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Who Do You Want to Be?

Who Do You Want to Be?

In treatment and recovery, opportunities abound for individuals to explore the self. For adolescents, this time can be one of great growth and self-exploration. 

It’s a time to discover who they are and what they love. In treatment, teens have the opportunity to learn about themselves and their strengths and weaknesses. 

They can explore their values and beliefs and better understand what makes them tick. In addition to this, treatment allows teens to develop healthy coping skills and a support network of peers and adults. 

This is a time to identify their passions and build upon their strengths. It’s an opportunity to learn who they are apart from their addiction and develop a healthy sense of self. With the proper support, teens can emerge from treatment and recovery stronger than ever.

The Role of Identity

Identity plays a crucial role in treating and recovering teenagers with substance use disorder (SUD). Unfortunately, for many teens, their identity is closely intertwined with their use of substances. 

Teens may see themselves as “party animals” or “potheads” and view drug use as an essential part of their identity. This can make it very difficult for them to give up drugs, even if they want to. 

Therefore, treatment is essential to help teens explore their sense of self and develop a new, drug-free identity. This can involve helping them find new hobbies and activities they enjoy, discovering hidden talents and strengths, and connecting with others who have shared similar experiences. 

By developing a strong and healthy sense of self, teens can begin to build the foundation for a successful recovery.

The Importance of Self-Acceptance

Self-acceptance is integral to any treatment or recovery plan for SUD. For teenagers, this is especially crucial, as they are still developing their sense of self. 

In the midst of addiction, teens can lose sight of who they are and what they want in life. As a result, they may feel ashamed of their addiction and believe they are worthless. Unfortunately, these negative beliefs can become self-fulfilling prophecies, leading to further drug use and eventually relapse

It’s essential that teens learn to accept themselves, flaws and all. Only then can they begin to build a foundation for lasting recovery. By working on self-acceptance, teens can see themselves in a more positive light and develop the hope and motivation needed to overcome their addiction.

How Hobbies Help

In treatment and recovery, hobbies can play an important role in helping teens establish a healthy sense of identity. For many teens, their hobbies can provide the following benefits:

  • Hobbies can be a source of pride and accomplishment for teens. When teens invest their time and energy into something they’re passionate about, they can’t help but feel proud of their achievements. This sense of pride can be especially beneficial during those teenage years when self-esteem is often low. In addition, having a hobby gives teens a sense of purpose and helps them feel more connected to their interests and passions.
  •  They provide a way to connect with others who share the same interests. Hobbies can also be used as a way to connect with others who have common interests. Hobbies can help build self-esteem, promote teamwork, and cultivate leadership skills. Hobbies can also help teens stay active and engaged in their recovery process. Hobbies can provide an essential source of support and connection for teens in recovery and help them tap into their creative side. 
  •  Hobbies provide an outlet for self-expression. Hobbies also teach teens how to manage their time, work hard, and set and achieve goals. 
  • Hobbies help teens stay active and can prevent obesity. Hobbies can also help boost self-confidence and self-esteem. In addition, hobbies can be an excellent way for teens to relax and unwind after a long day at school or a busy week of extracurricular activities. Engaging in enjoyable activities can also help teens learn more about themselves and what they are passionate about. 

Hobbies can help teens build skills that will benefit them in their future careers. Whether teens are interested in sports, music, art, dance, or any other activity, it can provide a valuable avenue for personal growth.

They can also help teens deal with stress and anxiety and provide a much-needed outlet for positive energy. In short, hobbies can be the key to teen self-acceptance and identity formation. 

Recovery can be a time of great discovery for teens and their families. Encourage your teen to try new things and have an open mind to change and challenges.

Remember, you are not alone. If you’re struggling with your teen and their substance use, do not hesitate to seek help

Treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) is time-limited, but recovery from addiction is a process that can last a lifetime. For teens, this process can be particularly transformative, as they are at a developmental stage where they are exploring their identity and discovering who they are. Recovery gives teens an opportunity to do this exploration in a safe and supported environment. It’s a time for them to experiment with different aspects of their personality and figure out what kind of person they want to be. Recovery is not only about giving up drugs or alcohol; it’s also about learning how to live a healthy and fulfilling life. For many teens, recovery is the first step on the path to a bright and successful future. For more information on effective treatment and recovery for teens, call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604.

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Why Forgiveness Is Necessary for Sobriety?

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

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

When Anger Is Left Unresolved

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

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

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

Forgive Your Child

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

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

The Importance of Self-Forgiveness

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

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

How Can We Seek Forgiveness From Each Other?

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

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

What Alcoholics Anonymous Says About Forgiveness

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

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

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

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

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

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What Parents Should Understand About Teen Substance Use

What Parents Should Understand About Teen Substance Use

As a parent or guardian of a child, one of your top priorities is to keep your child healthy and safe. Whether you are raising a biological child or acting as a guardian for another family member, you have likely gone to great lengths to provide a nurturing environment where your child can grow and thrive. However, despite all your hard work, it can still be shocking when your child succumbs to problematic substance use.

To better understand what parents need to know about teen substance use, it is important to consider the unique challenges and risk factors associated with adolescent drug and alcohol abuse. 

Substance Use vs. Substance Abuse

There is a difference between substance use and substance abuse.

  • Substance use: This includes using a substance for the purpose it was intended for. For example, drinking alcohol at a party or smoking cigarettes when out with friends. 
  • Substance abuse: This means using a substance in a way that leads to problems. This might include drinking alcohol every day or taking larger amounts of a drug than prescribed. 

What Is Addiction?

Addiction is defined as being unable to stop using a substance even though it is causing problems. This can include feeling the need to use a substance every day, missing work or school due to drug use, or continuing to use despite legal or financial consequences. 

Medical research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse confirms that addiction arises from the brain’s response to intoxicating drugs. Addiction is viewed as a chronic condition comparable to diabetes or hypertension.

Genetic or Environmental? 

Addiction ultimately occurs due to a complex interplay between genetic, environmental, and social factors. Some examples include: 

  • A child’s home environment 
  • Peer group
  • Stress at school or in social settings
  • Psychological health

Addiction is a disease that requires treatment, and recovery is possible. Parents need to be supportive, understand their teen’s condition, and know when to seek professional help.

Teens and Addiction

Adolescents often begin using substances at a younger age than previous generations, putting them at greater risk for adverse effects on brain development and function. Moreover, many teens do not believe that substance abuse poses any real danger, making them more likely to experiment with drugs or alcohol without thinking about the potential consequences.

Parents need to understand what factors can put their children at risk for developing an addiction and what they can do to help prevent such issues from occurring. This includes knowing what substances are most commonly abused by teens today and what common risk factors often lead young people toward substance abuse. 

Warning Signs

There are many challenges associated with addiction, and one of the most difficult is that it can progress from early warning signs to full-blown substance abuse if left unchecked. However, knowing what to look for can make early intervention possible, dramatically improving the chances of successful treatment. 

When a child or teenager begins exhibiting warning signs of substance abuse, it is crucial for parents and other family members to take note. Mood changes, academic problems, and changing social interactions are all indicators of something going on. Other warning signs include:

  • Become irritable, defensive, or quick-tempered
  • Struggling with grades at school  
  • Getting into trouble with teachers or administrators 
  • Gradually distancing themselves from family and friends
  • Opting to spend time with new friends 
  • Substances such as drugs or alcohol may appear in the youth’s room or personal belongings

These warning signs indicate that parents should take immediate action to address the situation and get their children the help they need. Early detection is key to preventing long-term physical or mental damage from substance abuse. 

Talk to Your Teen

As a parent, your natural response to discovering that your child has become addicted to drugs or alcohol is often shame, disappointment, and frustration. Of course, these emotions are expected; however, it’s critical to temper these feelings when dealing directly with your teen. Throwing around accusations and blame will only push your teen further away. However, overreacting or lashing out can prevent teens from opening up about their experiences. 

Getting teens to talk is essential in determining if their drug use was a one-time thing or if it’s becoming a problem. Parents should explain how they care about their child and their future. Teens who feel supported and loved are more likely to confide in their parents and seek help if they’re struggling. It’s also vital for parents to listen without judgment and refrain from lecturing. This way, teens will be more likely to open up and share what’s going on. 

Many teens who struggle with addiction also have a co-occurring mental health disorder, such as anxiety or depression. The most effective treatment integrates care for both issues. Clearfork Academy offers a continuum of support for your teen’s substance use and mental health concerns. Our intensive outpatient and residential/inpatient treatment centers are staffed with licensed professionals trained to address co-occurring substance use and mental health treatment concurrently. It’s essential to recognize that one disorder does not cause the other; they occur at the same time, and both require clinical intervention. As a parent, it’s important to know the warning signs of substance abuse and to talk to your teen early and often. Help is available, and you are not alone. If you know a teen struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues, don’t wait. Early intervention saves lives. Reach out to Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604

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What Are Some Helpful Adolescent Substance Use Statistics?

What Are Some Helpful Adolescent Substance Use Statistics?

High school is a critical time for teenagers because high school is where many teens encounter drugs and alcohol for the first time. The latest statistics on substance use among teens offer parents vital information to protect and help their children regarding this danger. 

Effects and Realities of Drug Use in High School

Drug use during high school often leads to a  higher risk of social problems, criminal activity, mental health problems,  physical health issues, and academic difficulties. 

Despite the risks, many adolescents find themselves susceptible to drug use. 

  • Nearly 20 percent of teens encounter drug use on school premises.
  • To deal with academic pressures, research shows about 35.3% of all students use Adderall, Ritalin, or dextroamphetamine without a prescription to aid their studying habits. 
  • 24.6% of 14- to 15-year-olds report engaging in underage drinking due to peer pressure, stress, and newly found independence.
  • Despite the high stakes, teenage brains tend to disregard the problematic aspects of their behavior in favor of the rewards. So the so-called short-term pleasures of substance are very tempting to an adolescent mind. 

Learn the Risks and Be Proactive

More than ever, parental guidance plays a vital role in helping adolescents make sound decisions regarding substance use. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 2014 National Survey, teens who consistently learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use drugs than those who don’t. This occurs because these children receive more comprehensive and accurate information on drug dangers and addiction.

Why does this matter? Approximately 90% of people with SUD start using substances in their early teen years. Delaying drug use education leaves teens more prone to substance use. Subsequently, we recommend parents intervene early in their child’s lives. 

A recent and ongoing study compared two control groups of parents. Parents who provided early intervention and solid parent-child management practices showed delayed initiation of substance use at the 6-year follow-up, as opposed to other parents who chose otherwise. 

Popular Substances Teens Use

It is alarming that nearly 25 percent of high school seniors reported using at least one illicit drug during the past 30 days. Most common drugs include: 

  • Amphetamines
  • Cough medicine
  • Hallucinogens
  • Ecstasy (MDMA)
  • LSD
  • Cocaine
  • Inhalants
  • Salvia

Adolescent Alcohol Consumption Statistics

Alcohol continues to stand as the most used substance by high schoolers. Though fewer teens choose not to drink, too many adolescents frequently indulge in binge drinking episodes. In the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, high school students reported their alcohol consumption during a 30-day window. Reports found: 

  • 29% consumed alcohol.
  • 14% binge drank.
  • Five percent chose to drive after drinking alcohol.
  • 17% decided to ride with a teen driver who just consumed alcohol.

Furthermore, the dangers of underage drinking reach far. Reports show:

  • Nearly 5,000 youth die every year from accidents related to underage drinking.
  • Disruption of normal mental, sexual,  or emotional development.
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Problems with their memory and decision-making.
  • Misuse of other substances or vulnerable to developing alcoholism later in life. 

The early introduction of drinking is often associated with alcohol use disorder in later life. As a result, people who drink before they are ready may find that their alcohol dependence becomes stronger and longer-lasting than those who don’t start drinking until later in life.

Prescription Drug Statistics

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that prescription drugs are the third most commonly abused substance among Americans age 14 and older. According to a 2021 report:

  •  Four percent of high school seniors shared that they misused a prescription drug.
  •  Nearly two percent of high school seniors shared that they misused sedatives.
  •  Nearly 3.0% of 8th graders, three percent of 10th graders, and 2.3% of 12th graders shared that they misused amphetamines.

Adolescent Marijuana Consumption Statistics

Marijuana use continues to gain traction. Marijuana is the most commonly used drug among teenagers in the United States. According to the CDC, nearly 40% of high school students reported using or trying marijuana during their lifetime. The same study shows that about 2 out of 10 high school students use marijuana. 

Yet, this substance poses so many risks for adolescents. Another recent study revealed the harmful effects of marijuana on the adolescent brain. Continued marijuana use can lead to risky behaviors, poor academic performance,  aggression, and delinquency. For instance, usage rates for marijuana heavily influence high schoolers’ academic achievement. According to a CDC report, about 10% of students earning higher grade point averages report using marijuana. This is in contrast with 48% of students who use marijuana earning a failing grade point average.

Drug abuse is a disease that starts with its root: addiction. Parents need to know about the different types of drugs, their dangers, and how to help their children avoid becoming addicted. In addition, parents need to learn how to recognize the signs of drug abuse in their children and take action if they see them using drugs. When parents take affirmative steps such as talking about addiction with their children and intervening if necessary, they carve a better future for their children. Clearfork Academy is designed specifically for teenagers struggling with a SUD, and our experienced staff will work tirelessly with you to get your child the help they need. We tailor treatment plans to meet your child’s needs. We provide mental health care, educational counseling, adventure therapy, and more to achieve this goal. To learn more about our treatment programs and their related resources, contact us today by calling (888) 966-8604.

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How Can Family Therapy Help During Substance Use Disorder Treatment?

family forming round by shoes

Substance use disorders (SUD) affect more than the individual with the disorder; they affect the whole family. SUDs can interfere with the family dynamic and create complications when it comes to communication. Therefore, when families cannot communicate healthily, family therapy can help. Family therapy works to alleviate dysfunction, encourage open communication, and foster empathy and understanding. Further, this model of therapy also helps families navigate the underlying problems that contribute to a SUD. At Clearfork, we understand that addiction can affect the whole family and offer support. Let’s start by taking a look at the benefits of attending family therapy.

Identify and Alleviate Dysfunction

While blaming the SUD as the culprit behind family dysfunction might be easier, it is not the healthiest way to address the issue. Often, there are underlying causes that contribute to dysfunction and stress within the family. Further, each family member suffers uniquely from a variety of issues. A substance use disorder is just one symptom of why some families have difficulty handling challenges together.

Understand that no child wants to have an addiction issue, just as no parent wants their child to struggle with addiction. However, unresolved issues often surface as addiction. With this in mind, family therapy can be incredibly helpful in identifying the root causes that drive addiction and therefore help educate and support all family members to improve the way they handle challenges.

Encourage Open Communication

When identifying the root of a teen’s addiction, open communication is crucial. The security of family therapy provides an open and safe forum for family members to communicate their issues in a healthier way. These issues are relative to SUDs but might be related to other family issues, which fostered the development of behavioral health issues. Remember, the development of behavioral health issues is nobody’s fault. Rather their development is the result of trying to cope with issues not well communicated previously.

Foster Empathy and Understanding

One of the effects of SUDs is not understanding the emotions of others in the family. Treatment involves understanding emotions and being able to empathize with and understand the emotions of others. Family therapy is beneficial as it promotes the forum for such openness and understanding.

Additionally, family therapy allows each family member to express their emotions in a constructive instead of confrontational way. It will enable the family to work on understanding each others’ points of view. This open-mindedness to the emotions of others will continue to support feelings of empathy and understanding between family members creating a stronger bond and a greater willingness to focus on solving the bigger problems.

Eliminates Isolation

Many teens believe that their emotions and experiences do not matter. However, this is not true, nor is this concept encouraged by parents. Still, many teens often feel isolated and therefore risk developing negative thoughts. If teenagers turn to isolation to escape their stress and anxiety, their negative thoughts could turn into negative behaviors. Soon, teens might develop the belief that turning to alcohol or other substances is the only solution to help them manage their problems and feelings of isolation. Understand, substance use is never a solution. Substances will only perpetuate feelings of stress, frustration, anxiety, and depression.

It is important to help teens express and proactively address their emotions. It is also important to address how the parent responds to their emotions. Sometimes a negative response can create more isolation between parents and teenagers. Therefore, it is essential to develop the necessary skills to navigate these challenges. Family therapy is very effective at helping guide parents and teens to understand the feelings of everyone in the family. Family therapy also helps teens to realize they are not alone and do not have to struggle alone.

Seek Help

Substance use disorder among teenagers is a growing problem in the United States. This behavioral health problem affects both young and old. However, effective treatment exists to manage SUDs successfully. It just requires the willingness to seek help. Further, relapse does not have to happen, and this is where families can help. Family therapy ensures solid quality communication between family members and promotes healing. Substance use disorder is often just a symptom of another problem being ignored or avoided.

Family therapy brings those problems out into the open and addresses them in a healthier way. No family member needs to feel alone in this battle. It is essential for parents to talk to their teens about getting help for substance use disorder. At Clearfork Academy, we offer family therapy to support parents and teens that struggle with SUDs.

Every family is unique in its struggle with substance use disorder; however, your family does not have to struggle alone. Family therapy is essential to helping you and your family recover from the challenges of a substance use disorder. At Clearfork Academy, we provide family systems therapy, which has been studied and shown to be effective in helping families recover from the trauma of substance use disorder. There is a way to create a new legacy for your family. Reach out to Clearfork Academy and learn how we can help you and your teen recover from the effects of alcohol or other substance use disorders. Remember, you are not alone. There is help available. At Clearfork Academy, we offer assistance through every step of the recovery process, including detox and aftercare. To learn how we can help you and your family develop healthier communication, call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604