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Why Are Teens So Susceptible to Substance Abuse?

Why Are Teens So Susceptible to Substance Abuse?

While teens and adults can both develop an addiction to alcohol and other drugs, teens are uniquely susceptible as their brains are underdeveloped. The human brain is not considered fully developed until an individual reaches their mid-twenties. More specifically, the frontal lobe is a brain area that, when fully developed, is responsible for the ability to make positive decisions and appropriate judgment. As this brain area and many others are not appropriately matured, teens are more likely to give in to peer pressure or neglect to see the long-term consequences of engaging in risky behavior. 

Let’s explore other various causes of teens’ susceptibility to substance use and addiction.

Why Are Teens More Likely to Use Drugs Than Adults?

The brain plays an active role in developing addiction, independent of the type of drug being used. With time, drugs and alcohol can change the brain’s chemistry. Since teen brains are still forming, frequent and repeated substance use can reduce brain functioning and impact cognitive abilities. This increases the likelihood that teens will act on impulse or emotion rather than rational decision-making.

How Do Drugs Change Teenagers’ Brains?

Adults and teens alike can experience changes in brain chemistry from drug abuse. However, teenage brains are affected differently as the effects of substance use alter the brain much more quickly as their brains are still developing. During the teen years, the brain develops by fostering self-control, decision-making skills, and overall maturity. Drug use essentially stunts this growth. When that happens, teens are more likely to engage in risky, impulsive behaviors that provide immediate gratification. They lose the ability to predict the consequences of these actions, or how the decisions made in the present will affect a future that is years down the road. 

Drug use trains the brain to expect immediate gratification. Eventually, the brain develops a tolerance that will require heavier use to experience the same perceived reward. The compulsive nature of addiction is what enables teens to seek out substance use repeatedly once they are exposed to the effects of alcohol and other drugs.

Why Is It Harder for Teens to Resist Drug Use?

There are many reasons that teens may be initially drawn to drug use and find it difficult to resist over time. For some teens, there may be peer pressure to fit in with certain groups of friends. Others may be depressed and use substances to self-medicate their distress. Some may be born into families with addicted parents or other relatives, which increases their risk of substance use and addiction. Whatever the initial reasons, the undeveloped frontal lobe makes it easy to take unnecessary risks. The earlier an addiction begins, the harder it is to control it later in life.

Understanding the reasons behind teen drug use can help parents better protect their kids. When someone in the family is addicted to drugs, it affects everyone. Early intervention and treatment are critical to breaking the cycle of addiction and providing healing for everyone who is intimately connected to the teen’s family unit.

How Can Parents Prevent Teen Drug Abuse?

Many teens are told to “just say no” when asked to use drugs in their social circles. But studies have shown that this isn’t enough. In some cases, telling a teenager “no” can just increase the curiosity about a seemingly forbidden activity. It’s best to have an ongoing conversation with your teen about drugs. Be honest about the initial high and perceived feelings of reward that drugs create, but also be realistic about the damage that chasing those feelings inevitably causes. The goal is not to scare your teen into good behavior but to be real and honest about what drug abuse looks like. 

You may want to consider setting expectations with your teen for when they find themselves in potentially harmful situations. This may include permitting them to call you at any time to pick them up if they find themselves in an environment where people are using drugs or alcohol. The main goal of this situation would be to get out of harm’s way as quickly and efficiently as possible, without fear of punishment. At the right time, you may want to discuss what happened and let your teen know how proud you are of your teen for reaching out for help instead of making a dangerous choice. This will help your teen feel comfortable coming to you for help in the future.

How Can Parents Help Their Teen Overcome Drug Addiction?

Parents can help prevent teen drug abuse by implementing the communication strategies described above. Understanding the teenage brain is also helpful in understanding how addiction initially develops. Enforcing certain consequences — such as taking away their cell phone or not allowing them to hang out with certain friends — is a good start; however, it is not enough to stop an addiction. Fortunately, there are programs designed specifically for teens struggling with drug use that can help.

It can be scary to become aware that your child is using alcohol or other drugs or developing an addiction. Parents often think that good parenting will protect against substance use and addiction. However, plenty of research shows that teens that struggle with drug abuse are not “bad kids.” Often, they come from stable families with good values and healthy circumstances. While it is true that some teens in less-than-ideal environments may be more susceptible to drug use, the reality is that it can happen to anyone. If you suspect your teen has a drug problem, don’t wait to seek help. Clearfork Academy has a long track record of successfully helping teens fight addiction and live sober. With our residential treatment programs, detox programs, therapies, and other treatment options, we’ve created a healthy, safe environment for teens of all backgrounds to get clean. Call (888) 966-8604 to learn more.

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How to Engage Your Teen in Healthy Activities

How to Engage Your Teen in Healthy Activities

It can be challenging to get your teen to engage in healthy activities while recovering from substance use disorder (SUD). This is especially true if they have been using drugs or alcohol for a long time. The good news is that there are many things you can do to help encourage them to participate in healthy activities. 

Develop a Support System

Teens in recovery should surround themselves with positive influences and avoid any situations that might lead to relapse. This can help them lead happy and healthy lives with the proper support.

People recovering from substance abuse need a healthy support system for many reasons. Often, all of their friends are using drugs, and they will feel alone. Adolescents need people to talk to who understand what they’re going through. A support system can help them stay away from drugs and alcohol. Support systems help teens manage their emotions. These groups can assist with school work and finding a job.

Positive connections can be key to teens’ sobriety and recovery. When teens have positive associations with people, they’re less likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with stress or problems. Healthy relationships also provide support and guidance to keep teens on the right track. These connections can be with family members, friends, mentors, teachers, coaches, or other adults that teens trust and feel comfortable talking to. 

Positive connections can make a big difference in a teen’s life and help them avoid substance abuse.

What Do They Like?

The first step is finding out what interests your teen has outside of using substances. For example, there are many opportunities to participate in sports, arts, music, and other hobbies. If they’re interested in sports, many programs can help them stay active and involved. These programs can also help them healthily express themselves if they enjoy music or art.

If they have been sober for a while, they might be interested in joining a club or team. Many support groups can help teens in recovery stay connected to others who are going through similar experiences.

Goal Setting

It’s no secret that the teenage years can be tricky. Teenagers are often dealing with the challenges of school, friends, and family, as well as the hormonal changes that come with puberty. They also face the pressure to conform to peer groups and the ever-present temptation of drugs and alcohol. It’s no wonder that so many teens struggle with substance abuse disorder.

One of the most important things for teens in recovery to do is set goals. Why are goals so important? Goals give teens direction and purpose. Teens in recovery need to know what they’re working towards, and setting goals can help them stay focused on the future.

Secondly, goals inspire motivation. When teens see the progress they’re making towards their goals, it can provide the incentive they need to stay on track. Additionally, goals promote accountability. Checking in with a trusted adult or sponsor about goal progress can help teens stay accountable for their recovery.

Encourage Engagement

Encourage your teen to stay involved in treatment and therapy. Aftercare treatment can help teens in recovery learn how to cope with triggers, work through difficult emotions, and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Therapy can also provide a space for teens to process their experiences and work towards personal growth.

In addition to professional support, teens can join sober groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and SMART Recovery, which can help them stay present, connected, and active in their new sober life.

Communicate With Your Teen

Recovery from addiction is a long and challenging process, and it often requires the support of family and friends. One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to keep the lines of communication open with your teen. This can be a challenge, as teenagers often resist talking about their feelings. However, trying to encourage your teen to share their experiences with you is essential. 

Encouraging discourse will help them feel valued and supported and also allow you to understand better what they’re going through. In addition, communicating with your teen will allow you to provide them with guidance and advice. Ultimately, some of the success of your teen’s recovery depends on the strength of your relationship. It’s essential to make an effort to communicate with them openly and frequently.

Provide your teen with resources and information about substance abuse and recovery. Many books, websites, and other materials can help teens learn more about what they’re going through.

If you feel you are struggling to support your teen, you must reach out for professional help. There are many resources available to help families navigate the challenges of recovery. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you need it.

As any parent knows, teenagers can be notoriously hard to engage with. They are often moody, withdrawn, and resistant to authority figures. When it comes to recovery from substance use disorder, this can pose a serious challenge. If teens are not engaged in their own recovery, they’re less likely to succeed. One of the most important things you can do is simply be there for them. Show them that you support their decision to get clean and that you’ll be there to help them through the process. You can also try to find healthy activities that your teen enjoys and that will help them stay occupied during their free time. This could include things like sports, art, or volunteering. Supporting and encouraging them to find activities they enjoy gives them the best chance at success. For more information on engaging your teen, call Clearfork Academy at (888) 966-8604.

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A Fun Way to Connect With Your Teen

A Fun Way to Connect With Your Teen

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA), the definition of recovery is: “A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”

An exciting part of this process of change is self-discovery. For teens, recovery can be a period of tremendous growth and self-mastery. It’s important to remember to have fun, especially when building a life free from substances. One way teens can pursue self-exploration is through personality tests.

What Are Personality Tests?

Personality tests are a fun way for teens to learn more about themselves. They can help determine what kind of person they are, their values and beliefs, and how they relate to others.

Teens can take personality tests online or in magazines, and there are even personality tests designed specifically for teenagers. While some people may question the accuracy of personality tests, they can still be a helpful tool for self-discovery. A personality test can help teens understand themselves and their beliefs better, and it can be a fun way to learn more about who they are.

Below you will find descriptions and links to the well-known and most used personality tests for you and your teen to try.

Myers Briggs Type Indicator

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI),  developed by the late C. G. Jung, is a famous personality inventory that helps people understand their unique strengths and weaknesses based on four letters. The purpose of this test isn’t just to find out what type you are but also how it can benefit your life.

This personality test is based on the theory that much of our behavior is patterned, consistent and orderly due to fundamental differences in how individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment. The MBTI  is designed to help people identify their personality preferences to understand themselves and others better.

The MBTI has been used for over 50 years by businesses, organizations, and individuals worldwide. While some critics have argued that the MBTI is not scientific, it remains one of the most popular personality tests available today.

The Enneagram

The Enneagram personality test measures an individual’s preferences on nine different personality dimensions. The test assumes that everyone has a natural preference for one of these nine personality types.

The nine types are:

  1. The reformer
  2. The helper
  3. The achiever
  4. The individualist
  5. The investigator
  6. The loyalist
  7. The enthusiast
  8. The challenger
  9. The peacemaker

People can take the test to determine their type and then use this information to improve their relationships, work performance, and overall wellbeing. In recent years, the Enneagram has become increasingly popular as a tool for self-improvement and personal growth.

The test helps people identify their personality type and understand how it affects their thoughts, emotions, and behavior. The Enneagram personality test is a valuable tool for self-awareness and personal development. It can also help create more effective relationships with others.

Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership

John Maxwell is a well-known authority on leadership, and he has identified five levels of leadership development.

  • Position: The first level is position, which means someone has been given a leadership role by someone else.
  • Permission: The second level is permission when people follow a leader because they like and trust them.
  • Production: The third level is production, which happens when a leader begins to get results from their team.
  • People development: The fourth level is people development, when a leader starts to focus on developing others to become leaders in their own right.
  • Principled leadership: Finally, the fifth level is principled leadership, which is based on a set of values and ethical principles.

Maxwell’s five levels of leadership provide a useful framework for understanding and improving one’s leadership skills. By becoming aware of these levels, teens can take concrete steps to improve their performance and move to the next level.

The Importance of Fun in Recovery

Recovery from mental health and substance use disorder is a daunting and often overwhelming process for teens. It’s important to remember to schedule fun activities to look forward to. This enhances motivation for change and sustained sobriety.

Parents need to find ways to connect with their teens in recovery from substance use disorder. One of the most important things you can do is find fun activities together. When teens have fun, they are more likely to be open and honest. They are also more likely to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings.

There are many ways to have fun with your teen in recovery. You can go for walks together, play sports, or even spend time talking and laughing together. The important thing is that you take time to connect with your teen regularly. Doing so can help your teen feel loved, and supported and help you better understand what your teen is going through.

It’s no secret that connecting with your teen can be difficult, especially if they are in recovery from substance use disorder. However, it is important to find ways to connect with your teen that are both fun and supportive. One way to do this is to find activities that you both enjoy and can do together. This can be anything from going for walks or hikes to playing sports or video games. Whatever you do, the important thing is to spend time together and have fun. Doing things that you both enjoy will help to build a strong bond between you and your teen and will provide much-needed support during their recovery journey. Personality tests are an engaging way to learn more about your teen as they learn more about themselves. For more information, call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604.

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How Should I Confront My Teen Who May Be Using Drugs?

How Should I Confront My Teen Who May Be Using Drugs?

There is no easy way to talk to your teen about their substance use. Many teens who are confronted about drugs may immediately get defensive and deny any evidence that you may place in front of them. They may insist that you do not understand, that their actions are harmless, or that they aren’t in any danger. If you have a history of drug use, they may even accuse you of hypocrisy. Why can’t they use drugs if mom or dad once did?

Step by step, we’ll outline some helpful suggestions for bringing up this sensitive topic with your teenager.

#1. Gather Evidence

Your teen may want to know how you discovered their drug use. Otherwise, they may deny it altogether. Having evidence is key to showing your teen that you know the truth. While we understand the hesitation to search through your child’s belongings, we wouldn’t recommend doing so unless you had a strong suspicion that required it. Privacy is very important, especially for a developing teenager. However, your primary responsibility as a parent is to ensure the well-being of your teen. Invading your child’s privacy is a small price to pay to potentially save their life.

Some common hiding spots for drugs may include:

  • Desk or dresser drawers, especially in between layers of clothing or stuffed in socks
  • Small boxes or pockets, such as jewelry boxes, pencil cases, or backpack compartments
  • Under the bed
  • Hidden between book pages
  • Concealed containers such as makeup, soda cans, boxes of breath mints, etc.
  • Inside over-the-counter drug containers such as Tylenol, Advil, etc.

#2. Prepare for Backlash and Educate

If you experienced substance abuse as a parent, your teen might excuse their substance use as a result of your past substance use. It is important to be transparent with your child about the consequences of your past use. You could explain how you tried drinking, smoking, or using drugs to fit in or self-medicate, only to realize that those were harmful excuses. Highlight specific consequences that occurred from your substance use, whether it was getting kicked out of school, losing certain friendships or relationships, or developing medical problems. Maybe your life wasn’t drastically harmed by substance abuse, but you likely know someone else whose life was.

Avoid letting your experience be used as a justification for continued drug use. Be clear about the risks and the consequences that could have happened without early intervention from an adult in your life. Also, emphasize that the earlier your teen starts to use drugs, the harder it is to stop when they’re older. By that point, they could experience significant long-term physical and mental health consequences.

Explaining the Risks of Teen Substance Abuse

The physical and mental consequences of teen substance abuse are real and well-documented. This is especially true in teenagers and adolescents whose brains are still in process of developing. Teen substance use can:

  • Damage brain chemicals
  • Impair their memories, making it harder to do well on tests in school
  • Reduce their ability to feel pleasure
  • Harm the development of reasoning skills
  • Lead to a damaged liver, hormonal imbalances, sleep disorders, and other mental health disorders

In addition to damaged health, substance abuse can result in academic problems that may lead to suspension or expulsion, damaged friendships, and legal issues if they are caught using.

#3. Resolve to Remain Calm

As uncomfortable as this conversation may be for you, it’s going to be more uncomfortable for your teen. They may feel attacked, judged, or afraid of getting in trouble. However they respond, resolve by remaining calm, even if you’re angry or freaking out inside. This can make a big difference in how honest your teen will be with you. If they respond in anger or denial,  avoid taking the bait. Take a deep breath, pause if you need to, and don’t forget to emphasize how much you love your child. Your love is the primary reason for your concern.

#4. Establish Clear Rules and Enforce Consequences

After confronting your teen about substance use, you must enforce rules and establish consequences for breaking those rules. You may forbid your teen to go out with friends until their schoolwork is done or encourage them to avoid certain friends altogether because of their negative influence. Be clear and firm in your expectations. Similarly, be clear of consequences, such as loss of allowance, reduced television privileges, taking their smartphone, etc. Make sure your co-parent is also prepared to enforce these rules and consequences. If necessary, consider sending your teen to a treatment program.

Recognize Addiction in Your Family History

If substance abuse runs in your family, understand that this puts your teen at an increased risk of developing an addiction. This should give your teen a solid reason to avoid using drugs. If you have used drugs or experienced alcoholism, be honest with your teen about how you wish you had made different choices. Remind them that you don’t want them to repeat the same mistakes.

Confronting your teenager about suspected drug use is something that no parent wants to do. This is one of the hardest steps for your teen’s healing, as admitting there is a problem is a big deal. Fortunately, there are resources available to help you and your teen. Clearfork Academy offers a range of therapies, patient programs, detoxes, and even summer programs for teenagers and young adults. We have a long history of helping teenagers overcome drug abuse and achieve long-term sobriety. By helping to heal from the effects of substance abuse, we help your child heal physically, mentally, and emotionally. Your child will be in good hands with our licensed, experienced, and compassionate staff. We also offer family services for parents that need support resources. For questions about our programs and treatments, give us a call today at (888) 966-8604.

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5 Ways to Effectively Resolve Conflict With Your Teen

5 Ways to Effectively Resolve Conflict With Your Teen

Communicating effectively with your teen is daunting, and talking about their substance use can be especially difficult. They may not trust adults, and they may feel like they are being judged. It’s important to remember that communicating with your teen about their substance use is a dialogue, not a lecture. Try to keep the lines of communication open by being understanding and non-judgmental. 

If you can create an open and non-judgmental environment, you may be able to get them to open up to you. Remember that your goal is to understand their point of view and help them make informed choices. Below you will find five ways to open up the lines of communication with your child.

#1. Tend Your Own Garden

Communicating with your teen can be difficult, as they are going through many changes and emotions themselves. It’s essential to be aware of your feelings and triggers before communicating with your teen, as this will help the conversation be more effective. 

Too often, parents enter into conversations with their teens without first understanding their own emotions. They may react to what they say without thinking about it, or find themselves defensive when they bring up specific topics. 

In order to effectively communicate with teens, you must understand your own emotions and triggers. This can help you to have calm, productive conversations that lead to mutual understanding. By being aware of your feelings, you can avoid the pitfalls of communicating in a way that doesn’t work for either of you.

#2. Practice Active Listening

Teens are at an age where they are exploring their independence and trying to figure out who they are. As a result, they can be easily defensive and unwilling to listen to what you have to say. However, trying to communicate effectively with your teenager is still essential. One way to do this is by practicing active listening. This means that you focus on what they are saying and try to understand their perspective. However, it’s also important to let them do the talking. 

Teenagers need to feel like their voices are being heard. If you can provide a safe and supportive environment for communicating, it will go a long way in helping you relate to your teenager. Try to put yourself in their shoes and understand what they are going through, as this can help you to better communicate with them. If you can have an open and understanding conversation, your teen will more likely to feel comfortable communicating with you in return.

Always be respectful when communicating with your teen, as this will show that you value their thoughts and opinions. Remember, communication is key in any relationship, so keep the lines of communication open with your teen.

#3. Validate Their Feelings

Because teens are at an age where they are trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in the world, they can be moody and unpredictable. It’s important to remember that your teenager is going through many physical and emotional changes. 

In order to effectively communicate with your teenager, it’s essential to validate their feelings. Tell them that you understand what they are going through and that you’re here for them. When you take the time to listen to your teenager and show that you understand their feelings, you will be better able to connect with them and establish trust.

#4. Resist the Urge to Lecture

One of the most important things to remember when communicating with your teenager is to resist the urge to lecture them. It can be tempting to try and solve all of their problems by offering advice and sharing your wisdom, but this will usually only result in your teen becoming defensive and shutting down. 

Instead, try to focus on listening more than you speak. Show that you are interested in hearing their perspective, and be open to compromise. Communicating this way can build a stronger relationship with your teen and help you better understand what they are going through.

#5. Spend Time Together

Teens may be moody, withdrawn, and uninterested in what you say. However, it’s helpful to remember that communication is a two-way street. In order to effectively communicate with your teenager, it is vital to spend time together. This doesn’t mean controlling them or prying into their personal lives. Instead, try to find common interests that you can share together. 

It could be something as simple as watching a movie or walking. The key is to create an environment where your teenager feels comfortable talking to you. When they know that you are interested in what they have to say, they will be more likely to open up and share their thoughts and feelings with you.

As any parent of a teenager knows, communicating with them can be a challenge. Teens often seem sullen and unwilling to talk, and it can be difficult to get them to open up about what’s going on in their lives. Talking with teens about substance abuse can be especially daunting. However, effective communication is essential for maintaining a healthy relationship with your teenager. One way to facilitate communication is to practice active listening. This means giving your full attention to the speaker, making eye contact, and resisting the urge to interrupt or offer advice. Instead, simply let your teenager talk and try to understand their perspective. By communicating respectfully with your teenager, you can create a stronger bond with them and better navigate the challenges of adolescence. For more information about conflict resolution with teens, call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604.

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What Are Some Common Setbacks to Recovery?

What Are Some Common Setbacks to Recovery?

The recovery journey from drug addiction can be fraught with difficulties. While learning to become sober from alcohol and other drugs is essential, it is not the only vital part of recovery. Because addiction involves a complex web of emotions, drug cravings, and other mental health issues, the struggle to get and stay sober involves more than simply saying “no.” It requires a complete lifestyle change, which involves creating more positive mindsets and developing healthier habits. 

Teenagers and adults alike face many of the same setbacks during their journey to recovery. Because no one is perfect, it’s completely normal to make one big step forward and several little steps backward before achieving long-term sobriety. Your teen may feel discouraged if they are not able to avoid substance use temptations during their first few weeks of recovery. Remind them that it will take time, but as long as they are committed to recovery, they must continue to make the courageous decision to try again.

It is essential to acknowledge some common setbacks that your teen may experience during their recovery journey. 

Navigating Challenging Emotions

Alcohol and drugs can be used as coping mechanisms for many people. Without those methods of “escape,” your teen may experience difficulty with facing painful emotions they had previously tried to avoid. A roller coaster of emotions is normal and expected of the teenage experience, but substance use can exacerbate them more than usual. If your teen is part of a recovery program or seeing a therapist, they must learn healthy coping mechanisms for navigating stress, so they do not relapse back to substance use.

Managing Substance Use Cravings

When healing from addiction, it’s normal to have cravings for drugs or alcohol — even when your teen knows that these substances are harmful. Fortunately, there are many different approaches your teen can take to manage these cravings. These approaches may involve mindfulness practices, such as meditation, or behavioral strategies, such as taking a walk or engaging in other activities to act as a distraction. Treatment will also provide valuable ways to manage cravings.

Navigating Relationship Problems

If your teen was introduced or exposed to substance use through their peer group, a necessary part of their recovery will involve cutting off contact with them. This could be temporary or permanent, depending on the situation. Regardless, this separation will undoubtedly cause your teen to feel isolated and lonely. They may even be angry at you for initiating the separation in the first place. Your teen may also need to repair relationships if they had caused anyone hurt while they actively used substances. 

Unfortunately, it may not be possible to repair all these damaged relationships. Accepting and coping with loss is yet another part of recovery. But with time and therapy, your teen can learn how to form genuine apologies, which can be a good start for repairing relationships. Social support, in the form of a mentor or group therapy, can help your teen navigate some of their losses healthily.

Experiencing Boredom

Abstaining from drugs could introduce a lull in your teen’s life at first. They may not be sure what to do with the time that was spent using with their friends. Boredom can increase your teen’s risk of relapse. Since drugs can elicit feelings of excitement, everything else can be dulled, by comparison, even the hobbies your teen used to enjoy. This is another setback that is best dealt with in therapy or recovery groups, as it will require your teen to engage in hobbies and other lifestyle activities. Be patient with your teen as their brain and body adjusts to living soberly.

Co-occurring Mental Health Disorders

If your teen was previously diagnosed with a mental health disorder, the symptoms of that disorder may be worsened after prolonged substance use. The majority of people who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction have co-occurring mental disorders, such as depression or anxiety. For effective recovery, it’s essential to find a treatment facility that can treat both conditions simultaneously. With time and treatment, your teen will find that sobriety does improve their mental health.

Transitioning Home From Treatment 

If your teen spent a significant amount of time at a residential treatment facility, transitioning back home can be a challenge. Your teen may not feel like they “fit” within their previous role in the family and household. The home may also be a potential trigger, especially if it’s a place where they used substances before. Talk to your teen’s healthcare providers about the next steps you can take to encourage treatment engagement and create a more stable home environment. Your teen will likely benefit from continued care, specifically an outpatient program.

Potential for Relapse

Finally, it’s important to acknowledge the most obvious setback to recovery: relapse. As a parent, this can be particularly heartbreaking after you have invested much of your time and energy into your teen’s treatment. However, relapses do happen, and they are not a sign of failure. It’s normal for people to require several attempts before achieving long-term sobriety. It may be a sign for your teen to try a different or more intensive treatment program. 

Recovery is a lifelong journey. Having a treatment plan is vital for long-term recovery success. Even then, setbacks are to be expected, including the potential for relapse. Setbacks can be devastating, however, with continuing treatment, setbacks can be managed efficiently and effectively. Clearfork Academy is an outdoor adventure treatment program for teens struggling with substance use. We offer a variety of treatment programs for adolescents aged 13-17, including inpatient and outpatient services, detox, and summer programs. Our approach is spiritually-based, with compassionate and licensed staff to mentor and guide teenagers from destructive habits to making healthier choices. We are proud to say that our programs have helped many teens conquer their addiction and go on to live healthy, fulfilling lives without drugs or alcohol. To learn more about our treatment programs, please reach out to us today at (888) 966-8604.

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5 Ways to Help Your Teen With Stress

5 Ways to Help Your Teen With Stress

As children get older, their sources of stress increase. Teens are more likely than young children to be stressed by events or situations outside the home. Studies show that for younger kids, school-related activities remain their top stressor. For example, a 2013 survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that stress was extremely common among teenagers.

Additionally, teens often feel pulled between their family of origin and peer groups. This can lead to a lot of stress as teenagers navigate between the two. Peers may help buffer some pressure but can also trigger the need for approval or acceptance. Therefore, your teen must surround themselves with healthy friends. As a parent, you can provide crucial support to help your child navigate life challenges. 

Here are five ways you can help:

#1. Recognize the Signs of Stress

When it comes to recognizing stress in teenagers, there are a number of key indicators that can give us a sense of whether or not a teen is struggling. 

Spending more time with and confiding in peers is normal for growing up. However, when teens start to avoid their parents or abandon their long-time friendships in favor of new peer groups, this may be an indication that they are experiencing significant stress. 

Another sign can be seen in teens who express excessive hostility toward their family members, particularly when there has been no long-standing conflict. Negative changes in behavior can also indicate stress, such as when a once generally well-behaved teen starts breaking curfew or skipping school on a regular basis. 

#2. Listen to Your Teen

When talking to teens about stress, it is essential to practice active listening and reflection. It helps to remember that adolescents may not be familiar with stress or its meaning. Teens may express feelings of distress in other ways, such as saying that they are worried, confused, annoyed, or angry. Additionally, children and teens may also verbally express stress through negative self-talk, such as saying things like, “No one likes me” or “I’m stupid.”

If you’re talking to a teen who seems to be struggling, it’s vital to acknowledge that their difficulties are real. The key is not to deny what they are going through and how it makes them feel. Instead, have them give you the facts of the hard place they are in and, in response, show them that you understand and empathize with their situation. 

Compassion and understanding can be incredibly helpful for teens who feel like nobody understands what they’re going through. It will also allow your teen to trust you and speak more openly about what is bothering them. 

#3. Name the Emotions 

One way to approach the topic of stress with your teen is to help them first identify how they are feeling in response to the stressor. They might say, “I’m feeling anxious right now,” or “I feel stressed and nervous.” This is the “name it to tame it” technique; research shows that we can better integrate emotions when we label our emotions. 

Once they have labeled their emotions, you can help them brainstorm ways to cope with their stress. This might include: 

  • Deep breathing 
  • Exercises 
  • Journaling 
  • Talking to a trusted friend or family member 

It is critical to provide support and encouragement while also helping them develop skills for managing stress in a healthy way. 

#4. Encourage Physical Activity

Exercising on a regular basis can be a powerful tool for stress management. Exercise provides an opportunity for immediate stress release. 

Exercise as a regular practice can help to reduce the overall level of stress in a teen’s life. When you engage in physical activity regularly, your body becomes more efficient at managing stress. As a result, your teen may feel calmer and more able to cope with difficult situations. This occurs because regular exercise helps us produce endorphins which support a positive mood and feeling good. 

#5. Model Healthy Coping Skills

One of the best things parents can do to help their teens manage stress is to show them healthy coping skills in action. Be honest with your child. Acknowledge what you are going through and talk about how you are handling it.

Some activities that can be helpful in this regard include: 

  • Engaging in physical exercise 
  • Practicing mindfulness or relaxation techniques
  • Spending time with loved ones
  • Spending time in nature
  • Seeking professional support when needed 

By modeling safe and healthy ways to cope with difficult experiences, we can help our teens build the resilience to navigate life’s challenges more effectively. It will also help them develop the confidence and motivation to sustain a healthy lifestyle. 

At Clearfork Academy, we understand that you play an essential role in helping your teen manage stress. We provide group therapy to allow you and your teen to talk openly about stress without judgment or recrimination. We provide this setting because listening to what your teen says is crucial in establishing trust. Talking about stress can also help you and your teen develop a shared understanding of the problem and brainstorm solutions. We also provide programs that implement reflection and physical exercise as tools to help teens reduce stress. Following initial treatment, such activities can also serve as a bonding activity for you and your child. When you work with your teen, you both work together to manage the stress in their life. For more information on how to help your teen with stress, call Clearfork Academy 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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5 Tips to Help Your Teen Have a Sober Summer

5 Tips to Help Your Teen Have a Sober Summer

Summer is the perfect time for teens to get out and have fun with their friends. However, for some teens, those summer social activities often involve alcohol or drugs. If your teen is struggling with substance use, here are some tips to help them stay sober this summer.

#1. Set Clear Boundaries

As a parent, it can be challenging to know how to help your teen navigate the busy and often chaotic summer months. Of course, you want to make sure that they can have fun and enjoy their time off from school, but you also want to keep them safe and free from substance use. 

One effective way to do this is by setting clear boundaries and expectations for your teens around their summer activities. Some boundaries might include: 

  • Limiting their social activities during certain times of the day or in specific locations
  • Encouraging other positive forms of entertainment and recreation 
  • Establishing consequences for any inappropriate or risky behaviors 

By taking these steps, you can help your teens have a sober summer and ensure that they experience all the fantastic opportunities this season offers. Most importantly, follow through on these boundaries so your teen knows you mean business. 

#2. Encourage Healthy Activities

Summer can be a challenging time for teens. With school out and free time on their hands, teens may be tempted to experiment with drugs or alcohol. However, while teens are often tempted to spend the summer partying and hanging out with friends, it is essential to remember that plenty of other exciting activities can be just as fulfilling without being associated with substance use. 

One of the best ways to encourage healthy behavior is to model it yourself. For example, if you drink alcohol, do so in moderation and always with food. You can also talk to your teen about the dangers of underage drinking and drug use. 

Plan outings that involve physical activity, such as hiking or biking. These activities will help your teen stay sober by giving them something positive to focus on. 

In addition, make sure to provide plenty of opportunities for socializing and connection. Teens who feel connected to their community are less likely to turn to alcohol and drugs to cope with boredom or stress. Finally, keep the lines of communication open. Talk to your teen about their plans for the summer and check in regularly to see how they’re doing. Taking steps to support healthy activities can help you help your teen have a fun and safe summer.

#3. Encourage Mindfulness Practices

The summer can be a difficult time for teens struggling with addiction. With warm weather and increased free time, there are more opportunities to drink or use drugs

One important thing that you can do is to encourage mindfulness practices. Teens who struggle with addiction often find it challenging to stay in the present moment and experience negative emotions like anxiety or stress in full force. Mindfulness can help your teen become more aware of their thoughts and feelings, and it can also help them learn how to cope with emotions without using substances. 

There are many different ways to practice mindfulness, such as: 

By encouraging your teen to engage in mindfulness practices, you can help them have a sober summer.

#4. Provide Support and Encouragement  

As a parent or guardian, one of your top priorities is ensuring the well-being and safety of your teens. This challenge can become even more pressing during the summer months. Teens are likely to be out and about more often, engaging in social activities that may involve drinking or other forms of substance abuse. 

To help your teen stay sober during the summer months, you must provide them with the support and encouragement they need. It might mean checking in regularly to see how they are doing and offering tips on staying focused on their goals and resisting peer pressure. You can also make resources like support groups or addiction counselors available. By engaging with your teens and providing a robust and positive presence in their lives, you can help ensure that they stay safe.

#5. Connect With Other Parents

When possible, connect with other parents who share your values around teens and substance use. Whether through social media or local parent support groups in your area, find a way to get involved. These community connections can be extremely valuable resources in terms of gaining support and other helpful advice as your teen goes through this process.

Summer can be a fun and carefree time for many teens; however, it can also be a risky season when it comes to substance use. There are things you can do to help them stay sober. At Clearfork Academy, we understand how important it is to set and maintain clear boundaries with your teen around acceptable behavior. Further, planning healthy outdoor activities like camping and hiking is a great way to keep your child busy and safe. We also utilize mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation to keep a teen’s focus off using substances and direct it towards a more constructive way to spend their time. It is also important that you connect with like-minded parents for support and encouragement. We are here to support you every step of the way. If you need help keeping your teen sober during the summer months, call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604.

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How Can I Remain Sober During Finals Week?

How Can I Remain Sober During Finals Week?

When finals week rolls around, teens face specific challenges to their sobriety. Between stressing out about exams, being pulled in several directions by their activities, and trying to find time for friends, it’s easy to lose sight of their recovery goals. 

It’s important to remember that staying sober is crucial. By taking some simple steps, you can make sure that you avoid uncomfortable situations and stay on track with your recovery during this busy time of year.

The Pressure of Success

The pressure to succeed is intense, and the stress mounts as exam time approaches. Students struggling in a subject area may feel the need to self-medicate to cope with the stress of taking the test. 

Even students doing well in school contend with the pressure of maintaining their GPA. Some feel tempted to misuse stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall. They may party with alcohol and other drugs to blow off steam when they need a break. However, substance abuse isn’t the answer.

The Consequences of Substance Use During Exams Week

Preparing for final exams requires concentration, and that’s almost impossible if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Studies show that even a few drinks can impair your memory and ability to retain information. A hangover is also likely to affect your ability to perform well in exams, resulting in low grades. 

The short-term consequences of using substances like stimulants during finals week can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Jitters
  • Gastrointestinal problems 
  • Difficulty sleeping

Tips to Beat Exams Soberly

Though a stressful time, good study habits can serve teens well. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Get enough sleep during finals week. Students who do not get enough sleep don’t perform as well on tests as those who get rest. Getting a good night’s sleep will make teens feel better and help them retain information better.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Eating junk food might satisfy cravings at the moment, but it will not give students energy for studying or provide the nutrition they need for their bodies and minds. A healthy diet and regular exercise will keep students feeling better and focused on their studies.
  • Study early. We suggest devising a plan for studying and completing your projects as early as possible. Review for exams at least one week before the test. This gives you time to study in short bursts, so your brain doesn’t get tired. 
  • Spend time with your friends and support system. Reach out to friends and family members who support your recovery. They can serve as accountability partners or a listening ear.
  • Don’t overschedule yourself. Take some time each day to relax and unwind, even if it’s just 15 minutes before bedtime. If you feel overwhelmed and stressed, it could lead to poor eating habits, sleep habits, and possibly substance abuse.
  • Join a study group. Instead of isolating, study with friends and classmates. You can test each other on the information, share notes, and clarify topics. 
  • Make a list of things you can do to help relieve stress. Consider making a list of things you can do to help you relax and destress during finals week. Activities include yoga, massages, walking, listening to music, deep breathing exercises, and playing with friends or pets. 
  • Reach out to peers for guidance. A recovered peer, more than anyone, will understand your current predicament. They can provide tips or an ear to listen. 
  • Remember your motivations. If you need a reminder of how far you have come, read your “letter of intent,” which is a letter that many people write before beginning treatment. It outlines the reasons for getting sober and can help you stay on track when times get tough.
  • Seek support from teachers or the guidance counselor. Your school may offer a tutoring program or strategies for studying that can help you prepare. Moreover, most teachers have office hours where students can seek guidance on how best to prepare for finals, and they are usually more than happy to help.
  • Take it step-by-step. Prioritize your work and break it down into smaller chunks to complete it on time. This way, you won’t feel bogged down with everything.
  • Seek professional help. If you find that you need help dealing with your stress during finals week, don’t hesitate to talk about it. Reach out to a therapist, your treatment program, or a professional counselor who can help you deal with your emotions. 

Hopefully, this article has helped provide a few tips on studying more effectively. If you employ a combination of these techniques, you’ll be well on your way toward studying smarter, not harder. 

Students in recovery face constant pressure and sometimes succumb to the temptation to use substances such as Ritalin, Adderall, marijuana, and alcohol. However, with proper tools and a solid recovery plan, your child can successfully manage their recovery and prosper in school. Remember, putting an end to addiction is only the beginning of the recovery journey. Here at Clearfork Academy, we believe each teen deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential. We offer therapy-based programs to help teens deal with the various pressures of everyday life, including school. Our facilities provide teens access to schooling through our partnership with the University of Texas Charter School. We also offer initial treatment, after-care services, and other resources to help them lead happier, healthier lives. For more information about how we can help your teen manage their recovery, call us 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.

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What Is Teen Alcohol Poisoning?

What Is Teen Alcohol Poisoning?

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

What Is Teen Alcohol Poisoning?

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

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

Risks of Teen Alcohol Poisoning

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

Other potential causes of teen alcohol poisoning include the following:

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

What Happens During an Episode of  Alcohol Poisoning?

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

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

The Cost of Alcohol Poisoning

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

When to Seek Medical Attention

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

You should seek help if you notice these symptoms:

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

Reasons Why More Teens Are Experiencing Alcohol Poisoning

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to Your Teen

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

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

Do Not Wait for a Formal Addiction Diagnosis

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

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

Seek Professional Help Immediately

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

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

Educate Yourself About the Substances Your Child Consumes

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

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

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

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

Stop Enabling Their Substance Use

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

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

Find Support for Yourself and Other Family Members 

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

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

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

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The Glamorization of Teen Drug Use in the Media and Television

The Glamorization of Teen Drug Use in the Media and Television

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

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

Glamorizing Teen Substance Use in the Media

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

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

Drug Use in TV Shows

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

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

Characters Don’t Always Face Consequences

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

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

Drug Use in Music

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

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

Drug Use in Social Media

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

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

Tips for Parents

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

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

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

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What to Say When Your Teen Is Addicted to the Internet?

What to Say When Your Teen Is Addicted to the Internet?

Internet use is growing at an alarming rate among adolescents and teenagers. A recent report revealed 92% of teens go online daily, 56% several times a day, and 24% almost constantly. That same report indicates that U.S. teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 spend an average of six and a half hours on screen media use.

Many parents are unaware that their child has become addicted to the Internet to the point where they can no longer function in their daily lives. It poses a severe threat to your child’s physical and mental health. Helping your child will require educating yourself about internet addiction and getting help as soon as possible.

The Effect of the Internet on the Teen Brain

For most with internet addiction, the Internet activates the reward system within their brain the same way alcohol does when a person with a substance use disorder takes a drink or a drug. This happens because the brain releases dopamine, making them feel happy and excited. It feels so good that they want to experience it again and again. Over time many teens become desensitized to this artificial stimulation, so they need more and more activity to get the same effect.

A recent study from the University of California, Los Angeles found that heavy use of digital devices can lead to significant changes in the brain. Researchers scanned the brains of teens and young adults ages 14 to 21. Those who engaged in seven or more hours of screen time daily had lower levels of brain connectivity in regions associated with attention and emotional control than those who spent an hour or less using electronic devices every day.

Recognize the Signs of Internet Addiction in a Teen

If your teen is spending hours daily on the computer, it’s time to look at their behavior. Here are some signs that your child may be suffering from an internet addiction:

  • They seem depressed or moody without their phone or computer.
  • They rely on the Internet for support and comfort rather than friends and family.
  • Dropping grades or interest in school.
  • Not eating or sleeping well.
  • Becoming defensive when confronted about their behavior, or they cannot stop using the Internet or set limits on their time spent online.
  • Lying to others about how much time you spend online.
  • Avoiding other activities because of their Internet use.
  • Losing track of time while online so that hours have passed without them realizing it.
  • Failing to meet responsibilities at home, school, or work because of Internet use.

What Causes Internet Addiction in Teenagers?

If you’re worried about internet addiction, do not blame yourself or your child. Addiction is a complex disease and often has its roots in other issues. Teens who spend too much time on the Internet could become addicted to gaming, pornography, gambling, and social media. Other factors that lead to internet addiction include:

  • Stress: For some teens, the online world provides an escape from stressors in real life, such as school problems, family problems, or social problems.
  • Family environment: Family conflict, including low family cohesion, a lack of warmth in the family environment, and not feeling supported by parents, can lead to some teens seeking support online.
  • Social Difficulties: Some teens have difficulty interacting socially. They may find it easier to interact with others online and have more confidence when chatting online than face-to-face.
  • Low Self-Esteem: Teens who have low self-esteem may feel better about themselves online than they do offline.
  • Having a genetic predisposition for addiction: If you have a family history of addiction, your child may be more likely to develop an internet addiction.
  • Mental health issues: If your child suffers from ADHD, depression, anxiety, or another mental health issue, they may turn to the Internet to escape these feelings.
  • Need for approval: Teens feel the need to constantly update their status, post pictures, and keep up with what is happening in their friends’ lives.

Treatment Options for Teens Suffering From Internet Addiction

Parents can utilize the following tools to assist their children with treatment.

  • Set time limits: It’s hard for kids to control their behavior and therefore need some structure. Establish times when the Internet is unavailable. If you’re worried about this being too strict, consider it a temporary measure until your child can control their behavior.
  • Residential or intensive outpatient treatment: Teens can enter a treatment center. Here teens will participate in individual and group therapy, psychoeducation, holistic therapies, and 12-Step outpatient or residential treatment meetings.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment for teens suffering from Internet addiction. CBT focuses on changing thinking patterns and behaviors associated with an addictive disorder.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy: This type of therapy focuses on helping people manage their stress levels, improve their communication skills and avoid maladaptive behaviors like excessive internet use and substance abuse.
  • The 12-step program or SMART Recovery: While these recovery groups serve people with alcohol or substance abuse, their methods apply to behavioral addictions like internet addiction.
  • Block certain sites: Specific sites, like gaming and porn, are exceptionally addictive; consider blocking them on your computer or installing filters.

There’s no doubt that the internet serves as an excellent tool for learning, entertainment, and communication. However, it can pose many potential dangers for teens, particularly vulnerable to addiction. Fortunately, they can treat this condition. At Clearfork Academy, our treatment options include outpatient therapy, support groups, and self-help programs. We understand that it may take time to achieve full recovery; luckily, our resources and staff will work to find treatment and therapies that meet your teen’s individual needs. Such measures will help your teen recover from their internet addiction and help them channel that energy into productive, healthy activities. If your child is dealing with an addiction to the internet, don’t wait another moment. We will provide your teen with the professional treatment they need to begin their recovery. Once your teen completes treatment, they will gain their self-esteem and confidence. To learn more, contact us today at (888) 966-8604.

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How Can EMDR Therapy Help Your Teen Recover from Trauma?

How Can EMDR Therapy Help Your Teen Recover From Trauma?

Early intervention for trauma can help adolescents with nightmares, PTSD, and other emotional issues that arise from traumatic experiences. The causes of this can vary. For some, it is a result of violent acts they have witnessed. For others, it’s the result of physical or sexual abuse.

Meanwhile, others experience PTSD due to a natural disaster or lost a loved one in an accident. Fortunately, EMDR therapy has emerged as an effective treatment for PTSD in teens.

EDMR: The Brain and Traumatic Memories

EMDR therapy is a relatively new type of psychotherapy introduced by Dr. Francine Shapiro to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. It’s a type of psychotherapy that helps people manage the symptoms of trauma, PTSD, anxiety, and other mental health disorders that usually stem from traumatic memories.

Traumatic memories are thought to be stored differently than ordinary memories. Trauma memories emphasize the emotional and sensory, rather than just the words or images. For example, a survivor of sexual assault might remember the feeling of being held down, but not the attacker’s face. Or a child physically abused might experience a trauma response when someone raises their hand. They don’t necessarily remember what happened.

These traumatic memories may become so embedded that their impact continues to resurface in their lives. For many people who have PTSD, EDMR offers an opportunity for healing by helping them to reframe their traumatic memories.

Using EDMR to Dissolve Trauma’s Hold on the Mind

EDMR therapy involves recalling the trauma while simultaneously undergoing bilateral stimulation, including side-to-side eye movements, tapping, or sounds played through headphones. This stimulus stimulates both sides of one’s brain, which helps a person process and store the experience more like a typical memory.

During EMDR therapy sessions, a therapist guides you through a structured process of recalling traumatic memories while stimulating your brain with eye movements or other rhythmic sensory input. This appears to help the brain reprocess the memory and make it less distressing. It also includes using methods like:

  • Eye movements: The therapist will ask your child to track their finger with their eyes as it moves from side to side.
  • Tapping: The therapist will tap their fingers near your child’s head as they follow the therapist’s hand with their eyes.
  • Sounds or tones: The therapist will play tones or sounds through headphones as your child focuses on the noise while following their finger with your eyes as they move it from side to side.

What Can I Expect From Treatment?

The evaluation will include talking about your primary concerns, but it may also involve taking a detailed history from childhood up through the present. Once they have been cleared for treatment, standard EMDR therapy involves eight phases:

  1. History and treatment planning: taking a history, formulating a treatment plan
  2. Preparation: psyching the client up for the work to be done
  3. Assessment: determining which memories will be targeted for reprocessing
  4. Desensitization: reprocessing specific memories
  5. Installation: establishing the new perspective on the memory
  6. Body Scan: checking for uncomfortable sensations in the body related to the event
  7. Closure: ending the session at a comfortable place
  8. Reevaluation: continuing therapy as needed, assessing progress, determining next steps, ending the treatment process with a plan.

Many people report experiencing a “catharsis” or a sense of relief and a feeling of being “lighter” after EDMR treatment. Teens also notice that they feel more energized and positive after experiencing EDMR.

Is EDMR Right for My Teen?

Being a teenager is already difficult enough without dealing with the debilitating effects of trauma. Research shows that childhood traumatic experiences are major risk factors for various psychiatric disorders and SUD. For adolescents and teens with complex cases of depression, anxiety, trauma, and substance abuse, EDMR is often the best choice. Clinical research demonstrates EDMR’s effectiveness in treating these conditions in teens. Teens who have experienced EDMR therapy report that it has helped them to:

  • Overcome painful memories and stop being haunted by the past.
  • Improve the ability to focus.
  • Sharpen concentration skills and learning abilities.
  • Reduce ADHD symptoms and more.
  • Free themselves from fear, anxiety, and panic attacks.
  • Find more peace with themselves.
  • Improve relationships with others.
  • Improve their self-esteem and confidence.
  • Stop feeling so angry all the time.
  • Stop feeling guilty or ashamed.
  • Live happier lives.

We recommend finding a therapist who specializes in EDMR for treatment. EDMR does not involve medication or hypnosis, making it an ideal therapy choice for anyone who may have concerns about these alternative approaches.

EDMR offers hope as a treatment option that uses scientific principles, and clinical results show it has helped so many. EMDR is a relatively recent innovation in the field of psychotherapy. It can seem like uncharted territory to any parent wondering whether it will help their child with their issues. At Clearfork Academy, we understand that EDMR is not a miracle therapy; it takes time to work. However, the neurological effect on your teen’s brain makes it well worth the effort. Understand that the principles of EDMR come from well-established and trusted practices in medicine and psychotherapy. Therefore, we pride ourselves on setting the highest standards for the best possible treatment for our teen participants. While we use many different methods to help our participants achieve sobriety and heal after traumatic events, EDMR therapy is one of our most effective tools in this process. To find out more, contact us today by calling (888) 966-8604.

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How Can Art & Music Therapy Help Your Teen in Their Mental Health & Recovery Journey?

How Can Art & Music Therapy Help Your Teen In Their Mental Health & Recovery Journey?

Art and music are revered for their restorative and healing powers. Many turn to art for its ability to relieve stress and promote self-expression. In comparison, music provides an outlet for many to release, process, and express their emotions. Together, art and music therapy aid individuals in exploring, understanding, and resolving their internal issues. For this reason, Clearfork Academy places excellent value on art and music therapy for teen participants seeking recovery from SUD and mental health issues.

How Does Art Therapy Work?

Art therapy employs various art media as the primary mode of expression and communication during these psychotherapy sessions. Art therapists work with people to improve their physical, mental, and emotional well-being using the creative process and the resulting artwork developed in sessions.

As trained mental health professionals, art therapists assess the needs of their participants by observing verbal and nonverbal communication within the participant’s artwork. Then, the therapist interprets the meaning of the art concerning the client’s life. The therapist may explore the symbolic meaning of an image with the participant or encourage the person to express thoughts or feelings through art without analyzing the art itself. Art therapists may use paper, paint, clay, and other materials to create images that reflect the participant’s suppressed issues.

The therapist applies a variety of methods to evaluate the participant’s artwork and other creative processes, including:

  • Visual processing
  • Cognitive functioning
  • Emotional maturity
  • Social skills
  • Decision-making ability
  • Behavioral problems
  • Adaptive behaviors
  • Coping skills
  • Family dynamics
  • Peer relations
  • Self-concepts/self-esteem
  • Developmental issues such as gender roles, body image, and belief systems

What Happens During Art Therapy?

The art therapy process begins with assessing participants and establishing rapport. The therapist may also ask the teen to take a personality test or other psychological measure to help establish baseline levels of functioning. In subsequent sessions, the focus will turn to processing the teen’s emotions through art and identifying patterns of maladaptive behaviors causing distress. The therapist will encourage teens to engage in various art media like drawing, painting, or sculpting in each session.

As patients become comfortable expressing themselves visually, they may use their artwork to explore problems or feelings they previously failed to discuss. As the teen works on their art project, the therapist often asks questions about what inspired different aspects of their project and their feelings. As the treatment continues, teens will gain insight into their inner worlds and identify patterns they may want to change.

How Does Music Therapy Work?

Music therapy employs music to address individuals’ physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. Music therapists are trained in music, psychology, and counseling to understand how people respond to music at different stages of development.

Music therapy serves to strengthen participants’ life skills and emotional processing. Research supports music therapy’s effectiveness in boosting motivation, emotional support, and self-expression.

What Happens During Music Therapy?

Therapy sessions often occur in groups but may also transpire in one-on-one sessions. Sessions may include writing or singing songs, playing instruments, or simply listening to music together to facilitate change in behaviors, moods, and emotions. For example, if a teen has trouble expressing anger or frustration, a music therapist may lead drumming exercises as an outlet for these feelings.

The therapist might also have the teen listen to calming music or sing calming songs when feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Some sessions may include composing music or writing lyrics to reflect what they have learned during their treatment. The therapist uses the client’s preferred music as much as possible to feel connected to what is happening in sessions.

Why Should You Consider Art and Music Therapy for Your Teen?

Art and music therapy effectively treat teens and young adults recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, particularly with other mental health disorders. At trauma-focused treatment centers like Clearfork Academy, we use art and music therapy to help teens develop a healthy, sober lifestyle.

Here are some of the benefits of art and music therapy for teens in recovery:

  • Many young addicts suffer from anxiety or depression, both of which can make it difficult to express what you’re feeling. Art and music therapy provide an outlet for those emotions.
  • Art and music therapy can give your teen something to do when they feel bored or restless.
  • When your teen creates music or artwork with their peers, it provides an opportunity to bond with their peers safely without substances. Teens can also learn how to give helpful feedback to others.
  • When your teen is learning a new skill, they’ll gain confidence in their newfound abilities, which can raise their self-esteem, too.
  • Teens can work through addiction triggers and cravings by expressing their feelings or releasing tension through music or art.
  •  These therapies can help teens learn the skills they need to manage stress, such as patience, persistence, following through on tasks, problem-solving, and decision making.

Art and music therapy help struggling teens find peace as they journey toward healing. Regardless of the type of art or music a teen creates, the outlet can bring them to a place of calmness, fueling their recovery process. At Clearfork Academy, we believe this form of therapy can nourish a teen’s journey, and it could be just the thing they need to break through mental barriers on the path to recovery. With help from a professional art therapist or music therapist, teens will develop new skills and learn to deal with their addiction using healthy methods. Your teen deserves the best chance for long-term sobriety. And that’s what you’ll get at Clearfork Academy. Our highly experienced professionals and nurturing environment offer a path to lasting change through evidence-based practices. If you want to give your teen the best chance at a sober, happy life, then contact us today at (888) 966-8604.

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A Guide for Parents Who Are Planning a Teen Intervention

A Guide for Parents Who Are Planning a Teen Intervention

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

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

When Is It Time for an Intervention?

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

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

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

What Does an Intervention Consist Of?

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

Planning an Intervention

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

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

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

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

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

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

Choosing a Treatment Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 Signs of Relapse

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

#1. Returning to Familiar People or Places

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

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

#2. Changes in Behaviors 

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

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

#3. Experiencing a Trigger 

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

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

#4. Doubting The Recovery Process

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

#5. Reminiscing About Drug Use

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

#6. Physical Relapse

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

Preventing Relapse

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

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

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

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What Are the Dangers of Teen Self-Harm?

What are the dangers of teen self-harm?

Self-harm refers to any form of self-injury. Adolescents who engage in self-harm use it to cope with feelings of inadequacy, anger, depression, loneliness, and self-consciousness.

Different Types of Self-Harm

Most self-harm acts include cutting or scratching with a sharp object. In a ritualistic way, teens carve words or symbols into their skin to express their feelings of alienation, loneliness, anger, hurt, or low self-worth. Other types of self-harm include:

  • Biting, scratching, or piercing their skin with sharp tools
  • Burning their skin
  • Hitting or punching themselves or the walls
  • Picking and seeking fights to experience pain
  • Slamming their head or body against walls and other objects
  • Reckless driving
  • Engaging in risky sexual acts
  • Tearing out their hair
  • Inserting objects into the body
  • Overdosing on drugs or excessive drinking
  • Overexercising to the point of injury

The Signs and Dangers of Self-Harm

Long-term self-harm can lead to severe repercussions for teens. These include:

  • Physical health problems
  • Social isolation and alienation
  • Feelings of guilt and regret
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Decreased sense of self-worth
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness

There are a few signs that your teenager is self-harming, but the most common ones are:

  • Withdrawing from friends, family, or activities.
  • Sudden changes in eating habits.
  • Extreme weight loss or gain.
  • Suicidal thoughts or acts.
  • Unexplained scars, cuts, scratches, bruises, or scabs, especially on the wrists, arms, thighs, or torso.
  • Behaving impulsively and erratically.
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness.
  • Often seeking privacy.
  • Unexplained blood stains on bedding, clothing, or towels.
  • Keeping sharp objects in their possession, like razors, safety pins, nails, scissors, knives, needles, or pieces of glass.

Pressures That Teenage Boys Face

Often teenagers turn to self-harm to relieve the pressures they feel from the circumstances of everyday life. Some of the typical pressures include:

#1. Chasing Popularity: Many teenagers feel the pressure to fit in with their peers. Instead of chasing popularity, we suggest teens pursue hobbies or passions where they can meet like-minded peers.

#2. Family Dynamics: Teens in families that lack trust, compassion, guidance, and communication skills often deal with feelings of anxiety, ostracization, and negligence. It sets them up for emotional distress when interacting with their parents or other family members. We recommend families take some steps to improve lines of communication, like family therapy.

#3. Anxiety and Stress: Teenagers face a lot of pressure and stress trying to find their place in the world. It can lead to self-harm to cope with these feelings. Instead, we suggest teaching teen boys healthy coping skills for dealing with stress and pursuing goals.

#4. Dissatisfied With Their Body Image: Many teenagers view photos of the “ideal body” through social media, magazines, and tv. This can lead to self-harm practices like poor nutrition or overexercising to build their self-worth and control their bodies.

#5. Educational Achievements: When teenage boys experience the pressure of pursuing academic achievement, they often struggle with feelings of inadequacy and unhappiness. Some schools provide students with counseling, peer-to-peer support systems, and educational programs to alleviate stress.

#6. Playing on a Sports Team: Teenage boys experience pressure to play sports and win. If they fail to win or make it on the team, it can cause them to feel self-conscious or inferior. They may push their bodies beyond the breaking point as punishment for not meeting specific benchmarks. We suggest teaching teens that the value of sports extends beyond winning. Instead, they can learn to value sports for its comradeship and opportunities for growth.

#7. Internet: They can find websites, forums, and social media groups that support and glamorize self-harm. These sources provide information on the different methods of self-harm and hiding it. Overconsumption of digital media takes teens away from healthier activities and coping mechanisms. Thus, we recommend that teens unplug and reduce digital media activity.

Treating Self-Harm

You can use a few methods to help your teenager stop self-harm. Some of these methods include:

  • Talking and listening to them about their pain and anxiety.
  • Giving them access to safe and healthy activities can reduce the pain and anxiety they may experience.
  • A good therapist can help your teen identify the reasons behind their self-harm and provide resources to help them cope.
  • Consider proper medication like antidepressants from a medical professional.
  • Having a support network that will listen and help them.
  • As a parent, learn the ins and outs of self-harm. Then, you can better serve your child through the healing process.
  • A support group of peers can provide your teen with a space where you can talk about their feelings, ask for advice, and find others who have experienced the same thing.

There are many things you can do to help your teenager stop self-harm. If your teenager is harming themselves, there are effective treatments and therapies that will help them work through their pain. At Clearfork Academy, we offer various services that help teens and young adults overcome addiction, self-harm, and other mental health-related issues. Our program functions to provide lasting change for those affected by these problems. Our qualified clinicians provide expert-driven counseling, medication management, adventure therapy, individualized treatment plans, medical detoxes, and relapse prevention strategies. With us, your child will have the right access to care and establish who they are and their place in this world. Our goal is to instill hope and motivation for teens to become their best selves. If your teen is currently struggling to manage their mental health needs, get help today. To learn more about our comprehensive treatment program, contact Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 966-8604.

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A Guide for Parents: How to Better Support Your Sober Teen

A Guide For Parents: How to Better Support Your Sober Teen

Supporting a teen in recovery is an exciting time. While this is a moment to celebrate progress, the work doesn’t stop after inpatient or outpatient treatment. As a parent, knowing how to support your child’s sober lifestyle after treatment will prepare them for long-term sobriety. 

Here are six tips to help you offer support for your child’s sobriety after intensive treatment

#1. Be a Good Support System 

Treatment centers and programs offer a constant professional support system for your child. However, when it’s time for your teen to come back home, you will become the ultimate and constant support system that they will need to lean on. Aftercare is always an option, but you are their caregiver and will be with them for the majority of their day. 

One of the most important aspects of teen addiction recovery is family involvement. It is not an easy task, but it is necessary to make sure your teen stays on the right track. Being a good support system means providing them with emotional, mental, and physical support. Validating their emotions, being a listening ear, and offering a shoulder to lean all contribute to helping prevent relapse

#2. Keep Communication Open 

Poor communication could be one of the most damaging aspects of your parent-child relationship. Poor communication habits may involve constant lying, arguing, manipulation, or avoiding communication altogether. It is vital to develop strong communication skills through individual and family therapy. Knowing how to respectfully and truthfully talk to one another will be key to working towards long-term sobriety. 

While respecting boundaries and allowing your child the space to be themselves, walking on eggshells or keeping secrets should no longer be allowed. Creating a new relationship where your child feels safe enough to tell you when they slip up or express their emotions will be essential to developing good communication in the future.

#3. Don’t Bring Up the Past

Everyone makes mistakes. You can’t change the past, and you can’t predict the future. You must focus on the present moment and understand who you and your child are now that you are both on the journey to recovery. Constantly reminding your child of their past actions can be hurtful to their recovery. 

Addiction is a complex and damaging disease that is extremely hard for a parent to watch their children battle. The healing process won’t be overnight and won’t happen in front of everyone. Allow your child room to grow into someone new and accept them for who they become. 

#4. Rebuild the Relationship

In order to rebuild a relationship after addiction, you both should acknowledge that you are not the same person as before. Spend time with your child and get to know them better and who they are becoming after treatment. Show them that you care and are willing to do your part in making amends. Forgiveness and full trust will take time, and building a new relationship won’t happen overnight. An effort is necessary from both ends for a new connection to develop.

#5. Educate Yourself on Addiction

The saying “addiction is a disease” is real. It means there is much to study about addiction to understand it. Addiction is not limited to alcohol or hard drugs. Identify what kind of addiction your teen has and start doing your research. Learn the causes and risk factors along with symptoms and how they change the brain. 

Understanding the complexities of addiction and what it encompasses will help you understand what they are going through and give you insight on how to help. It can also bring a sense of compassion when you understand that it is the addiction and drugs causing your child’s behavior and not who they are. 

#6. Keep Them Accountable

Codependent relationships are very common for people with addiction. In the past, it may have been hard to stand your ground against your child who was battling addiction. Now that they have entered sobriety, accountability will be crucial to staying successful and becoming independent. Your teen should incorporate goals in their treatment plan. Help them stick to the goals they set, and hold them accountable when they don’t follow through. 

The road to long-term sobriety is not a straight path, so know that there will be slip-ups and a few bumps in the road. Offer them grace and compassion but still remind them what they are striving to accomplish. Try to help them stay as consistent as possible with their goals and any treatment they have left. 

Whether your teen is just starting to use drugs or whether they are under the weight of addiction, it is never too late or too soon to reach out for help. Clearfork Academy is committed to helping our patients grow and recover from their addiction and restore their relationships with their families. Addiction recovery is not a task any parent should have to do alone. We offer programs that give both you and your child the tools you need to continue living a sober lifestyle after intensive treatment. Substance use disorders can also perpetuate underlying mental health conditions such as depression, PTSD, or anxiety. At Clearfork, we aim to get to the root of their addiction, which is why we also work to treat any underlying co-occurring mental health disorder. If your teen is in need of addiction or mental health treatment, get help today. To learn more, call Clearfork Academy at (888) 966-8604

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What Coping Skills Can Your Teen Learn Through Equine Therapy?

What Coping Skills Can Your Teen Learn Through Equine Therapy?

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

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

What Is Equine Therapy?

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

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

What Are the Benefits of Equine Therapy?

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

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

Learn Crucial Coping Skills From Horse-Riding Therapy

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

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

Equine Therapy at Clearfork Academy

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

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

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The Importance of Family Involvement in Teen Addiction Treatment

The Importance of Family Involvement in Teen Addiction Treatment

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

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

Teen Addiction Treatment

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

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

Co-occurring Disorders

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

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

The Importance of Family Involvement in Teen Recovery

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

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

Family-Based Treatment

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

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

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

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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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Oppositional Defiant Disorder and SUD

Oppositional Defiant Disorder and SUD

It’s not uncommon for kids to go through a period where they exhibit moodiness or defiant behaviors. The term “terrible twos” or the early teen years are typically known as the most challenging years for parents and their child’s behaviors. However, these behaviors could be signs of an underlying behavioral disorder.

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) affects up to 16 percent of children and teens. If your child’s behaviors raise concern on whether there may be an underlying condition, understand that behavioral disorders are common in children. It is helpful to know the symptoms and how to seek treatment.

What Is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a behavioral disorder often diagnosed during childhood. There is no known cause of what causes ODD, but there are theories about how it may develop. A child with ODD is defiant, uncooperative, and aggressive towards siblings, peers, authority figures, and parents.

ODD is more common in boys during their childhood years. Symptoms typically develop and become noticeable between the ages of 6 to 8.

Signs Your Teen May Have ODD

The symptoms of ODD can happen in children who do not have this disorder. The defining aspect of whether or not it is ODD is the frequency of how often the child displays these symptoms. It will also interfere with daily routine and activities. These behaviors will occur at home with parents or siblings and at school with teachers and other classmates.

Symptoms may include:

  • Blaming others for their own wrongdoings
  • Combative with adults and authority figures
  • Exhibiting a short temper
  • Disobeying rules, demands, and requests
  • Refusing to do what is asked of them
  • Throwing excessive temper tantrums 
  • Speaking harshly or aggressive to others
  • Seeking revenge, mocking, or being vindictive towards others

These symptoms can occur naturally or if a child is experiencing budding hormones. It is important to speak to your pediatrician or pediatric mental health professional for a proper diagnosis.

Risk Factors

While the causes of ODD are not entirely understood, there are risk factors. Risk factors include:

  • Mood Disorders: Improper functioning of neurotransmitters can influence ODD symptoms and lead to other disorders. ADHD, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders may influence ODD.
  • Family Challenges: The environment a child grows up in impacts their behavior. Common challenges include inconsistency in whether parents are present or not, emotional instability, and substance abuse.
  • Genetics: Adolescents can also have ODD if they have a family history of other mental health disorders. For example, if ADHD or mood disorders run in the family, chances are your child can develop ODD.
  • Emotional Regulation: Temperament also can affect whether a child develops this disorder. If a child struggles with emotional regulation and controlling their behaviors, it can manifest into ODD.

ODD rarely occurs as the only disorder in adolescents. Another co-disorder that is common in individuals with ODD is substance use disorder.

Co-occurring ODD and SUD

Alcohol and drug use are common among teens who have ODD. Drugs and alcohol are often a means to cope with underlying issues, and it can lead to substance abuse which can exacerbate the symptoms of ODD.

Teens may also use substances to defy parents or authority figures. If they know that the parents do not tolerate substance use, they may use substances to break the rules.

Treatment Options for ODD and SUD

It can be tricky to know how to approach treatment options for ODD or if the behaviors are the result of ODD. The key defining points are the frequency of the behaviors and whether they disrupt their daily living. When talking to your child, they won’t see their behaviors as an issue or their fault but instead blame others. It is why you must speak up and describe behaviors to their pediatrician or mental health professional. Seeking a qualified professional will help diagnose and find treatment for your child.

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for getting this disorder under control. When looking for diagnosis and treatment, contact a psychologist or psychiatrist that specializes in behavioral disorders. They will also be able to assess and diagnose any other co-occurring disorders such as substance abuse. Treatment options for ODD and SUD include:

  • Individual and Family Therapy
  • Parent training and Parent-child Interaction Therapy
  • Social skills training
  • Medication
  • Lifestyle changes

If you are concerned that your child may have ODD or a substance use disorder, talk to their pediatrician or mental health professional right away. Seeking help today will provide your teen the best chances to manage their mental health and substance use disorders.

If you believe your teen may be struggling with ODD, substance use, or other co-occurring disorders, know that help is available. Clearfork Academy is a treatment facility dedicated to helping teenage boys overcome drug use and co-occurring disorders. Our facility resides on a charming ranch overlooking Eagle Mountain Lake in Fort Worth, Texas. We offer a variety of therapeutic programs that we specialize in to meet your child’s specific needs. The staff at Clearfork are highly trained and can offer the highest and dedicated quality of care. As a parent, being involved in your child’s recovery is essential to helping them maintain sobriety and let them know they have support from the ones they love. Know that you and your teen do not have to go it alone. If you are looking for a safe and caring treatment facility for your teen, Contact Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 966-8604

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How to Help Your Teen Build Recovery Skills?

How to Help Your Teen Build Recovery Skills?

Recovery is a lifelong and transformative process. Recovery is also not without its share of challenges. What does this mean for teens struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD)?

Teens need help to develop the skills necessary to stay sober and sustain recovery. Helping teens address and manage their SUDs can prevent relapse. Let’s take a closer look at different methods that will help your teen’s continued growth in recovery.

The Benefit of Recovery Skills

Developing practical recovery skills will allow your teen to maintain abstinence. Such a skill set will decrease the likelihood of them relapsing. Strong recovery skills will also help them “bounce back” should they relapse. Essentially, these skills provide the tools for navigating life’s challenges without resorting to self-destructive behaviors.

Your teen can apply these skills in everyday life. For example, relapse prevention strategies such as self-monitoring and setting proper boundaries will help them navigate relationships with friends or family members in a healthy manner. Additionally, these skills will help teens find meaning in their lives outside of their SUD.

Other benefits include:

  • Increased self-esteem
  • Improved relationships with loved ones and significant others
  • Healthier habits such as exercise or healthy eating choices
  • Reduced stress levels due to less anxiety about relapse potentials

Avoid Risky Situations

While in recovery, we suggest that your teen avoid situations that involve any alcohol or drug use. Therefore your teen must understand their limitations. Being in such risky situations can leave them feeling confused, unable to assess the problem, and incapable of making good decisions. They could succumb to their urges and return to patterns of addictive behaviors. Therefore, we recommend that they participate in activities that support their sobriety.

Find a Peer Support Group

Many teens who struggle with a SUD may feel isolated and alone. They might also find it difficult to discuss their problems with friends and family. Such a predicament may cause them to feel different or unable to fit in with other teens. However, a peer support group will benefit your teen.

In a peer support group, teens share their experiences with other teens managing a SUD. Being among peers that share similar experiences creates a comforting environment where your teen can express themselves without judgment.

A peer support group also helps teens develop communication, conflict resolution, and stress management skills. These are crucial life skills that will help them stay sober and safe in recovery.

Manage Triggers and Cravings

Triggers happen when individuals with a SUD are exposed to certain stimuli that remind them of using substances. Certain sights, sounds, or people could all be potential triggers. When triggered, the brain seeks to relieve stress and increase feel-good emotions, and too often, the method of choice is using substances. Therefore, such a process can make staying sober difficult for your teen.

However, your teen can manage their triggers using techniques that include:

Consider Behavioral Therapies

Research shows that behavioral therapies successfully treat SUD symptoms and causes. Such therapies focus on identifying, understanding, and changing behavioral patterns to achieve long-term change.

The goal is to replace harmful habits with healthy habits. Long-term therapy will also reduce negative experiences and implement positive ones.

Find a Distraction

Sometimes your teen may feel restless thinking about how they cannot use substances. Therefore, having a healthy distraction like a hobby or pursuing a passion will help distract them from thinking about substances.

A hobby can also give them a new sense of purpose and motivation. Such hobbies include:

  • Painting
  • Sports
  • Hiking
  • Playing music
  • Going for a walk

Ultimately, participating in healthy activities will help your teenager expand their outlook on life without feeling pressured to use substances.

Managing Stress

Many teens lead stressful lives. Schoolwork, peer pressure, extracurricular activities, and searching for colleges contribute to stress. Adopting healthy ways to manage stress can help them learn how to handle these situations.

Here are some of the most effective methods of coping:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Spend time outside
  • Talk about thoughts and feelings openly

Since stress can occur at any moment, your teen needs to understand their stressors and triggers. Knowing what contributes to their desire to use substances will help them manage their stress and cravings.

Support Good Mental Health

Untreated mental health disorders can also contribute to relapse. Individuals who struggle with a mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or bipolar disorder are prone to using substances. Therefore, seeking professional help for mental health disorders will help prevent relapse.

Recovery is a life-long journey that requires persistence, motivation, and support. At Clearfork Academy, we offer teen-specific treatments that appropriately speak to their needs. We also work with teens and their families to educate them about substance use disorders and how to work together to overcome challenges. Our resources to care also include individual therapy, peer-supported groups, and holistic approaches. With our help, your teen will learn to deal with stressors and manage their addiction. We understand that recovery can be challenging, which is why we remain a pillar of support should your teen need help at any point in their recovery. Our aftercare programs also ensure that your teen stays involved in the recovery community. If your teenager is currently having difficulty sustaining their recovery, then the time to seek help is now. To find out more about our therapies and treatment programs, contact Clearfork Academy today and call (888) 966-8604.

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How to Know if Your Teen Needs Residential Treatment?

How to Know if Your Teen Needs Residential Treatment?

Residential treatment is a form of therapeutic care that provides an environment for adolescents with a substance use disorder (SUD) to heal from the effects of trauma, addiction, or mental illness. Such an environment offers a safe space for teens to develop the confidence and resiliency needed to sustain sobriety.

Residential treatment also helps teens and their parents understand addiction and develop ways to help them manage their disorder. Let’s explore residential treatment, and determine if this is a good option for your teen.

The Basics of Substance Abuse

Substance use disorders involve using any drug or chemical substance that alters one’s mood or behavior. Some of these drugs are legal, and others are not. When teens experience addiction, they may go through withdrawal symptoms when they cannot access substances.

A SUD can also lead to risky behaviors resulting in injury or death. If you think your teen has a problem with substance abuse, it’s essential to discuss this issue with them calmly and without judgment. Listen to their concerns and help them find the best residential treatment facilities.

Does My Teen Need Rehab?

Teens turn to drugs and alcohol for many reasons. Some turn to substances when they want to escape reality or increase their dopamine levels. Others turn to them for fun or because of peer pressure. Whatever their reason, addiction can take over. It’s crucial for you as a parent or guardian to look for any signs of drug or alcohol use in your child so that you can seek help.

Some of the most common signs of teen substance use include:

  • A sudden change in their behavioral patterns.
  • Changes in appearance or hygiene.
  • Poor performance or absences from school.
  • Increase in hostility and aggression.
  • Loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed.
  • Frequent mood changes.
  • Lying about how much they use to hide their addiction.
  • Risky behavior such as unprotected sex with multiple partners when under the influence.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • The inability to meet their responsibilities.
  • Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down on alcohol or other drug use.
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, depression, and cravings when they cannot use their drug of choice.

What Happens During Residential Treatment?

Research suggests that residential treatment significantly decreases teens’ chances to use substances. Treatment will not only help your child overcome their addiction but also manage any co-occurring mental health disorders.

Residential treatment provides stability for kids to focus on their recovery without the distraction of problems in school or with friends. The good news is that rehabilitation is successful for many teens addicted to substances. Residential treatment works because of the supportive environment and length of stay.

Residential treatment also helps teenagers:

  • Identify the problems they’re having with their substance use.
  • Learn how to make healthy decisions in the future.
  • Develop life skills such as coping skills.
  • Receive counseling to help them deal with their SUD and related problems.
  • They offer the means for your teen to continue schooling with academic support.

Early Steps of Treatment

The first step of treatment usually involves detoxification from drugs or alcohol before moving into a residential program where teens are monitored 24/7 while receiving therapy and learning new strategies for coping.

Their individualized recovery plan will also include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help identify triggers.
  • Educational counseling to help them avoid triggering situations that lead to relapse.
  • Learn positive coping skills that will allow them to manage their lives and recovery successfully.

Finally, treatment centers such as Clearfork Academy provide aftercare services that assist with post-treatment adjustments like outside therapy, support groups, and academic support.

How to Select The Right Rehab Center?

If you’re looking for a teen rehab center, it’s essential to choose one with an excellent reputation and fully licensed staff. Take into account how many years the facility has been around; this will give you an idea about its experience with teens dealing with addiction disorders. It will also be helpful if they offer both residential treatment programs and outpatient options so that your child can continue their education while undergoing treatment.

Some questions to consider include:

  • What services do they offer for teenagers?
  • How long can your child stay at a residential facility?
  • Do they offer individual or group therapy options, wilderness programs, or a variety of treatment modalities?
  • Are family members welcome to visit regularly?
  • Do they include family therapy to improve familial relations?
  • Will they offer academic support, so your child stays on track with their academics?

At Clearfork Academy, our residential treatment programs help teens develop better coping mechanisms to manage their mental health and substance use disorders. Our models of treatment and therapies improve self-esteem, social skills and build healthy support networks consisting of family, friends, and peers. With us, your teenager will have a comfortable space to explore their potential and develop the skills and enthusiasm necessary to go after their greatest dreams. Our strong presence within the community also ensures that your teenager has access to support long after initial treatment. While embarking on the journey to recovery can be intimidating, remember, it all begins with taking the first step. If your teenager is currently struggling with mental health and substance use disorders, get help today. With provided admissions 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there’s no excuse not to reach out. To learn more about our programs, contact Clearfork Academy today by calling (888)966-8604.

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Tips for Getting Through Winter Break

Tips for Getting Through Winter Break

Winter break is a time when kids can take time away from school for the winter holidays and relax while being with family. For most people, the winter season and holidays serve as one of the most exciting times of the year. 

The excitement of spending time with family, Christmas, and having a break from work and school creates a time for celebration. But this time of the year is not always easy for everyone, and for some teens, winter break can feel more like a dread than an opportunity to relax.

Challenges The Holidays Present for Teens With SUD

Although school and academic work does not necessarily bring a sense of pleasure for teens, the routine of going to school and seeing their peers is essential in their life. Winter break can serve as a disruption to the routine with prolonged time away from that structure. The decrease in activity can lead to the feeling of boredom and loneliness. As a way to cope, teens may begin to experiment with things that bring them a sense of pleasure including drug and alcohol use. For teens who already have a history of abusing substances, this break can trigger use again. 

With the holidays comes a surplus in planned events such as visiting relatives, travel arrangements, and Holiday activities. This can make teens feel like winter is a hectic time and cause sensory overload for some. The swell of stress and anxiety has been shown to trickle into depression and may result in other symptoms of mental health challenges. 

Signs your Teen is Struggling with Winter Break 

If you are worried that winter break has an adverse effect on your teen’s emotional and mental health, here are some warning signs to consider.

  • Increase in unusual or disruptive behaviors (aggression, irritability, sadness, explosive outburst)
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Lack of interest in holiday activities
  • Negative self-talk or mentions of suicidal thoughts and self-harm
  • Disinterest in social interactions

Mental health symptoms don’t always externalize and become evident to other people. Depression and anxiety can be an internal battle for teens, where some hold everything in and “pretend” they are ok. If you suspect that your teen may be internally suppressing their emotions, set aside time to have them verbally express how they feel. 

Tips to Help Make Winter Break Easier for your Teen

As a parent, wanting to help your teen when you see them struggling is often the first thing you want to do. However,  you may find that offering a helping hand is seemingly easier said than done. If you are looking for ways to support your teen through winter break, consider these tips to get you started. 

Introduce Self-care Options

Winter break is still a time to let kids wind down and relax from the stress of school. While filling the free time with other responsibilities, teach them how to take the free time to care for themselves. Introduce different activities that help them unplug like, reading books for enjoyment. Relaxing activities like painting, drawing, or creative writing also allow them to clear their head creatively, and they may find that they have a talent for it. Spending time doing activities that help them release any negative feelings through healthier stress-relieving actions. 

Volunteer or Seasonal Employment

The free time of winter break can make the days feel longer and lonelier. Finding seasonal employment or volunteer opportunities is a great way for them to fill their days doing something productive. This gives a sense of structure and responsibility that they can commit to daily or during a scheduled time. Seasonal employment allows them to earn money that they can then spend on themselves and feel proud of earning.  

Physical Activity

Spending every day only playing video games or surfing the internet can lead to many downfalls for teens. With all the free time winter break has to offer, teens may find themselves forming a video game addiction or internet addiction,   due to relying on the pleasure these actions bring. Although the weather may not always permit outdoor activities, encourage them to hit the gym to exercise or play a sport. Exercise not only keeps the body in physical shape but also releases positive endorphins. The rigorous movement has been known to reduce symptoms of depression and, over time, can serve as a release for negative emotions. 

Set Aside Fun Time for Them

Have a specific day or time dedicated to doing something they enjoy. This could be going to their favorite ice cream shop or taking them somewhere fun for the weekend. Offer your child something to look forward to that isn’t necessarily related to the holidays. Going on a family outing or inviting their friends over can help put your teen in the right spirit while taking their mind off of any destructive ideas.

Teens often hide their feelings and emotions from adults, along with their substance use. For teens with SUD, the holidays can be an emotionally difficult time.  With all of the free time that winter break brings, it can leave time for their minds to roam and resort back to self-destructive coping mechanisms such as drug and alcohol use. At Clearfork Academy, we want to help teens identify the stressors in their life and teach them healthy coping strategies instead of self-destructive behaviors. We offer a range of behavioral therapies based on a treatment plan that is specific to your son’s needs. Our residential facility creates a safe, empathic, and judgment-free space that allows our patients to focus on recovery surrounded by staff and peers dedicated to helping them grow. Call Clearfork Academy at (888) 966-8604 to learn more about our treatment programs and get your teen the help they need today. 

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5 Psychologically Damaging Things You Can Say to a Teen in Recovery

A teenage girl sitting in front of a female psychologist and talking about teen problems

One of the most damaging misconceptions about addiction is that it is a moral failing. Addiction is a disease that affects the brain, not an individual’s character. This disease can happen to anyone, but too many use psychologically damaging statements that can either prevent or hinder a teen’s treatment for SUD. For this reason, Clearfork Academy encourages our team and parents to approach teens with a supportive and non-judgmental attitude.

#1. Refrain From Stigmatizing SUD

The stigma around SUDs continues to persist because of the residual presence of unevolved language and ideas regarding SUDs. Today, doctors and clinicians alike recognize SUDs as a chronic, treatable medical condition. Often, misinformation results in stigmatizing language being used. Unfortunately, teens with SUD often suffer the brunt of the stigmatizing language.

Affected by peer pressure and insecurities, any stigmatizing language, especially from the public, can prove detrimental to these teens and their treatment. Whether their peers, loved ones, or the public use stigmatizing language against SUD, it fosters certain sentiments like fear, pity, or anger amidst teens with SUDs, which will make it harder to convince the teen boys to enter treatment.

To assist their recovery, refrain from labeling your child with the term “addicted” or “alcoholic.” Such labels reduce their personhood to this chronic condition. Instead, choose “person-first language, which focuses on the person — not their illness.” Also, consider applying the following terms:

  • Person with a substance use disorder (instead of addict, user, substance or substance user, Junkie)
  • Person with an opioid use disorder (OUD)
  • Person with alcohol use disorder (instead of using alcoholic, drunk)

Listen instead of being condescending to people. Encourage them and give support in the right ways. They can provide you with the words that they prefer to describe their illness.

#2. Don’t Minimize Their Circumstances

Teens suffering from SUD benefit from the boundaries of sobriety. The structures of sober living clarify that all substance use should cease. Refrain from minimizing the severity of their addiction regardless of the length of sobriety. It’s not uncommon for those managing addiction to replace one addictive behavior with another. To show your support, avoid such sayings:

  • “One hit, puff, drink, or a few grams won’t hurt you.”
  • “You’re not addicted to marijuana. Just take it to relax.”
  • “It’s just beer.”
  • “You deserve to have a drink now and again.”
  • “It’s all about balance.”
  • “Just step away from the drink now and again.”

A part of recovery is avoiding other substances, such as alcohol, to minimize any relapse. Rather than minimizing the journey of recovery, find new sober ways to accompany them.

#3. Don’t Ignore Them Sharing Their Experiences

When a person shares their experiences regarding SUD, others may find the process of active listening challenging or daunting. If you find it hard to know what to say or do, don’t panic. Teens, at such a young age, particularly desire a listening ear. Try asking them a few open-ended questions that show you’re interested. You can even offer to listen at another date. It’s not always easy for people to talk, but it makes all the difference if you remain present.

#4. Avoid Complaining About Their Treatment Plan

Despite the cost of treatment, the time it takes out of the family schedule, and the impact on family dynamics, critiques can hurt your child’s chances. Your child will need a support system through thick and thin of their treatment plan. Complaining about the plan shows a lack of support for your child. When their recovery inevitably affects your time, finances, or emotional labor, it is essential that you are prepared to do what needs to be done for them to continue their recovery. For instance, they may desire your help with:

  • Taking them to or joining their weekly/daily recovery support groups
  • Attending family therapy sessions
  • Rearranging work or family responsibilities so they can attend to their treatment

Though the quick fix is tempting, the path to recovery from a SUD is often complex. Be patient, show up, and listen compassionately, for the reward of recovery is worth it for both you and them.

#5. Limit the Ultimatums

Ultimatums rarely work. Don’t create unnecessary added pressure by giving an ultimatum to your child with SUD. Instead of ultimatums, consider motivating them to seek treatment. Motivation is the key to making difficult lifestyle changes. Helping your child strengthen their own motivation increases the likelihood of them committing to treatment. Having a sense of confidence and independence also sets them up for sustaining recovery long after treatment.

It’s never too late to seek addiction treatment. This chronic condition holds a harmful influence over teens’ minds, bodies, and emotions. At Clearfork Academy we believe that having help and encouragement from loved ones makes all the difference. Often, people with SUD notice the stigma surrounding addiction. Stigmatizing language can stunt their motivation for finding treatment. Therefore, as you seek help for your son, we recommend educating yourself on this disease and how to address it with your child properly. As a parent, you want to help your children. Let them know that you’re here, that you’re listening, and that you care. It’ll help them feel less alone in the challenges they will face. The Clearfork Academy takes a supportive, non-judgmental approach to SUD education. We focus on the effects of drug use, the social contexts of drug use, and the treatment needs of teens who use substances. To learn more about our approach, contact us at (888) 966-8604.

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How Do I Help My Teen Who Has Relapsed?

How Do I Help My Teen Who Has Relapsed?

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

The Process of Relapses

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

As a process, relapses develop into three main stages:

  • Emotional
  • Mental
  • Physical

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

What to Say After a Relapse?

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

Recognizing Early Warning Signs

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

Some of the most common warning signs include:

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

Risk Factors of Relapse Among Teen Males

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

Circumstantial risk factors include:

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

Develop a Relapse Prevention Plan

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

Your plans should consider:

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

Clearfork Can Help

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

We offer the following services:

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

Let us join you on this journey of recovery.

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