Why Do Teens Use Drugs?

Why Do Teens Use Drugs?

To combat teen drug use, it is crucial to understand why do teens use drugs in the first place. In a child’s earliest years, the parents are responsible for making the right decisions to ensure their child’s safety, development, growth, and health. As the child enters their pre-teenage and teenage years, they start to make their own decisions and form their own, unique personality.

These teenage years are critical to the child’s overall outlook on life, but they can be extremely worrisome for the parent. Their child will be exposed to a world of new risks and dangers that could have a negative impact on their ability to live a healthy, happy, and rewarding lifestyle. 

Of all the risks teenagers encounter, one of the most dangerous is the use of drugs and other harmful substances. It can lead to a number of other bad decisions and could result in drug abuse or drug addiction as they grow older. As we know, this often leads to self-harm or death.

Why do teens use drugs?

The CDC estimates that two-thirds of all seniors have tried alcohol at least once. Nearly half of all high school students have tried marijuana, about 40% of high schoolers have smoked a cigarette, and nearly 20% have taken a prescription drug without a medical prescription. 

Teen drug use is a growing problem in this country, but why do teens use drugs? Well, let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons:

  • To satisfy boredom
  • To experiment; satisfy curiosity
  • To forget their problems; feel good
  • To ease their pain
  • To feel grown-up; feel independent
  • To fit in; give in to peer pressure
  • To improve performance (academically, athletically)
  • They’ve become addicted to the drug

With that said, some factors can help reduce a child’s chance of using or abusing drugs. This includes having a good relationship with their parents, having high self-esteem, surrounding themselves with the right people, and staying busy with extracurricular activities.

What Drugs are Commonly Abused by Teens?

It can be a bit unsettling to know that teenagers are using or abusing drugs, and that feeling only grows more intense when we learn the many different types of drugs teenagers are using. When you consider the consequences, especially at such an early age, it’s a harrowing reality.

Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly abused drugs by teenagers:

  • Alcohol – since alcohol is readily available in most teenagers’ homes, it’s often one of the first drugs or substances they try. To avoid this, keep your alcohol hidden from kids. 
  • Nicotine – similar to alcohol, tobacco products are readily available in homes throughout the world. While tobacco is legal for those above the age of 18, it should be avoided. 
  • Marijuana – with many states legalizing marijuana, it’s available and accessible now more than ever. It doesn’t take much for a teenager to get their hands on some. 
  • Prescription Drugs – many children and teenagers are under the assumption that prescription drugs are safe and unharmful, since they’re prescribed by a doctor. 
  • Over-the-Counter Drugs – since over-the-counter drugs are in most medicine cabinets in the home, they’re easy for teenagers to use and abuse. 
  • K2 (Spice) – also known as synthetic marijuana, spice is a very common drug among teenagers that can’t get access to marijuana. K2 (spice) is a highly-addictive drug. 

Some drugs are more addictive and dangerous than others, but there’s absolutely no reason why teenagers should be misusing or abusing any of the drugs listed above. It can cause a great deal of distress not just in your life, but in the lives of those that love and care about you.

What are the Signs of Teen Drug Use?

Now that you know what causes teens to use drugs and why teenagers try drugs, you’ll also want to familiarize yourself with the many different signs of teen drug use. By detecting it early, you can begin the process of teaching your child the dangers and risks involved in drug use.

Here are some of the most common signs of teenage drug use:

  • Lack of interest in hobbies they once loved
  • Hanging out with the wrong crowd
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Frequently breaking the rules
  • Physical signs, including weight loss, red eyes, bloody noses, and tremors
  • Avoiding contact, acting distant, or isolating themselves
  • Engaging in secretive or suspicious activity
  • Stealing money, cigarettes, or alcohol
  • Poor performance in school
  • Constantly asking for money

If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, don’t hesitate to take action. Consider contacting their primary doctor or pediatrician to discuss the next steps. If you believe it’s needed, you can also seek the help of a treatment program designed to help teenage drug users.

How to Find Drug and Alcohol Treatment for Teens

There are so many reasons why teens do drugs, and while they’re more accessible now than ever, that doesn’t mean children should use, misuse, or abuse them. If you believe your child is using drugs, there are things you can start doing today to ensure that it comes to an end.
That’s where we come in. At The Last House, we take great pride in our ability to provide sober living in Los Angeles. If you’d like to learn more about men’s sober living program in Los Angeles, contact us immediately!

Why are Teens More Vulnerable to Addiction?

Why are Teens More Vulnerable to Addiction?

Teens have been found to be vulnerable to addiction when they start experimenting with drugs, and rates have been rising over the years. Alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco are the substances that are most commonly used by young adults. Unfortunately, there are some risks of substance use that are unique to teens and young adults. For example, drug use can affect their growth and development, especially with the brain, frequently occurs with other risky behaviors, and can contribute to other health problems in their adult life such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and sleep disorders. 

What Causes Addiction?

The development of an addiction first starts in the brain. It starts with a neurotransmitter known as dopamine, which is a chemical in the brain that causes us to feel happiness. Typically daily activities that can release this neurotransmitter include things like eating your favorite dessert, seeing a family member, or doing a hobby that you enjoy. When drugs are ingested, an excessive amount of dopamine is released in the brain, causing a more intense form of happiness known as euphoria, which is known as the “high” that drugs cause. Because this high is very pleasurable and much more intense than typical daily activities can achieve, individuals will often continue using drugs to chase that high. This behavior leads to addiction and dependence on drugs. 

How is Teen Addiction Different?

Teen addiction is slightly different because they are often used for different reasons that adults report for using substances. For example, teens are highly influenced by their peers and may be more inclined to give in to peer pressure to use substances and “fit in.” Some teens also have difficult home lives that they are trying to cope with that are mostly out of their control until they are old enough to move out on their own. Additionally, teens are often not equipped with the tools to cope with peer pressure and other life stressors in the way that adults are, so they may be more likely to turn to drugs to cope if they are exposed to them. 

Why are Teens More Vulnerable to Addiction?

Teens have been found to be more vulnerable to developing an addiction if they start experimenting with drugs at this age. Some reasons for why they are more vulnerable to addiction include:

  • Teens do not experience withdrawals as intensely as adults do. Therefore, this is not something that may deter them from using the substance. 
  • Teens’ brains are more focused on the reward they get from the dopamine release than they are about the negative effects of drugs. Therefore, using reasoning skills is difficult for them because their brains are biased. 
  • Their frontal lobe is still developing. The frontal lobe is what is used when reasoning skills are being used and developed. In addition to their brains being more focused on the reward they get from dopamine, they are also not equipped to weigh the pros and cons of experimenting or mixing drugs, to begin with. 

How to Find Teen Drug and Alcohol Rehab

It can be challenging to try to help your child with their addiction. It’s tough when they are not ready for treatment. However, talking with them, going over their options, and letting them know that you will always be there for support can be helpful. Once they are ready for treatment, it’s important to point them in the right direction of trusted mental health professionals that are trained in substance use. The Last House can help. 

The Last House has been around for over ten years to help men strive to achieve sobriety in their life. We offer a supportive environment with skilled staff whose passion is to help those with addiction concerns and services that promote building skills to maintain a sober lifestyle. Our program includes groups, therapy, accountability, and exploring sober activities. When you leave The Last House, you will leave with long-lasting connections and the skills you need to continue your sobriety long-term. The Last House is connected with Thrive Treatment to easily contact quality treatment teams to ensure the care you are getting is consistent. 
Contact us today to learn more about our program and how we can help you.

Top 10 Most Common Drugs Abused by Teens

Top 10 Most Common Drugs Abused by Teens

Teens often experiment with drugs for many different reasons. Although alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana are the most common substances used by teens, there are many others that parents and caregivers should be aware of that are also commonly abused. Some are prescription or over-the-counter drugs that are abused, and some are entirely illegal drugs. 

What are the 10 Most Common Drugs Abused By Teens?

The following data represents the most common drugs abused by teens and the percentage of teens that have used each substance in the past year. 

  1. Alcohol
  2. Tobacco/Nicotine
  3. Marijuana: 36.4%  
  4. Amphetamines: 8.7% (the top drug used in this category being Adderall at 7.4%)
  5. Synthetic marijuana: 7.9%
  6. Prescription painkillers: 7.1% (the most common drugs in this category are Vicodin at 5.4% and OxyContin at 3.6%)
  7. Cough medicine: 5.0%
  8. Sedatives: 4.8%
  9. Tranquilizers: 4.6%
  10. Hallucinogens: 4.5%

Why Do Teens Abuse Drugs?

There are many reasons teens might abuse drugs. It depends on the individual, their personality, environment, and more. Some reasons that teens may abuse substances include: 

  • Trying to fit in – Teens will often use drugs when they perceive that everyone else their age is doing it. They don’t want to miss out, and they want to be able to fit in, so they experiment with drugs too. This is especially true for teens who have a friend group actively using drugs.
  • To feel high – Drug use can cause the brain to release a lot of chemicals that cause a “high” or a feeling of euphoria. Teens will often experiment with drugs in effort of chasing this high.
  • To ease difficult emotions – Teens will often use drugs to feel better when they are experiencing depression, anxiety, or stress. They may use it to numb the pain or to experience euphoria in place of that emotion. 
  • To increase performance – Teens may often use stimulants such as Adderall to improve performance athletically or academically.
  • To experiment – Teens may just be curious about what it is like to do certain drugs and try them for this sole reason. 

What are Signs of Teen Drug Abuse?

Sudden changes in behavior without a clear explanation for the change are often an indication that substance use may be an issue. Here are some signs to look out for

  • Frequently changing friends.
  • Decreased participation in activities that they used to enjoy or withdrawing from social circles. This can include quitting sports teams or clubs they used to enjoy, staying in their bedrooms more often, not talking to family members, or not going out on outings with old friends. 
  • Breaking the rules, such as curfew, and coming up with fabricated explanations for this behavior. 
  • Unusual aggressive outbursts. It may feel like walking on eggshells around them because they are unusually irritable. 
  • Confronting them about possible substance use is met with an angry reaction. 
  • Their grades start to slip noticeably, and they start skipping class or entire schooldays. 
  • Mood swings.
  • Bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, or pinpoint pupils. 
  • A general lack of motivation affecting their school behavior, hygiene, and household chores. 
  • Uncharacteristic behavior, such as stealing, lying, or disrespecting authority figures.

How to Find Addiction Treatment For Teens

It can be challenging to try to help your child with their addiction. It’s tough when they are not ready for treatment. However, talking with them, going over their options, and letting them know that you will always be there for support can be helpful. Once they are ready for treatment, it’s important to point them in the right direction of trusted mental health professionals that are trained in substance use. The Last House can help. 

The Last House has been around for over ten years to help men strive to achieve sobriety in their life. We offer a supportive environment with skilled staff whose passion is to help those with addiction concerns and services that promote building skills to maintain a sober lifestyle. Our program includes groups, therapy, accountability, and exploring sober activities. When you leave The Last House, you will leave with long-lasting connections and the skills you need to continue your sobriety long-term. The Last House is connected with Thrive Treatment to easily contact quality treatment teams to ensure the care you are getting is consistent. 
Contact us today to learn more about our program and how we can help you.

How Does Alcohol Affect Teens?

How Does Alcohol Affect Teens?

Alcohol use is very prevalent among teens because it is often easily accessible and socially acceptable for them to experiment with. In fact, the legal drinking age was once set at 18 in some states and is 16 in some countries. Because it is so common, it’s important to be aware of just how prevalent it is and what signs to look out for that may indicate that your teen is struggling with alcohol use. 

How Common is Alcohol Abuse in Teens?

The Monitoring the Future results from 2019 indicated that alcohol use among teens has continued to be on the decline. However, it is still very prevalent. In 2019, rates of alcohol use in the past year were 52.1% for 12th graders, 37.7% for 10th graders, and 19.3% for 8th graders. Rates of binge drinking (defined as consuming five or more drinks in a short time) were 14.4% for 12th graders, 8.5% for 10th graders, and 3.8 % for 8th graders. 

Signs of Teen Alcohol Abuse

There are several tell-tale signs that a teen may be abusing alcohol (or other drugs), but it’s important to know that many of these signs are also often common teenage behavior. These signs are not a guarantee that a teen is using alcohol or other drugs, but they certainly indicate that something is going on with your teen and may require further assessment to determine the best intervention. Some of the common signs include

  • Sudden change in mood in which your teen has increased temper outbursts, often irritable, and increased defensiveness.
  • A change in academic performance, such as decreased attendance, lower grades than is routine for your teen, and increased need for disciplinary action at school. 
  • They are not interested in things they used to enjoy or generally have low energy. They often seem like “nothing matters.” 
  • Finding alcohol in your teen’s room.
  • Sudden physical or mental changes that are not typical for your teen include memory lapses, poor concentration, lack of coordination, or slurred speech. 
  • Changing friends and not wanting family members to get to know them.

How to Treat Alcoholism in Teens

The first step in treating alcoholism is detoxification. This step is not necessary for all individuals addicted to alcohol, but it is recommended to seek a medical professional’s opinion before skipping this step. Depending on the severity of the addiction to alcohol, people can have withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop use, which can be life-threatening. Therefore, it’s important to evaluate a medical professional to determine if inpatient detox treatment is necessary.

Once your teen has completed detoxification, they will start at a substance use program where they will engage in individual therapy, family therapy, and group therapy. Depending on the program, they may also have other activities available to them to help improve skills to maintain sobriety. These services may be provided in the context of a residential program, partial hospitalization, sober living home, intensive outpatient, or outpatient program. The program that a teen will need will depend on the individual teen, so it’s important to reach out to a mental health professional as soon as possible to create an individualized treatment plan.  

How to Find Teen Alcohol Rehab in Los Angeles, CA

It can be challenging to try to help your child with their addiction. It’s tough when they are not ready for treatment. However, talking with them, going over their options, and letting them know that you will always be there for support can be helpful. Once they are ready for treatment, it’s important to point them in the right direction of trusted mental health professionals that are trained in substance use. The Last House can help. 
The Last House has been around for over ten years to help men strive to achieve sobriety in their life. We offer a supportive environment with skilled staff whose passion is to help those with addiction concerns and services that promote building skills to maintain a sober lifestyle. Our program includes groups, therapy, accountability, and exploring sober activities. When you leave The Last House, you will leave with long-lasting connections and the skills you need to continue your sobriety long-term. The Last House is connected with Thrive Treatment to easily contact quality treatment teams to ensure the care you are getting is consistent. Contact us today to learn more about our program and how we can help you.

What are the Signs a Teen is Abusing Prescription Drugs

What are the Signs a Teen is Abusing Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug abuse among teens is surprisingly high. It is commonly used because it can be so easily obtained by teens. Most teens who abuse them report getting them free from family members or friends. According to a poll, 27% of teens between 12 and 19 years of age had reported using prescription drugs within the last 30 days. Abusing or misusing prescription drugs means that the individual is taking the medication that is not prescribed to them or using it inconsistent with how it is prescribed. 

Which Prescription Drugs are Abused?

There are three types of prescription drugs that are very commonly misused. The misuse of these drugs is a concern because it can lead to addiction and even death due to overdose. These drugs are known as: 

  • Opioids – These medications are usually prescribed to treat severe pain. These include oxycodone, hydrocodone, diphenoxylate, morphine, codeine, fentanyl, propoxyphene, hydromorphone, meperidine, and methadone. 
  • Depressants – These medications are usually prescribed to treat anxiety and help people sleep. There are three types of medications within this category, including barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and sleep medications. 
  • Stimulants – These medications are usually prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These include dextroamphetamine, dexmethylphenidate/amphetamine combination, and dexmethylphenidate. 

What are the Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse?

Sudden changes in behavior without a clear explanation for the change are often an indication that substance use may be an issue. Here are some signs to look out for

  • Frequently changing friends, especially when you don’t know the friends and disapprove of them. 
  • Decreased participation in activities that they used to enjoy or withdrawing from others. This can include quitting sports teams or clubs they used to enjoy, staying in their bedrooms more often, not talking to family members, not going out on outings with family members, and more. 
  • Breaking the rules, such as curfew, and coming up with fabricated explanations for this behavior. 
  • Unusual aggressive outbursts. It may feel like walking on eggshells around them because they are unusually irritable. 
  • Confronting them about possible substance use is met with an angry reaction. 
  • Their grades start to slip noticeably, and they start skipping class or entire schooldays. 
  • Mood swings
  • Bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, or pinpoint pupils. 
  • A general lack of motivation affecting their school behavior, hygiene, and household chores. 
  • Uncharacteristic behavior, such as stealing, lying, or disrespecting authority figures.

How to Treat Prescription Drug Addiction

There are recommended phases of treatment that you will go through when starting on your recovery journey: 

  1. Detoxification: The first step for drug treatment, even prescription drugs, is always detoxification. The withdrawals can be very uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous, so completing detoxification under 24-hour medical supervision is recommended. 
  2. Complete intake and treatment plan: Once you complete detox, you will start your addiction treatment. This can include individual therapy, group therapy, support groups, peer recovery coaching, medication management, and more. This treatment can take place on an inpatient or residential program, which is the highest level of care, or on an outpatient basis through partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, or an outpatient program. 
  3. Resocialize into society: Once you complete treatment, you will have the skills to resocialize into society and be able to manage substance triggers that are likely to come up. Often, this may include staying at a sober living home, such as The Last House.  

Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment in Los Angeles, CA

The Last House has been around for over ten years to help men strive to achieve sobriety in their life. We offer a supportive environment with skilled staff whose passion is to help those with addiction concerns and services that promote building skills to maintain a sober lifestyle. Our program includes groups, therapy, accountability, and exploring sober activities. When you leave The Last House, you will leave with long-lasting connections and the skills you need to continue your sobriety long-term. The Last House is connected with Thrive Treatment to be easily in contact with quality treatment teams to ensure the care you are getting is consistent. Contact us today to learn more about our program and how we can help you.

Why is Fentanyl So Dangerous?

Why is Fentanyl So Dangerous?

Opioid use and addiction have been an issue in the United States for decades. Deaths related to opioid overdoses have gradually been on the rise over the past 20 years. More recently, fentanyl has been making the news because of the rising number of overdose deaths related to this drug. Overdose deaths related to fentanyl began to rise around 2012 and since has increased nearly 14-fold. These figures are very alarming and thus raise the question – Why is fentanyl so dangerous? 

What is Fentanyl? 

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, similar to morphine, oxycodone, and other pain relievers – except is it much more potent. It can be up to 100 times more potent than other opioids. It can be prescribed for pain relief, but it is typically used when patients become tolerant of other opioids. That is, they require more significant amounts of the drug to get the same effect. Because fentanyl is so potent, users can use less of this drug to relieve pain. When a doctor prescribes fentanyl, it can be given through an injection, a patch, or a lozenge. Fentanyl is also sold illegally in the form of a powder.

Why is Fentanyl So Dangerous? 

High Risk of Addiction

It is very easy to become addicted to fentanyl because of how potent it is. Once people become addicted, it is challenging to recover because of how severe the withdrawal symptoms can be. Many people will return to use to escape the severe withdrawal effects. People going through withdrawal from fentanyl experience muscle and bone pain, sleep problems, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes with goosebumps, intense cravings, uncontrollable leg movements

High Risk of Overdose

Because fentanyl is much stronger, it doesn’t take as much to get the same effect as other opioids. If one is not careful, it is easy to take too much and overdose. It is especially dangerous if someone is addicted to opioids and not educated on fentanyl. They could overdose unintentionally due to not understanding its power. 

Additionally, many people consume fentanyl without even knowing it and then overdose as a result. This occurs more and more often because many drug dealers are lacing other drugs, such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin, with fentanyl to cut costs and increase effects.

Treatment for Addiction to Fentanyl (Or Other Opioids)

Overcoming addiction to fentanyl and other opioids is very difficult, but not impossible. Luckily, there are a lot of evidence-based treatments available to meet the needs of clients. Treatment options include:

  • Long-term rehab: A 30-90 day stay at a 24/7 facility where you receive medication management and intensive group and individual therapy. 
  • Intensive Outpatient: 90 days of intensive group therapy about 3-4 times per week and individual therapy and medication management. 
  • Outpatient Services: Continued treatment that is less intensive once the client has been sober and completed higher levels of treatment. 
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment: Medications available to help people maintain sobriety and combat cravings. 

How The Last House Can Help 

The Last House is a sober living home located in Los Angeles. We are an aftercare facility for those trying to build a life free of drugs and alcohol. We have created a facility full of staff that strives to see you grow. The Last House is a place for you to figure out your strengths and interests as you maintain your sobriety. We can help you to meet your needs through your recovery. Contact us today to figure out how The Last House and Thrive Treatment fit into your journey to recovery.

What Happens if OCD Is Left Untreated?

What Happens if OCD Is Left Untreated?

You may hear people talk about having OCD in a light-hearted manner, but OCD is not a joke. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, involves thoughts and behaviors that overtake the individual. Sadly what happens if OCD is left untreated is that the individual becomes paralyzed by obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. At The Last House, we understand mental health, and we know the complexities of obsessive-compulsive disorder. In addition, we know how untreated OCD can lead to self-medicating to cope with the symptoms. We’re here to help you manage your OCD and any substance use so that you can lead a full life. 

What Is OCD?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a chronic mental health disorder in which a person experiences uncontrollable, repeated thoughts and/or behaviors that they feel compelled to repeat over and over. OCD is characterized by obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that a person feels the desire to do in response to obsessive thoughts. For example, everyone may turn back to check that a door is locked or check to make sure that the oven has indeed been turned off. However, obsessive-compulsive disorder is much more than rechecking a detail now and then. While most can overcome thoughts to recheck items, that is not always the case for those suffering from OCD. An inability to function is what happens when OCD is left untreated. 

What Are the Signs of OCD?

Those with OCD will face obsessions, compulsions, or a combination of the two.  Common obsessions include:

  • A fear of germs,
  • Unwanted taboo thoughts, 
  • Aggressive thoughts toward self, and 
  • Having things in a symmetrical or perfect order.

In response to these compulsive thoughts, many with OCD find themselves cleaning or handwashing exxcessively, arranging items in a precise way, repeatedly rechecking things, and compulsively counting. Most with OCD do not derive any pleasure from these ritualistic behaviors but repeat them to get relief from the obsessive thoughts. Some with OCD will also have motor tics such as facial grimacing, eye blinking, throat clearing, sniffing, grunting sounds, or more. Many, if not all, of these symptoms may increase when the individual is under additional stress. 

What Happens if OCD Is Left Untreated?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder can be treated so that the symptoms can be managed. Often symptoms will ebb and flow over time. Self-medication and isolation are two examples of what happens if OCD is left untreated. Many with OCD will begin to aboid situations or people that trigger their symptoms. Others will turn to drugs and alcohol to quiet the obsessive thoughts. Left untreated, OCD diminishes the individual’s quality of life and reduces the ability to function independently. Through therapy and other approaches, obsessive-compulsive disorder can be managed to allow for a full, independent, happy life. OCD doesn’t have to result in isolation and despair. 

How To Get Help With OCD Today

The Last House is a network of structured sober living homes in the heart of West Los Angeles. We believe in providing our clients with the tools to have a meaningful life and participate in their sobriety.  Activities such as service commitments, sober parties, conventions, dances, and house outings are all a part of helping you learn how to have fun in sobriety.  Comprised of active members of the Los Angeles Sober Living community, our staff is familiar with many recovery support groups in the area.  We understand the relationship between mental health and addiction. We can support you while you learn how to manage your OCD without isolating or turning to drugs and alcohol. If you’re wondering how to create your sober life, The Last House is here to help. 

What Is the Most Common Misconception Surrounding Mental Health?

What Is the Most Common Misconception Surrounding Mental Health?

The number of misconceptions about mental health and mental illness is both staggering and saddening. While the stigma surrounding mental illness is decreasing, there is still a significant amount of misinformation. Perhaps the most common misconception surrounding mental health is that you don’t have to work to nurture your mental health. Mental health, like physical health, requires maintenance. Just like you have to provide nutrition and movement to sustain your physical health, you must also nourish and exercise your mental health.   At The Last House, we love to talk about mental health. We are here to help you learn more about your mental health and provide any support that you might need. 

What Is Mental Illness?

The National Alliance on Mental Illness defined mental illness as a condition that affects an individual’s thinking, feeling, behavior, or mood. Mental illness often impacts a person’s day-to-day life and their ability to relate to others. One of the most common misconceptions surrounding mental health is that mental illness is rare. Researchers have found that one in five adults in the United States experiences mental illness each year. Additionally, one in six youth aged six to seventeen also experiences mental illness each year. Mental illness is rarely the result of one event but results from a combination of genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle. Mental health disorders and mental illness are not indicators that someone is broken or needs to be fixed. 

What Are Common Mental Illnesses?

There are many different mental health disorders, and most affect your mood, behavior, or thinking. It is not unusual for someone to be diagnosed with more than one mental illness. Common mental illness categories include anxiety disorders, behavioral disorders, eating disorders, substance use disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, trauma disorders, and more.  While anxiety disorders include obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorders, and phobias, behavioral disorders include illnesses such as Attention Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Oppositional-Defiant Disorder (ODD). 

Other mental illnesses can be tied to food or substances. This is the case with drug and alcohol use disorders, anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. Personality disorders include borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder. Mood disorders can involve fluctuations between moods, as is the case with bipolar disorder, or persistent, unchanging mood as is the case with depression. Trauma disorders are tied to the experience of living through a traumatic experience, while psychotic disorders like schizophrenia often include hallucinations and delusions. Sadly, suicidal thoughts and behavior can accompany all of the various mental health disorders. 

What Is the Most Common Misconception Surrounding Mental Illness?

When examining what is the most common misconception surrounding mental illness, there are a lot of misconceptions from which to choose. However, one of the most common and most damaging is that those with mental illness are violent and/or unpredictable. The truth is that those with mental illness are not more likely to engage in violence. Instead, those with mental illness are ten times more likely to be the victim of violent crime. Often, we are surrounded by people who are actively coping with mental illness, and we don’t even know it. 

How to End the Stigma Around Mental Illness Today

Ending the stigma around mental illness begins with openly discussing mental health. Mental health and mental illness need to be discussed openly rather than in hushed whispers. You would never expect someone to feel shame for a medical diagnosis, and we must approach mental illness in the same way. 

The Last House is a network of structured sober living homes in the heart of West Los Angeles. We believe in providing our clients with the tools to participate in their sobriety and nurture their mental health.  We help you learn how to live through service commitments, sober parties, conventions, dances, and house outings. 

At The Last House, you’ll learn how to have a meaningful life filled with fun in sobriety. Composed of active members of the Los Angeles Sober Living community, our staff is familiar with many recovery support groups in the area. So if you’re wondering how to create your sober life, The Last House is here to help. 

Why Drug or Alcohol Addiction Is a Chronic Relapsing Illness

Why Drug or Alcohol Addiction Is a Chronic Relapsing Illness

It’s hard to find a disease that is more heartbreaking and frustrating than addiction. You may spend years trying to convince yourself or a loved one to stop using drugs and alcohol. Then, one day, you decide to try, and you get some sober days under your belt only to find yourself relapsing. You might see relapse as a failure, but sometimes relapse is a part of recovery. Your brain doesn’t know how to cope without drugs and alcohol, so it’s going to take some practice to do so. Drug or alcohol addiction is a chronic relapsing illness because it’s a disease that affects the mind, body, and spirit. At The Last House, we understand how frustrating addiction can be and why relapse can seem like a failure. However, we also know that there are valuable lessons to be learned from a relapse. 

What Is Addiction?

Most people will not see their first drink or their first drug as the gateway to a life filled with addiction. Not everyone who uses will find themselves addicted. Addiction occurs when there is a perfect storm between biological, social, and psychological factors. Many won’t realize that they’ve crossed over into addiction until it is too late. Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive and hard to control, despite harmful consequences. Repeatedly using drugs and alcohol changes the brain, with continued use resulting in more changes. The more you use drugs and alcohol, the more you will need to use them to achieve the same effect. Before you even know what happened, all of your decisions are about getting more drugs to use more drugs. You may start each day intending not to use, but drug or alcohol addiction is a chronic relapsing illness. Knowing this can help you to approach your recovery differently. 

Why Drug or Alcohol Addiction Is a Chronic Relapsing Illness

Using drugs or alcohol changes you, and it takes time for you to undo the damage that has been done to your body and your mind.  Detoxing your body takes far less time than rewiring the pathways in your brain. If you’ve been turning to drugs and alcohol for the last ten years, your brain will still see drugs and alcohol as the “go-to” for a long time. Drug or alcohol addiction is a chronic relapsing illness because, for years, you have been telling your brain that drugs and alcohol are the answer – regardless of the question. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome is a collection of symptoms that you may experience for months or even years after you stop using. Symptoms include feeling edgy, having difficulty sleeping, being tired, experiencing memory issues, and having urges to use. Understanding these symptoms can help you be better prepared to face cravings and avoid a relapse. 

How To Maintain Long-Term Recovery From a Drug or Alcohol Addiction

Maintaining long-term sobriety requires vigilance. In the same way that an individual diagnosed with diabetes must manage their healthy daily, so must a person who faces addiction. Staying sober requires daily effort. If you discover that someone you love has been using drugs or alcohol, you’ll find a world of options available to get them on the road to recover. 

The Last House is here to help keep them on that road. We are a network of sober living homes in the heart of West Los Angeles. We believe in providing our clients with the tools to have a meaningful life and participate in their sobriety.  Activities such as service commitments, sober parties, conventions, dances, and house outings are all a part of helping you learn how to have fun in sobriety.  If you’re helping your loved one create a sober life, The Last House is here to help. Contact us today. 

Resources for Adult Children of Addicted Parents

Resources for Adult Children of Addicted Parents

Just like other chronic diseases, addiction is a disease that affects the entire family. Addiction changes the addict and, as a result, impacts how they interact with their family. The entire household is changed by addiction. The effects of having an addicted parent can be felt long after childhood and long after the parent gets sober. Our parents set the tone for the relationships we form throughout the rest of our lives. Dysfunction in these relationships can create dysfunction in our later relationships. 

Adult children of addicted parents may find that they struggle more in their relationships than those who grew up without addiction in their homes. At The Last House, we understand the devastating effects of addiction on the family and we know how those effects can linger. We know the value of working through these effects and are happy to help you explore the available resources. 

What Does It Mean To Be Adult Children of Addicted Parents?

Whether your parent has found their way to recovery or not, you may still be feeling the effects of their addiction. Adult children of addicted parents grow up with at least some level of dysfunction and it affects how they interact with the rest of the world. Many who are adult children of addicted parents find themselves struggling with addiction and others will find themselves in relationships with addicts.

The children of addicts often engage in many unhealthy behaviors in relationships. They often are unable to set healthy boundaries with others, put the needs of others before their own, and engage in people-pleasing.  Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families (ACA) is a twelve-step program that offers children of addicts a place to heal from growing up with an addict and the associated dysfunction. ACA describes itself as “a safe, nonjudgmental environment that allows us to grieve our childhoods and conduct an honest inventory of ourselves and our family—so we may (i) identify and heal core trauma, (ii) experience freedom from shame and abandonment, and (iii) become our own loving parents”.  Through participation in peer support groups such as ACA and working with a therapist, many adult children of addicted parents can heal. 

Examples of How Addiction Affects Family Members

As children, we learn about attachment, nurturing, and socialization from our families. If one or both of our parents struggle with addiction, the way that we interact with other individuals will be impacted. Growing up with an addicted parent can lead to unmet developmental needs. The chaos of an addicted parent often leads to the disruption of attachment, roles, routines, communication, finances, and socialization. Because addiction requires so many secrets and lies, it can be hard for a child to understand what is and is not real. Additionally, many adult children of addicted parents report having to grow up much faster to take on the responsibilities that their parent was not fulfilling or to deal with the abuse that occurred. The effects of being the child of an addicted parent are long-lasting and often require a great deal of therapeutic work to overcome. 

Why You Should Live In a Sober Living House

Located throughout West Los Angeles, The Last House is a network of structured sober living homes. We believe in enabling our clients to have a meaningful life. The Last House will provide you with the tools to participate in your recovery.  Activities such as service commitments, sober parties, conventions, dances, and house outings are all a part of helping you learn how to have fun in sobriety. As active members of the Los Angeles Sober Living community, our staff understands what it takes to stay sober and can support you in your journey. So, if you’re wondering how to create your sober life, The Last House is here to help.