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Tag Archives: substance abuse

Serving Teens Alcohol at Home Backfires on Parents

We all may know well-meaning parents who decided to permit teens (their own and friends) to drink alcohol at home where mom and dad could keep an eye on them.  They assumed that allowing kids to drink at home removed the taboo and would make drinking alcohol less about rebellion and therefore less appealing.  The actual facts show the opposite is true and what these parents also may have forgotten to consider is their own risk when they decide to serve alcohol to minors.

The National Institutes of Health has funded research which shows that serving under-aged kids alcohol in the home does not reduce the likelihood that children will be problem drinkers later.  Quite the reverse.  Research shows that kids who were given alcohol at home tend to drink more during their teens and are more likely to have drinking problems once they reach adulthood.

Parents who want to create a less uptight atmosphere around alcohol at home in hopes that it will lower kids’ desire to engage in risky drinking when they are away from home are building on a faulty premise.  The truth is that parents are influential in forming attitudes toward substance use.  If the parents are accepting and permissive about alcohol use,that is the message kids take away.  Parents who want to lower the risk of alcohol misuse do better to be very clear about the dangers of underage drinking.  Words and actions that reinforce that message are more effective in reducing bad alcohol choices by kids. Rather than promote alcohol use, parents should help teens learn about the consequences of underage drinking.

Parents who think their teen may already be engaged in alcohol use should not wait to seek help for both the addiction or dependence, and the mental health problems like chronic depression that often accompany alcohol use. Family Guidance Center can help with the mental health symptoms and illnesses that often go hand in hand with teen alcohol or substance use.  Early intervention is important to help teens who struggle with alcohol abuse.

 

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.

 

What You Might Not Know About Your Kids

11700094_sWhen it comes to substance use, parents have their plates so full dealing with issues of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana that they often forget about the prescription drugs that are circulating throughout schools these days like candy.

Abuse of amphetamines and stimulant drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is becoming rampant for aiding focus and alertness when pulling all-nighters and studying for midterms and finals. An article presented by PsychCentral uncovers data from a recent Monitoring the Future survey that puts nonmedical use of study drugs at 10 and 12 percent for sophomores and seniors respectively. However, data from a new University of Michigan study shows that only one percent of parents with kids of high school age think that their children have partaken in this trend.

Experts warn that taking medications prescribed for another individual can be very dangerous and may result in abnormal heart rate, sleep problems, confusion and even psychosis when going through periods of withdrawal. Dr. Matthew M. Davis who heads the Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health for whom the University of Michigan study was conducted, says that despite popular thinking, there is no correlation between study drugs and the achievement of better grades.

The key study take away is the disconnect that exists between what students are reporting and what parents believe about their children. No parent likes to think that his or her child might be engaging in substance abuse, but combatting these issues starts with open communication regarding the dangers of such misuse. The study indicated that the majority of Caucasian parents were “very concerned” about nonmedical use of prescriptions, even if they were unable to identify them in their children, while figures for black and Hispanic/Latino parents were slightly lower.

Behavioral problems and lack of focus and concentration can be indicators of something more than just study jitters. Learn the facts about mental illness. How might someone in your family benefit from a mental health screening provided by the Family Guidance Center? For more information about symptoms of emotional disorders, call or click today.

The Troubling Truth about America’s Mental Health

Mental Health 8These days it’s very common to turn on the news and hear a story about tragedy.

The stress of terrorism, death, destruction, and disorderly conduct is driving tens of millions in our country to the brinks of despair. Data shows that the state of our nation’s mental health is changing – and not for the better. Here are some sobering facts about our national mental health:

  • According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 20 percent of U.S. adolescents of high-school age are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

  • At least 33 percent of U.S. workers deal with chronic stress that interferes with daily functioning.

  • Millions of Americans rely on some sort of toxic substance to provide stress relief.

  • Suicide now claims more American lives than vehicular accidents.

  • Our soldiers’ are more likely to die at their own hands as a result of suicide than be killed in combat by others.

With all the technological and medical advancements, one might expect levels of emotional heath to be improving with time instead of declining. A recent article from WND offers some insight regarding what’s behind the disturbing trend.

According to the article, life in America during the 1950s was much simpler and less stressful, not as compounded by societal troubles. Some attribute our current state of affairs to the breakdown of the family unit, a lack of traditional values, an unstable economy, and our devalued currency.

Fortunately, there are simple solutions that can help minimize stress and aid mental and physical health. Many people have found relief by getting back to the basics – maintaining a healthy diet, avoiding substance abuse, engaging in frequent exercise, and reflecting through meditation or prayer.

The Family Guidance Center also offers programs that teach healthy coping mechanisms. Forthrightly addressing issues of mental health is the best way to move forward and give people the peace and happiness they deserve. How might mental health services benefit your health or the health of your family?

Effects of Alcohol More Pronounced in the Elderly

Alcoholism 6We normally expect members of the younger population to engage in risky drinking, but new evidence suggests that a growing number of seniors is also a part of this alarming trend. While many Americans consume alcohol, some feel the impact more than others. Similar to adolescents, the elderly may be more vulnerable to the dangerous effects of excess alcohol consumption.

According to a recent MNT report, of those who have reached retirement age, 13 percent of males and 8 percent of females admit to drinking in a fashion that could result in harm. Researchers from Baylor University have uncovered that even in relatively small amounts, alcohol can be dangerous for older people, causing problems with memory, learning, and coordination. Not surprisingly, the result has been an increased number of falls and other accidents as well as forgetting to take important (and sometimes lifesaving) medications.

Though both young people and seniors are particularly susceptible to alcohol misuse, research shows that the older generation is at greatest risk of impairment. The Baylor study is groundbreaking in that it’s the first to define a baseline for the acute impact of alcohol use on the elderly, which helps explain the neurobiology behind their heightened sensitivity to the drug.

One of the study authors, Dr. Jim Diaz-Granados, who also serves as chair of the department of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor says that there are many cognitive and behavioral changes that occur naturally with age. This explains why consumption by the aged results in a different alcohol-induced effect on the brain.

Investigators hope that the results will help pave the way for future research on the subject and aid in determining the long-term effects of alcohol misuse. With this information, the public can be properly educated with regard to alcohol’s risks on the elderly.

Do you or somebody you know engage in risky drinking behaviors? Learn the facts about alcohol use and age. Your local Family Guidance Center has more information on substance abuse programs as well as trained counselors who will assist your loved ones in working through difficult emotions, which often underlie contribute to dependency.