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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Teens with ADHD Have Higher Likelihood of Substance Abuse

ADHD is a mental disorder that is common in children.  It is estimated that up to five percent of children throughout the globe are affected by it, and as many as half of these youths will have symptoms that persist into adulthood. In one of the largest studies to date on adolescent ADHD, researchers have also uncovered a strong link between the condition and use of alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco.

The study involved researchers from six health centers across the country in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Over the course of eight years, investigators analyzed close to 600 children as they transitioned into adulthood. The study is the first to uncover the higher prevalence of tobacco use amongst ADHD-teens. And, as a PsychCentral article on the subject points out, cigarette use is often tied to use of alcohol and marijuana.

Lead study author, Dr. Brook Molina says that findings highlight the fact that both girls and boys with ADHD are at higher risk for substance abuse than other children without ADHD. Researchers uncovered that when affected teens reached about 15 years of age, over a third admittedly were engaging in some form of substance use as opposed to only 20 percent of their non-ADHD peers.

Not surprisingly, high rates of alcohol use were common in teens of both groups. However, marijuana and tobacco consumption was significantly higher in those with ADHD. Marijuana use was nearly twice as prevalent in ADHD participants with an average age of 17 as it was in other teens, with usage rates at 13 and 7 percent respectively. Additionally, daily cigarette intake for the ADHD group was 17 percent, whereas the non-ADHD group only had 8 percent that smoked every day by comparison.

Results of the study suggest that children with ADHD are likely to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms to compensate for problems caused by the disease. Early diagnosis is key, and mental health professionals at the Family Guidance Center offer screenings daily.

Experts agree that there are many ways to minimize negative outcomes from the disorder. If you have a child with ADHD, contact the Family Guidance Center to learn more about managing the symptoms for a healthy, quality life.

Drinking Increases Risk of Divorce

Addiction 1Alcohol addiction has often been called a family disease. Dependency takes a toll on relationships because symptoms don’t occur in isolation. Chronic alcohol use can inhibit functioning and make it hard for affected individuals to complete routine tasks. A new study shows that alcohol abuse is often the source of marital conflict and has also been linked with higher instances of divorce.

Researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health have found that excess alcohol consumption is a public health issue for most Western countries. They also uncovered that alcohol has predictive value when it comes to foretelling whether or not a couple’s marriage will last – especially when one partner only drinks in moderation while the other consumes heavily.

Investigators re-examined data from nearly 20,000 married couples collected between 1984 and 1986 using regression analysis. Study author Fartein Ask Torvik says findings indicate that the more a person drinks, the higher his or risk of divorce will be.

Interestingly, women who drank heavily had a higher divorce rate than men who did the same. Torik believes this could be because heavy drinking in women is not as widely accepted by society. Other explanations include that alcohol consumption is biologically more impairing for females than males or that excess consumption can interfere with a woman’s role as wife or mother. In any case, marriages where the wife drank heavily and the husband only drank in moderation experienced divorce rates that were triple that of couples who only drank lightly.

The study, which is covered in an MNT article, also shows that two heavy drinkers have a higher likelihood of divorce.

Investigators suggest that in addition to divorce, alcohol may be responsible for other social issues or health problems. The effects of familial alcoholism can also be felt by children. Mental health professionals at the Family Guidance Center can provide support and addiction treatment services for families affected by alcoholism. For more information on local programs, contact the Family Guidance Center today.

Adolescent Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Intertwined, Study Says

Mental Illness 2Unresolved mental health issues can affect other areas of a person’s life such as relationships, ability to work and performance at school. Substance abuse, particularly in youth, can compound these issues and also cause problems later in life.

Research shows a connection between adolescent substance abuse and the development of problematic mental health. Likewise, teens with mental health problems have a higher association with alcohol and drug use. A new Australian study found that as many as one in ten adolescents with mental health diagnoses consume alcohol, smoke tobacco and use marijuana.

The study originating in Sydney analyzed the mental health records of more than 2000 individuals ranging in age from 12 to 30 years old. Many of those seeking treatment for mental health issues also provided data for weekly drug and alcohol use. According to an article presented by Medical News Today, 12 percent of youth aged 12 to 17 admitted to drinking alcohol a minimum of once a week.

Other study findings showed that drinking percentages increased with age among those with mental illness. For instance, 39 percent of teens aged 18 and 19 drank weekly but that number jumped to near 50 percent amongst the 20 to 30 year-old population. Young adolescents with mental diagnoses were at twice the risk of weekly drinking as their peers. Results for weekly marijuana use followed a similar trend as did reported daily use of tobacco, with older teens citing higher usage rates than younger teens.

Researchers uncovered that older males diagnosed as bipolar or who had other psychotic disorders were at greatest risk of substance abuse, and that mental illness was associated with a higher probability of other health issues as well as premature death.

Because of their comorbidity, study findings highlight the importance of examining mental health in conjunction with substance abuse. Family Guidance Center has mental health professionals to assist families in managing the symptoms and treatment for mental health disorders. Experts say addressing issues of mental health early provides the best prognosis for treatment and recovery. Talk to your Family Guidance Center to find out about area programs addressing both substance abuse and mental health.

Royce White: Mental Health Issues are not Unlike Physical Injuries in Sports

Mental Health 1Mental health problems don’t receive the same consideration as injuries related to physical health. At least that’s the argument of Royce White, who was the 16th player added to the Houston Rockets’ roster in the 2012 NBA draft pick.

White has general anxiety disorder and OCD, conditions he attributes to a childhood trauma. As a child during basketball practice, 10 year-old White watched as his best friend dropped to the floor and was rushed to the hospital for heart problems. Ever since, White has experienced severe panic attacks and anxiety when faced with certain situations such as flying in an airplane. A GoodTherapy.org article highlights White’s determination to get the NBA to view his ailment as any other that might impede an athlete’s ability to play.

In White’s contract, he asked that the Rockets make reasonable accommodations for his condition under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This included the ability to travel by bus instead of air to away games. On January 6, however, the player was suspended from the team for failing to fulfill his contractual obligations. Later that month, he and his team reached an agreement, allowing White to play despite his mental health issues.

By law, employers must permit adjustments within reason so those with disabilities can perform their jobs. For instance, in his reinstatement, instead of a team-employed doctor defining his capacity to play, White requested an independent psychiatrist make that call.

It’s important for people to know their rights surrounding mental health conditions and other disabilities. Reasonable accommodations as defined by law may permit affected individuals to work with employers regarding scheduling, leave work for approved medical conditions and treatment, make adjustments to the work environment, furniture and equipment, work from home, and even restructure functions of the job.

Your local Family Guidance Center offers excellent resources for assessing and treating mental health disorders and learning more about how to manage mental health problems while remaining successful at work.  These conditions do not have to impair an individual’s ability to work, seek treatment or to receive housing. For a mental health screening or to learn more about mental health, contact the Family Guidance Center.

Childhood ADHD Spikes Over Past Decade

ADHD 1Over the last several years, there has been a sharp increase in the number of youths receiving the diagnosis attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The Centers for Disease Control estimates that ADHD may affect as many as 12 percent of children in school.

Researchers analyzed the health information of approximately 850,000 children of various ethnic backgrounds. The children ranged in age from 5 to 11 years old and were treated at Kaiser Permanente Southern California during the nine year period occurring between 2001 and 2010.

Study authors wanted to examine the change in new cases of ADHD occurring over time. They discovered that, over the last nine years, figures jumped from 2.5 percent to 3.1 percent, indicating the first-time instance of ADHD had increased by nearly 25 percent.

Minorities, particularly Black and Hispanic children, showed the greatest increase in diagnosis. From 2001 to 2010, the increase in new cases of childhood ADHD increased by 70 percent and 60 percent within the Black and Hispanic communities respectively. Caucasian children, by comparison, only displayed a 30 percent increase over the same period.

Overall, 4.9 percent of the study group, which equated to just over 39,000 children, was found to have ADHD. Currently Caucasian and Black children comprise the majority of childhood ADHD cases, with boys at triple the risk of girls. However, researchers also found that the number of non-Hispanic black females being diagnosed with ADHD had grown by 90 percent.

According to a PsychCentral article, cultural factors such as race and household income play an important role in seeking treatment, with those earning less than $30,000 annually at greatest risk of being ignored. Results were consistent with other national studies on the topic.

ADHD can impact a child’s ability to perform at school, and can also negatively affect interpersonal relationships with family, friends, and others. The Family Guidance Center offers screenings regardless of income. Early diagnosis is key to helping children succeed in school and other areas of life. If you would like to learn more about ADHD, contact a professional at the Family Guidance Center. Assessments to explore symptoms are conducted daily.