The period after high school through the late 20s is now considered a unique developmental phase, emerging adulthood. For emerging adults life is typically filled with an unprecedented amount of change and a time for asking many deeply-personal life questions. When an emerging adult has an alcohol or drug abuse problem or addiction, parents are on the front lines trying to intervene and offer support.

The risks and detrimental effects of alcohol abuse by young adults under the age of 25 can have life-long consequences.  In a recent survey, nearly 80% of 17-18 year olds had consumed alcohol, with over 47% of these 17-18 year olds using alcohol regularly.

To help your young adult/teenager get the fullest from life, it is important to have an honest discussion about alcohol and its effects.  But what do you say and how do you do it? Here is a helpful guide on how to talk to your teenager about drinking.

First, don’t expect to only have one big discussion on alcohol, the subject should come up many times as your child grows.  Start young by creating regular, open, honest communications with your child.  Be casual and relaxed.  Be open to what your teen says, truly listen.  Keep your emotions in check (remember deep breaths if you hear something upsetting or irritating).  If your child feels comfortable talking with you, your discussions will be more effective.

Once you have good regular communications, you can begin to discuss alcohol.

  • Start with asking what your teen thinks about alcohol?  What does s/he know about it?  If your teen has used alcohol, calmly asked what they thought? Why they used it?  What was the result?
  • Share facts about alcohol.  It is a powerful drug.  Regular drinking by teenagers can create many problems:  teens have the highest rate of traffic accidents and alcohol use increases these risks; drinking affects coordination, the ability to think and make decisions; teens who drink are more likely to be the victim of violence; as well as experience longer term injury or damage to their brain. Point out the teen brain is still developing and alcohol affects normal development.
  • Talk about any perceived attractions or myths about drinking:  Does your teen feel peer pressure to drink?  Do they think drinking will let them be more social or fit in better?  Discuss alcohol commercials on TV and ads in magazines, where everyone is fit, beautiful, having fun.  What do they think alcohol will do or does do for them?
  • Point out that alcohol is a depressant and although it may seem to provide happy or pleasant feelings, these feelings don’t last and often people feel down, sad or even depressed after drinking.
  • Drinking is illegal, and there are serious consequences for teens arrested for drinking alcohol.
  • Be prepared to discuss your own drinking and history.  Your teen will likely ask.  Even if they don’t, it is best if you volunteer things you learned about drinking.  Share consequences you have experienced from drinking.
  • Also discuss any family history with drinking. If you have a family history of alcoholism, let your teen know that this means s/he is much more likely to become addicted, its in the family genes.
  • Ask about your teen’s friends.  What do they think about drinking or drugs?  Do they drink? Has your teen had any experience with people drinking?

All this may not happen in one conversation.  Always thank your child for the talk and for sharing. Appreciate their insights and their honesty. It is important to let them speak and feel open with you, but do not blur the lines on the parent/child relationship. Never allow your teenager to drinking at your house. It is illegal and it portrays the wrong message. Never drink with your teenager, even at family gatherings, its illegal, inappropriate, and damaging to their health.

Finally, be a role model.  Your actions speak much louder to your teen than words. If you drink, do so in moderation.  When discussing alcohol, don’t state it is good or helpful.  Also emphasize that for those older than 21 and particularly over 25 experience less brain impairment from alcohol.  Discuss the rules you have for yourself: never drinking and driving, setting limits on your own drinking either by quantity or days or amount of time, only drinking with friends or family, etc.

If you know or suspect your teen has a problem with alcohol, there are resources available that can help you and your teen. Early interventions are proven to be a helpful resource for many teenagers. If your teenager is over 18 years old, you may schedule an appointment with New Hope Recovery Center for a confidential assessment.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about young adults and addiction? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below: 

Warning Signs Your Teen is Drinking Alcohol Although drinking in moderation can be safe for adults, drinking by anyone under 21 can be a serious issue and should not be ignored, dismissed or minimized.  There are, of course, the immediate risks and harms a young adult may experience from drinking alcohol: they are more likely to have driving accidents, experience death from alcohol poisoning (excessive drinking), have violent behavior, be the victim of violent crime, to have unprotected sex, and to have depression and anxiety.

Long Term Impact of Alcohol and Drug Use on Emerging Adults Emerging Adulthood, the period of life from approximately age 18 to the late 20's, is not only a critical time for psychological and social development, but also for physical brain development. Contrary to a popular assumption that the brain is mature by the age of 18, recent studies have shown that profound brain growth and change still occur during Emerging Adulthood. [Studies]  The heavy use of drugs and alcohol during this time frame can inhibit a person’s brain development and have long term consequences.

Emerging Adults – Time of Stress, Change, and Possibly Addiction The period after high school through the late 20's is now considered a unique developmental phase, Emerging Adulthood.  For Emerging Adults life is typically filled with an unprecedented amount of change and a time for asking many deeply-personal life questions. Robin Marantz Henig discusses some of these changes in her New York Times Magazine article. Emerging Adults frequently change residences (slightly more than 30% move every year); change jobs (averaging seven jobs during their 20's these changes can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety.)

5 Things Parents Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse Parents of Emerging Adults (ages 18-late 20′s) are important partners in the prevention of drug abuse. In New Hope Recovery Center’s continuing efforts to assist parents, we want to pay special attention to a serious problem impacting Emerging Adults: prescription drug abuse which is the intentional use of medication without a prescription.  Parents may not be unaware of how serious this problem has become, so we want to share 5 must-know facts for parents of Emerging Adults.

Student Drug Abuse Warning Signs Young adults face many temptations and opportunities to use and abuse drugs and alcohol.  As a parent, it is important to allow for appropriate independence and growth for your student or young adult, but also to keep a watchful eye looking for warning signs or symptoms of drug or alcohol use/addiction. Part of growing up involves making mistakes and hopefully learning from them.  These teachable moments allow students and emerging adults to learn how to respond better in the future.  Students and emerging adults may not always be able to quickly identify and correct mistakes or difficulties they face. They also are more susceptible to peer pressure or having their viewpoints shaped by outside influences. For this reason, parents need to be closely aware of what is happening in their young adult’s life.

Fighting Peer Pressure: 3 Ways To Limit Addiction Risk in Young Adults Do you remember growing up and wanting to be liked and included in your peer group?  One of the hardest parts of growing up is feeling excluded from peer groups and while this can be challenging, it is also a normal part of the development of an Emerging Adult.  If it did not come naturally, you might remember changing your attitudes, values or behaviors to belong a certain peer group, which is exactly where your Emerging Adult may be developmentally.

 

Although drinking in moderation can be safe for adults, drinking by anyone under 21 can be a serious issue and should not be ignored, dismissed or minimized.  There are, of course, the immediate risks and harms a young adult may experience from drinking alcohol: they are more likely to have driving accidents, experience death from alcohol poisoning (excessive drinking), have violent behavior, be the victim of violent crime, to have unprotected sex, and to have depression and anxiety.

Equally concerning, a number of reports and studies indicate that drinking by young adults (anyone under 25 years of age) can have serious long-term consequences as well. It is now understood that the human brain is still developing and growing until the mid-20s.  Heavy drinking before the brain has completed its development can cause numerous long-lasting problems.  A recent study by neuroscientist Susan Tapert of the University of California, San Diego compared the brain scans of teens who drink heavily with the scans of teens who don't.  Tapert's team found damaged nerve tissue in the brains of the teens who drank. The researchers believe this damage negatively affects attention span in boys, and girls' ability to comprehend and interpret visual information.

According to a national survey of 43,093 adults, published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 47% of those who begin drinking alcohol before the age of 14 become alcohol dependent at some time in their lives, compared with 9% of those who do not drink until at least age 21.

In a study comparing the brains of youth ages 14 to 21 who did abuse alcohol with those who did not abuse alcohol, researchers found that the hippocampi of drinkers were about 10% smaller than in those who did not drink.  The hippocampus is the area of the brain critical for regulating emotions, for storing and recovering memory, in particular long-term memory and for spatial navigation.  Damage or stunting of the hippocampus can lead to loss of memory and difficulty in establishing new memories. For example with Alzheimer's disease the hippocampus is one of the first regions of the brain to be affected, leading to the confusion and loss of memory.

Drinking by young adults is a serious issue and can have potentially life-long consequences. So, how can you tell if your teen is drinking or abusing alcohol?  Here are some of the warning signs to look for:

Physical Warning Signs Of Alcohol Use And Abuse

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Shaking, tremors or seizures without a history of epilepsy
  • Poor personal grooming, hygiene and physical appearance
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor coordination
  • Injuries or bruises that your teen can’t remember how they happened
  • Smell of alcohol on breath, body, or clothing
  • Sudden use of breath mints or gum
  • Incoherent or slurred speech
  • Finding alcohol in your teen’s room or with belongings
  • Alcohol missing from house, discovering watered-down bottles of alcohol

Behavior Warning Signs Of Alcohol Use And Abuse

  • Missing school or classes
  • Drop in grades
  • Getting in trouble at school, or with the law
  • Increase in arguments, fights, accidents
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, hobbies or sports
  • Missing money or valuables or frequently asking for money
  • Increased isolation, silence, being withdrawn
  • Increase in secretive or suspicious behaviors
  • Refusing to discuss new friends, activities
  • Locking doors
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts
  • Using eye drops to hide bloodshot eyes
  • Unexplained change in personality and/or attitude
  • Sudden mood changes, irritability, outbursts

Many of the items listed are common in all teenagers.  Nearly all teens will be irritable and have abrupt mood changes due to the hormonal changes they are experiencing.  However, if several of these warning signs occur, be alert for more.  If you do find your teen is drinking or abusing alcohol, talk to them about it.  Explain to them the new findings on what alcohol does to teenage brains and its lasting impact.  See our article on “How to Talk to Your Teen About Alcohol” for more suggestions.

Finally, if you discover your teen is regularly drinking and the drinking is having consequences, look into treatment options for help.  New Hope Recovery Center can offer treatment suggestions for your teen/young adult. The early you intervene on teen drinking the better. Call 888-707-4673 to set up a confidential assessment.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about young adults and addiction? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below: 

How to Talk to Your Teenager About Drinking To help your young adult/teenager get the fullest from life, it is important to have an honest discussion about alcohol and its effects.  But what do you say and how do you do it? Here is a helpful guide on how to talk to your teenager about drinking.

Long Term Impact of Alcohol and Drug Use on Emerging Adults Emerging Adulthood, the period of life from approximately age 18 to the late 20s, is not only a critical time for psychological and social development, but also for physical brain development. Contrary to a popular assumption that the brain is mature by the age of 18, recent studies have shown that profound brain growth and change still occur during Emerging Adulthood. [Studies]  The heavy use of drugs and alcohol during this time frame can inhibit a person’s brain development and have long term consequences.

Emerging Adults – Time of Stress, Change, and Possibly Addiction The period after high school through the late 20s is now considered a unique developmental phase, Emerging Adulthood.  For Emerging Adults life is typically filled with an unprecedented amount of change and a time for asking many deeply-personal life questions. Robin Marantz Henig discusses some of these changes in her New York Times Magazine article. Emerging Adults frequently change residences (slightly more than 30% move everyyear); change jobs (averaging seven jobs during their 20s); move back with parents (more than 40% move back in with their parents at least once during their 20s); and often spend time living with a romantic partner (66%).  These changes can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety.

5 Things Parents Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse Parents of Emerging Adults (ages 18-late 20′s) are important partners in the prevention of drug abuse. In New Hope Recovery Center’s continuing efforts to assist parents, we want to pay special attention to a serious problem impacting Emerging Adults: prescription drug abuse which is the intentional use of medication without a prescription.  Parents may not be unaware of how serious this problem has become, so we want to share 5 must-know facts for parents of Emerging Adults.

Student Drug Abuse Warning Signs Young adults face many temptations and opportunities to use and abuse drugs and alcohol.  As a parent, it is important to allow for appropriate independence and growth for your student or young adult, but also to keep a watchful eye looking for warning signs or symptoms of drug or alcohol use/addiction. Part of growing up involves making mistakes and hopefully learning from them.  These teachable moments allow students and emerging adults to learn how to respond better in the future.  Students and emerging adults may not always be able to quickly identify and correct mistakes or difficulties they face. They also are more susceptible to peer pressure or having their viewpoints shaped by outside influences. For this reason, parents need to be closely aware of what is happening in their young adult’s life.

Fighting Peer Pressure: 3 Ways To Limit Addiction Risk in Young Adults Do you remember growing up and wanting to be liked and included in your peer group?  One of the hardest parts of growing up is feeling excluded from peer groups and while this can be challenging, it is also a normal part of the development of an Emerging Adult.  If it did not come naturally, you might remember changing your attitudes, values or behaviors to belong a certain peer group, which is exactly where your Emerging Adult may be developmentally.

 

Heavy teenage marijuana use could damage brain structures critical to memory and reasoning and the effects may be long lasting. Heavy pot use during teenage years is also connected with lower IQ.  It is well known that the human brain is not fully developed until 25-28 years of age.  Chronic or heavy pot use by teenagers may affect the brain as it develops, perhaps permanently.  A number of interesting recent studies look at marijuana use by teens and the possible effects it has on brain development.

Marijuana and Memory

According to new research by Northwestern Medicine, the brains of heavy marijuana teen users were altered in regions that involve memory and reasoning. Young people with such alterations performed worse on memory tests than the non-using control subjects, despite the fact that the heavy users had not used marijuana for more than two years, on average, before the testing.

The study looked at MRI brain scans of several areas of the brain.  Heavy pot users showed greater brain abnormalities than those who had not used marijuana. The researchers found that memory-related brain structures appeared to shrink and collapse inward. These findings could indicate long-term detriments to chronic marijuana use during the teen years.

Although this study doesn't prove causation, it does provide evidence of a need for caution.  It also showed that the earlier or younger the pot use began, the greater the brain’s abnormalities.

Mental Illness and Marijuana Connection

In June 2013, an Australian study showed that prolonged use of cannabis or marijuana by young adults was linked to a higher risk of developing psychosis.  The highest risk was for those who started using the substance in their teens, and continued using it for 6 years or more into adulthood. For this group, the risk of developing psychosis was more than double that of those who never used marijuana.

Marijuana and Dopamine

A recent study by Imperial College London revealed that long-term use of cannabis depletes dopamine, the feel-good chemical in the brain that inspires a spirit of get-up-and-go.  The study found greater dopamine depletion if marijuana use was heavier and if the first initial use was at an earlier age.

Marijuana and IQ

A long term study in New Zealand indicates that early and long term marijuana use may cause IQ to decrease.  The study measured IQ prior to age 13 and then surveyed over 1000 participants from a single city born in the same year over a period of decades.  According to the study, IQ decreased an average of 7-8 points by age 38 for those who used marijuana heavily at some point in the 25 years between ages 13 and 38, with greater decreases in IQ for those with longer periods of heavy marijuana use.

Conclusions

All of the studies show correlations and not actual direct cause.  However, we are seeing that heavy marijuana use in teens could be creating possible lasting changes in the brain.  The earlier heavy use begins, the greater the changes to the brain.

New Hope Recovery Center is Chicago’s premier addiction treatment facility.  If you would like information about our programs, including our New Hope with Pride program, contact us at 888-707-4636 (HOPE), info@new-hope-recovery.com or visit us in person or online.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about marijuana or young adults and addiction? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below: 

Marijuana Warning Signs: Is Your Teen Smoking Weed? Are you concerned your teenager or young adult is using marijuana? Below you will find the warning signs and symptoms for marijuana use. Marijuana use is very controversial across the nation, but something that cannot be denied, is the detrimental effect it has on young adults. It has been proven that young adults/teenagers who use marijuana have more problems with memory, attention and learning. They also struggle with their school performance, have an increased risk of problematic behaviors, and are more likely to suffer from depression and or anxiety.

Marijuana and Addiction Treatment All too often people enter treatment for addiction from a variety of substances with the belief that marijuana is not a drug.  “Alcohol is my problem, not marijuana” or “Marijuana is not addictive” – the list of justifications people use could fill an entire page.  We have all heard the term “gateway drug” in reference to marijuana but often the thought process is that this occurs early in the stages of addiction. However, we have seen that marijuana can be a gateway drug at any point in addiction or recovery.

Fighting Peer Pressure: 3 Ways To Limit Addiction Risk in Young Adults Do you remember growing up and wanting to be liked and included in your peer group?  One of the hardest parts of growing up is feeling excluded from peer groups and while this can be challenging, it is also a normal part of the development of an Emerging Adult.  If it did not come naturally, you might remember changing your attitudes, values or behaviors to belong a certain peer group, which is exactly where your Emerging Adult may be developmentally.  Something that young adults may do to fit into a certain peer group is use drugs and alcohol as a means to fit in.  You can help them avoid drug or alcohol abuse and the risk of addiction by teaching useful skills for handling peer pressure and maneuvering this critical period of life.

Student Drug Abuse Warning Signs Young adults face many temptations and opportunities to use and abuse drugs and alcohol.  As a parent, it is important to allow for appropriate independence and growth for your student or young adult, but also to keep a watchful eye looking for warning signs or symptoms of drug or alcohol use/addiction. Part of growing up involves making mistakes and hopefully learning from them.  These teachable moments allow students and emerging adults to learn how to respond better in the future.  Students and emerging adults may not always be able to quickly identify and correct mistakes or difficulties they face. They also are more susceptible to peer pressure or having their viewpoints shaped by outside influences. For this reason, parents need to be closely aware of what is happening in their young adult’s life.

Long Term Impact of Alcohol and Drug Use on Emerging Adults Emerging Adulthood, the period of life from approximately age 18 to the late 20s, is not only a critical time for psychological and social development, but also for physical brain development. Contrary to a popular assumption that the brain is mature by the age of 18, recent studies have shown that profound brain growth and change still occur during Emerging Adulthood. [Studies]  The heavy use of drugs and alcohol during this time frame can inhibit a person’s brain development and have long term consequences.

 

 

Are you concerned your teenager or young adult is using marijuana? Below you will find 38 warning signs and symptoms for marijuana use. Marijuana use is very controversial across the nation, but something that cannot be denied, is the detrimental effect it has on young adults. It has been proven that young adults/teenagers who use marijuana have more problems with memory, attention and learning. They also struggle with their school performance, have an increased risk of problematic behaviors, and are more likely to suffer from depression and or anxiety.

Physical signs of pot smoking or marijuana use:

  • red bloodshot eyes, squinting or half closed eyes
  • constant, mucus-filled cough
  • rapid heartbeat
  • dry mouth (cotton mouth)
  • poor coordination
  • slow reaction time

Behaviors that may indicate marijuana use or marijuana addiction:

  • Difficulty problem solving or keeping thoughts together
  • Poor memory, particularly short term or things recently occurring
  • Extreme or unusual hunger or increased eating (especially snacks and sweets), usually called the munchies
  • Acting silly or in a giggly manner
  • Acting slow, lethargic, dazed or confused
  • Lack of motivation, enthusiasm
  • Loses train of thought, rambling, disjointed in a conversation
  • Paranoia

Finding these items on your teen, in their room or with their belongings, likely indicates frequent marijuana use:

  • Visine or other products for red eyes
  • Cigarette Rolling Papers
  • Bongs
  • Metal clips or small clamps
  • Pipes
  • Cigars
  • Cans with holes cut on side
  • Small baggies
  • Dried plant residue, looking like dried oregano
  • Frequent use of incense, air freshener, cologne or perfume
  • Small burn marks on finger tips (particularly thumb and index or middle finger), lips
  • Posters, stickers, buttons, pins, clothing or other items with marijuana leaves, or mentioning marijuana or 420
  • Increased use of mouthwash, mints or gum
  • Smelling like marijuana or a skunk-like smell on your teen, in their bedroom, on their clothes
  • Signs that a towel has been put under the door (to stop smoke and smells from getting out)
  • Hemp Items

Changes in your teen that may indicate marijuana use:

  • Sudden change in friends
  • Talking in code or odd communication with their friends
  • Interest in taking short walks, going outside for short periods of time
  • Sudden drop in education or job performance
  • Loss of interest in once enjoyed activities, pursuits, hobbies
  • Absences from school or work
  • Frequent requests for money with nothing tangible to show
  • Lost valuables or semi-valuable items from the house

If you observe several of these warning signs, it is likely that your child is using marijuana. Finding any of the paraphernalia items, such as bongs, pipes, rolling papers, etc. is a very good indication that he/she is smoking pot frequently.

Marijuana can sometimes have lasting effects on young adults because a young adult’s brain does not fully develop until age 26.  If you are concerned about your teen’s use of marijuana or other drugs, it is important to get help immediately. Brief interventions are very beneficial resources along with individual counseling and therapy when necessary.

New Hope Recovery Center treats chemical dependency for adults 18 years of age or older, however if you know a teen that is struggling with drugs or alcohol, please call New Hope Recovery Center at 773-883-3916 or contact us via email at info@new-hope-recovery.com and we can direct you to the proper resources that can be of help for teens or adolescents.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

As 2013 comes to a close, we wanted to review our most popular articles during the year.  In reviewing the most viewed articles, four major themes emerge as the top concerns and focus of our readers during this year.

Warning Signs

It is clear that many people are interested in determining if they or a loved one suffers from addiction.  Several of our most-read articles dealt with warning signs for various potential addictions.

 

Heroin, Heroin, Heroin

If there was one prominent addiction theme during 2013, it was definitely heroin.  Heroin received both local and nationwide focus.  Its availability and low price seemed to put it at the forefront for many addiction treatment centers.  Sadly, too many lives were lost due to heroin use this past year, including Cory Monteith from Glee.  Many Chicago-area counties have seen a large increase in the number of heroin/opiate related deaths. Several of our most reviewed articles dealt with heroin.  In addition to the Heroin Abuse Warning Signs mentioned above, these two articles were also very popular:

 

Parents Concern for Their Children

Another area that received the many readers involved articles written for parents about their children's addiction.  The number of late teens and early twenties in treatment has been drastically increasing in recent years.  The following were our most popular articles geared toward parents:

 

LGBTQI

The final area of our most-read articles dealt with LGBTQI issues and concerns:

All of us at New Hope Recovery Center wish you a Healthy and Happy New Year.  We are looking forward to 2014 and will continue to provide helpful articles on current issues and concerns seen by us and our clients and their families. You can reach New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707-HOPE (4673), or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center's Medical Director Dr. Marla Kushner speaks about  the drug "Molly." Although Molly has been around for many years, it has recently hit the media with a much stronger presence. There has been 4 deaths this summer due to its usage. In terms of mind altering substances, Molly is becoming quite popular for the younger generations. To hear the radio broadcast click the link below:

Party Drug 'Molly' Sparks Concern - Radio Broadcast

More 'Molly' Related Articles:

Concert Deaths: 4 Myths About the Drug Molly 

Recent Concert Deaths Highlight Dangers of Molly

Health Officials Caution Against Concert Drug 'Molly' after Music Festival Deaths 

 

For the college student struggling with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, things can look bleak, but there is hope. Over the years we have seen many college students who were forced to drop out of school due to their addiction. We also saw others that were struggling to maintain their grades due to their addiction to alcohol and/or drugs. Based on our evidence based treatment methods, with the right treatment program, increased support and refocused priorities, these students were able to start living healthy, happy sober lives and are continuing with their education.

College Student If you are a college student who has experienced or are experiencing consequences because of your use of drugs or alcohol, look into treatment options immediately. Addiction does not get better on its own. There are a number of options available that can fit your schedule and your life. The first step is to get an assessment done by a local treatment center. They can then inform you of the options that will fit for you and explain why. Any person who is 18 years or older is able to go into any treatment center and get an assessment with full confidentiality.

Parent of College Student Does your student shows signs of addiction? If so, realize that getting help early is best.  Most schools understand students having a semester or two away. This is more preferable than your student being asked to leave. If your student is asked to leave, talk with them about their struggles. If addiction to drugs or alcohol is present, treatment is the next step.

College Counselor College counselors may be the first to recognize addiction issues in a student. It is not easy to determine the difference between addiction and normal college behavior. You can help your students to having possible resources and options available for them to consider. These options can range from drug and alcohol education, to assessments, to short intervention treatments, to local treatment facilities.

Addiction Treatment Options for College Students

  1. Residential Treatment involves living at the treatment facility in a closely monitored environment. This treatment is most helpful for students who need the close scrutiny of treatment staff.
  2. Partial Hospitalization involves full day treatment with the student living at a sober living facility or other safe environment. This treatment is best for students who are already in a safe, sober living environment already.  It provides them with the full treatment of Residential Treatment, but allows more integration with the world outside of treatment.
  3. Intensive Outpatient includes treatment during a portion of the day generally for 3-4 days per week. This option can be an excellent choice for the fully committed student who is still in good standing at college. The treatment can usually fit in a normal class schedule.  For example, at New Hope Recovery Center we offer both morning and evening IOP programs.  Being in an IOP program not only requires strong commitment and dedication but also a good level of      self-awareness. The student must understand and be willing to change the areas of their current living that must be changed for sober success.

If you are a college student who is experiencing negative consequences from using drugs or alcohol, or you are the parent, counselor, or friend of such a college student, explore options for addiction education and treatment in the area.  With successful treatment and continuing support, the student can resume their path of education.

New Hope Recovery Center is Chicago’s premier alcohol and drug addiction treatment facility.  We have experience treating all adult age groups including college students.  We also have a treatment program New Hope With Pride that provides specific programming for our LGBT community members. If you would like guidance or help in handling your own addiction or that of a loved one, please contact us at 773.883.3916.

See these articles for guidance and assistance:

1. Student Drug Abuse Warning Signs

2. 5 Things Parents Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse

3. Alcohol or Drug Addiction Healthy Boundaries for Parents

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

We previously discussed Chicago’s heroin epidemic and saw that the rapid increase in young adults becoming addicted to heroin is truly startling. There are steps that parents can take to prevent their loved ones from becoming a sad statistic of the heroin epidemic.

DO NOT keep prescription medications in an  easily accessible spot such as in your medicine cabinet. Protect your prescriptions by monitoring them and check periodically to see if any are missing. Particularly dangerous for your youth are the opiate-based painkillers, such as Vicodin and Oxycontin. As we mentioned, these opiate-based drugs have increasingly become a major gateway to heroin use.

DO NOT assume it can’t happen to your child – no young adult is immune.

DO pay attention to your youth’s friends. Most heroin use results when current friends begin using, as opposed to getting new friends who use. If you notice signs of drug and heroin use in friends, or your youth begins to spend a great deal of time with new friends, pay attention.

DO look for warning signs of heroin use which include:

  • Loss of interest in family
  • Sudden decrease in appetite - unexplained weightloss
  • Drop in grades
  • Increased secretiveness
  • Sullen, withdrawn, depressed
  • Unusually tired
  • Silent, uncommunicative
  • Hostile, angry, uncooperative
  • Frequent requests for money
  • Missing valuables
  • Lethargic, no motivation
  • Nodding off
  • Unable to speak intelligibly, slurred or rapid-fire speech
  • Decrease in personal hygiene or personal care
  • Needle marks
  • Paraphernalia: smalls baggies, needles or needle tip covers, small cotton balls, burns on spoons, any tube-like objects such as inkless pens, straws, rolled up money
  • Large increase in mileage on car odometer

DO understand the workings of heroin. Withdrawal symptoms are horrible and often are what keep the addict using. These symptoms are quite painful and unpleasant:

  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Severe muscle aches
  • Severe bone aches
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Cold sweats and chills
  • Dilated pupils
  • Involuntary spasms
  • Nausea/Vomiting

ACTIONS TO TAKE:

1. Educate your youth about drugs, and heroin in particular. Don’t rely on schools for heroin education. The typical drug education provided in schools does not adequately cover heroin dangers. Check out Heroin Prevention Education - it is a great source of information.

2. Discuss the extremely addictive nature of heroin and the horrible withdrawal symptoms.

3. Discuss the dangers and effects of prescription drugs. Listen to what your young adult thinks about prescription drugs.

4. Contact Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization (HERO) They offer guidance and education regarding heroin use.

5. Realize that heroin and opiate-based prescription drugs are VERY addictive. Your youth will almost certainly not be able to just stop on their own. They will need professional treatment and possibly medical help.

6. Understand that snorting and smoking is just as dangerous as injecting. Most people begin using heroin by using snorting and quickly move on to injecting. We have seen parents mistakenly believe that snorting pills or drugs is not a big concern - IT IS!

7. Take action IMMEDIATELY if your young adult is using heroin or any opiate-based drug. Remember how addictive heroin is AND how lethal. With a median age at death of 30, understand you are dealing with a VERY dangerous substance. Fast action is critical. Don’t let shame or guilt keep you from quickly getting help.

New Hope Recovery Center has had years of experience treating heroin addiction in young adults 18 and over. Contact us anytime at 773-883-3916 or via email at info@new-hope-recovery.com if you have questions or need help.

By Jeff Zacharias LCSW CAADC RDDP

As an addiction treatment center in Lincoln Park, Chicago, we see trends in addiction first hand.  Although all addictions are heartbreaking, nothing has touched us as deeply as the current heroin epidemic among young people.  We have seen young adults in their late teens and early twenties struggling to recover from one of the most dangerous, addictive and life-threatening drugs.  It is a hard struggle - for both the addicts and their families.

We are writing this with the hope that more parents will recognize that there is a HUGE problem in our own backyards and it is affecting our children and their friends.  From what we have seen, no child is safe - cheerleader, athlete, straight-A college student, gifted and academically challenged - heroin addiction has affected them all.  It is truly an epidemic.

Some grim statistics:

1.  The Chicago metropolitan region ranks worst in the nation for heroin use and problems associated with heroin use.

2. More people die in Illinois from overdose than from accidents!

3. Heroin ranks as #2 (behind only alcohol) among substances that people seek treatment for in Illinois.

4. Overdose deaths in the Chicagoland area have increased exponentially with some surrounding counties seeing 100-150% increases in the number of yearly heroin-related deaths over the past 5 years.

5. In 2010, the Chicago area had 24,360 heroin-related emergency room visits, nearly double the 12,226 for New York City’s 5 boroughs.  Chicago’s rate of heroin-related emergency room visits per 100,000 people is the highest in the country.

6. Over 50 percent of heroin dependent persons will be dead before the age of 50, with the mean age of death being 30! (“Understanding Suburban Heroin Use” Illinois Consortium On Drug Policy and Roosevelt University)

7. Heroin use is now most common in Illinois among white, suburban middle and upper class youth.

What’s going on?  Why is heroin usage spiking in Chicago?  Several factors have fueled the current Chicago heroin epidemic:

Heroin Purity:  Heroin is much more pure.  Heroin is now typically 30%-50% pure, compared to less than 10% pure about 11 years ago.  Because the heroin has higher purity, it looks like cocaine.  Also, higher purity heroin can be snorted or smoked to get the same high that required injection a few years ago.

Cheap:  There is a substantially more heroin in Chicago.  Heroin from Mexico has increased exponentially while Afghanistan has once again become the world’s largest heroin producer.  As a major transportation hub, Chicago has been flooded with cheaper higher quality heroin.

Vicodin and Oxycontin Use as Gateway:  Opiate-based painkillers have increasingly become the gateway to heroin use and addiction.  Young adults frequently start out by using prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and Oxycontin.  When prescription drugs become too expensive or too difficult to get, the young adults begin using heroin, often by smoking or snorting.  (They falsely believe it is less addictive to snort or smoke heroin which is completely untrue!)  Often within weeks or months, they are shooting heroin intraveniously.

Cocaine Use as Gateway:  The other primary gateway to heroin use is cocaine.  As mentioned above, today’s higher purity heroin looks like cocaine; it can be snorted or smoked.  Because of these perceived similarities to cocaine, young adults are increasingly moving from cocaine use to heroin use.  Heroin is cheaper, so as drug use increases and money becomes tight, young adults begin to use heroin.

Willingness to try:  Young people in Chicago frequently believe that they can just “try” heroin.  They often equate heroin with opiate-based prescription drugs.  They see these prescription drugs in the medicine cabinet and have a false sense of safety.  They also don’t receive adequate heroin-specific education while in school and don’t understand the grave risks of heroin use.

Caution for Parents:  DO NOT believe that your young adult is immune from using heroin.  It is an epidemic.  If you suspect heroin use, GET HELP IMMEDIATELY.

Heroin usage is not a phase.   It is one of the world’s most highly addictive substances.  Estimates vary, but it is believed that up to 25% of individuals trying heroin once become addicted.

Do not let shame or guilt stop you from getting help for your young adult - quickly.  With the median age of death for heroin addicts at 30, realize that death from heroin is inevitable unless the addict gets treatment.

New Hope Recovery Center is experienced handling heroin addiction.  Please contact us at 773-883-3916 or via email at info@new-hope-recovery.com if someone you love is addicted to heroin or you suspect is using heroin.

By Jeff Zacharias LCSW CAADC RDDP

Do you remember growing up and wanting to be liked and included in your peer group?  One of the hardest parts of growing up is feeling excluded from peer groups and while this can be challenging, it is also a normal part of the development of an Emerging Adult.  If it did not come naturally, you might remember changing your attitudes, values or behaviors to belong a certain peer group, which is exactly where your Emerging Adult may be developmentally.  Something that young adults may do to fit into a certain peer group is use drugs and alcohol as a means to fit in.  You can help them avoid drug or alcohol abuse and the risk of addiction by teaching useful skills for handling peer pressure and maneuvering this critical period of life.

Peer pressure comes from feeling bad saying “no” to a friend’s request.  It can be one of the biggest pitfalls for Emerging Adults when it comes to alcohol and drug use and addiction.  Well-intended kids may make poor decisions that can result in serious consequences.

The best approach for you and your young adult is to have a game plan on how to manage peer pressure.  The more often you communicate about the challenges of peer pressure, the more effectively he/she will be able to respond and make healthy decisions.  Here are 3 ways to limit addiction risk in young adults:

1) Encourage involvement in school or community activities

If your young adult is not connected with peers and friends in positive ways, there is a greater risk of them feeling lonely and struggling with peer pressure.  As a result, there is a increased chance of forming, and enduring, unhealthy relationships if there are not many other options.

You can help by focusing on your Emerging Adult’s strengths and interests.  Help identify what they love and where those passions intersect with school, work or community activities.  Encourage attending informational meetings about those activities or introduce them to students or adults who lead those activities.

Coach them on how to get involved and reinforce behavior that is a step in the right direction.  Participating in these activities will provide greater self-confidence and more connectedness.  Then, if your Emerging Adult encounters negative peer pressure, he or she will be less likely to succumb to it. Although Emerging Adults are between the ages of 18-28, the support and knowledge coming from an adult who is their senior is always helpful. This can be a parent, aunt, uncle, older cousin, grandparent, parent’s friend, etc.

2) Teach coping skills to deal with stress

As we have written previously, stress is common for Emerging Adults as they manage academic course loads or new jobs, take on more responsibilities and develop peer and intimate relationships.  In fact, with all the changes occurring for Emerging Adults, this is perhaps the most stressful time they will ever experience.  If your young adult has not fully developed skills for effectively coping with stress, there is a greater risk that drugs or alcohol will be used as a means to cope with the inevitable stress.  When peers use, or offer use of drugs or alcohol, it may be tempting for your young adult to also use in order to unwind, relax, forget about problems, fit in, or feel better so it is important to talk about strategies to manage stress - it will help down the road.

3) Teach healthy assertiveness

An excellent way to help your Emerging Adult navigate peer pressure is to enhance their assertiveness skills, which will help define, and defend personal boundaries.  Confidence is important along with open and honest communication empowers them to state their desires, beliefs and boundaries without feeling compelled to conform to others.  Once on the path of healthy assertiveness, the Emerging Adult will begin to feel more confident and will gain respect from peers.  Most importantly, they will be prepared to be true to their own personal values and avoid peer pressure to use drugs and alcohol.

Here is a five-step approach for healthy assertiveness you can practice:

1) Identify a specific event involving drugs or alcohol that called for an assertive response.

2) Determine what personal right was involved  (i.e., the right to say “no”).

3) Process how your young adult responded. What was said?

4) Reinforce what was done well in the situation.

5) Discuss what can be done next time to be assertive if that situation is repeated.

Teaching Emerging Adults certain skills that are useful in social situations involving drugs or alcohol helps them avoid poor decisions and dangerous situations when parents are not present.

Summary

Peer pressure is a normal part of Emerging Adult development.  While peer pressure can be positive, there are many instances where peer pressure has put Emerging Adults at greater risk of using drugs and alcohol. You can help them by encouraging involvement in activities, teaching tools how to manage stress and honing assertiveness skills.  With your help, your Emerging Adult can avoid succumbing to peer pressure to abuse drugs or alcohol.

In the event your child does struggle with addiction, or appears to be abusing drugs or alcohol, intervene early.  Know the warning signs of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction and be prepared to act - early intervention and treatment are critical to helping your Emerging Adult succeed in life.  If you know of a young adult who needs help with their use of drugs and alcohol, please Contact  New Hope Recovery Center at 773-883-3916 or via email at info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written by Mark O'Brien MS, LCPC Program Coordinator of Emerging Adult Program