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What is “Tapping” and Does It Work?

What Is "Tapping" and Does It Work?

Emotional freedom technique (EFT), or tapping, is a recently popularized evidence-based intervention for substance use disorder (SUD) and mental health treatment. The basic premise of tapping is that by repeatedly tapping on specific points on the body — meridian points — while focusing on a particular problem or issue, it’s possible to retrain the brain to no longer be troubled by that issue. 

The Research

A growing body of research has shown that tapping can effectively treat various psychological problems, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Dr. David Feinstein, a clinical psychologist who uses EFT in his practice, adds that EFT is “Unusually precise, rapid, and direct for shifting the neurological underpinnings of a range of psychological problems.” Additionally, he says, “The number of therapists using EFT has been rapidly increasing over the past decade, and now peer-reviewed research is showing that their instincts have been right. As a result, surprisingly rapid outcomes with various disorders are being documented.”

Given its potential to help people overcome difficult emotions and situations, it’s not surprising that tapping is also being used to help people recover from SUD. While more research is needed to determine the long-term effectiveness of tapping for this purpose, initial studies have been promising in reducing cravings.

Meridian Points

Meridians are channels in the body through which qi, or vital energy, flows. There are 12 main meridians, each associated with a different organ system, which are traditionally targeted in acupuncture and other forms of traditional Chinese medicine. These 12 points are located along 12 main energy channels, or meridians, which run from head to toe on either side of the body. 

The 12 main meridian points are: 

  1. Lung
  2. Large Intestine
  3. Stomach
  4. Spleen 
  5. Heart
  6. Small Intestine
  7. Bladder
  8. Kidney
  9. Pericardium
  10. Triple warmer
  11. Gallbladder
  12. Liver

Each of these organs is associated with a specific meridian point and is thought to correspond to different areas of the body and various aspects of physical and mental health. In Chinese medicine theory, imbalance in any of these 12 areas can lead to disease or illness. By stimulating these points through acupuncture or other means, practitioners can help restore balance and promote health and well-being.

EFT is a newer technique based on the same principle. EFT uses tapping on specific points to balance the body’s energy and help release emotions that may be causing distress.

Regulating the Nervous System

The nervous system is responsible for regulating many of the body’s functions, including mood, heart rate, and blood pressure. It also plays a role in the brain’s reward system, which is why substances like drugs and alcohol can be so addictive.

For teens suffering from SUD, learning to regulate the nervous system is integral to treatment and recovery. This can involve therapy methods like yoga and meditation, which can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation. It can also involve medication, which can help to stabilize mood and minimize cravings.

EFT is a simple but effective self-help tool that helps regulate the nervous system. Tapping can be an extremely useful tool for teens struggling with SUD to promote healing. By gently tapping on specific points on the body, teens can help to calm their nerves and reduce stress levels. Tapping can also help to release negative emotions and ease physical pain. It can be a powerful tool for helping teens maintain sobriety when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

Tapping for Stress

It’s no secret that stress can have a negative impact on our health. Chronic stress has been linked to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, anxiety, and depression. New research is now shedding light on the role that tapping may play in reducing stress.

According to research, the act of tapping releases neurochemicals that help to reduce stress. The study also found that tapping can help to lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone the body produces in response to stressful stimuli. When cortisol levels are too high, it can lead to anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health problems. 

EFT helps the body relax by releasing endorphins, hormones that increase feelings of happiness and well-being. Furthermore, tapping releases oxytocin, a hormone that promotes bonding and trust. Tapping is a drug-free, alternative treatment that helps teens stay sober by reducing stress and balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. When tapping, pressure is applied to specific points on the body while focusing on a particular negative emotion. 

This focus, combined with gentle pressure, sends a signal to the brain to shift gears from the “fight or flight” mode associated with stress in the sympathetic nervous system to the “rest and digest” mode in the parasympathetic nervous system. 

The release of these neurochemicals through tapping helps to reduce stress and promote relaxation. As a result, tapping can help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD, as well as cravings for drugs or alcohol. It can also improve sleep quality and overall physical health. For these reasons, tapping can be an effective tool for helping teens stay sober and lead healthy lives. 

Here is a diagram of tapping points in the body.

Emotional freedom technique or tapping, is a type of evidence-based intervention that has shown promising results for treating teen substance use disorder. Tapping is a method of stimulating specific points on the body called meridians by tapping on them with the fingers. This method is thought to help improve emotional regulation, decrease cravings, and lead to a healthier lifestyle. Tapping can be effective in reducing both the frequency and intensity of cravings, as well as improving other outcomes such as abstinence rates and quality of life. Tapping is an easily accessible tool to help adolescents manage urges to use and regulate overactive nervous systems. The technique is easy to learn and practice at home. For more information on how tapping can help your teen create and maintain a life in recovery from SUD, call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604.

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Should You Drug Test Your Sober Teen?

Should You Drug Test Your Sober Teen?

Whether or not to drug test your sober teen is a complicated question. At its root is your concern for your child’s health and safety. However, careful consideration needs to be given to family circumstances and how mandatory testing will affect your family dynamic, specifically your relationship with your teen. 

Teenagers Lie

As any parent knows, teenagers can be challenging to read. They are sometimes moody and withdrawn, making it hard to know what they think or feel. Unfortunately, this can also make it easy for teens to lie to their parents.

 Studies have found that at least 98% of teenagers lie to their parents. Most often, it is because they think they might get in trouble, that their parents will be disappointed, or that they will be punished and banned from doing something they want to do. According to the same research, the average teen will lie about alcohol and drug use.

Talk Before You Test

If you suspect your teen may be lying to you about drug use, there are a few things you can do. First, try to have an open and honest conversation with your teen about your concerns. The best way to prevent your teen from lying is by building trust and communication within your relationship. This takes time, intention, curiosity, and patience.

Of course, there are times when you need the truth immediately and can’t wait for this relationship to develop, such as when you fear your child may be at risk of harming themselves or someone else. Maybe your teen is currently seeking treatment, and the treatment center needs assurance that their sobriety will remain intact throughout these proceedings. 

The Pros of Drug Testing

Parents in favor of drug testing their teens are proactive and want to stay on top of their child’s drug use. 

As a parent, it can be difficult to know how to approach the topic of drugs with your teen. You want to support them and help them make healthy choices, but you also don’t want to invade their privacy or cause them to rebel. One way to strike a balance is to require their sobriety while living in your home. You can support this boundary with random drug tests.

Additionally, drug testing your teen sends a clear message that you are serious about keeping drugs out of your home. In addition, requiring them to be drug-free as a condition of living at home rather than “because drugs are bad” neutralizes the behavior and minimizes shame. 

 Of course, drug testing is not a perfect solution, and there may be times when your teen still chooses to experiment with drugs. However, it can be a helpful tool in the fight against substance use or relapse.

The Cons of Drug Testing

The American Academy of Pediatrics is a leading authority on child and adolescent health. They advise against drug testing teenagers for several different reasons, including:

  • Drug testing can be invasive. It can also be a traumatizing experience for teens and cause unnecessary tension in the home. 
  • Drug testing can create distrust. Such an environment of distrust and suspicion between parents and children can undermine the parent-child relationship and the stability of the home. 
  • Drug tests are not always accurate. Most drug use is sporadic, and teenagers often experiment with drugs. There are also ways to subvert most of the over-the-counter tests, which is why it is usually best to leave the testing to professionals.

If you are looking for a way to prevent drug use or ensure your teen is not using drugs, you should consider alternatives to drug testing. Drug tests can erode trust between you and your teen and make your teen more likely to hide things or lie to you. 

Reach Out For Help

As parents, you must be aware of what is going on in your children’s lives. If you suspect that your teen has turned to drug use, you need to reach out for professional help. This can be a difficult step, but ultimately it will benefit both your child and your family. 

A trained counselor or therapist will be able to provide you with the guidance and resources necessary. Professional settings also provide safe environments for parents and teens to communicate. In addition, by reaching out for help early on, you may be able to prevent more serious problems down the road. 

If you think your teen may have started using drugs again, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional support today. Your child’s health and happiness depend on it. So does your own.

If you suspect your sober teen has turned to using drugs, you may be tempted to drug test them. However, some professionals do not recommend drug testing your teen as it erodes trust and creates barriers and suspicion. At Clearfork Academy, we believe healthy communication is the best way to strengthen trust between you and your teen. Our group therapy and family programs work to accomplish this. You and your teen will learn about substance use and addiction. You will also learn how to work together to manage substance use and stress in your lives. Ultimately, by talking to your teen, you can open the lines of communication,  build trust and understanding, and avoid creating barriers. For more information on drug testing and how to manage suspicions that your teen has returned to using, call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604.

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The Link Between Teen Body Image and Substance Use

The Link Between Teen Body Image and Substance Use

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

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

Body Image and Mental Health

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

  • What someone wears
  • How they look
  • Body image

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

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

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

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

Recognizing Symptoms of BDD

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

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

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

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

Body Image and Substance Use

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

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

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

Seeking Treatment

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

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

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

How Clearfork Academy Can Help

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

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