Tag Archive: School

  1. Preparing Your Child to Go Back to School After Treatment

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    Preparing Your Child to Go Back to School After Treatment

    Going back to school can be exciting but can also cause anxiety for teens. There is the academic element, including preparing for college and adulthood, but the social aspect can cause a lot of pressure, too. Imagine, then, how much more stressful going back to school might be for your teen after they have been in treatment for substance abuse and mental health disorders. They will face all of these pressures while they are still new to recovery and dealing with cravings and triggers. As a parent or caregiver, it is essential to emotionally prepare your child to return to school after treatment.

    Creating a Supportive Environment for Your Teen

    One of the most helpful things you can do for your child as they take this big step after treatment is to maintain a healthy, supportive relationship with them. Help them understand that you are there for them and will listen to them and support them in any way you can. In addition to being available to talk when needed, your support might include:

    • Rides to therapy appointments
    • Walking or exercising with them
    • Providing them with healthy food choices
    • Access to support meetings
    • Setting and maintaining accountability for behaviors and choices
    • Providing academic support, such as tutoring, if needed

    By providing for their needs and also holding them accountable for their actions, you demonstrate your love for them in tangible ways. Being there for them, involved in their lives in realistic ways while also allowing them independence and the opportunity to make choices, you provide them with a supportive environment for their recovery.

    Facing the Rigors of Academic Achievement

    Every student faces stress from academic endeavors, even those for whom school is relatively easy. The workload is demanding, and the curriculum can be challenging, even for the most scholarly of students. The pressure to get good grades to be able to attend the college or university of their choice only adds to the stress level.

    This pressure can easily lead your child to relapse if they are unprepared. Talking with your teen about the academic expectations and assuring them that their mental wellness takes priority over academic achievement will help relieve some of this stress. Discussing realistic plans for managing homework, preparing for tests, and completing projects and assignments while still maintaining their daily recovery routine can help them create the right priorities and mindsets to face this pressure without relapsing.

    Managing the Social Pressures of Peers

    Social pressures can cause the most anxiety for teens returning to school. Meeting new people and making new friends or healing old relationships can create a wide range of emotions, and thus, behaviors. These emotions are powerful and can change very quickly as social circumstances change, making teens particularly emotionally volatile.

    Given that emotional triggers can easily cause relapse, it is important that you talk to your teen about managing the social pressures of school in advance. You can talk with them about preparing for situations that make them anxious, like meeting new people or being embarrassed, as well as situations that make them particularly emotional, such as friends that make them sad or angry.

    Making a Plan to Cope With Triggers at School

    Having established a supportive environment at home, your teen will need to develop a plan to cope with emotional triggers or cravings while they are at school. This may include involving a trusted adult, such as a school counselor or favorite teacher, who can offer a safe place to go when necessary. If possible, having a support network of at least one trusted friend at school can also help. Making sure your child practices coping strategies they can use in the moment, such as breathing techniques, urge surfing, and mindfulness meditation, can also help prepare them.

    Avoiding People, Places, and Activities That Could Cause a Relapse

    The most obvious triggers of returning to school will be the potential exposure to the people, places, and activities they associate with prior substance use or exposure to new opportunities for substance use. Facing these situations will be very difficult, and if they face them while under stress, these situations will be even more difficult.

    Making plans to avoid triggering situations as much as possible in the first place will help so that your teen is not tempting fate. Talking about potential situations in advance and helping your teen mentally walk through different scenarios and practice saying no or walking away from various situations will help them be prepared when situations arise. Knowing that you are aware of the challenges they will be facing and are there to support them will also help them to prevent a relapse.

    Helping your child prepare to return to school after treatment for substance use or mental health disorders can be very challenging. They will face anxiety about the academic rigors and social pressures that come with school. By providing them with love and support and helping them to make plans in advance to prevent a relapse, you can help your teen be successful. At Sustain Recovery, we believe that family is a part of recovery and that your support is invaluable at a time like this. Being a part of your child’s relapse prevention plan will help both of you be prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. Our Irvine, California, extended residential treatment program aims to help families prepare for relapse prevention by offering the education and coping skills needed to face stressful situations like returning to school. Call us at (949) 407-9052 to learn more.

  2. How to Help Kids Prepare To Return to School

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    returning to school

    While most kids still have their minds focused on summertime activities, parents know that schooltime is just around the corner. Unfortunately, adolescents who deal with addiction to drugs and alcohol can be at risk of having a difficult time transitioning back into school. We’ve got some tips for how to help stack the odds in your young patients’ favor, so they enjoy a successful new school year.

    Why This School Year Will Be Like No Other

    This fall, most schools will reopen fully for the first time in over a year. The pandemic proved to be a game-changer, forcing children of all ages to adapt to attending school from home. Many felt the loss of in-person contact with their teachers and the socialization of being with friends.

    Most children spent a long time dreaming about returning to the normalcy of going back to their school campuses. But, for some, that excitement has turned to trepidation. Many therapists report their young clients to feel reticence at going back to school this fall.

    “Re-entry agoraphobia,” and “cave syndrome,” and other terms have entered the lexicon. Consistently being homebound and avoiding socialization took its toll on many students. Family members and treatment professionals should start working with these young people now to help them assimilate more easily when the school year starts.

    The Fear Factor of Getting Sick

    Most adults understand how far society has come in terms of being protected against coronavirus. However, adolescents have a more difficult time grasping the intricate details related to pandemic health. Opening up a dialogue with your young patients about this can help dispel myths and build confidence.

    Talk about how many people, both adults and kids, have received the COVID vaccine. Ask if the child and their family members have gotten vaccinated yet. Provide age-appropriate information to help assure your client about how much protection the vaccine offers. By the time the fall semester begins, even more people will have been vaccinated. A general overview of how widespread the application will be can help soothe a worried child’s mind.

    Boundaries and Comfort Transitioning

    Discuss the importance of boundaries when it comes to post-pandemic choices. For example, many children feel they must acquiesce to adult preferences when it comes to physical contact. Let your patients know that they have autonomy related to things like if they want to hug or otherwise touch other people.

    A patient’s parents can contact the school or their child’s teachers to discuss rules related to COVID policies. If their child still feels more comfortable wearing a mask, make sure the teacher respects this choice. While no one wants to foster paranoia, some children will assimilate more easily if they go in stages.

    Planning for the Future

    So much of the past year has been about focusing on staying safe in the now. What steps would come next during the pandemic often remained a mystery. This mindset may have led some young people to stop planning for the future.

    Adolescents who struggle with substance use disorders often feel enveloped by an attitude of doom and gloom. Therefore, clearing the cloudy thoughts and preparing for their first steps as they enter adulthood is crucial. Whether they go to college, start working, or choose another avenue, excitement about their plans improves their chances of success.

    If you have a client in the right age range to plan for college, talk to them about their plans. See if they feel comfortable switching their mindsets to allow for seeing the future as bright and open. Talk about what type of career choices interest them and what schools they feel inclined to attend. School counselors can help your patients find a plethora of information.

    Don’t Neglect to Plan Relaxing Downtime For the Fall

    At-risk adolescents benefit from making solid plans for their future, but they also need downtime. Talk to your patients about what activities excite them. For example, high schools offer many options for sports teams, giving kids an outlet for getting some exercise and learning the benefits of working as part of a team.

    School and local community organizations offer group activities that appeal to many teenagers. Help involve your patient’s parents in looking at neighborhood groups, continuing education classes, and other sources that provide fun activities for young people. Volunteer work can also offer a way for adolescents to enjoy themselves while helping out their communities.

    Talk to your patients about how balancing school work and hobbies prove vital to living a healthy life. Too much of one while neglecting the other leads to imbalance. This imbalance can add stress to a young person’s life, which can be the impetus to them losing ground when it comes to staying in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

    While an adolescent’s mind may still be rooted in summer days, the new school year will be starting soon. Starting school this fall will be different than in past years, as students return to campus after a long time engaged in distance learning. Many kids may be nervous about feeling safe and need reassurance. Adolescents also may need assistance in switching back to the mindset of planning for their futures while enjoying recreational activities. Sustain Recovery offers several treatment programs for adolescents and young adults who struggle with addiction to drugs and alcohol. Many of our clients have attended other treatment programs that weren’t a good fit. We know how to help young people take responsibility for their lives while learning how to love and believe in themselves. Call Sustain Recovery today at (949) 407-9052 to find out how we can help a child return to their school lives as healthier individuals.

  3. Helping Your Client Imagine Multiple Choices for Their Futures

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    Young people often have “tunnel vision” when it comes to imagining their futures. They might have seized on an idea of how their lives are going to go. They believe it to be set in stone. They react negatively to any challenge to this, particularly from family members or authority figures. A lack of long-term life experience prevents them from seeing that committing to one plan does not mean they cannot change their minds. 

    Helping adolescent and young adult clients examine multiple choices for their future can have beneficial results. A skilled therapist can help teach them that they are allowed to try on different proverbial hats. Much like shopping for clothes, this process will enable them to see what options fit them the best and which ones to set aside. Once their future horizons expand, they may feel more excited about what’s to come. More choices can also foster a feeling of having more control in their lives.

    Deciding on College Plans Can Take Time

    Some families have “legacy” schools and expect their children to follow in familial footsteps. Parents and grandparents might exert pressure on their children to attend the university many family members previously attended. While educational traditions may be worth following in some families, a child should be allowed to consider all their options. 

    An adolescent or young adult might have chosen what is considered the family’s school of their own accord. While it may be the right choice for them, the rigidity of their choice may make them unable to entertain the idea of reconsidering it. If your client has their mind made up about a particular college or is already attending one, open a discussion about their choice. Questions to ask to get a dialogue going can include:


    • “Did someone else help choose the school for you?”
    • “Would there be blowback from family if you chose a different college?”
    • “What degrees and classes do the school offer that interest you?”
    • “Is the location of the school one of the deciding factors for you?”
    • “Do tuition and housing costs factor into your choice?”
    • “Do you see yourself going on to graduate school?”
    • “If you cannot get into this school, do you have backup choices?”


    Delve Into a Discussion About Career Choices

    Another family legacy that can crop up when a young person plans their future involves career choices. Some people decide on a career fairly early in life. Deciding on a career early in life can be particularly true if pressure comes from within the family to become yet another doctor, lawyer, or another specific profession. While many children walk happily in the footsteps of their family members, some might feel pressured into making that career choice. 

    Open up a dialogue with your client about how they settled on their choice of careers. If they express reticence about the degree they will pursue or are already working towards, let them know that there is room for negotiation. Many people change their college plans, even after they are a year or three into attending school. Adults who are long past obtaining their college diplomas often change careers. Let your client know that it’s okay to make alternative plans if the path they plan to walk becomes questionable.

    For some young people, the problem regarding careers is they don’t yet know what they want to do. Let them know that they don’t have to have a plan set in stone once they turn eighteen. Often a passion presents itself in their teenage years or even later. Help them brainstorm about subjects that interest them. Together you can look for college degrees that will allow them to study that topic and make a living from it. 

    Engaging in Hobbies Helps Provide a Well-Rounded Life

    A young person who has lost a lot of time while gripped by addiction may not have hobbies to turn to. Part of recovery can include looking for fun ways to pass the time. When an activity they are passionate about is in play, it can provide an interesting alternative to relapsing. Ask your client about any past hobbies they had. Gauge their interest in participating in them again once they have entered recovery. 

    If they lack inspiration, discuss what topics they enjoy and how to turn them into hobbies. If a client enjoys a particular sport, see what options there are for participating in it either solo or as part of a team. As society reopens post-pandemic, team sports will become more available. Run through a list of suggestions related to different subjects. See if your client might be interested in something from an artistic field, volunteer work, or activities that involve eye-hand coordination. A bonus for discovering a new hobby they love is that they may turn it into their career. 

    When a young client presents as being stuck in rigid decisions they cannot change, it can make their futures seem bleak. If they cannot make decisions about their future, this can cause anxiety and a fear of failing. Talking to your client about how they can be open to multiple options for college, careers, and hobbies can help motivate them to take charge. Knowing their horizons are limitless can be the knowledge they need to feel powerful. Sustain Recovery helps lead the charge when it comes to teaching young people how to embrace recovery. We also treat co-occurring disorders. Our multiple programs help young people expand their horizons and get excited about their futures. Our picturesque Southern California setting provides a home away from home to start life anew. Call us today for information on how we can help your young clients open up their worlds to an exciting, healthy future! (949) 407-9052

  4. How To Stay on Top of College Plans

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    Stressed About College

    ‘As we fully enter the new year, COVID-19 continues to influence many important life events. Balancing work and social life with quarantining takes up a lot of mental space for the average family these days. However, there is another concern weighing on the minds of many. Some of the most impactful decisions families and young people must make pertain to schooling. 

    The coronavirus has caused an upheaval in the routines related to attending high school, preparing for college, and the career choices adolescents make as they begin to head out into adulthood. The good news is you still have some control over how to proceed with schooling at the high school and undergraduate level. 

    Change in Rules for College Prep Tests

    Typically, a student headed for college takes the SAT or ACT in person. These exams are often required to gain entrance to most colleges and universities. The New York Times reported last fall that if COVID-19 continued as a long-term threat to in-person testing, digital versions of entrance exams would be developed. Digital versions of the SAT and ACT will allow students to take these exams at home. Suggested ways to help prevent cheating include “locking down” a computer to use only the testing screen. The student would also appear with their camera and microphone on, providing proctors the ability to monitor students as they take the exam. 

    Due to some colleges temporarily making them optional for incoming students, the SAT and ACT exams may prove a moot issue. Keep these developments in mind as you and your child investigate school choices. If a pre-entrance exam is required, whether virtual or in-person, many options exist for study guides, including software, books, and websites. Take advantage of these guides to prepare for exams and excel.

    Choosing a College is a Multi-Step Process 

    Many considerations factor into the decision of what college to attend. Distance from home, housing options, tuition, and degrees are among the most important choices to consider. It can take more than one discussion with your child to decide which schools to put on a “shortlist” to send applications to. Your child’s interests and abilities must be strongly considered. 

    If your child is uncertain about what subject major to choose, they can enter as “undeclared.” They can take some of the required classes, such as English and History, with various courses that may spark their interest in a degree program. Many students discover their passion by taking just one elective class, like Music, Psychology, or Accounting. If your child already knows what major they want, focus on colleges that offer degrees in that subject. 

    Remember that a student can major in one subject and minor in another, allowing them to expand their expertise and combine two subjects. For example, a major in Art combined with a minor in Business can help prepare a student to build a career running a gallery.

    Financial Factors to Consider

    If finances are limited, a local community college can offer a low-cost start to a college career. This can also cut costs by allowing the student to commute from home. If your child is moving out-of-town for school, investigate the price of living on-campus. On-campus living often includes meal plans in addition to room and board. Sharing an apartment off-campus with other students will not include meals. 

    Put on your “detective hat” and look for financial assistance, such as scholarships and grants. High school and college counselors can offer insight and tips for cutting the cost of tuition. Consult with friends and extended family members who have dealt with this previously, as well as sources like librarians, books, and internet-based articles. 

    Many students work part-time to help pay for their expenses while at school. University advisors can connect you with on-campus employment opportunities, such as working in the library or cafeteria. Advisors can also provide lists of companies in the area that frequently employ students. 

    Transportation is another factor to consider for cutting costs. Many college campuses are “walker-friendly,” meaning that many businesses and restaurants are near the campus, allowing students to walk or ride a bike for necessities and entertainment. Many colleges have trams or buses that cater to students, some of them free-of-charge. Utilizing these options may make a car’s need and its related expenses unnecessary, saving money over several years.

    College Is Still a Reality During a Pandemic

    Campus safety is concerning for both parents and students.  The coronavirus has amplified the need for heightened security. The vaccine is now being distributed, expected to be widely implemented by the time the fall semester rolls around. While the concern about the virus will still be a reality this fall, the vaccine means that things will be much different from last fall. Be sure to check with any college you are interested in to see what COVID compliance practices they use. Many schools are currently offering some or all online classes for the current semester, with details potentially changing this fall.

    Every parent gets a little nervous about helping their child prepare for and choose a college, but it’s even tougher during a pandemic. Last fall had families in a panic about college plans, but due to the vaccine being rolled out now, this fall will likely look different. It’s not too early to start investigating entrance exam choices, financial aspects, and which schools offer what your child needs. Sustain Recovery offers schooling assistance while your child attends treatment with us, allowing them to stay up-to-date with their studies. We provide comprehensive programs designed to help clients who might have been treatment-resistant in the past and can benefit from our long-term programs. Our staff of treatment professionals excels at guiding adolescents and young adults, allowing them to achieve and maintain sobriety, as well as manage any co-occurring mental illnesses. For more details about how we can help you or your loved one, call us today! (949) 407-9052

The people at Sustain Recovery are truly passionate about their work. They put all their love, energy and spiritual strength in to it. They continue to support me today as I continue my ongoing journey in my personal recovery. I now have over a year of sobriety, my own apartment, a job, true friends and a support network that is always available to me. Although all that stuff is great, what matters most today is that I love myself and have the ability to love others. Thank you to all who had a hand and heart in Sustain Recovery

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