claim that 18% of girls and 10% of boys reported: “Smoking cigarettes in the last year to lose or control their weight.”

This research also indicates that “Boys with a strong desire to be thin are more likely to smoke than other boys,” and “Girls who reported a fear of weight gain or a strong wish to be thin were twice as likely as girls without these concerns to take up smoking.”

Additionally, body image affects a teen’s perception of what being attractive means. Teens who think they are not good-looking may begin smoking, drinking, or using other substances to cope.

Seeking Treatment

Teenagers suffering from substance use related to body image will benefit from a mix of addiction and mental health treatment. Such treatments include:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Learning coping skills to combat negative thoughts and behaviors
  • Practicing mindfulness

Teenagers may be less inclined to ask for help which is why support from family, friends, and medical or mental health professionals is essential.

How Clearfork Academy Can Help

While asking for help may be difficult, remember that the struggle with substance use and negative body image can be detrimental and life-threatening if left untreated. Clearfork Academy has the professional staff and tools to treat dual diagnoses like substance use addiction and BDD. These professionals will help educate teens and their families about BDD.

When peers make negative comments about another’s appearance, it can have a negative impact on how they see themselves. At Clearfork Academy, we understand that when teens obsess over their appearance, they become vulnerable to experiencing anxiety or depression. They also risk developing substance use disorders which can lead to overdose or death. At Clearfork Academy, we provide the necessary resources to allow teens and their families the opportunity to learn about various mental health and addiction disorders. With us, our goal is to set teens on the right path by developing the confidence and motivation they need to lead their lives. We accomplish this by providing both conventional and alternative approaches to care. If your teen is currently struggling with BDD and has turned to substance use to cope, the time to get help is today. To learn more, reach out today by calling (888) 966-8604.

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What Is Teen Alcohol Poisoning?

What Is Teen Alcohol Poisoning?

Teens experiencing alcohol poisoning are on the rise. Alcohol poisoning usually results from binge drinking and can lead to death if left untreated. Understanding the signs and symptoms is critical. Parents who have children in their late teens should be aware of alcohol poisoning.

What Is Teen Alcohol Poisoning?

Teen alcohol poisoning is a severe medical emergency. It occurs when someone consumes a large amount of alcohol in a short period. The more they drink, the higher their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). BAC is determined by several factors, including body type, weight, and gender. Alcohol overdose can also be caused by drinking on an empty stomach or binge drinking over several hours.

Alcohol poisoning can cause the body to shut down and quit functioning. When a person consumes too much alcohol at once, their blood alcohol level can exceed 0.4%. At this level, a person can experience difficulty breathing, become comatose, or die from suffocation due to vomiting while unconscious.

Risks of Teen Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning occurs when someone drinks too much alcohol in a short time. If alcohol is consumed quickly, the body can’t process it fast enough, and the person becomes drunk. Their blood-alcohol level is higher than their liver can handle. Eventually, this can cause damage to other organs, including the brain and heart.  

Other potential causes of teen alcohol poisoning include the following:

  • Alcohol can cause an insufficient supply of oxygen to reach vital organs such as the brain, heart, and lungs, leading to organ failure or brain damage. Alcohol also depresses a person’s gag reflex, making them more likely to choke on their vomit and die.
  • Alcohol dilates blood vessels and slows breathing and heart rate. This may lead someone experiencing alcohol poisoning to develop hypothermia because their body cannot regulate its temperature correctly. 
  • Alcohol poisoning can also result in coma and even death due to a lack of oxygen reaching the organs. It can cause fatal injury due to coordination problems or loss of consciousness caused by excessive amounts of alcohol.

What Happens During an Episode of  Alcohol Poisoning?

Drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short time can overwhelm the body’s ability to metabolize alcohol. The amount of alcohol in a teen’s bloodstream rises to dangerous levels and interferes with their central nervous system, regulating involuntary heart rate, body temperature, and breathing. 

A teen’s breathing can slow down or stop, their heart rate can also slow down or stop, and their body temperature can drop dangerously low. 

The Cost of Alcohol Poisoning

A teen suffering from alcohol poisoning is at risk of suffering seizures, coma, and even death.  As the depressed central nervous system shuts down, it can lead to coma or death. Or, if the breathing and gag reflexes slow down or stop working, the teen can stop breathing and choke on their vomit. A teen with alcohol poisoning may suffer a heart attack or brain damage.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Every second counts when it comes to receiving medical attention. In some cases, waiting even an hour can lead to permanent brain damage or death from hypothermia, choking on vomit, or heart problems caused by drinking too much too quickly.

You should seek help if you notice these symptoms:

  • Someone passes out and cannot wake up
  • Someone is breathing less than eight times per minute or taking more than 10 seconds between breaths
  • Someone has a seizure
  • Someone’s skin is pale or blueish
  • Someone has a low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Slow breathing (less than ten breaths per minute)
  • Vomits while sleeping or passed out and doesn’t wake up when vomiting, increasing the risk of choking

Reasons Why More Teens Are Experiencing Alcohol Poisoning

There are several reasons why more teens today experience alcohol poisoning. The following are four reasons why parents should be concerned about teen alcohol poisoning:

  • Drinking problem among teens: According to a recent report, the rate of drinking has dropped over the last decade. However, this does not mean that there are fewer underage drinkers. A recent survey reported that “19% of young people aged 12 to 20 years reported drinking alcohol.” 
  • The party culture: Many high school and college students consider binge drinking part of the “party culture.” While some students may drink once or twice, others may drink every weekend. A recent study found that “4.2 million young people reported binge drinking at least once in the past month.” 
  • More money, more access to liquor: Teens who have jobs or a steady income may be able to buy more alcohol. Ease of access to liquor at home also increases the risk that teens will consume more than their bodies can handle.

Alcohol poisoning, also called acute alcohol poisoning (AAP), is extremely dangerous. AAP causes severe complications and can lead to death. If left untreated, it can progress into severe complications and life-threatening situations. For teenagers, it can interfere with brain development. At Clearfork Academy, we understand that individuals who have a history of drinking too much are prone to alcohol poisoning. Understanding the signs is essential. We provide a comprehensive program to assist teens in regaining their lives and maintaining lasting recovery. You don’t want to see your child struggle with alcohol or drugs, and while it can be challenging to know how to handle things., we can help. We believe that proper treatment is the key. If your teen is using alcohol or other substances, the time to get help is today. Find out more by contacting our admissions team at (888) 966-8604

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The Rise of Fentanyl Addiction and Teenage Overdose

The Rise of Fentanyl Addiction and Teenage Overdose

Fentanyl-related deaths have been on the rise in the last decade, taking the lives of adults and teenagers. While rising rates of fentanyl overdoses among teenagers are terrifying, there are things parents can do to help spot the signs and help their teen overcome fentanyl addiction.

What Is Fentanyl?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), fentanyl is a “powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent.” While it is a prescription drug, it’s often made and distributed on the street and used to lace other street drugs. 

Like morphine, fentanyl is sometimes used to treat chronic pain or post-surgery recovery pain. As a synthetic opioid, fentanyl has become one of the most frequently used street drugs and, as a result, is involved in 59% of opioid overdoses in the United States, at least as of 2017, according to the NIDA.

Fentanyl in a Controlled Environment 

Doctors may prescribe fentanyl if patients develop a tolerance to other opioids. Understand that prescription drugs can have negative effects. The real danger comes from fentanyl on the street. Specifically when other drugs are laced with fentanyl. 

The primary motivation for drug dealers to lace other drugs with fentanyl is price. By mixing it with substances like heroin or cocaine, buyers will experience an intense high through less consumption. Teenagers may be unaware of this mixing of additional drugs. When this happens, teens could consume more without realizing what they are using, leading to an overdose. 

Effects of Fentanyl

The effects of fentanyl are similar to other opioids. In the article linked above, NIDA describes what happens in the brain when using fentanyl. It binds our opioid receptors, which are “found in areas of the brain that control pain and emotions.” Consistent use causes the brain to develop a tolerance. When this happens, it becomes difficult for individuals to experience pleasure from anything except fentanyl.  

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), fentanyl produces many effects, including: 

  • Relaxation 
  • Euphoria 
  • Pain relief 
  • Sedation 
  • Confusion 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Dizziness 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Urinary retention 
  • Pupillary constriction 
  • Respiratory depression

Many of these signs may be difficult to notice in others; however, there are signs of fentanyl addiction that you should know.

Noticing the Signs of Fentanyl Addiction

Spotting the signs of fentanyl addiction early will help you determine if your teen has an addiction. For starters, you will begin to notice behavioral changes. Changes may include but are not limited to: 

  • Mood swings 
  • Isolation 
  • Risky behavior 
  • Impaired judgment 
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Your teens may also have irregular sleeping and eating patterns, lack of personal hygiene, or exhibit signs of other drug-seeking behavior. Noticing these signs can be difficult, but it can also be life-saving. If you are unsure, then you should consult a healthcare professional. 

Medically Prescribed Fentanyl

Medically prescribed fentanyl is common among synthetic or street drugs. Signs of abuse include:

  • Slow and shallow breathing  
  • Nausea, 
  • Vomiting, 
  • Limp body 
  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Low blood pressure

Noticing these signs can save the life of a teen struggling with fentanyl, as can knowing the steps to take when someone is overdosing. The most critical thing to do is call 911 immediately. 

Naloxone is also a medication that can combat an opioid overdose. If necessary, naloxone will be administered by the paramedics immediately. If you suspect fentanyl overdose, be sure to discuss with your teen’s medical professional on the topic.

Fentanyl and Teens

The human brain does not fully develop until the age of 25. Therefore, your teen’s brain is still developing. Any drug use will hinder brain development and cognitive function. In addition to impairing the brain’s development, your teen may experience further addiction to other substances, mental disorders, and heart disease. It could even create health issues and co-occurring disorders in adulthood. 

Educate Yourself About Fentanyl

By educating yourself about fentanyl, you can become more capable of noticing the signs of addiction, symptoms of overdose, and how to treat a fentanyl overdose. If you are unsure of where to start, always begin by talking to your child’s physician. A healthcare professional can work with you and your teen to find the right help.

Additional steps may be necessary, like finding an appropriate residential treatment program for your teen. Here at Clearfork Academy, we offer teens detox, residential, and intensive outpatient programs to help them recover from addiction. If you fear your teen is suffering from fentanyl addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out. Taking action sooner can save your teen’s life.  

Fentanyl has become one of the deadliest drugs in the past couple of decades, with more people dying of overdoses every year. While it is often prescribed for medical purposes, synthetic fentanyl is instead used. Unfortunately, many are unaware that synthetic fentanyl is mixed with other drugs. At Clearfork Academy, we can help. Our staff of healthcare professionals will educate you and your teen about the dangers of fentanyl. Our individual and group therapy programs allow teens and their parents the opportunity to learn how to work together to manage addiction. We also provide the necessary resources in real-world settings to help your teen develop healthy habits and find the motivation to pursue the future they deserve. If your teen is currently struggling to manage addiction, then the time to get help is today. To learn more about finding treatment for fentanyl addiction, call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604.

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Why Are Some Teens More Prone to Addiction?

Why Are Some Teens More Prone to Addiction?

When addiction hits, it hits hard. When it grabs hold, it’s a battle to get free. It doesn’t matter how old you are, the severity of your vice, or how long you’ve been involved with it.

Further, addiction can be particularly devastating for teens. Too often, teens find themselves stuck in a cycle of substance abuse and addiction without any hope of breaking free. While every teen responds differently to an addiction problem, there are some common reasons why some teens are more prone to addiction than others.

Poor Impulse Control

It all goes wrong in the brain’s ability to control impulses. According to research,  certain brain parts, like the prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex, are still developing at this age, so they are at a disadvantage compared to adult brains.

Therefore, teens cannot resist the impulse; instead, they’ll do something terrible if it feels good at the moment. They may also lack the ability to think through the consequences. Teens don’t always realize that their actions can have long-lasting effects.

The teen brain has trouble making good decisions because it can’t understand real consequences and can’t figure out how much distant rewards matter. Therefore, teens act without thinking about the outcome of their actions, such as texting while driving, which puts them more at risk for addictions than adults.

Susceptible Genes

Scientists have found that differences in individual genes can affect how the brain responds to addictive substances and how fast the body breaks down. For example, genes can make some people prone to addiction. This means two people can use the same drug, but one person can become addicted while the other does not. Therefore, some teens seem to be able to “try” a drug without becoming hooked, while for others, even “experimental” use can lead to addiction.

Family History of Addiction

Another factor that might make some teens more likely to try drugs is exposure to drug use by family members or friends. Children who grow up in homes where parents abuse drugs are more likely to abuse drugs as teenagers. According to studies, teens exposed at a young age are more likely to fall into patterns of early substance abuse and

Low Self-Esteem

When it comes to low self-esteem, the effects on developing brains can be devastating. Teenagers who lack confidence tend to use alcohol and drugs to improve confidence, though this is only temporary. Unfortunately, this false sense of security makes many teenagers continue substance use.

Therapy can help build teens’ self-images and teach them coping skills for negative emotions before those feelings lead them to drug experimentation. In therapy, teens learn that healthy living choices enhance self-image. Therapists can also work with teenagers on social skills that lead to stronger peer relationships and higher quality friendships with less risk of being pressured into drug experimentation or use by having friends who don’t drink or take drugs.

Stressful Events

Stressful events — like parents’ divorce, a death in the family, or moving to a new place — can cause stress. Due to chronic stress, too many teens start drinking or using substances to mitigate the stress. Teens who have experienced more stress than others are more likely to use drugs to cope.

Abuse and Trauma

Many teenagers have experienced abuse or trauma. These experiences affect a person’s brain development, making them more vulnerable to addiction. Teens who have experienced abuse or trauma need extra support to avoid addiction. Common causes of trauma among teens include:

  • Parents’ divorce
  • Loss of a sibling, parent, or another loved one
  • Sexual, physical, or mental abuse
  • Parents neglect
  • A catastrophic accident or weather event
  • Bullying by their peers

Lack of Parental Support and Supervision

Most parents work long hours. Consequently, teens could feel neglected. In other cases, parents may be absent from the home due to incarceration, divorce, or death. Thus, they can’t monitor their kids’ activities or hold them accountable for their actions. This leaves teens without any accurate guidance and supervision from an authority figure in their lives. Without parental supervision, teens are susceptible to harmful influences.

Mental Health Disorders

Mental health professionals can treat mental health problems and co-occurring disorders successfully using therapy like group therapy or CBT and medication. Such an approach helps remove the need for self-medicating through drug or alcohol use. If you think your teen might have a mental health disorder, talk to them about this possibility and consider getting help from a trained professional like a therapist or psychiatrist who can help guide them towards recovery from their substance use disorder (SUD) and their co-occurring mental health disorder.

Some experts believe that genetics, environmental influences, or a predisposition toward risky behaviors can lead to teen drug addiction. At Clearfork Academy, we believe that in order to prevent SUD, parents must educate themselves on the issue. Our programs offer various treatments for adolescents struggling with SUD or mental health disorders. Our team facilitates the healing of teens through trauma-focused care, on-site academic courses, adventure therapy, and various therapeutic modalities tailored to meet each teen’s needs. Our fully qualified clinicians understand how challenging it can be for parents or guardians who have a teenager dealing with addiction or mental health conditions. We can help you and your family climb this mountain of recovery from SUD. Stop enabling your teen’s behaviors. Instead of enabling your teenager, seek professional help at a reputable treatment program like Clearfork Academy. To find out more about evidence-based treatment, contact us today by calling (888) 966-8604.

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The Importance of Nutrition in Your Teen’s Recovery

The Importance of Nutrition in Your Teen's Recovery

Addiction and substance use has several adverse effects on the body. These effects can be more severe for your teen during their developmental stages. You’ll begin to recognize the effects of addiction on your teen by the physical effects. Nutrition is exceptionally beneficial in your teen’s recovery as it can improve these effects and foster a healthier lifestyle overall. 

Addiction recovery requires your teen to be cautious about what they put in their bodies. This includes being cautious about the food they consume. Nutritional changes can make a difference in your teen’s recovery, and Clearfork Academy can help your teen develop a healthy nutrition plan.

Effects of Substance Use on the Body

The effects of substance use on the body vary depending on the body’s reaction and the substance used. In teenagers, the risks associated with the effects of drug use are more severe because the brain and body are not fully developed. 

Substance use can slow down the development process, particularly in the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that regulates our decision-making. So, as a result of the impaired development, you may observe your teen making riskier decisions. Such decisions can wreak havoc, especially if they put your teen in danger.

How Drugs Affect the Brain

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), drugs affect three main parts of the brain, including: 

  • Brain stem: The brain stem regulates “all the functions our body needs to stay alive.” This includes breathing, blood circulation, and digestion. The brain stem signals everything going on in the body to the brain. 
  • Limbic system: The limbic system controls emotional and behavioral responses.
  • Cerebral cortex: The cerebral cortex regulates the senses, helps us process information, and is in charge of problem-solving skills. 

The vast majority of these parts of the brain are not yet developed until the age of 25. If substance use significantly impacts these parts of the brain in teens, there’s a great risk of having irrevocable effects on the brain of teens if untreated.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms

There are many signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for in substance use among teens. It may include: 

  • Slurred speech 
  • Bloodshot eyes 
  • Disinterest in once pleasurable activities
  • Excessive weight changes 
  • Unusual sleep patterns

You may also infer that your teen is suffering from substance use based on who they are hanging around. You may notice they’re spending time with people unfamiliar to you or pushing the boundaries of curfews and home rules. It can be difficult to get them to open up, but recognizing the signs early on makes all the difference in preventing further adverse effects of addiction.

Behavioral Changes

Behavioral changes will present themselves in home life and school life. You may notice your teen’s grades dropping significantly or that they’re running into disciplinary problems at school. Psychologically, their personality may be completely different. 

It’s normal for teenagers to change as they grow. They mature and begin to have their thoughts and opinions. Noticing changes in personality is normal as they enter into early adulthood. However, certain changes will be drastic. Especially if you find your teen is engaging in behavior that’s putting others or themselves at risk more frequently, it’s more than just a change in personality.

Substance Use and Nutrition

Eating habits can be a big indicator of addiction and substance use. Therefore, dietary irregularities cause harm to the body. The body’s ability to process food changes, organ function may be impaired, and general mental health will suffer.

The effects of improper nutrition may vary depending on the substances used, but recovery is the ideal time to improve nutrition. Substance use disorder (SUD) can lead to a high risk of malnutrition, which can intensify substance-seeking behaviors; for this reason, making healthier choices today can be life-changing tomorrow. Your teen can make these choices by setting short-term goals, and incorporating movement into their day, even if it’s just for 30 minutes a few times a week.

The Path to Recovery and Better Health

Making these changes in diet focuses on being cautious about what we put into our bodies. This is a practice of mindfulness. Recovery is about living more mindfully. Mindful practices toward a healthier and nutritious life will help your teen practice choices of mindfulness in every area of their life.

Clearfork Academy’s residential treatment program for adolescents can help your teen live a life of recovery today. Our clinical interventions and program curriculum will allow your teen to practice mindfulness when it comes to nutrition, recovery, and other life choices. Reach out to Clearfork Academy for support in getting your teen treatment today. 

Substance use has adverse effects on the brain and body that could lead to an impaired ability to make decisions, think rationally, or malnutrition. Addiction recovery focuses on being more mindful about your decisions, especially decisions pertaining to what you put into your body. Prioritizing nutrition is essential for your teen’s recovery. Clearfork Academy’s substance use treatment program can help your teen practice mindfulness and improve life and nutrition choices. Such practices, in addition to our other effective individual and group therapy programs, work to help your teen develop the healthy habits necessary for sustaining recovery. With us, your teen will achieve the confidence and motivation necessary to pursue the future they deserve. If your teen currently needs help, don’t wait. To find out more about our programs, reach out to Clearfork Academy today by calling us at (888) 966-8604

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What to Do When You Find Out Your Teen Is Using Substances

What to Do When You Find Out Your Teen Is Using Substances

It can be frightening when you find out your teen is using substances. It might bring up memories of your past substance use or memories of other teens you knew who used substances. You may feel angry at your teen for not living up to the values you expect of them. You might feel guilty about yourself as a parent when your teen uses substances. Your family members must work together to respond calmly and effectively to substance use. 

Listen to Your Teen

During the conversation, apply active listening. While it might be your first impulse to go on the attack, that will not help anyone, and it won’t give you all the information you need. Instead, listen to try and understand what your teen is saying. Look at their body language, and listen to their tone of voice. 

We suggest preparing a list of specific questions regarding their recent behaviors to offer the discussion some structure and direction. Try to stay calm and avoid becoming defensive if they deny using the substances. Many teens who abuse substances will lie about it for fear of getting in trouble with their parents or guardians. Yet, continue to ask questions for greater clarity of the situation. 

Do Not Wait for a Formal Addiction Diagnosis

Parents often worry that they do not have enough evidence or knowledge to know if their teen’s behaviors are problematic. However, it is advisable to seek help immediately rather than risk waiting and ignoring the problem.

When you become aware of your teen’s substance use, do not wait for their use to escalate. When you wait, this can mean missed opportunities for seeking treatment. You can take action right away by having an open discussion with your teen about your concerns.

Seek Professional Help Immediately

The first step is to take action as soon as possible. While it may be tempting to handle the problem independently, it’s essential to find professional help, whether from a trained specialist in teen substance use disorder (SUD) or your family practitioner. Additional options for treatment include:

  • Find a local rehab center
  • Talk to your child’s primary care doctor or their therapist
  • Contact a 12-Step support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for teens 

Educate Yourself About the Substances Your Child Consumes

It is essential to educate yourself about the substances your child is using. You also want to understand what happens if your child mixes substances.

There are a lot of great resources on the web for finding out about specific drugs, such as NIDA for Teens or SAMHSA’s National Helpline. These websites can explain the long-term consequences of substance abuse and provide information about how long substances stay in the system.

Finally, you must understand when someone is addicted to a drug. Addiction usually means that an individual cannot stop taking a substance even when they desperately want to stop; this may be because their brain has changed to crave substances more than anything else. Someone addicted will feel intense withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking a drug; sweating, shaking, nausea and vomiting may occur within just hours or days of quitting. 

The only way to treat addiction is with detoxification followed by professional therapy through an addiction treatment center.

Stop Enabling Their Substance Use

When your child is using drugs, it’s easy to fall into the trap of enabling their behavior. You may want to protect them from harm but are sending the message that it’s OK to use substances. It can be a very confusing time for you as a parent, and there are many ways that we can unknowingly help our kids continue their habits. Since you love your child so much and enjoy the best for them, here is a list of behaviors that show them it’s okay to continue using drugs:

  • Buying them a beer or other substances at parties even though they’re under 21
  • Giving them money when they ask
  • Letting them drive after drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana

Find Support for Yourself and Other Family Members 

Finding support for yourself and your family is crucial because you are likely to have questions about how best to handle your teen’s substance use. You may also need advice from other parents or a professional therapist on how to get through this time in your life.

Support groups for parents of teens with substance abuse problems can be beneficial. In addition, individual counseling can help you or other members of the family deal with the stresses that arise with a teen with a SUD. You are not alone in this journey. Many families struggle when discovering their children’s drug use, and it’s okay if you need help dealing with the situation.

The teenage years can be demanding as you work to understand your child, their motivations, and behaviors. As you plan how to handle your teen’s drug and alcohol use and what path you think is best to get them the help they need, it’s essential to remain objective, informed, and ready to take action once you have all the facts. If you are concerned your teen is using drugs or alcohol, we urge you to seek help from an experienced and skilled treatment provider. An excellent place to start is Clearfork Academy. Our team of experienced and fully licensed clinicians knows how to identify drug addiction and help teens become substance-free. We offer evidence-based programs for the adolescent population that has been proven effective in healing those struggling with substance abuse issues. To find out more, reach out to us today by calling (888) 966-8604.

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The Use of Art Therapy for Teens in Recovery

The Use of Art Therapy for Teens in Recovery

Teenagers benefit from a variety of unique approaches to addiction recovery and therapy, including art therapy. Art therapy is a therapeutic intervention that integrates external symptoms with internal struggles of the heart and mind. The active, creative process can help with recovery from substances and mental health issues. 

People have a natural inclination to cope with stress and express themselves through creativity. If you’re looking for an alternative and creative way to help your teen through recovery, consider a program that utilizes art therapy.

What Is Art Therapy?

Art therapists describe art therapy as a type of psychotherapy that uses art to communicate. Art therapy is frequently used in treating children; art therapy helps psychologists interpret what their client isn’t saying. It typically helps clients improve their cognitive functions, reduce feelings of distress, and improve social skills. Through the creative process, people can express complex feelings and develop healthier coping skills.

Clients may be reluctant to try art therapy. A common misconception is that you have to be an artist for this practice to be effective. That could not be further from the truth. Art therapy has nothing to do with creating art. It’s all about expressing yourself and expressing whatever feelings you struggle to communicate. In addition to expressing emotions, teens will learn to resolve internal and external conflicts, increase self-esteem, reduce stress, and improve communication.

Benefits of Art Therapy

The benefits of art therapy vary for people. However, it is beneficial in treating substance use disorders (SUD) among teenagers. Suffering from addiction is typically accompanied by other mental disorders, and such disorders are co-occurring and referred to as dual diagnoses. If untreated, co-occurring disorders can wreak havoc. Art therapy could help your teen accept their struggle, understand their triggers, and learn about this response to trauma safely and comfortably.

Deciding to try art therapy is a conversation you, your child, and their mental health professional should have. Through this alternative treatment, your child will gain more control and awareness of their emotions. They will also improve their social skills and increase overall feelings of self-esteem. The inability to cope with these feelings causes SUD to become significantly worse. Art therapy effectively treats dual-diagnosis, improving your teen’s overall well-being.

Methods of Art Therapy

Clients may be reluctant to try art therapy, especially if they have no artistic talents. We can’t stress this enough; art therapy is not about creating art; it’s about expressing complex feelings. Art therapy can be implemented through several art forms, including but not limited to painting, drawing, writing, and photography. The most effective method will depend on you.

Different forms of art help individuals in different ways. For example, individuals suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may benefit from painting. Painting requires a level of fluidity. By your teen trying their hand at putting paint to canvas, they will learn the importance of letting go and letting obsessive thoughts dictate themselves. 

Some creative outlets are easier to implement than others. Taking up drawing or painting requires purchasing the supplies. Taking up photography can be as simple as pulling a smartphone out of your pocket and learning the art of photography.

Reasons to Consider Art Therapy

In addition to the benefits of art therapy on SUD, art therapy helps to improve symptoms associated with SUD. That may include depression, overall mood, or help in handling trauma. Your teen is probably trying to cope without a lot of complex emotions. Growing up is hard enough, and SUD will make a teen’s emotions more complex.

Healing from trauma is difficult for everyone. However, art therapy treats all kinds of trauma. It’s been instrumental in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by offering an emotional outlet, allowing clients to externalize their trauma and resolve those painful memories or emotions. 

Successfully implementing art therapy into your teen’s life will help them manage long-term recovery and make the transition from treatment to recovery smoother because they’ll have an effective coping skill to fall back on.

The Clearfork Difference

Here at Clearfork Academy, we prioritize helping teens recover and heal from struggles with addiction. We implement many programs, such as individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy. We also believe in the importance of fun and adventure, which we incorporate into more of our unorthodox programs like art, music, and adventure therapy.

If your teen is suffering from substance use disorders and other co-occurring disorders, we encourage you to seek help. Clearfork Academy can help create a new legacy for them today. 

Art therapy has several benefits for treating addiction, substance use disorders, and several mental disorders your teen may be experiencing. Art and creative processes provide a positive outlet, teach healthy coping skills, decrease denial or objection to treatment, and provide a way to communicate complex feelings. Within treatment, your teen will experience a decrease in anxiety, an increase in emotional self-awareness, and gain more control over thoughts and behaviors related to their illness. They don’t need to be an artist either; they just need to be open-minded. If you are struggling to help your teen find addiction treatment, reach out to Clearfork Academy today. Our intensive program provides teens with the clinical tools needed to recover and a support system required to maintain recovery. Let Clearfork Academy help your teen recover from addiction and change their legacy. To find out more about our programs, reach out to us today by calling (888) 966-8604.

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The Glamorization of Teen Drug Use in the Media and Television

The Glamorization of Teen Drug Use in the Media and Television

It is certainly not uncommon to see and hear about drug use when you turn on the television or listen to today’s musical artists. The media and television play a significant role in what teens consider trendy and cool.

In recent years, many people have questioned if the media glorifies drug use and addiction. As a parent, if your child begins drug use or you notice changes in their behavior, it can be easy to blame their social circle and friends. However, the source of their influence may be social media, television, or music.

Glamorizing Teen Substance Use in the Media

The issue with the display of drug use through various forms of media is that while the intentions behind these shows aren’t to harm or misinform, it can feel like the media is giving a generic, if not cliche, interpretation of drug use.

Drug use has found a way to trickle into almost all forms of media related to teens, whether on popular tv shows, song lyrics, or social media posts. While it is no secret that most teens use or have come into contact with substances, media can warp their perception and spin the narrative that drug use is part of being a teenager.

Drug Use in TV Shows

There are many popular shows, such as HBO’s Euphoria and FX’s Snowfall, centered around drug use, selling drugs, and addiction. While these shows don’t necessarily show addiction and drug use in a completely inaccurate light, many people have stated that they might glamorize them.

Many shows have begun to aestheticize drug use through cinematography, clothing choices, and how they portray specific characters. TV shows and Hollywood sometimes show addiction-related behaviors as a life of excitement with danger mixed in. They often incorporate high rates of sex and parties into drug use which can become mistaken for glamorizing addiction.

Characters Don’t Always Face Consequences

Binge drinking is one of the most common forms of substance use shown in teen TV shows. However, it indicates a false representation of characters being able to control their drinking and function while intoxicated. Many characters don’t face the consequences of their actions. When they do drink and become under the influence, they are often shown through the idea of being quirky, rebellious, and not caring.

In reality, these moments are often embarrassing and traumatizing. Parental consequences rarely follow, and sometimes the parents overlook that their teen has a drug issue.

Drug Use in Music

Teens may use drugs to connect with their favorite artists or try and live the lifestyle they hear them talk about in the music. Although musicians and artists might reference specific drugs, some artists do not use nor have experience with the drugs they reference. This is dangerous because they suggest a lifestyle they do not live; however, some of their young listeners may try to recreate or connect with those behaviors.

In music, sometimes drugs are used to signify wealth and a lavish lifestyle. In specific genres like rap, excessive marijuana use is referenced as a casual and socially acceptable thing. There is a common misconception that marijuana is not an addictive substance; however, this is false. Many teens and adults battle with marijuana addiction but never seek help because society has deemed marijuana non-addictive.

Drug Use in Social Media

Social media has become one of the biggest platforms for teens to interact. Whether it is Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, or Snapchat, teens have become accustomed to social life online. What also comes with social media is another platform where drug use is often distorted. Social media doesn’t always provide the full scope of addiction.

Celebrities and users often make their posts aesthetically pleasing to the eye to maintain an overall theme. You don’t always see the struggles or the trauma that influence their drug use and how they use drugs to mask negative feelings.

Tips for Parents

If you believe your child has begun to use alcohol or drugs due to influences from the media, there are actions you can take to help. Your first line of action should be to seek help for their addiction and drug use. Residential or outpatient treatment offers your child intensive professional help for addiction recovery.

During treatment, therapists can teach your child how to exercise discretion over what they consume from the media and what may bring harm to them. As they work towards sobriety, help them stay mindful of what is appropriate to take away from the media and what is considered harmful.

If your teen is currently struggling with addiction, Clearfork Academy has all the right tools to help them get on track and manage their sobriety. We are an addiction treatment center focused on helping teenagers. We help teens overcome serious drug use and manage co-occurring mental disorders. Whether your teen is in the thick of their addiction and needs intensive inpatient rehabilitation or they need a more flexible treatment plan such as outpatient therapy, we offer both. During treatment, our therapists and staff will help your teen learn life skills and coping strategies to help them face life’s challenges without substances. Don’t wait until your child is too far deep into their addiction; take action now by getting your child the help they need. To find out more about our programs and how we can benefit your child’s recovery process, call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604

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Preparing Your Teen for Sobriety in College

Preparing Your Teen for Sobriety in College

College is a monumental time in a teen’s life, as they are leaving their parent’s nest and entering into life away from parental supervision. For teens in recovery or who have completed an addiction program, this can create worry about whether they will maintain their sobriety. Luckily, there are ways to help prepare your teen for college. Here are five ways to prepare your teen for sobriety in college.

#1. Address Mental Health

It is common for mental health disorders and substance abuse to co-occur, and each can influence the manifestation of the other. It is important for your teen to learn how to manage their addiction before college. College involves many new challenges outside of academics. Going away requires adjusting to living in a new environment, juggling work and school, and developing financial responsibilities. Such challenges can take their toll on a teen’s mental health.

Treating mental health disorders is as important to their sobriety as treating their addiction. While your teen is preparing for college, make sure they receive care for their mental health. Such care may require medication, therapy, or obtaining a primary psychologist.

#2. Don’t “Over Parent”

It is natural to have concerns over your child entering into a new environment that may include alcohol and other substances. However, hovering over them or becoming a “helicopter” parent won’t help the situation, and may even cause them to push you away.

There should be a balance in how much freedom and parental supervision they have in college. As you and your teen prepare for college, remind them that you support them no matter what. Understand, they are still human and will inevitability make mistakes on their recovery journey. Therefore it is important that they feel comfortable coming to you when they struggle.

#3. Have a Care Plan

Before your teen leaves recovery, they should create an aftercare plan with their therapist. An aftercare plan consists of a list of resources available for your teen to use when they leave treatment to help maintain sobriety. Such resources may include:

  • Contact information for their therapist
  • Community resources both in hometown or college town
  • Contact information for their sponsor
  • An emergency plan in case of relapse
  • A list of triggers that could lead to drug use

A sponsor will also benefit your teen. A sponsor is someone in addiction recovery who successfully maintains long-term sobriety and serves as support to another in recovery. A sponsor can help with your teen’s transition into college.

#4. Discuss Ways to Have Sober Fun

There are so many other ways to have fun in college without drinking alcohol or partaking in other substances. Encourage your child to seek students that will support their sober lifestyle. For example, if there is a celebratory occasion such as passing an exam or class, suggest ways to reward themselves that don’t involve drugs. Maybe they treat themselves to their favorite foods, shop for a new outfit, have a spa day, or see a new movie.

Participating in clubs or hobbies that keep them active and out of trouble will also benefit them. If they enjoy sports, you might suggest they try out for an intramural team or check out their student center gym. Some colleges have spaces for students in recovery. Such spaces might involve AA meetings and other 12-Step programs. Before your teen embarks on their journey to college, see if the campus offers support for the recovery community.

#5. Have a Conversation

Sitting down and having a conversation with your teen about maintaining sobriety in college is just as important as having a plan in place. A conversation can help everyone get on the same page about how to support your teen and gives them a chance to express how they feel. Talk to them about how important it is to keep a drug-free lifestyle that will support their academic performance and mental health.

Before they leave for college, make sure everyone is aware of your teen’s plan and that they know what resources are available to them if they need help. Most importantly, make them feel loved and supported through this process. They may also be worried and anxious about working on their sobriety, and your support will help them feel comfortable coming to you to express how they feel.

While it’s okay to have fun know their boundaries; remember, college is an exciting time and can be fun for students in recovery. Your teen can have a great experience, too. It just takes some planning.

Clearfork Academy helps teenagers learn how to manage their mental and physical health. With us, your teen will learn ways to manage and cope with life’s challenges and get the best out of themselves. We strive to enrich their lives and help them flourish in each new chapter of life, including college. Our facilities offer both conventional and holistic approaches to care, and our refined diagnosis can identify and treat co-occurring disorders. In addition, our academic partnership with The University of Texas Charter school will prepare your teen for college life. So, whether your teen requires residential treatment or outpatient therapy, we have options. If your teen is currently struggling to manage their sobriety or considering going away to college, we can help. Our admissions staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To learn more about our programs, contact Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 966-8604

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The Harm of Putting Too Much Pressure on Your Kids

The Harm of Putting Too Much Pressure on Your Kids

The relationship a teen has with their parents can have a lasting impact on the child psychologically and emotionally. However, parents’ expectations for their teens may not always align with what the child wants for themselves. Often, parents can blur the lines between wanting the best for their teens and putting too much pressure on them to achieve success.

Alternatively, parents might believe that some pressure and expectations are healthy for the teen’s development. While some pressure may push them to achieve their best and work hard, there is a fine line. Too much pressure could cause teenagers to measure their self-worth based on what they achieve. However, dangers could occur if they don’t meet expectations. When this happens, teens can develop a negative perspective about who they are.

The Consequences of Too Much Pressure

When the focus of a parent-teen relationship centers around how well the child performs, this can damage the relationship but also lead to negative behaviors in the child.

High Rates of Mental Illness

When a teenager feels like they are under constant supervision and pressure to perform a certain way, it can damage their mental health. Creating too much stress on a child can lead to mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. It can also include:

  • Crying spells
  • Isolation
  • Expressing that they feel numb
  • Complete lack of emotional expression

The mental and emotional effects of stress caused by parental pressure may not show up until later in the child’s life.

High Rates of Drug Use

The stress of wanting to perform to the standards of their parents can cause teenagers to turn to drug use. One of the most common reasons people begin abusing drugs is a way to cope with stress and negative feelings. Self-medicating through drugs can quickly lead to addiction, especially if the stress and environment causing the drug use are not improved.

Parental pressure can also cause a teen to push themselves too hard, which can cause burnout of the body and lead to physical injury. Drug use may also start as a way to push through the physical and mental pain of over-exerting themselves. If signs of drug use or addiction become apparent, this is a clear indication that the teen needs help right away.

Low Self-esteem

Self-esteem issues can arise when there is little to no praise for what teens have or have not achieved. They can begin to believe that they are not good enough at what they do. If they fail at something, it can directly affect how they see themselves.

They may start labeling themselves as failures or feel that they can never amount to anything. Low-self esteem can trigger self-harm behaviors as a means to cope with the negative thoughts they have about themselves. If any signs of self-harm or physical mutilation become evident, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible.

Damages Parent-Child Relationship

Teenagers may grow up to resent their parents if they feel like the connection between them is solely based on their achievements. They can begin to feel like they never measure up to their standards and detach from the relationship altogether. This can look like a random outburst towards parents or other family members, becoming private or completely closed off, or becoming afraid of them altogether. When a child begins to feel like each failure or success will make or break their relationship with their parents, it can cause them to fear or have high anxiety toward their parents.

How Can You Fix It?

Sitting down and having a conversation with the teenager can help fix the relationship before it is too late. This offers a chance for the child to express how they feel and give light to any new behaviors that could have arisen from it. Apologizing for the amount of pressure placed upon the teen is a great way to start mending the relationship. It lets them know that the parent is listening and acknowledging how they feel.

It may be time to re-examine how parents express their expectations for their children when moving forward. Incorporate more vocal encouragement and let them know that simply putting their best effort into what they do is enough. Higher levels of praise and positive reinforcement when they do accomplish things let them know that the parent is proud of what they achieve. As a parent, wanting the best for their child may simply mean learning what makes them happy and supporting them through it.

Wanting the best for your child is normal when it comes to parenting, but creating too much pressure can damage your child. Addiction often begins as an attempt to self-medicate, and teens might use it as a way to cope with the pressure from parents. If you believe your teen may be self-medicating through alcohol or drug use, contact Clearfork Academy today for help. We are an addiction and mental health center focused on helping teen boys through their recovery process. No matter how far into the addiction your child is, we believe that with the right help, sobriety can still be achieved. Let us be the home away from home your child needs to make a full recovery and turn over a new leaf. To learn more about how our addiction treatment center can help your child work towards long-term sobriety today, reach out to us today by calling (888) 966-8604

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A Guide for Parents Who Are Planning a Teen Intervention

A Guide for Parents Who Are Planning a Teen Intervention

As teen drug use and overdose continue to rise, parents need to know if their teen is struggling with addiction. However, it can be difficult to acknowledge whether your child has an alcohol or a substance problem, but the sooner it is addressed, the sooner they can get help.

If you are considering planning an intervention, you should know some key things that will help your teen feel comfortable and open to getting treatment.

When Is It Time for an Intervention?

If you are a parent or caregiver of a child that abuses alcohol or drugs, it is time to take action towards helping them reach sobriety. For some teens, addiction can spiral out of control and cause them to begin consuming multiple drugs at one time. Getting your teen help before they lose control of their drug use is important for a multitude of health reasons.

Teens may not always realize that they have a substance abuse issue or that their behavior has changed. However, an intervention offers you and your teen a chance to understand and acknowledge their drug use. Some common signs of drug use that indicate it is time for intervention include:

  • Change or drop in academic performance
  • Isolation from loved ones and social activities
  • Aggression, hostility, or non-compliance
  • Finding items related to drug use
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Self-injurious behaviors

What Does an Intervention Consist Of?

An intervention is a planned attempt to address a loved one’s substance abuse and introduce getting professional help. The main goal is to encourage your loved one to enter an intensive addiction treatment program. An intervention typically involves the person’s family and other people closest to them. If desired, one can have a professional interventionist in attendance to help facilitate the meeting. A discussion involving the person using drugs will take place, and the topic of rehabilitation will happen.

Planning an Intervention

When planning an intervention, there are things you should consider to ensure that your concerns are coming from the best intentions.

#1. The Research Process. The first step toward planning an intervention requires doing your research. If you are reading this article, then you are already on the right track. Learning about addiction and how it starts can help you empathize with your teen and what they are going through.

#2. Who Should Be There? Discussing a person’s drug use is an intimate conversation. This is the time for family and closest friends to show their concern and love for the child. You will want to include people your teen will feel comfortable sharing this moment with, and who want the best for their sobriety.

#3. Choosing the Right Time and Place. An intervention should occur when the child is not under the influence. They need to have a clear head and be able to process what is happening. You also want to make sure that it is at an appropriate time and day when the child won’t be stressed or unavailable to give full attention.

#4. Planning the Conversation. What you discuss should focus on addressing the child’s substance use. You should offer a warm and loving approach without tearing the child down or making them feel embarrassed. Discuss the importance of sobriety and the dangers of continuing drug use. The end goal should introduce rehab and how it will benefit getting their life back on track.

#5. Professional Interventionist. Having a professional interventionist can help parents make sure the meeting is facilitated from a place of positivity, love, and concern. They can choose conversation topics and give guidance on how everything should go. Addressing your child’s addiction is a difficult topic and the interventionist can be of support if emotions get too high.

Choosing a Treatment Center

When searching for a residential treatment center, it should be a goal to find a place that can meet all of your child’s needs. For example, if they have a co-occurring disorder, find a center that treats both addiction and mental disorders. This helps get to the root of what may be influencing the addiction.

The right location is also very important. Teens need family involvement and support during both the early stages of recovery and for long-term sobriety. Choosing a center close to home will allow easy access for families to visit when necessary and actively support the child. However, some teens may benefit from a treatment center further from home, but this can make family involvement more difficult. Therefore, you should look for a place that provides the best environment to help your child recover.

Watching your child struggle with addiction is hard for any parent to deal with, and confronting them is not easy. Finding the right treatment center to support your child through their recovery process is necessary for maintaining long-term sobriety. At Clearfork Academy, we are equipped to handle teens who struggle with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. We not only offer support to our patients but also to the families who have endured watching their children fight substance abuse. Your child’s journey to sobriety will require a compassionate and dedicated support system that Clearfork Academy staff can offer. Through our therapeutic programs, we will work with your child to identify what triggers their drug use and provide healthy coping strategies for them to use to manage a drug-free lifestyle. If your family is ready to get the help your teen needs, don’t wait; reach out to Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 966-8604.    

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6 Warning Signs of Relapse to Look Out for in Your Teen

6 Warning Signs of Relapse To Look Out For in Your Teen

If your child has previously completed an addiction treatment program, you should congratulate them on their success in quitting drugs. However, sobriety can serve as a challenge for teens following treatment. Knowing the warning signs of drug use can prevent relapse and help spot the signs early enough to seek help and avoid your teen from succumbing to addiction again.

6 Signs of Relapse

Addiction is a chronic and complex disease that requires a lifelong commitment to a drug-free lifestyle to recover. During sobriety, there is a chance that your teen may relapse and use drugs again. Being aware of the warning signs of relapse will keep you alert on when it is time to speak with a professional and prevent future addiction. Here are six warning signs of relapse

#1. Returning to Familiar People or Places

For most teens, their social circle influences their behaviors and what activities they engage in outside of the home. It is common for teens who engage in drug use to partake in using drugs with specific people and places. 

If you see your child hanging out with friends or in places where they once used drugs, there could be a chance that they are using again. However, it is important to encourage them to evaluate their social circle and sever ties with people who influence drug use. While this can be a difficult task, it is necessary. 

#2. Changes in Behaviors 

Retreating from social situations, loneliness, and isolation are common signs that a person has begun using drugs again. Isolation is a key component of addiction. When a person becomes addicted to drugs, their entire world revolves around satisfying cravings and dependence on the drug. This causes them to detach from relationships and friendships. They may also seek isolation because they feel embarrassed or guilty. 

Along with withdrawing from their social circle, they may stop participating in activities or hobbies they love. Changes in behavior can become evident through self-neglect like poor hygiene or lack of upkeep in appearance. 

#3. Experiencing a Trigger 

The most common reason people, especially teens, use alcohol and substances is to self-medicate and cope with uncomfortable feelings. Experiencing a trigger can be one of the biggest causes of relapse. Certain situations that once caused your teen to do drugs can trigger them to use again due to the feelings associated with the event. While in recovery, it is vital to stay away from anything that can trigger a relapse; triggers aren’t always something you can predict. A few examples of what can be triggers include:

  • Familiar people or places
  • Sensory triggers such as smells or sounds
  • Abuse 
  • Stress
  • Being around drugs or alcohol
  • Financial strain 

#4. Doubting The Recovery Process

Losing faith in the recovery process happens when a person has a mental relapse before a physical one. It can include things like your teen saying the sober life isn’t for them or that they don’t deserve nor want to be sober. When individuals start to develop a negative view of their recovery process, it is a sign that their sober lifestyle does not yet fulfill them. 

#5. Reminiscing About Drug Use

Reminiscing about old parties or other memories associated with alcohol or drug use is common during sobriety. This can happen when your teen begins to develop cravings. If you overhear your teen talking about how they miss using drugs or how they felt when using, this is a warning sign that they are close to using again. 

#6. Physical Relapse

Finding items related to drug use is an obvious sign that your teen has relapsed. They likely partook in using if they come home smelling like alcohol or other substances. While you will want to respect their boundaries, if you find items related to drug use in their personal space or while doing the laundry, you must take action and get help. Getting a professional involved will help you make the right steps towards getting your child’s sobriety back on track. 

Preventing Relapse

Many resources and options are available that help individuals in the recovery process stay sober and prevent relapse. If your child is currently in or has completed an addiction treatment program, speak with their provider about creating an aftercare plan. Aftercare plans include available resources such as therapists, school counselors, coping strategies, and other options that your child can use after initial treatment. 

Maintaining open communication with your child and building a trusting relationship with them will help them become more open to sharing when they are struggling. Being active in your child’s life and recovery process will reduce their chance of relapsing. 

The best way to overcome relapse is to get your child the adequate help they need. Relapse does not mean failure; it is just a sign that your child needs additional help. Residential treatment and intensive outpatient programs offer intensive professional help for individuals who struggle with addiction and co-occurring disorders. Clearkfork Academy offers residential treatment programs for teens who struggle with addiction and mental health disorders. We offer therapeutic programs that will help your teen get back on track to long-term sobriety and identify and manage relapse triggers. If your child has previously relapsed or is showing signs of relapse, it is essential to get them the professional help they need to prevent substance use. The sooner you take action, the better chance your teen will have at lasting recovery. To find out more information about our addiction treatment programs, reach out to Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 966-8604.  

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How to Break the Family Cycle of Addiction

How to Break the Family Cycle of Addiction

For many children and teens, addiction is a disease they have seen affect family members. They may have watched their grandparents struggle with addiction or live with parents that struggle with drug use. It is important to look at family history when addressing a child’s chances of addiction and what risk factors are in their life.

How Addiction Is Passed Down

Certain risk factors could lead to someone developing an addiction, and family history plays a big role. Studies show that family dynamics heavily influence adolescents and their behaviors, along with predispositions to things such as drug use and addiction. The most influential factors that contribute to drug use are a person’s genetics and environment.

Genetics and Addiction

There is often a misconception that drug and alcohol use is a choice. However, genetics play a part in whether or not someone is susceptible to developing an addiction. Having a predisposition to addiction means that there is a strong chance you will develop it too.

In families where the parents are chronic substance users, they risk passing down genes that make their children more susceptible to having a high preference for a particular drug. It can also impact a person’s ability to quit using by causing withdrawal symptoms to be more intense, which makes it harder to stop.

Environmental Factors

A child’s greatest teacher in life is often their parents or caregivers because children learn most of their behaviors in the environment they grew up in. Kids who grow up in an environment where they are constantly watching their parents or loved ones abuse drugs can develop learned behaviors of also using drugs in the same ways they have seen.

If alcohol or substances are lying around the house, it gives the child easier access to obtain and consistently use them. In addition to drug use, other environmental factors that can occur in the home include:

Breaking the Cycle of Familial Addiction

Addiction is a complex disease that almost always requires outside help for a person to recover. When you are raised in a family that struggles with addiction, as a child, you can begin to feel like breaking that cycle. The responsibility of overcoming addiction can be emotionally and mentally overwhelming for children and teens; therefore, outside help is necessary for successful treatment. If you are a teen looking for ways to start breaking the curse of family addiction, here are a few tips to help you get started.

  • Acknowledge that you need help. The first step towards overcoming addiction is admitting that you or your loved ones need help. If you are struggling with heavy substance use, don’t be afraid to reach out to a trusted family member, friend, or adult. They can help you find the right resources, which may involve a residential treatment center or speaking with a mental health professional. You should always seek professional assistance when managing addiction to ensure that you are taking the right steps towards sobriety.  
  • Create boundaries. Addiction can cause codependent relationships with family. This can happen due to the lack of boundaries between the enabler and the codependent person. Setting boundaries with a person battling addiction will not only help prevent developing a codependent relationship. Boundaries help create rules about how you would like to be treated.
  • Educate yourself on addiction. It is easy to judge the ones you love who use drugs, but addiction is a disease, and educating yourself on it will help you understand it. Many risk factors can cause someone to use drugs, and if addiction runs in your family, then chances are these risk factors apply to you as well. Substance use is extremely common as a co-occurring disorder. Take some time to research what causes addiction, its symptoms, and the best way to treat and prevent future use.
  • Learn coping strategies. One of the most common reasons why people begin to use drugs is to self-medicate, which is especially true for teens. Each person who uses substances has their reasons, but there are common causes. Drug and alcohol use in teens is often used as a way to cope with: mental health disorders, stress, trauma, peer pressure, death or loss of loved ones, and boredom. Learning healthy coping strategies can be used to eliminate drug use and prevent the possibility of developing full addiction. The sooner you find help for your teen, the better chance they will have at lasting sobriety.

If you have a history of family addiction and see your teen going down the same road, it’s time to take the first step towards breaking the cycle. As a parent, this is not a task you should have to do alone, which is why Clearfork Academy is here to offer the professional treatment your child needs. Our priority in treatment is to get your child clean of all drug use, which we do through our medically supervised detoxification program. After detox, we transition them into our residential program, where they will meet weekly with our therapist and start working on the journey to long-term sobriety. Family involvement is essential to teen recovery not only because it offers a support system, but family members can learn how to create and maintain a drug-free environment for everyone involved. To get your teen the help they deserve, call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604

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How to Spot a Depressive Episode in Teens

How to Spot a Depressive Episode in Teens

Depression in adolescents has been on the rise in recent years. Teen depression is a serious condition that shouldn’t be taken lightly by those around them. Teens experience unique life stressors and biological factors that can trigger or put them at risk for developing depression. 

It is important to identify any warning signs that your teen may be experiencing a depressive episode. If you begin to notice a frequency of depressive episodes in your teen, it could indicate that they have a depressive disorder. 

What Is Depression?

Depression is a common mental health disorder that impacts your mood. Depression causes an invasive feeling of sadness and overall loss of interest in once pleasurable activities. It impacts how you think, act, feel, and process the world around you. While depression can occur at any point and time in someone’s life, symptoms may look different in teens than adults.  

Depression continues to rise in the US, especially among teenagers. Many variables contribute to depression, such as academic expectations, family issues, trauma, peer pressure, and changes in the body. 

Types of Depression Common in Teens include:  

  • Major Depression: Major depressive disorder is an intense form of depression that lasts for most days of the week. It completely impacts the life of the person experiencing it. Symptoms must be present every day for at least two weeks to be considered major depression. Teens with major depression may find themselves completely withdrawn from social activities, have a constant feeling of despair and hopelessness, and can find it difficult to keep up with daily hygiene.
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder: Persistent depressive disorder, also known as dysthymia, is a form of low-grade depression. To meet the criteria for dysthymia, your teen must experience a low mood for two years or more, accompanied by two other symptoms of depression.  
  • Bipolar Disorder: People with bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, experience dramatic shifts in moods that can disrupt everyday living. Mood episodes range from mania/hypomania, depression, and mixed states. Manic episodes are extreme highs that often feel euphoric with accompanying symptoms. Depressive episodes are symptoms of major depression. Although not everyone with bipolar disorder experiences mixed episodes, they are periods of experiencing both manic and depressive symptoms simultaneously.    

Signs of a Major Depressive Episode

It can be challenging to spot the difference between the normal ups and downs of a teenager’s mood. There are specific symptoms of depression that can indicate that something is wrong. 

Emotional Changes

  • Crying spells 
  • Intense feeling of sadness
  • Anger or hostility
  • Suicidal ideations or frequent thoughts of death
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Low self-esteem 

Behavioral changes

  • Lethargy or loss of energy
  • Changes in eating habits resulting in weight loss or gain 
  • Poor academic performance
  • Lost of interest or pleasure in things that were once enjoyable
  • Concentration or attention issues
  • Sleep difficulties such as insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Complaining of aches and pains
  • Angry outbursts or aggression
  • Social isolation

If you notice any signs or think that your child may be engaging in self-harm behaviors, seek help immediately. Self-mutilation in regards to depression could include: 

  • Cutting specific body parts such as the wrist or legs 
  • Hitting oneself
  • Burn marks on the body 
  • Banging their head on walls

Suicide shares a relationship with depression. If your teen mentions suicide, do not take this lightly. Contact their pediatrician or local emergency center if they mention a suicide plan or engage in any acts towards going through with it. 

Risk Factors

There are many biological and environmental factors linked to depression, including:

  • Being a victim to any form of abuse such as domestic/physically, verbally, or emotionally
  • Imbalance in brain chemicals 
  • Having other co-occurring mental disorders like anxiety disorder, personality disorder, PTSD, or ADHD
  • Substance use or addiction
  • Traumatic childhoods or experiencing a form of violence 
  • Having a family history of relative’s who experienced or were diagnosed with depression
  • Having a dysfunctional or broken family
  • The loss of a loved one or someone close to them 
  • Unsupportive family members or friends in regards to sexual orientation

 How Can I Help My Teen With Depression?

As a parent, you play a vital role in getting your teen the help they need with depression. Scheduling an appointment with your child’s pediatrician or seeing a pediatric mental health professional is necessary for a proper assessment. They will assess how severe their symptoms are and what type of depression they may have. From their treatment options should be discussed along with resources that can help. Treatment for depression could require antidepressants or antipsychotics for bipolar disorder. Psychotherapy is also one of the most effective treatment options for people and teens with depression. 

Depression is a growing concern in today’s society, especially in teens. Clearfork Academy is an addiction treatment center that specifically care’s for teen boys with substance use and mental health disorders. Adolescents and teens experience different mental health disorders and addiction symptoms than adults. Therefore, they should receive treatment options appropriate to their age. Clearfork offers medical detox and intensive inpatient care, outpatient treatment, and a variety of conventional and holistic therapy options. Depression can often be a silent struggle for many people, especially teens. Waiting too late to reach out for help can have serious consequences that only bring more pain to you and your teen. If your child is struggling with the weight of depression, don’t wait any longer to get help; get help now. To find out more information on how our treatment programs can benefit your teen’s recovery, contact Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 966-8604. 

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What Coping Skills Can Your Teen Learn Through Equine Therapy?

What Coping Skills Can Your Teen Learn Through Equine Therapy?

Equine therapy is an effective way to help kids cope with stress and anxiety. It can also help them develop communication, problem-solving, and self-esteem skills. Teaching equine therapy often improves academic outcomes, social lives, and mental health.

Animal therapy can help teens cope with stress and anxiety, specifically with horses. Equine therapy offers teens the chance to engage with animals and the natural world. Such a modality helps teens gain perspective, develop coping strategies, and care for themselves and others.

What Is Equine Therapy?

Equine-assisted psychotherapy focuses on helping children and adolescents heal from their emotional or mental pain. The horses used in equine therapy allow the participant to trust their body and emotions. At the same time, they receive treatment from a qualified professional therapist. Horses are particularly good at understanding human emotions and helping people cope with difficult situations.

Caring for the horses can provide teenagers with a sense of connection, trust, and closeness as they learn to ride and care for them. It is an effective method for restoring balance in emotions and relief from stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, and other issues. The practice helps teens develop better self-esteem, communication skills, and problem-solving abilities.

What Are the Benefits of Equine Therapy?

Equine therapy offers a variety of benefits for adolescents, especially when it comes to mental wellness and emotional healing. These benefits help:

  • Improve participants’ academic outcomes and social lives.
  • Help adolescents develop proper communication skills.
  • Teach participants how to regulate their emotions and how to handle difficult situations.
  • Become better equipped to deal with stress and anxiety in their own life.
  • Treat depression, OCD, PTSD, and other mental health conditions.
  • Reduce self-consciousness and body image issues.
  • Promote positive emotions such as joy, self-confidence, and happiness.
  • Develop a strong relationship with an animal which can help them foster relationships.
  • Understand and deal with emotions.
  • Trust their instincts and intuition.
  • Embrace change and adventure as life are full of changes and challenges.
  • Commit and engage in therapy that serves them well.

Learn Crucial Coping Skills From Horse-Riding Therapy

If your teen is struggling with mental health and SUD, horse-riding therapy may be the perfect solution for them. This unique therapy helps adolescents overcome emotional issues and build healthy coping skills. With years of experience in the field, our therapists at Clearfork Academy help teens manage stress and develop tools to cope with life’s challenges. Some of these coping skills include:

  • Setting healthy boundaries. Because of the hands-on approach, adolescents learn the importance and process of setting boundaries. From riding and caring for the horses, teens learn how to handle complex dynamics by taking control of their emotions, communicating effectively with others, and setting realistic expectations.
  • Learning how to serve others. Serving others increases people’s self-esteem and puts their problems in perspective. As the teens feed, brush, and care for their companion horse, they develop a desire to act unselfishly. These unselfish acts often help participants overcome feelings of guilt or shame that stem from the past. They come to realize their inherent value can improve the lives of others if they put kindness into action. It also demonstrates that their past lives or conditions do not define them.
  • Use relaxation exercises. Teens can gain a sense of peace and relaxation as they ride their horses. The horse can provide a safe environment where teenagers can explore their feelings and problems. Horses are known for providing physical and emotional support to teens. Teens can experience a similar calming effect via meditation, listening to music,  exercising, dancing, and socializing with friends, family, or animals.
  • Practice self-awareness and problem-solving skills. Equine therapy helps teens develop self-awareness. Self-awareness can help them face and embrace their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. As a result, they form an accurate understanding of themselves and their environment. Equine therapy gives teens the chance to confront the issues as they arise head-on and work through them. For example, teens’ self-awareness and problem-solving skills grow as they learn the skills and techniques needed to become better riders. This practice will cultivate their confidence in handling challenges as they arise.

Equine Therapy at Clearfork Academy

Our equine therapy program continues to be effective in helping addicts learn how to live a healthy lifestyle without using drugs or alcohol. At Clearfork Academy, we offer equine therapy to help our participants cope with their addiction and recover from its adverse effects. Our treatment helps people move through complex emotions healthily and develop new skills that will ultimately save them from relapse.

Equine therapy helps teens break through the blocks in other areas of their lives. With the help of an equine therapist, you can learn how to take control of your life and make healthy decisions. Equine therapy offers an opportunity for teens to achieve a sense of accomplishment as they progress in building a relationship with their companion horse. It will also help them feel more confident in building relationships and trusting others. At Clearfork Academy, we teach coping skills from Horse-Riding Therapy. Our therapy serves to help your child manage the problems that may arise during the recovery process. We use horses as a means of providing support that can improve your child’s emotional well-being while helping them learn how to live a healthier lifestyle. We work with teens who have had problems related to depression, anxiety, trauma, self-esteem issues, and SUD. To learn more about our treatment plan, call us at (888) 966-8604.

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How to Spot Alcohol or Drug Activity?

Mother embracing her teen daughter to comfort her

Parents play a huge role in the lives of their children. They know their kids better than anyone else and are on hand to notice when something isn’t right. That’s why every parent needs to be aware of the signs to look out for regarding alcohol or drug abuse in teens.

Here are some ways to spot alcohol or drug use to help your teen stay safe and healthy.

How to Detect Alcohol or Drug Activity

Alcohol or drug use can be challenging to detect. However, there are some tell-tale signs that your teen is struggling with substance abuse. One of the best ways to detect alcohol or drug use in teens is to look at their space, including their room and postings on social media. Their activity on social media may tell you about your teen’s problems.

Another way to detect alcohol or drug use is to monitor your teen’s behavior. If your teen has sudden mood swings, seems more withdrawn, and starts hanging out with people they don’t usually hang out with, these are all indicators that something might be wrong.

Communicate With Your Child

You and your teen need to establish an open dialogue about subjects like drugs and alcohol. Listen to your child and withhold judgment when they speak. Doing so will build trust and help your child understand that you support them.

Together, you and your child can address what is bothering them and find ways to help manage the symptoms they are experiencing. You should consider seeking professional care to provide additional methods to help your child overcome the challenges of school and life that may trigger them to use substances.

Tell-Tale Signs of Drug Use or Consumption of Alcohol

The effects of alcohol and drugs vary depending on the person and how often they use them. It’s not always easy to spot a person using these substances because some don’t show outward signs. Some of the most common symptoms include changes in behavior, appearance, and emotions. The following list highlights the tell-tale signs:

Mental Health Related Signs of Substance Use:

  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue and decreased motivation
  • Increased paranoia and hallucinations caused by high doses and intense periods of substance use
  • Have difficulty focusing on the tasks at hand
  • Exhibit antisocial behavior such as aggression or increased impulsiveness
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Suspiciousness of others, including you as a parent
  • Inability to focus or concentrate a decrease in short-term memory

Physical Signs of Substance Use:

  • Constant bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils (than usual)
  • Rubbing the nose frequently because of a continuously running or irritable nose
  • Redness of the skin around the mouth
  • A lack of coordination with movement due to impaired brain function
  • Dilated nostrils or mouth due to snorting or inhalation
  • An odor, like alcohol,  on the breath or clothes
  • Decrease in appetite with consequent weight loss over time
  • Track marks on arms or legs from intravenous drug use
  • Needles and syringes are lying around
  • Small baggies with white powder lying around their stuff
  • Withdrawal symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, agitation)
  • There are more scabs or bruises from picking at skin compulsively (common among people who abuse stimulants)

Behavioral Signs of Substance Use:

  • A sudden change in friends or hanging out with a new crowd
  • Anger issues such as rage attacks (breaking things)
  • Exhibit antisocial behavior such as aggression or increased impulsiveness
  • New or more significant secretive behavior
  • Sudden changes in grades
  • Staying out late, withdrawing from the family, or wanting to isolate
  • Problems with the law, such as frequent run-ins with police
  • Stealing objects in the house that they can sell or asking you for money
  • Vague responses when asked what’s wrong or how they feel; their answer is always “fine” or “good”
  • Lack of motivation or interest in activities once enjoyed by the individual
  • Increased absenteeism from school or extracurricular activities

If you see any of these signs in your teen, it’s essential to talk to them and get them help.

How to Help Your Teen?

Parents can help their teens recover from drugs with treatment, including counseling, drug education, medication, and family therapy. Parents can also provide support by participating in their child’s recovery process via counseling and by continuing to strengthen the lines of communication. The more resources for help you provide your child, the better chance they have at a successful recovery.

At Clearfork Academy, our treatment programs involve therapy, holistic services, education on relapse prevention, and peer support to reduce the urge for substance use.

If you find yourself questioning whether your teen is drinking or doing drugs, take action. Talk with them, educate yourself about substance use, and get them the help they need. At Clearfork Academy, we encourage and help parents lookout for any signs of alcohol or drugs. Our programs help educate parents and teens about substance use. Having an understanding of substance use will also allow parents, teens, and health professionals with diagnosis and find appropriate treatment. We provide evidence-based treatments, various therapeutic options, and holistic services that serve your teen’s recovery goals. Our goal is to help your teen overcome substance use and establish the confidence necessary to live life to its fullest potential. Stop your teen’s struggles with substance use from worsening by contacting our specialists at Clearfork Academy. Our admissions are here 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To learn more about our programs, contact us today by calling (888) 966-8604.

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The Importance of Family Involvement in Teen Addiction Treatment

The Importance of Family Involvement in Teen Addiction Treatment

Addiction is known as a family disease due to its complexity and invasiveness in a person’s life. Therefore, addiction treatment should consist of both teen and parental involvement. Having support from family during treatment can lead to long-lasting recovery.

Let’s take a closer look at the importance of family involvement in the treatment process.

Teen Addiction Treatment

Addiction and substance use is not exclusive to adults; adolescents and teens also develop substance use disorders. However, substances influence teens’ psychological and emotional development differently than adults because teens are still developing. Therefore, treatment options must be age-specific.

If your teen is not getting the care that speaks to their needs, they might not see improvement. It is crucial to seek professional help and explore the best options for the child. Some effective and age-appropriate teen addiction treatment options include:

Co-occurring Disorders

Many teens could develop co-occurring disorders that can influence or affect drug use. Mental health disorders such as depression, ADHD, OCD, and personality disorders have symptoms that can be uncomfortable for teens to manage. When a teen experiences these symptoms, they can turn to substances to cope. Treatment programs should also consider these underlying conditions and have options that address both substance abuse and co-occurring disorders.

A thorough diagnosis consisting of family health history, type of substance use, and behavioral patterns will help determine if the child has a co-occurring disorder.

The Importance of Family Involvement in Teen Recovery

Parents, or caregivers, are essential components to how a child will grow up and interact with the world. While it may be difficult to hear,  parents often play a role in developing their teen’s mental health or substance use disorder. Of course, this does not imply they are a terrible parent, that parents are the root cause of their child’s disorder. However, it explains that the environment and relationship dynamic of how teens interact with their families play a part in their behavioral development.

Becoming involved in a teen’s recovery will help parents understand that seeking treatment will be a lifestyle change for everyone involved. Therapy might change how the parent interacts with their child. For example, how they communicate and express, their emotions will improve. It will also help the parent and teen develop practices to strengthen the family support structure as they embark on their recovery journey. When a family can confront challenges together, they will prevail.

Family-Based Treatment

Family-based treatment comes in many different forms of therapies. They are typically always led by a therapist or counselor and include the child, the parent, caregiver, and other family members such as siblings. These settings provide structure for families to communicate healthily. Having a professional moderate will also help keep the conversation constructive rather than confrontational. After a few sessions, the family begins to form healthy communication skills and implement them into their everyday lives. Here are some effective family-based treatments:

  • Family Behavioral Therapy: Family Behavioral Therapy involves at least one parent and the child in their treatment program. The therapist will help identify issues within the dynamic and teach behavioral strategies to use in the home environment and other settings that are familiar to the child.
  • Brief Strategic Family Therapy: Since the family dynamic plays a role in a teen’s behavior, this therapy observes the interactions between family members. A therapist will observe the interactions between each family member and assist with changing negative behaviors.
  • Multidimensional Family Therapy: Multidimensional Family Therapy provides help for teens who are high-risk for behavioral problems such as misconduct, delinquency, and severe substance use. The goal of MDFT is to incorporate multiple facets of a teen’s life while incorporating the family. For example, it may look like having therapy sessions or treatment programs in the child’s school, community, or court system.
  • Functional Family Therapy: Functional Family Therapy is a form of therapy that focuses on helping the family identify and recognize the necessary changes during teen treatment, understand the need to commit to their role, communicate, and develop problem-solving skills.
  • Multisystemic Therapy (MST): Multisystemic Therapy is for adolescents with a severe history of substance abuse or engaging in delinquent behaviors. MST measures substance abuse through the child’s personal beliefs towards their family, friends, schools, peers, environment, and own personal beliefs. Therapy may include the family as a whole, but a therapist will also meet individually with the child and parents.

Although addiction may feel like an adult issue, substance use is common among teens. If you notice your child developing a substance addiction, don’t wait; seek help. At Clearfork Academy, we work to find appropriate treatment options that provide care for your teens’ mental health or substance use disorders. Our refined diagnosis process will also identify and diagnose co-occurring disorders. With an array of treatment options, your teen will have limitless opportunities to form strong relationships and get in touch with their inner passions. We also incorporate the family into our programs because your teen needs your support. Together, we help facilitate a healthy family dynamic that can work together to repair relationships and sustain long-term recovery. With an admissions staff available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there is never a wrong time to reach out. Start your journey today. To find out more about our programs, reach out to Clearfork Academy by calling (888) 966-8604 today. 

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The Impact of Covid-19 on Teen Mental Health

The Impact of Covid-19 on Teen Mental Health

As the number of COVID cases rose throughout the year, the world was put on a complete lockdown that resulted in social isolation to prevent the further spread of the illness. But during this lockdown period, many find the consequence of social isolation taxing on their mental health.

One population that studies are finding is that the pandemic is taking a considerable toll on our teens and adolescents. Until recently, very few studies looked at the psychological effects of COVID on teens. As research continues to examine the impacts of COVID-19 on teen mental health, knowing how to help your teen stay on track to recovery matters now more than ever before.

What Has Data Shown About COVID-19 and Teen’s Mental Health?

In the first few months of the pandemic, researchers found that adolescents with and without pre-existing mental health conditions experienced a decline in mental health symptoms. Before the pandemic, many children already lived with generalized anxiety, ADHD, OCD, depressive disorders, and other illnesses. Data has shown that mental health issues have more than doubled from 2020-2021 due to the pandemic. Many professionals have found that the pandemic has exacerbated these symptoms within their patients.

Hospital providers are reporting concerning rates of suicide attempts in youth since the pandemic has started, especially in teenagers. Clinicians have found a higher number of pediatric patients expressing suicidal ideations and seen an increase in worsening mental health symptoms. With the abundance of idle time during the pandemic, many teens have found the time to act on these ideations and plans to create suicide attempts.

The Consequences Of A Pandemic on Teens

Social isolation’s toll on teens is more challenging because they haven’t developed full psychological resilience and coping skills like adults. Many studies have shown that teenagers get their sense of self-worth through their friendships, which serves as a way to handle stress and depression. These inadequacies present even more of a challenge for children with pre-existing mental health issues due to lack of routine, isolation, lack of resources, and missed life events.

Due to this lack of connection, teens have found themselves looking for alternative ways to manage and cope with these new and unexpected feelings.

Struggling academically. The physical absence of school has caused some to lose behavioral resources, athletic and club involvement, or other resources that help kids succeed academically. Virtual learning can be a struggle for some, causing a drop in grades or a lack of confidence in completing their coursework.

Addiction. The cycle of addiction often comes when a person has found a dependency on something that brings them a sense of pleasure. Since teens cannot interact with friends or go about their typical daily routine, they may latch on to new things that bring them a sense of pleasure. Addiction in the younger population can consist of internet addiction, smartphone addiction, social media addiction, or drug use.

Mental health challenges. COVID-19 has caused teens to experience social isolation, grief, and missing out on significant life events like birthdays, prom, and other activities. Teens are expressing how this has caused them to experience depression, general anxiety, and other mood changes.

Ways To Help Keep Your Teen On Track To Recovery

To help your teen stay on track, know the signs of when there may be a shift happening in their world. Their internal conflicts can start to externalize in their day-to-day actions and signify that they aren’t doing well. This can look like but is not excluded to:

  • Changes in mood such as rage, irritability, conflict with family, or any unusual behaviors
  • Change in academic performance
  • Reckless behaviors such as drug use or acting out
  • Mention of suicidal thoughts or self-harm 
  • Oversleeping or under-sleeping
  • Aggressive or stubborn behavior

Paying attention to noticeable signs of changes within your child is vital for receiving the proper help in time.

Contact Their Pediatrician

Stay in touch with your pediatrician or mental health professionals. Your child’s pediatrician should be a close line of contact regarding reaching out for help and recommendations. If you have any concerns about your child’s health or unusual behaviors, reach out to their pediatrician so they can screen for mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and other issues. Allow your child the opportunity to speak one-on-one with their doctor so that they can vocalize in their own words what they are feeling. From there, they can also make any referrals to a facility or mental health professionals that offer specialized services for your child.

Keep Up with Medication

If your child has already been prescribed medicine that they routinely take, make sure they don’t get out of the habit of taking it. Medication is a crucial part of recovery for some individuals and helps relieve symptoms of their illness that the stress of the pandemic may otherwise exacerbate. It is easy for one missed dose to evolve into missing multiple doses, eventually forgetting to take any at all.

Offer Support.

Many teenagers aren’t entirely sure how they should express their feelings or don’t always feel comfortable doing so. Instead of bottling their emotions up inside, create a space for them to be comfortable to share how they feel. Dealing with loneliness, grief, and mood changes is difficult for anyone to experience, especially for adolescents who are still new to these feelings. Offer them alternative ways to stay in touch with their friends through phone calls or other COVID-friendly options.

The pandemic has taken a mental toll on everyone and has not discriminated against teens. As a parent, helping your child stay on the right track during recovery should not be a task you have to face alone. At Clearfork Academy, we are dedicated to helping your son fully recover and heal from any drug use or mental health challenges they are experiencing in life. We also believe that an integral part of an adolescent’s everyday life is their academics, which can be negatively impacted during drug use along with co-occurring illnesses and the disruption of an unexpected pandemic. During the treatment process, we partner with UTCS through a program that allows our patients to stay academically focused as they graduate from our program. Life throws many unexpected curveballs our way. Needing help to get through life stressors does not mean you are weak. Call Clearfork Academy at (888) 966-8604 to find out more about our treatment programs today. 

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How Do I Talk to My Child About My Addiction?

father having a conversation with his teenage son

Many view parenthood as rewarding despite the challenges that come with the role. With substance use disorder (SUD) rates among teens on the rise, creating an environment for learning and growth has become increasingly challenging. Drug use often begins during the stages of adolescence. Substance use can take over important parts of your teen’s life without you even knowing it. The more you know about SUD and how to manage it, the better off you’ll be as a parent and as your child’s ally. 

Sometimes, parents’ knowledge of SUD evolves from their first-hand experience. Research reveals that SUD affects the entire family, especially children. Parents’ SUD leaves their children vulnerable to developing a SUD. As such, we recommend using your experience with SUD to discuss the impact of substance and drug use with your children, especially if they are struggling with substance use. Here are some helpful tips for talking to your teen about their SUD.

Don’t Hide Behind Shame

Along with the growing rate of drug use among adolescents, more and more teens have a caregiver who struggles with a SUD. According to the National Institute on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare, nearly 9 million children live with at least one parent who struggles with substance use disorder. Don’t be ashamed of your history of use, have a discussion with your teen about your addiction. Talking about your former drug use or struggle with SUD can help challenge false ideas about SUD, build a deeper understanding of drug and alcohol use, and support your child in developing healthier behavior.

Family systems play a vital role in a youth’s life, particularly regarding their decision-making. Parents’ knowledge and experiences can serve the children’s growth. However, many parents experience some fear about discussing drug use and SUD with their teens. Yet, if you have dealt with a SUD, you can explain the process of SUD as a chronic condition. Consider the purpose, means, and context of sharing the information for your child’s betterment and safety. Apply your experience to discuss the ramifications of drug use, especially long-term use. Listen to what your teen has to say and speak from a place of honesty.

Having a Healthy Discussion

Having a discussion is a great opportunity to improve communication with your children. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) offers some suggestions to help you. Apply the following list as a reference point to improve communication:

  • Make sure to practice active listening by staying engaged and focused.
  • Refrain from using stigmatizing words like an “addict.”
  • Show that you accept and understand them.
  • Demonstrate compassion and respect through your words and actions.
  • Listen to your teen.
  • Hold these discussions in a quiet place with no distractions.
  • Place your focus on the positive.
  • Use studies and research that support treatment.
  • Give your teen time to process your words.

Consider the “7 C’s” as a Guide

Lies and half-truths about SUD often have a serious impact on teens. The truth serves them better in the long run. A guide or plan can help prepare you and offer some comfort as you go into this discussion. The  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) created a guide to assist parents and caregivers in discussing their condition, SUD. They refer to their guide as the “7 C’s.” 

They are as follows:

  • I didn’t cause it.
  • I can’t cure it.
  • I can’t control it.
  • I can care for myself.
  • I can communicate my feelings.
  • I can make healthy choices.
  • I will celebrate myself.

Ultimately, help your children understand that SUD is not a moral failing but rather a chronic condition. Like other chronic conditions, treatment exists to help people with SUD recover. If you are currently in recovery, this is a good time to express your journey of healing. It will give them insight into SUDs and hope if they also have a SUD. 

Encourage Positive Behaviors and Treatment

Take time to discuss the path of recovery. Such a discussion offers you another opportunity to encourage the benefits of treatment and positive behaviors. Recovery from SUD calls for action. 

Such action includes: 

  • Going to therapy.
  • Attending recovery group meetings.
  • Seeking professional treatment or entering a residential treatment program.
  • Following the treatment facilities program and aftercare plan.
  • Practicing acceptance regarding having a SUD or co-occurring mental health disorder.
  • Taking one’s prescribed medication appropriately and diligently.
  • Establishing a healthy routine that consists of relapse prevention activities that support long-term sobriety.

Use this discussion as an opportunity to take an active role in your child’s treatment. It ensures that they have a healthy support system around them. Such steps will facilitate positive behaviors in your teen and help them achieve long-term recovery. 

SUD is a chronic condition that can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, or socioeconomic status. Help your teen deal with the realities of drug use by taking the time to discuss the matter. At Clearfork Academy, we understand that supportive family systems matter in the development and decision-making of adolescents. We work with families to encourage an environment where you and your teen work together to learn about addiction. Doing so helps build a positive relationship with your children. Our approach to care encompasses both conventional and holistic therapies to ensure that your teen has the best resources to care. Our primary goal is to help your teen gain the education and confidence necessary to overcome the challenges of everyday life. If you are having difficulty discussing SUDs with your teen, then get help today. Find out more and reach out to us today by calling (866) 650-5212.

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How Can You Break the Familial Cycle of Addiction?

father putting his shoulder around his son

In every question about our experience and behavior, we question nature versus nurture. In the cycle of addiction, both nature and nurture play a role. However, the cycle does not have to keep going. You can break the family cycle of addiction and create a new legacy. There is hope for a better and more sustainable future. You might wonder, what does it take to create a new legacy? Let’s find out. 

Six Ways to Break the Cycle of Addiction in Your Family

There are many methods to break the cycle of addiction, but all methods require a combination of honesty, coping skills, treatment for underlying conditions, support, education, and abstinence. These are just six elements of effective treatment and hope for change.

#1. Honesty

The beginning stages of treatment require an intervention both with your family and with yourself. Absolute honesty is necessary for healing. The effects of alcohol or other substances are intergenerational and affect everyone in the family. So, healing is necessary for everyone in the family, and that requires honesty. 

You need to face addiction and admit its existence and how this affects you and your family. When you avoid the subject and do not face addiction openly, you give the problem room to grow. Therefore, honesty is required for the family to begin to heal successfully.

#2. Learning Coping Skills

As you begin the process of healing and being honest about your family’s problems with alcohol or other substances, you need to begin learning different ways to cope with your problems. While relapse might happen, relapse is less likely to occur if you stick with the program, practice effective and healthy coping skills, and lean on your Higher Power. 

Learning and using effective coping skills will equip you to face the underlying problems of your addiction to alcohol or other substances. You might learn these coping skills from the research you do on your own, trying new coping methods, or asking for help from a professional.

#3. Treatment for Comorbid Conditions

Underlying mental health conditions often accompany addictive behaviors. There might be depression, anxiety, anger, or other mental health and behavioral health conditions that form the root of the addiction to substances. While mental health conditions can be genetic, learning how to cope with mental health conditions requires support from your family and professionals. Do not be afraid to ask for help. You are not alone.

#4. Family Support

The cycle of family addiction does not end with one person. Ending the cycle requires the support and focus of the whole family system. Again, there is a nature and nurture aspect to addiction. Given the overlapping nature of addiction, there needs to be an overlapping of support from every family member as you attempt to break the cycle. Addiction is experienced by all who are affected by the one struggling. Therefore, working together is the key. If you have trouble establishing good communication skills and support among family members, you should consider family therapy. Family therapy is an environment that will offer each family member the opportunity to express their needs and concerns in a healthier way.  

#5. Education About Substance Use

To begin the process of being honest about your addiction to alcohol or other substances, you need to understand the disease. Whether you research on your own or ask for information from professionals, you need to understand how this disease affects your mind, spirit, and body. Effective intervention requires information. Having this information helps build the foundation for an effective intervention, which will lead to effective treatment and outcomes for abstinence and avoiding relapse.

#6. Complete Abstinence

Abstinence is difficult in the beginning stages of recovery, but not impossible. Be patient with yourself and your family as you navigate this time. To ensure the success of everyone in the family, each person needs to abstain from alcohol and other substances. As stated earlier, addiction does not affect just one family member but the entire family unit. Given this truth, supporting your family through abstinence helps ensure the health and well-being of everyone in the family. 

Breaking the cycle of addiction in your family takes time and effort. Effective intervention happens early and with the whole family being a part of the process. Another element of effectively breaking the family addiction cycle is strong community involvement. Your involvement may take the form of sports, church, or creative endeavors. However your family can plug into the community, you should make a strong attempt. Having a strong supportive community helps ensure your success in overcoming addiction. Remember, you are not alone. There are options for help and support in your family, your community, and through professional assistance. 

Addiction shares a relationship with both genetic components and family-based nurture components. Addiction is not a failure, but a result of flawed attempts to cope with underlying problems. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use or mental health disorders, Clearfork Academy can help. At Clearfork Academy, we offer assistance to teens and their families who are struggling with the effects of addiction. We offer hope and help for every step of the journey into freedom. We offer Christ-centered healing with a focus on the individual and the family. We believe in the family’s ability to successfully heal. We also believe that you can create a new legacy for yourself and your family. You do not have to struggle alone. Therefore, if you need help, don’t wait. Get help for you and your family today. Learn more and reach out to us at Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 966-8604

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How Do I Help My Teen Who Has Relapsed?

How Do I Help My Teen Who Has Relapsed?

Relapse is a difficult topic to discuss with your child. It’s hard to know what to say and how to react. However, your child needs to understand that you support and love them. In the event of relapse, it’s good to have a plan in place.

The Process of Relapses

Studies reveal that 40-80 percent of people treated for substance use disorders will have at least one drink within the first year, and around 20 percent of patients return to pre-treatment levels of substance use.

As a process, relapses develop into three main stages:

  • Emotional
  • Mental
  • Physical

When relapse begins, it often starts with emotional triggers such as anger, depression, or anxiety. Often, many find the emotional triggers difficult to recognize. However, these emotional triggers can lead to negative thoughts. For example, your child thinks about using again because he wants to escape from his problems and relieve himself of the emotional triggers. Soon, such thoughts can lead to negative behaviors, such as using drugs or alcohol to feed the cravings and ease mental and emotional pain.

What to Say After a Relapse?

When relapse occurs, it is important to let your child know you care and support them. How? Instead of dwelling on hopelessness or helplessness, encourage your son to think about what they can do to move forward. Support the process of targeted self-reflection. Instead of asking “Why did you relapse?” or “What’s the point?” ask “What did you do that led to the relapse?” or “What might have been motivating you to use it again?” The more you know, the better equipped the both of you will be to come up with a plan.

Recognizing Early Warning Signs

For many teens, relapse is a gradual and confusing process. Symptoms might include frequent periods of lying or secrecy, changing their habits, and hiding things from you. By recognizing these early signs, you can help your child make important changes so that they won’t relapse again. However, it is crucial to understand that warning signs of relapse vary for each person.

Some of the most common warning signs include:

  • Lack of interest in things they once enjoyed
  • Frequent lying
  • Decreased trust in others
  • Increased anxiety or depression
  • Increased aggression
  • Social withdrawal
  • Obsessive and inappropriate behavior
  • Changes in appetite
  • Getting sloppy with following their recovery plan
  • Resuming relationships with former friends who consume drugs or alcohol

Risk Factors of Relapse Among Teen Males

Teenagers are more prone to relapse because their brains are still developing, which can lead to a lack of impulse control, co-occurring mental illness, and learning disabilities. If these factors go unchecked, it can be difficult for young people to maintain sobriety. A study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that drug relapse often stems from exposure to stressful events, such as violence, abuse, and natural disasters.  Therefore, it is important to pay attention to common circumstantial issues that drive teens to relapse.

Circumstantial risk factors include:

  • The end of a romantic relationship or close friendship
  • Continued social peer pressure from friends, social media, classmates, etc.
  • Inadequate coping skills
  • Parents divorcing, especially if tumultuous
  • Death of a loved one
  • Lack of support from family and peers

Develop a Relapse Prevention Plan

When the teen returns home from rehab, parents may want to focus on that joyful return. While celebrating your child’s milestone of reaching sobriety, it is also important to remember the complexities of a SUD and how a plan can help with long-term recovery. Remember, recovery is a lifelong journey. It relies on support from friends, family, and peers and the ability to create plans that aid your child when situations become challenging.

Your plans should consider:

  • List of reasons to stay sober
  • List of safe places to go to if they use again
  • Schedule of local support group meetings
  • List of stress-relief practices or coping skills
  • Locations of local emergency services
  • List of hotline numbers or crisis lines

Clearfork Can Help

As one of the most trusted drug rehab facilities in Fort-Worth, Texas, we understand what you’re going through. We will help your loved one get back on track. As experts in the field, our team of fully licensed clinicians provides a range of treatments.

We offer the following services:

  • 12-Step education
  • Medically assisted detoxification
  • Spiritual guidance
  • One-on-one therapy
  • Group counseling
  • Family therapy and education
  • Dual diagnosis treatment for depression, anxiety, ADHD, etc
  • Individualized treatment plans
  • Adventure courses and equine therapy
  • Trauma-based treatment

Let us join you on this journey of recovery.

 Let Clearfork Academy take the burden off of you. We work with parents struggling to find help for their teenage sons with behavioral and emotional problems. Clearfork Academy provides evidence-based treatment in a caring, compassionate environment to ensure that your child can live a life of complete wellness. We view a relapse as a turning point that can create a renewed commitment to overcoming SUDs. We aim to turn this potentially negative experience into one of hope and renewal. Rather, it is a chance to retrace your son’s steps and find out what caused him to slip. The therapeutic process will help them recognize their triggers and learn new coping skills. Our 24/7 on-call medical team specializes in addiction medicine to meet your loved one’s detox needs. Our licensed clinicians will work with clients to create personalized treatment plans tailored to meet their individual needs. Contact us at (888) 966-8604 to learn more about our program. 

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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 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 [email protected] or visit us at 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 [email protected], or visit our website at

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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 [email protected] 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,, or


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 [email protected], or visit our website at


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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 [email protected], or visit us at 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 [email protected] or visit us at 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 [email protected] or visit us at 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 [email protected], or visit our website at

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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 [email protected], or visit our website at

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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:


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 [email protected], or visit our website at


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 [email protected], or visit our website at
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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 [email protected], or visit our website at



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. 
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 [email protected]


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 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:  [email protected].


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 [email protected], or visit our website at 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 [email protected], or visit our website at!
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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 [email protected], or visit our website at!


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 [email protected], or visit our website at!

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 [email protected], or visit our website at


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 [email protected], or visit our website at!

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 [email protected], or visit our website at


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 [email protected], or visit our website at!


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 [email protected] or visit our website at!



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 [email protected] or visit our website at!


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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 [email protected] or visit our website at!

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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!


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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:



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.



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.  



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 for more information.


For more resources on gender-specific treatment, please visit-

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!