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Family Guidance Blog

What Every Parent Should Know About Molly

12718905_sMolly – the name sounds innocent enough, almost as if it were a childhood friend. But the drug MDMA, also referred to as Ecstasy, is anything but. Targeted at young adults, Molly’s pushers take advantage of the vulnerability of young people and their desire to have fun and be free.

The problem is, nobody talks about the dark side of Molly. In fact, listening to music on the radio could easily sway someone to believe that Molly is just good, harmless fun. The likes of former childhood star, Miley Cyrus, along with Rihanna, Wiz Khalifa, and Lil’ Wayne all have songs playing in your children’s headphones about partying with Molly.

One Northwest Missouri State University student, Jay Graham, says that talk of MDMA is gaining popularity across Maryville and St. Joseph. Graham advises that clubs with their lively music and young crowds are the perfect spots to encounter Molly.

Jonathan Phillips, a former user of drugs who now works as an abuse counselor for teens says he wishes he would have known more about the drug when he was younger. According to Phillips, parents need to educate their children regarding the dangers of Molly, adding that “One out of every 100 tabs actually kills the user.”

The way Molly works is that it overloads a person’s brain with dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, creating a euphoric high and sudden rush of energy. According to information from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Molly interferes with the hypothalamus’s ability to correctly regulate body temperature, leading to excessive sweating or chills. One concern is dehydration, but another is flooding the brain with too much serotonin, which can be deadly.

If you or someone you know is living with substance abuse, Family Guidance Center can be a good source of support. With both inpatient and outpatient programs, its staff provides expert group and individual counseling to more than 1,600 individuals every year. Learn positive methods to managing substance abuse triggers, contact Family Guidance Center.


The Enduring Nature of Dependency

17642228_sWhen the news broke of Cory Monteith’s recent death, it took many people by surprise.  The Glee actor seemed to have the world in his hands – good looks, a budding career, love, and a fresh start after a stint in rehab this past April. But shortly thereafter, Monteith, just 31 was found dead in his Vancouver hotel room after consuming a toxic mix of alcohol and heroin.

Monteith’s death is a wakeup call regarding the serious nature of addiction. Addiction isn’t something that a person simply outgrows – it persists for life.

While there are ways to manage that addiction through individual and group support and treatment, without assistance the symptoms may only worsen over time. There are warning signs indicative of dependency. Red flags include 1) Flipping a switch – when a person suddenly just “isn’t themselves”, 2) struggling to hold down a job, or 3) being untruthful.

A common misconception when it comes to addiction is that affected individuals engage in substance abuse on a daily basis. This isn’t necessarily true; they may “binge” on the substance or seem to be separated from it for a brief period of time, only to return to it again.

In the event a loved one is suspected of having an issue with substance abuse, mental health experts advise confronting the individual directly and providing specific examples of concerns. Setting boundaries for what’s acceptable and what’s not are also important.

Family support and involvement are an integral part of the treatment process. When family members know their loved one’s triggers they can better help them on their road to recovery. While recovery is possible, it takes a lot of commitment, desire, and a willingness to get help. Sometimes the hardest part of recovery is coming to terms with the idea that the addiction is out of the person’s realm of control.

Family Guidance Center offers support for those living with addiction and their families through a professional and experienced Addiction Treatment Services program. While it may be easier to turn a blind eye, the best way to deal with addiction is to confront it head-on. Like other chronic illness, issues of mental health such as substance abuse or addiction can be treated and managed with ongoing professional treatment. Call today to learn more.

Research Shows More Middle-aged Women Dying of Overdose

5041243_sThe prescription drug epidemic has impacted the lives of thousands of men and women in America. Over the last several decades, the term overdose has been highly associated with cocaine and heroin. This is because most of cases of overdose deaths during that period were a result of the two drugs, particularly for males. However, ever since the explosion of prescription drugs on the market, that statistic is changing. Experts advise that women, and especially middle-aged women, are increasingly becoming the victims of overdose.

In fact, in 2010, two of every five overdose deaths occurring in America involved women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), middle aged women are particularly at risk. While there are still more men who die as a result of overdose from both prescription and street drugs, the gap has significantly narrowed. CDC figures for 2010 show that 15,300 women and 23,000 men overdosed on prescription painkillers.

CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden says that we are seeing the female population die at unprecedented rates and the problem is only becoming worse. During the period from 1999 to 2010 the number of men who died from painkiller overdose increased three-and-a-half times as compared to a fivefold increase for women. Surprisingly, data shows that women aged 45 to 54 and those between the ages of 55 to 64 are at greatest risk, with overdose deaths in these two age brackets having tripled from 1999 to 2010.

Experts say that women’s higher tendency to become dependent and potentially overdose is a result of increased rates of chronic pain, higher prescribed dosages, and longer duration of use. Another contributing factor is that doctors may be too quick to prescribe painkillers for women, underestimating the risk of misuse by this population. Some studies also indicate that women may tend to hop from physician to physician more than men in an effort to get additional painkillers.

If you or someone you know is living with dependency or substance addiction, help them get the care they need by contacting Family Guidance Center. Family Guidance Center can work with individuals to identify triggers and a long-term strategy for recovery.

How Does Dependency Impact the Family?

11954857_sWith all the negative side effects, one might wonder why someone abusing drugs would have such trouble walking away from his or her habit. But many people don’t understand the nature of addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), dependency is a compulsive habit that drives affected individuals regardless of undesirable consequences. This is why someone using drugs may continue to do so even when faced with the loss of employment, divorce, or declining physical health.

According to a recent article presented by Live Strong, drug use not only impacts the user, it also can disrupt family relationships and can result in a cycle of abuse and neglect towards loved ones.

Family Relationships

Family members who have a relative living with addiction often slip into a role that is dysfunctional to compensate for their loved one’s shortcomings. Over time, substance abuse can alter a person’s behavior and lead to severe family problems. It’s not uncommon for family members to deprive themselves of things so that they can provide resources to the dependent individual. This can lead to resentment and family members lashing out at the person with the addiction. And instead of trying to focus time and energy on getting the said person help, many in the family will rally to keep themselves from falling apart.

Pattern of Abuse and Neglect

Those living with addiction are not in a normal state of mind and may have trouble making rational decisions. It’s not uncommon for drug using parents to make their children a second priority. Drug abuse also heightens the risk of family violence, say the authors of a study made public in the Clinical Psychology Review. Additionally, many pregnant women continue to use drugs even though it increases the chances that their babies will be born with birth defects or lasting brain impairment.

User Impact

Dependency can lead to feelings of depression, agitation, anger, and anxiety. These impact the user and everyone else around him or her. Drug use also heightens the risk of communicable disease and can worsen existing mental health conditions.

Breaking the cycle of dependency often requires time and the help of a professional. The Family Guidance Center can walk families through this journey. Our therapy programs target the entire family, including spouses and children so that patterns of addiction can be broken and loved ones can rebuild a healthy way of life.

Could Your Teen Become the Next Victim of Bath Salts?

18715259_sDickie Sanders, a BMX rider, is just one of the many cases to be added to the long list of those negatively impacted by the use of bath salts. What would cause a 21-year-old who seemed to have his whole life ahead of him to suddenly turn and attempt to cut his own throat and later take his own life with a single gunshot? Dickie’s abrupt turn occurred about a week prior to his death when he consumed a substance shared by a friend known innocently as “bath salts”.

According to information compiled by the Louisiana Poison Control Center in conjunction with the Poison Control Center of Kentucky, symptoms of those on bath salts range from violent to the downright bizarre. A database of cases recorded from both states indicated delusions of monsters, demons, and aliens. One instance documented a patient who opened fire on a passerby outside of a residence; another abandoned her 2-year-old daughter on a highway because she thought she was possessed by demons.

According to  information found at PBS NewsHour, many bath salts contain a stimulant called methylenedioxypyrovalerone or MDPV. Experts say that ingesting the active ingredient is like consuming cocaine and amphetamine simultaneously, but tests show that MDPV is 10 times as potent as cocaine. Also, unlike other drugs whose symptoms usually subside within a few days, effects of bath salts have been known to persist for up to two weeks.

Aside from paranoia, hallucinations, and aggressive behavior, other common side effects of bath salts include high blood pressure, elevated heart rate, and seizures. It has been a constant battle to regulate bath salts as once one formulation is banned, a new one surfaces in a lab. Since potency levels and active ingredients vary, it has also been difficult for doctors to treat symptoms. Oftentimes the only thing that offers relief is strong antipsychotic drugs.

For many, bath salts are seemingly harmless because they can be purchased legally at some convenience stores.  They also have become popularized because they don’t typically show up on drug tests. But experts warn that bath salts are anything but safe – according to U.S. Poison Control Centers, calls for poisonings related to bath salts were numbered at over 400 last June alone.

Unfortunately, for young adults like Dickie Sanders, it’s too late. It’s critical that parents be informed of this dangerous new trend. In many cases, the symptoms of drug use like bath salts can also contribute to chronic and serious depression, or may occur simultaneously with a mental illness like anxiety disorder. Contact Family Guidance Center for more information about recognizing symptoms of mental illness, and how to take steps toward an assessment. Mental health professionals at Family Guidance Center can also provide information about referrals to other community resources that can help.