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The Challenging Stigmas of Males Mental Health

The Challenging Stigmas of Males Mental Health

Adolescent males dealing with mental health disorders often have a hard time opening up about their struggles and asking for the help they need due to the societal stigma of males. This negative mindset continues to stray individuals away from receiving the help they need for fear of looking different from their peers in society. Understanding this stigma and working to support everyone to get the help they need can help our society become a more accepting space for everyone to feel comfortable.

Social Stigma

The negative social stigma regarding males and mental health has caused many individuals to feel isolated. This stigma refers to the negative perception of individuals with mental health disorders and false accusations of where these disorders arise. In men, this can be perceived as weak and shameful. The social assumption for men is that they are expected to be dominant, strong, and brave figures. Having a mental health disorder can be portrayed as a sign of weakness.

This social stigma is extremely dangerous for the minds of adolescent males. While mental health awareness is becoming more common, it is not often discussed or accepted in the adolescent age group. Men and women both deal with mental health disorders, and both need support to overcome them. If adolescents your age open up about having a mental health problem, work to support them and provide a safe space for them. Showing your emotions and being vulnerable does not make you weak.

Overcoming the Stigma

It can be intimidating to admit you are struggling with a mental health disorder as an adolescent. It is understandable to be full of fear; however, the rewards from your honesty may be worth jumping over this fear. There are many ways you can open up about your mental health disorders without receiving much backlash. It is crucial to remember the importance of your mental health and avoid allowing negative comments to get into your head.

Online Effects

Many adolescents spend a great deal of time on social media and feel greatly influenced by the posts and comments of their peers. While there may be a variety of negativity online in regards to mental health disorders, there are also a variety of pages and resources that work to spread awareness on these issues. Joining these online forums and opening up about your struggles in a supportive environment online can help you to feel more comfortable on the matter and encourage you to open up to other support systems. 

Focus on Yourself

During this time, it is important to get the help you need. You may receive some negative feedback about receiving treatment or struggling with mental health, but remind yourself that many people go through this. If individuals are giving you a hard time, reach out to your support system. Try to only engage with individuals that encourage your recovery and want the best for you. It can be hard to ignore negative comments, especially during this strong emotional phase, but giving in to these comments only gives the other individual more power. 

Having confidence in your decision and being honest about your mental health state can help other peers understand where you are coming from. Many individuals fear speaking up on the matter due to possible bullying or backlash; however, sticking up for mental health awareness can help increase the level of acceptance of your peers.

Understand the Commonality

Mental health disorders are present in one in four individuals on average. Being aware of this statistic can help you not feel alone with your disorder. There are likely many other individuals in your surrounding peer groups that also struggle with mental health and have these same fears of negative stigmas. 

Through open and honest communication, you may discover friends that are struggling with similar issues. Increasing the population that is willing to open up about their mental health disorders can help people to accept these feelings and decrease the negative thoughts put into place.

Spread Awareness

After allowing yourself to open up about your emotional state and finding other peers who either are struggling with similar issues or are supportive of these matters, you may develop a community of support. Look into starting a club or meetings to help spread awareness. By working together with a group of people, the awareness can become more accepted within your school and social group. There is power in numbers. Spreading this knowledge and acquiring supportive allies can help yourself and others feel supported when in treatment.

Admitting you struggle with a mental health disorder and seeking treatment can be intimidating due to the negative stigma on mental health. There are a variety of societal standards for men that hinder males from opening up about their emotional state. At Clearfork Academy, we understand that addressing these social stigmas and spreading awareness can help others feel safe to open up. Seeking professional treatment will help you develop healthy ways to cope and improve communication with your family and peers. As challenging as it may be, it is extremely important to focus on yourself and your needs during this time. Getting the help you need is more important than impressing your peers. There are many ways you can use this time to influence others and be a support to your peers. To learn more about the challenges of stigmas in mental health, contact us today at (888) 966-8604.

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Underage Binge Drinking

Underage Binge Drinking

Alcohol is one of the most abused substances among teenagers in the US. The minimum drinking age in the United States is 21 years old, but that hasn’t stopped teenagers from participating in alcohol consumption. Studies show that young people between the ages of 12 to 20 consume almost 13% of the country’s alcohol in a calendar year due to binge drinking. 

No matter the age, binge drinking can pose serious health risks to anyone engaging in overdrinking, including teens. The health risks associated with the overconsumption of alcohol should be of concern to parents. Overconsumption of alcohol can lead to dependency and, oftentimes, requires professional intervention. 

What Is Binge Drinking?

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as when a person consumes enough alcohol to bring their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08% or higher. For adults, binge drinking is when a man or woman consumes four to five drinks in a two-hour time frame. However, it takes fewer drinks for youth, roughly three to four consumed in the same timeframe for the same effects as adults. 

While binge drinking can happen at any age, there has been a recent trend in teens and young adults to binge drink during social occasions. Excessive drinking can have many health effects that can develop dependency and mental health issues. 

The Impact of Binge Drinking on the Teen Brain

Alcohol has adverse effects on the brain. Further, heavy alcohol use can hinder the development of a teenager’s brain. Binge drinking impacts cognitive functions such as memory, coordination, attention, and social functioning. During the teenage years, the frontal lobe and hippocampus share a relationship with impulse control, addiction, motivation, and long-and-short term memory. 

Alcohol is also a form of neurotoxin. Neurotoxins are natural or synthetic substances that cause damage or impair parts of the brain, specifically the central and peripheral nervous systems. They increase the chance of developing heart disease; brain inquires, cancer, and other serious health problems. Long-term alcohol use in teens can also develop an array of disorders known as alcohol-related brain injuries (ARBI).

Health Risks for Teens

Heavy drinking impacts teens’ physical, mental, and behavioral health on many different levels. Although side effects and health risks are different for everyone, there are common risks associated with binge drinking, including: 

  • Physical Health: Studies show that teens who binge-drink throughout high school have a higher chance of becoming overweight before turning 25. Long-term alcohol use can also cause high blood pressure, which can lead to heart complications. It prevents the heart from pumping enough blood, causing the heart to weaken over time. It can also cause an abnormal heart rhythm where it beats too fast, slow, or irregularly. 
  • Mental Health: Heavy alcohol use also has serious effects on teens’ mental health both in the present and later on in life. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant meaning it can slow down the brain’s functioning. When you over-drink, it can trigger depression and anxiety. Some teens consume alcohol to cope or suppress their feelings of anxiety and depression. At first, they may receive the stimulation they crave and feel less tense and anxious as they drink. But as soon as the buzz goes away, their depression or anxiety may be more intense than before, especially after a hangover. 
  • Behavioral Health: Underage drinking leads to numerous behavioral issues in teens, many of which have serious consequences. Teens who binge drink engage in more violent behaviors such as rape, assault, and physical altercations. Car accidents caused by drunk driving are one of the leading causes of death among younger people. Issues like peer pressure or social settings often cause teens to get behind the wheel impaired and lead to car accidents where some result in death.   

Treatment for Alcohol Use 

When it comes to quitting heavy alcohol use, always consult a professional for help. Withdrawal symptoms from any substance can be very intense, and there should always be medical help around if needed. Although binge drinking is not considered full alcohol addiction, for teens who drink alcohol heavily, quitting cold turkey without any help is not recommended. 

Treatment options for alcohol use range from full 24-hour care in a residential or inpatient treatment center to intensive outpatient treatment and therapy services. Due to the differences in symptoms and health risks in teens compared to adults, you should find treatment options and mental health professionals specializing in treating teens and adolescents. Understand that there is help available to meet your teen’s individual needs.

If you are a teen and notice that you or a friend have been consuming high amounts of alcohol, you may be engaging in binge drinking. Understand that serious health risks come with consuming high amounts of alcohol in a short or long time frame. Clearfork Academy understands the importance of getting alcohol abuse under control before it spirals into full addiction. Although binge drinking is not alcoholism itself, it can lead to a substance use disorder when left untreated. We help our patients take the first step towards sobriety through our medical detox program and intensive inpatient treatment. We also offer outpatient treatment for teens who may not require 24-hour care. If you or someone you love needs help for an addiction or mental health issue, then get help today. To find out more about our treatment programs and therapies, contact Clearfork Academy today by calling us at (888) 966-8604.

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How Can You Manage Your Panic Attacks?

How Can You Manage Your Panic Attacks?

Panic Attacks are an authentic experience that can cause significant harm to a teen’s mental and physical health. Teens experience panic attacks for various reasons: overwhelming fear or worry, stress from school or social activities, and a lack of understanding and support from family or friends. 

Signs of a Panic Attack in Teens

Feelings of anxiety or stress often precede panic attacks and generate adrenaline. They can last anywhere from seconds to minutes. Many find panic attacks intense and disabling. Thoughts or situations that cause fear or anxiety trigger these panic attacks. Yet, they can also occur during everyday activities like taking a walk or going for a run.

Here are some signs of a panic attack:  

  • Heart palpitations, chest pain, or tightness
  • Rapid breathing or shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • An intense feeling of fear, helplessness,  or devastation anxiety
  • Sweating or tears (or even sweat)
  • Body shakes or tremors
  • Adrenaline or intense emotions rush through the body

Causes of Anxiety or Panic Attacks in Teens

A blend of environmental, psychological, and social factors can cause panic attacks. Some possible causes of panic attacks in teens include: 

  • Feeling overstimulated or stressed because of family problems
  • Using drugs and alcohol
  • Behavioral or mental health issues like eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa or Bipolar Disorder
  • Experiencing fear or PTSD after a traumatic experience
  • Fear of abandonment or social rejection leads to loneliness or isolation
  • Pressure from your parents or other authority figures
  • Changes in routine or environment disrupt the person’s equilibrium 
  • Stress from school or family responsibilities
  • Social media exposure such as online bullying may trigger a panic attack
  • Different experiences can cause intense emotions like worry, guilt, and sadness
  • Going through a tough patch at school or work

Tips and Tricks to Help Your Child During an Anxiety or Panic Attack

First and foremost, it is essential to have a plan for dealing with an emergency. Ensure the plan outlines what acts your child can take during a panic attack, such as going to a nearby safe place, getting help from a friend or family member, and calling for help. 

During panic attacks, a parent can also: 

  • Keep them calm. Use calming techniques, like counting to 10, soothing music, deep breathing exercises, or soothing touches or embraces. 
  • Seek professional medical attention. If the attack is severe, do not hesitate to contact medical services.  
  • Draw them to a calming environment. If possible, direct the child to a calming environment, like a comforting room or nature. 
  • Help them focus. Bring awareness to the present moment. Comfort your child with soothing and supportive words. Let them know that you are here for them.
  • Avoid making things worse. When your child is in an anxious or panicked state, it’s important not to make things worse. Instead, relax and calmly guide them through the panic. 

Build Your Teen’s Resilience and Self-Confidence to Prevent Panic Attacks

We recommend helping your child restore their resilience and self-confidence. Such an approach will help them manage their anxiety long-term. Additionally, it allows them to feel comfortable in their skin and grounded in their lives. It also gives them the tools needed for the challenges of life. 

#1. Find a hobby or passion. Talk to your child about their worries and educate them on the best activities to deal with anxiety or stress. 

#2. Show the value of helping others. Helping others will allow your teen to use their talents or skills to benefit others. It will build your child’s confidence in themselves and their skills.  

#3. Be aware of the expectations you set for your child. Everyone, including children, makes mistakes. Teens are trying to determine their identity, aspirations, and core network. Hence, many find this period stressful, especially if their parents hold the bar so high for them. Instead, focus on helping them take a step back to reassess for proper, steady growth. It’s essential to be aware of your expectations of your teen and how you’re going to help them cope.

#4. Practice relaxation techniques with your child. Suggest to them to focus on positive and helpful things in their lives. It can help take the edge off of their anxiety. Some great relaxation techniques include deep stretching, exercise, deep breathing, meditation, and reciting positive affirmations.

#5. Highlight your teen’s strengths instead of their weaknesses. It’s easy to focus on the negative, but what if we focus on the positives? Consider discussing your child’s strengths with them. Discuss the qualities that make them friendly, caring, intelligent, athletic, or even creative. This will help your child feel more in control and give them a sense of self-efficacy. It will also help them relax and de-stress.

One of the best ways to deal with stress and anxiety is to practice relaxation techniques with your child. When people can relax, they will find it easier to manage their stress. You can help your teen do this by using different relaxation techniques, building their resilience, and restoring their self-esteem. Some relaxation techniques include deep breathing, counting to 10, or focusing on positive thoughts. Furthermore, to develop your teen’s self-esteem, focus on consistent positive reinforcement by providing growth opportunities and sharing your own experiences with them. To build their resilience, focus on teaching moments or seek professional assistance. At Clearfork, we help teens suffering from SUD and mental health issues like anxiety. If your child is currently in need of professional support, we can help you today. Our admissions staff can provide more information about our treatment programs. To find out more, contact Clearfork Academy by calling (888) 966-8604.

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Tips for Supporting a Friend With a Mental Illness

Tips for Supporting a Friend with a Mental Illness

The adolescent and teenage years are often the most vulnerable time for mental illnesses to develop. However, teens tend to feel more comfortable turning to their friends for help with their mental illness rather than talking with their parents or professionals.

If you and your friends look to each other for help, it is important to know how to support one another when it comes to mental health.

Understanding Mental Illness

It is not always obvious when someone is dealing with a mental illness. Mental illnesses are often referred to as “invisible illnesses” because a person’s symptoms are not always visible to those around them. While some people are comfortable with sharing their diagnoses, others feel uncomfortable.

While it can be frustrating to feel like your friend is withholding information from you, don’t take it personally if your friend does not open up to you right away. It is important to remember that not everyone has the same experience with mental illnesses.

What Can You Do to Support a Friend With a Mental Illness?

Friends are essential in your developmental process because they lend a sense of connection and add to your self-worth. As a teen, you may find that you and your friends turn to each other for help more than you turn to your parents. Therefore, learning about disorders and how they affect individuals provides the best opportunity to support them. Here are six tips to support your friends when they come to you for help:

  1. Listen to Them: People with a mental illness often feel like others don’t listen to their experiences and what they are going through. If your friends feel comfortable talking to you about their disorder, be respectful and listen without judgment. You don’t have to wholly understand their experience or know all of the answers to their questions. Sometimes, they are not looking for an answer. Sometimes showing them that you are willing to offer a listening ear can help them feel more comfortable with expressing how they feel.
  2. Learn the Warning Signs: Getting help as early as possible is important when treating a mental illness. Learning to spot the warning signs of mental illnesses can help your friend find proper treatment. Spotting the warning signs requires learning about specific disorders and the symptoms that encompass them. If you notice your friend behaving in unusual ways to how they usually carry themselves, this is also a clear indication that they might need help.
  3. Respect Their Boundaries: Allow your friends to share as much or as little as they would like about how they feel. Don’t push them to tell you more than what they feel comfortable with; doing so might cause them to pull away from you. They may have specific boundaries to help them deal with their symptoms and how they talk about them. They may also want to avoid specific topics that are too triggering for them, and you must respect this, too. It is important to talk with your friends about boundaries and remember to uphold these boundaries.
  4. Don’t Always Bring Up Their Illness: Some mental illnesses require constant attention including, medication, being aware of moods, dietary changes, and navigating life with coping mechanisms that keep their symptoms at ease. However, your friend is not their illness, and their mental illness does not need to be the topic of every discussion. Sometimes spending time with the people they love offers a break from having to acknowledge their illness. You don’t have to mention or discuss their illness every time you hang out with or talk to them.
  5. Don’t Tell Your Friend How They Should Feel: Each individual’s experience with a mental illness is their own experience. Even if you know a lot about other illnesses, it is important to remember that you are not a medical or mental health expert, so understand that there are many things you don’t know about their illness. Avoid acting like a therapist or a psychiatrist when addressing your friend’s feelings. When they share their feelings with you, it is important to remain a friend and listen.
  6. Keep Your Questions Open Ended: Asking open-ended questions allows your friend the chance to share what they would like. Instead of saying to them, “You seem sad or lethargic today,” you can ask, “How are you feeling today?” Asking how they feel rather than how you think they feel allows them to share what they would like and not feel pushed to answer something outside their comfort zone.

It can be scary watching your friends manage their mental illnesses, especially during the adolescent stage. Clearfork Academy specializes in teen addiction and mental health treatment and offers specialized programs that help teens manage mental illnesses and substance use disorders. In addition to our clinical approaches, we also utilize holistic approaches such as art and adventure therapy. If your child is currently experiencing a substance use disorder that is interfering with their mental health, we will safely guide them through the detox and withdrawal phase of treatment. From there, we will get to the root of their substance use and identify any underlying conditions such as mental illnesses that may be influencing their substance use. Our goal is to help your teen reach sobriety and maintain long-term sobriety by teaching them healthy coping strategies and life skills. If your teen needs treatment, don’t wait. Call Clearfork Academy today 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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What Is an Effective Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Teens?

Mental health and addiction

The number of adolescents diagnosed with mental health disorders and addiction is increasing. Dual diagnosis treatment is an effective way to help teens address mental health issues and substance use disorders (SUD). This comprehensive guide will help you learn how to identify your teen’s symptoms, what treatments are available, and effective dual diagnosis programs.

The Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis in Teens

The symptoms of dual diagnosis in teens can vary depending on the type and severity. Some common signs include:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Trouble concentrating

In addition to this list, other possible symptoms may present themselves, such as:

  • Increased drug use
  • Withdrawal from friends and family members
  • An inability to maintain healthy relationships with those around them
  • Self-harm behaviors such as cutting or scratching oneself
  • Suicide attempts or suicidal ideation
  • Your teen’s grades have been dropping off
  • Their work performance has become erratic

Common Co-Occurring Mental Disorders

The prevalence of co-occurring mental disorders and SUD among teens is becoming problematic. Over 17 percent of young people have an emotional, mental, or behavioral disorder. The most commonly diagnosed conditions are substance abuse, followed closely by anxiety disorders and depressive disorders. The risk for co-occurring mental disorders increases significantly if an individual experiences trauma or neglect during childhood. The most common co-occurring mental illness with a SUD are:

  • Bipolar Disorder: One of the most common mental disorders among adolescents is bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder causes emotional highs and lows. Some may experience symptoms related to mania or hypomania, including increased energy levels.
  • Depressive Disorders: Young people with depressive disorders may experience hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, and guilt. These feelings may lead to an obsession with self-harm. Depression makes it difficult for individuals to function.
  • Anxiety Disorders: This condition is the most common mental disorder in children and adolescents. Symptoms of anxiety disorders can include panic attacks, fear of social rejection, and chronic worrying. Anxiety disorders commonly co-occur with other mental health issues like depression, substance use disorder, or eating disorders.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD):  OCD can cause teens to spend hours on activities that will bring them relief from their symptoms. However, it’s not as common as other anxiety disorders.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD develops after a person experiences a traumatic event, such as abuse, neglect, or witnessing violence. Symptoms of PTSD include anxiety and flashbacks.

Treating a Dual Diagnosis

Teenagers with mental health issues can improve their health by seeking a qualified professional who can provide treatment options. As with all mental health conditions, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Treatment for dual diagnosis requires mental health treatment like counseling or therapy and substance use treatment like detoxification or addiction rehabilitation. Some common treatments include:

  • Intensive Inpatient treatment: Treatment at residential facilities or psychiatric hospitals provides the best option for teens with serious mental and addiction disorders. It provides care that effectively addresses both disorders. In an intensive program, teens will live onsite at a facility that has 24-hour professional support. Teens also receive individualized therapy and medication as needed. Another benefit of intensive inpatient treatment is that it provides daily structure.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):  CBT helps teens recognize negative thoughts and emotions that may trigger a relapse. This type of therapy can help teens build their self-esteem, improve their moods and feelings of shame. When CBT combines with dual diagnosis treatment, the effects are more impactful. This kind of treatment gives teens the tools to make positive life changes.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy: DBT is particularly effective for teens struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction, or borderline personality disorder. DBT focuses on teaching teens how to effectively recognize and manage their emotions to improve their behaviors.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR is a popular and effective therapy for treating trauma. EMDR helps alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and trauma. EMDR therapists guide the patient through bilateral stimulation using eye movements over some sessions. The treatment helps the teen process traumatic events and any trauma-related memories.
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs): IOPs are a treatment that aims to help teens with SUD and mental health disorders. They provide adolescents with the ability to have treatment in an outpatient setting while still pursuing other commitments. It allows adolescents to work with counselors, psychiatrists, therapists, and other specialists with more flexibility. It also includes group therapy as well as individual sessions. IOPs work in a way where your teen can practice or attend treatment on their time. IOPs generally do not last as long as residential treatment.

Co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders affect many teens across the US. Therefore, dual diagnosis treatment is vital. Dual diagnosis programs provide appropriate ways to treat teens’ co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. At Clearfork Academy, we utilize a comprehensive approach that addresses the needs of teens with a dual diagnosis. Such programs allow teens to heal from their struggles. We accomplish this by designing a comprehensive treatment plan to help teens manage symptoms and develop healthy coping skills. Our treatment includes therapy, familial support, medication management, and intensive treatment at an inpatient psychiatric hospital or residential facility. While finding the right help for a dual diagnosis can be difficult, there is help for you and your teen. If your teen has been diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder, the time to get help is today. To learn more about our treatment programs, reach out to us today by calling (888) 966-8604.

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How to Overcome Mental Health Stereotypes

How to Overcome Mental Health Stereotypes

Many stereotypes surround mental health disorders. Inaccurate displays of symptoms through media and films have further perpetuated a misunderstanding of these disorders. Mental health stereotypes also cause people to avoid seeking help or feel ashamed about their diagnosis. Overcoming stereotypes around mental health is necessary for creating a safer environment for people to share their stories and encourage others to get help.

What Are the Harmful Effects of Stereotypes?

Stereotypes are harmful beliefs that society has about a particular subject. Stereotypes of mental health can have detrimental effects for those who have mental health disorders, including:

  • Internalizing negative beliefs. Unkind or offensive words can shape stereotypes. These words and actions can cause someone with a mental health disorder to form a negative self-perception, leading to depression, anxiety, and even self-harm.
  • Isolation and alienation. People with mental health disorders may feel ashamed of their illness, and such feelings could cause someone to isolate themselves from others for fear of being judged. Isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness that manifest into depression or anxiety. Family members, friends, and even society can often alienate those with severe mental illnesses because they don’t understand how to treat someone with a mental illness.
  • Lack of criminal justice. Stereotypes have created an association between mental health disorders and violence. However, this is not true. Individuals with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence and trauma. Still, the stereotypes could create a lack of justice and improper treatment of those with a mental illness.
  • Substance use. Substance use disorder is the most common co-occurring disorder for individuals with a mental health disorder. Individuals use substances as a coping mechanism to manage the symptoms of their disorder. They also use substances to help them deal with negative self-beliefs due to stereotypes. Substances do not provide any substantial or lasting relief. Heavy alcohol use can worsen anxiety and depressive symptoms and cause substance-induced psychosis.

How to Overcome Mental Health Stereotypes

Overcoming the stereotypes and putting health first can be a difficult task. It requires work and seeking good resources. Here are five ways that an individual can begin working to overcome the stigmas surrounding their mental health.

  1. Educate Yourself and Others: Taking the time to research and read about mental health disorders helps individuals and their loved ones better understand their mental health disorders. Some mental health clinics or community centers offer classes that educate about mental health disorders.
  2. Create Healthy Conversations About Mental Health: The lack of clear conversations about mental health also contributes to stereotypes. Therefore, having healthy conversations about mental health topics will raise awareness. Remember, conversations require the willingness to listen to understand, and share experiences with others. They also require the ability to reserve judgment, and doing so will help cultivate a healthy and comfortable space for the conversation to grow.
  3. Become a Mental Health Advocate: Parents and their teens can become mental health advocates. Mental health advocates help provide more resources, information, and awareness about mental health disorders. An individual can become an advocate by seeking volunteer opportunities at mental health centers or clinics. They can also attend group meetings and become mentors for others managing a mental health disorder. One could also share your their through social media outlets. Sharing personal stories or taking speaking positions also helps raise awareness and strengthen the community, providing more opportunities to learn about mental health.
  4. Make Sure That You Are Taking Care of Your Mental Health: Taking care of mental health requires individuals to advocate for themselves and pursue resources dedicated to managing mental health. Stereotypes can cause people to neglect their self-care needs due to the fear of acknowledging they have an illness. Therefore, staying active in treatment plans and taking appropriate medication will help manage mental health.
  5. Don’t Let Stereotypes Bring Self-doubt or Shame: Society is not solely responsible for creating stereotypes; stereotypes can continue to evolve internally. Forming negative thoughts about a particular mental health disorder cultivates a negative self-perception and shame. Self-stigma happens when an individual repeatedly faces discrimination concerning their mental health disorder. Soon they might start to view their mental health disorder negatively.

Overcoming mental health stereotypes requires grace and compassion. Seeking education and advocating for oneself helps society learn that what a person is dealing with is not a defect. Overcoming the stereotypes requires continued treatment, building healthy relationships, and becoming more confident in managing the disorder. Doing so will improve self-esteem. It all begins with taking action to get help.

Although mental health disorders face many stereotypes in society, resources are available that offer professional knowledge on how to treat them. At Clearkfork Academy, we offer a space for teenage boys to overcome stereotypes and learn about their mental health and substance use disorders. We strive to provide a comfortable place where teens no longer have to suffer in silence. Our group and family programs offer the support necessary to learn about ways to discuss and manage the symptoms related to mental health and substance use disorders. With us, your teen will develop the confidence and voice to recognize that they are not their disorders. They will also build strong support networks with other peers that share similar experiences. The first step to recovery is acknowledging that you need help and taking appropriate action to get help. To learn more about our programs, reach out to Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 966-8604

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Navigating Mental Health Content in the World of Social Media

Navigating Mental Health Content in the World of Social Media

As humans, our need for connection is necessary to thrive in life and feel a sense of self-worth. While social media offers this sense of connection, there are some negative aspects to the content you consume. If not handled appropriately, mental health content can be among the most misleading and damaging content. Since mental health is becoming more discussed on social media, it is important to control what content you read.

Positive Effects of Social Media

When used the right way, social media offers many benefits. Some positives of social media include:

  • Staying Connected: Social media allows you to keep in contact and communicate with friends, family, and people from around the world. Connection is an integral part of everyday living. Apps like Instagram allow you to share pictures of your favorite moments in life and share them with your loved ones.
  • Providing a Creative Outlet: Many people use social apps as a creative outlet. Artists such as painters, writers, and musicians can post their work, generate a following, and develop a career.
  • Networking: In today’s society, networking is a big part of growing a community and meeting new people. Social media allows you to connect and meet potential business partners from across the world. If you struggle with social anxiety, this is a great way to meet people without the anxiousness that could come from meeting in person.

Negative Effects of Social Media

Social media also has many negative aspects. The negatives of social media include:

  • Cyberbullying: People tend to feel bolder online because they do not need to worry about physical interaction. However, this can lead to cyberbullying, which consists of people leaving rude, unwanted, and opinionated comments on your posts. Cyberbullying can affect your mental health and perpetuate disorders such as depression, anxiety, and body dysmorphia.
  • Social Media Addiction: Studies have found that some individuals can develop an addiction to social media. While not considered an actual disorder or diagnosis, it is a form of behavioral addiction. Social media addiction is the uncontrollable urge to commit more time to social media than interacting in person.
  • Feelings of Inadequacy or Self-absorption: Social media has become about sharing selfies, posting body transformations, and personal achievements. While there is nothing wrong with posting this kind of content, overindulgence is a form of self-absorption. It could make you feel inadequate because you believe you don’t measure up to these standards or get as many likes on your selfies as others. It can also worsen symptoms of disorders such as depression or body dysmorphia.

Filter Who You Follow

One of the best ways to control your online experience is to regulate who you follow. Make sure you are following accounts posting accurate and positive mental health content. There are blogs and accounts dedicated to spreading mental health awareness that post information about disorders and ways to cope. You can also follow organizations or people who are advocates and share personal stories.

Follow Credible Sources

Social media is also a host for misinformation and stereotypes about mental health. Here are a few credible sources to follow on social media instead:

Report Harmful Posts

Misinformation about mental health creates stigmas and influences people toward taking the wrong steps to get help. However, most apps give you the option to report such harmful or disturbing posts. If you come across content that speaks about mental health in a degrading or damaging way, take the time to report the post. Reporting posts not only helps you manage your social media algorithm but helps prevent the spread of harmful posts for others to consume.

Reporting harmful posts will also allow the app to establish boundaries and standards for its users. While you cannot eradicate all negative posts, taking time to report such posts will help cultivate a positive community.

Take Some Time Off

Social media can become addicting, and you may find yourself spending hours upon hours using social media. It is not healthy to consume a large amount of information from other people’s lives daily.

Taking time to step away from social media is great for your mental health. However, you might struggle to unplug from social media. If you have difficulty getting away from social media, try to set specific hours that you cannot engage in social media throughout the day. Having a set schedule will help you stay focused and accountable. You might use this time to read, draw, journal or have physical interactions with friends and family.

Social media is one of today’s most influential platforms for teens, which may lead your child to try unhealthy coping strategies such as substance use. Clearfork Academy can help. Our treatment programs include highly trained and certified staff members that offer a compassionate approach. Located on an inviting and charming ranch, we provide a home away from home for teens in need of substance use and mental illness treatment. Whether your teen is going through our inpatient or outpatient programs, our sole focus will be on recovery and creating a healthy and drug-free lifestyle for your teen. While we do not exclude smartphones, we do provide a space free of social media to allow teens to get in touch with their innermost passions, whether it be art, music, acting, or writing. If your teen needs a safe and professional treatment program, contact Clearfork Academy today by calling us at (888) 966-8604

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What Are the Warnings Signs & Causes of Teen Suicide?

What are the Warnings Signs & Causes of Teen Suicide?

America faces a growing crisis, with teens losing their lives to suicide. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the rate of suicide deaths among individuals 10-24 years old increased 56 percent between 2007 and 2017. The CDC noted in 2015 that the suicide rate for males aged 15–19 years was 14.2 percent per 100,000 population.

As the issue continues to affect teens, parents need to understand the signs of suicide.

Consider the Data of Teenage Suicide

In the United States, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-34. The number of student suicides is staggering, but it’s even more troubling that one out of every 15 high school students report attempting suicide each year. With figures like this, you can understand why one out of every 53 high school students needs professional care.

Parents, guardians, and family members can play a crucial role in preventing suicide. You don’t need to go through this alone; seeking professional help will allow you and your teen the education and treatment options necessary to overcome thoughts and behaviors related to suicide.

Signs of Teenage Suicide

Signs of teenage suicide can include a change in behavior, depression, and anxiety. Other symptoms include talking about death or wishing they were dead. Pay attention to statements indicating they feel hopeless, helpless, trapped, have no reason to live anymore, or think life isn’t worth living anymore. Further signs include:

  • Having trouble sleeping or eating well
  • Sudden change in behavior or mood, such as a noticeable increase or decrease in school performance
  • Unexplained withdrawal from friends and family members
  • Making frequent and detailed plans for death, such as writing out instructions on how they would like their body disposed of after death
  • Expressing feelings about the world being better off without them around
  • Saying that life that makes no sense and expressing an inexplicable desire to die
  • Talking repeatedly about wanting to” go away”
  • Feeling hopeless about the future without any specific reason given for their feelings
  • Neglecting personal appearance and hygiene
  • Running away from home
  • Risk-taking behavior, such as reckless driving or being sexually promiscuous

Triggers of Teenage Suicide

The factors that could trigger a teenager’s decision to commit suicide vary from person to person. Some triggering factors include mental illness, substance abuse, bullying, social media, physical or sexual abuse, or a family history of substance use disorders. It also involves them experiencing intense stress at home, work, and school with no apparent cause to explain such stress. Other triggers include:

  • Problems with drug or alcohol use
  • Witnessing the suicide of a family member or peer, especially a close one
  • Problems at school, like failing classes or struggling to comprehend school material
  • Loss of a parent or immediate family member through death or divorce
  • The stresses of physical changes associated with puberty, chronic illness, and sexually transmitted infections
  • Uncertainty surrounding sexual orientation
  • Struggles with an eating disorder

The Impact of Suicide Attempt

The impact of suicide attempts can vary depending on the severity and type of incident. Some physical effects include:

  • Bruising,
  • Broken bones,
  • Organ damage from falls;
  • Loss of consciousness due to a concussion or other brain injury may occur as well.

Psychological effects such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD are common in cases with self-harm.

Helping Your Teen

There are specific steps you can take to prevent teen suicide. You must remember that this is a mental illness and not something someone wakes up one day and decides. Please provide your child with the support they need. There are many different ways to do this:

  • Unconditional love,
  • Listening without judgment
  • Talking with them about what they’re going through and how you can help them

Such actions will help make the teen’s home safe and protected. Providing your child with these kinds of support will give them hope that they can overcome their struggles and get back on their feet.

Seek Professional Help

Consider sending them to a treatment center like Clearfork Academy. Such facilities provide comprehensive care and therapies. Mental health professionals offer teens coping and problem-solving skills to help teens deal with their struggles without becoming overwhelmed. Treatment centers ensure teens have access to good resources and tools to allow self-reflection and growth in areas important to teens. They also help with medication management, provide support groups and remain a source of support should they need help in the future. With proper help, your child can get through this challenging time and find their way back to health.

If your teen has been exhibiting signs of contemplating suicide, you need to talk with them. Remember to remain open to any concerns your child may have, no matter how vague they seem. Sometimes talking through this process will help them realize that there are other options than taking their own life. You should also plan to seek professional help. Being open and honest with your child about the support they need from you and professionals could help them find the courage to embrace treatment. At Clearfork Academy, we utilize treatments and therapies to help parents and teenagers deal with adolescent depression and the causes behind their suicide ideation. Our participants receive a safe place to discuss their feelings and receive support from professionals, family, friends, and peers. Our admissions staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Find out more about our programs and contact us by calling (888) 966-8604.

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Understanding Self-Harm: A Guide for Parents

Understanding Self Harm - A Guide for Parents

Teenage and young adult years are often when self-harm behaviors develop. Mental health challenges, navigating emotions, and environment each contribute to such behavior. It can be disheartening and painful to find out that your child is inflicting harm upon themselves.

If you are concerned that your child is engaging in self-harm, there are a few things that you should understand that will guide you to take the proper steps towards helping your child.

What Is Self Harm?

Self-harm is the act of a person intentionally causing physical damage to their body. Self-harm is not an illness but a maladaptive coping mechanism for an individual with emotional distress. Mental disorders such as depression, body dysmorphia, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder can co-exist with self-harm.

During the adolescent years, many stressors can weigh on your child. Teens typically deal with stress from school, family issues, peer relationships, and hormonal changes. Upon graduation, teens come closer to the reality of having to figure out their next step after high school.

Why Do Teens Self-Harm?

There are many different reasons teens may harm themselves, and there is no discrimination across race, socioeconomic status, or culture. As a parent, you may ask yourself why teens want to harm themselves? Although every child has their reasons, here are a few of the most common:

  • They want to bring punishment to themselves
  • To show a sign of needing help
  • Bring a feeling of something other than numbness, even if it is a pain
  • Have control over one’s body
  • Release intense feeling

Risk factors that can serve as potential engagement in self-harm include:

  • Children abused or have intense trauma
  • Low-self esteem
  • Bullying
  • Mental health issues
  • Substance use

Self-harm is not always a sign that your teen intends to kill themselves. Non-suicidal self-injury is deliberately inflicting physical damage to one’s own body without the intention of suicide. It is important to note that although self-harm is not always a sign of wanting to commit suicide, those who do engage in self-harm are at a higher risk for suicide. For most individuals, it is a way to bring physical pain reflective of their emotional pain.

Warning Signs

People who self-injure are often discrete and have specific ways of hiding their scars or injuries. The most common areas of the body that people tend to self-harm are the arms, wrist, legs, and torso. Teens may wear specific clothing to hide scars, such as wearing long-sleeve shirts to cover their arms. Other warning signs include:

  • Burn or cut marks that are consistent on specific areas of the body
  • Bruises from head banging or self-hitting
  • Their peers or friends engage in self-harm behaviors
  • Finding sharp objects in their possession
  • Explosive anger that leads to them taking it out on themselves
  • Mood changes
  • Making excuses to explain visible injuries

Individuals may have a specific preference for how they prefer to self-injure. If you notice any unusual behaviors displayed by your teen that cause concern for self-harm, know that there are treatment options available.

Treatment Options

If you are worried or know that your child is self-harming, it is important to take the appropriate measures toward getting the right help for your child. Try not to be judgmental or overly critical of their behaviors. Self-harm is a sign that the child is in pain or emotionally stressed. Addressing the situation with empathy will help your child feel comfortable opening up to you. Some treatment options include:

  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is used to help individuals work through and verbalize their feelings and emotions. It can help identify what triggers them to self-harm and identify any underlying conditions that may influence their behavior. The therapist will also help by teaching healthy coping skills, developing self-esteem and problem-solving skills.
  • Intensive Treatment: If the self-injurious behaviors are more severe and appear to be frequent, your teen may require an intensive form of treatment. Short-term hospitalization or psychiatric care provides a safe and professional care setting to help monitor and treat your teen. If your child has an underlying mental health disorder, inpatient treatment will help find an appropriate medication.
  • Support Groups: Talking to others who share similar experiences offers your child a sense of connection and relatability. Support groups provide the opportunity to hear other techniques that people use, and it opens up the space to verbalize and communicate feelings to other people. Continuing to build strong support systems will reassure you and your child that they always have help in times of challenge.

Seeing your child bring harm to themselves can be a painful reality, and you shouldn’t have to face this challenging circumstance alone. At Clearfork Academy, our qualified staff offers a measured and empathetic approach to helping teens recover from substance abuse and mental health disorders. We accomplish this by offering individual therapy that allows your teen to identify the pain related to their substance use and impulse to use self-injurious behaviors. As we work with your teen to identify their feelings, we teach them healthy coping skills to use in times of distress. Remember, teenagers experience stress unique to them, and such stress can weigh heavily on them and lead them to find unhealthy ways to cope. Please don’t wait until it’s too late to seek help for your child. To learn more about our programs and how they can benefit your teen’s recovery process, Call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604.  

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

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

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

When It All Began: The Colonial Era – 1900s

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

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

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

Evolving Treatment: The 20th Century

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

Treatment methods included:

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

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

Addressing How Modern Mental Health Treatment Came to Be

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

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

Combination of Traditional and Holistic Approaches

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

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

Advances in Teen Treatment for Substance Use

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

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

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

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

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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 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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Clearfork Treatment Modalities

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

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


Narrative Therapy

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

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


Family Systems

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


DBT & CBT Therapy

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

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



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


Aftercare & Solution Focus

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

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


Play Therapy

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


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

If you have a child struggling with substance abuse or mental health, we are here to help! Reach out to us. Please call us at 888-966-8604, email us at, 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 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, 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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Mental Health Treatment at Clearfork Academy

Clearfork Academy is known for helping teens recover from substance abuse and addiction, but did you know we also offer mental health treatment? We are fully equipped with psychiatrists,  psychiatric nurse practitioners, and master’s level therapists to treat a wide variety of mental health concerns. We treat the following:


*It’s important to note, we do not treat diagnoses such as major schizophrenia, psychosis or high level autism. 


Often substance abuse and mental health issues go hand in hand. We think it’s important to be able to treat the root of the issue, not just the symptoms. We are able to treat teens whose primary concern is mental illness and teens whose primary concern is substance abuse/addiction.



“Treating mental health concerns makes a huge impact. By treating mental illness soley and purely, we are able to help so many kids in a longer term way. Other treatment facilities offer 30 days of treatment at best to these teens, but we have a 90 day program.” - Austin Davis, LPC-S, Founder/CEO
Click here to hear more from Austin about Mental Health Treatment at Clearfork Academy. 


We use a variety of treatment modalities for mental health including DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy), EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). We use a family systems approach with these clients as well, and stay solution-focused.


Our goal for teens struggling with mental illness is to help them find continued mental health and relapse prevention support. We want these teens to have sustained recovery and maintain a healthy headspace and thinking patterns to ultimately avoid things that would trigger relapse


In addition, we offer intensive outpatient services as an after care option for our mental health clients. We encourage each of these teens to continue individual therapy and to maintain social engagement at school and elsewhere after they complete our program.


We have helped hundreds of teens find a new path and a new legacy. If you are looking for a place that offers residential treatment for teens with mental health concerns, you’ve found the best! Our clinical admission specialists are available 24/7 to provide guidance on your unique situation. Please call us at 888-966-8604, email us at 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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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 or visit our website at!