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Tag Archives: substance abuse

Substance Abuse and ADHD Often Linked

Substance abuse and mental health disorders often go hand-in-hand. It can be difficult to pinpoint whether drug use causes mental health concerns or if undiagnosed mental health problems open the door for substance abuse. In all actuality, experts say that it can occur both ways. Those living with mental health problems might use drugs to cope with symptoms, while other individuals under the influence of drugs discover that the capacity to disrupt the brain’s normal development from the drug use may lead to compromised mental health.

A Psychology Today article also points out that adolescents may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of substance abuse as their brains are still growing and developing. Ironically, ADHD in adolescence has been linked to higher rates of drug abuse. A decade-long study whose results were released in 2011, uncovered that individuals with ADHD had nearly a 50 percent higher risk of turning to substance abuse at some point in their lives when compared to others without an ADHD diagnosis.

ADHD 4Some parents questions whether it is the ADHD medications themselves that lead to a greater likelihood of later substance abuse. Because there were almost 3 million children and adolescents prescribed ADHD medications in 2007 alone, it’s understandable why parents might be concerned. Though, many studies on the subject can put that fear to rest as there has been no credible evidence linking stimulant use among kids with ADHD to higher instances of drug experimentation or later substance abuse.

In fact, research seems to support the exact opposite. One study made public in 2008, examined 114 children with ADHD for half a decade. And while 94 percent received stimulant treatment, the group was at nearly a 75 percent reduced risk of developing a problem with substance abuse despite their use of medication.

Experts say that it’s important to be aware of the co-existence of mental health and substance use disorders. Mental health professionals at the Family Guidance Center can help individuals sort through symptoms so that one or both conditions can be correctly diagnosed and treated. If you suspect that a loved one may be affected by either an issue of mental health or substance abuse, help is available through Family Guidance Center.

Rx Drug Abuse Exceeds 22 Million in U.S.

Addiction 2It’s no secret that America has a widespread battle with the misuse of prescription drugs. In fact, the problem has been coined the prescription drug epidemic. With prescription drug abuse becoming a major public health concern, experts say it is ever more important that communities and governments band together to jointly tackle the issue that threatens the health and safety of so many residents.

According to a recent report in Science Daily, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates that since 2002, close to 22 million Americans have used prescription drugs in a manner inconsistent with the way they were prescribed.

According to Pamela S. Hyde, Administrator for SAMHSA, labors at reducing misuse have had inconsistent results across the country. Gil Kerlikowske who serves as the Director of National Drug Control Policy says that there needs to be joint effort of prevention at both the federal and state level. He encourages people to learn more about the dangers in their own medicine cabinets and advises that any unused, expired, or unnecessary medications be disposed of in a proper manner.

Among other SAMHSA report findings was that data from 2010 to 2011 showed a rate of prescription abuse among those at least 12 years of age to be in the neighborhood of 3.6 to 6.4 percent, depending on the state. Hyde says that SAMHSA’s report is valuable for developing a more targeted approach for prevention and treatment. She adds that the public needs to be advised of the serious health risks associated with prescription drug abuse. Some of the states that topped the list for highest rates of painkiller abuse included Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Abusing prescription medications is only preceded by marijuana as America’s most common battle with unlawful drug use. Learn the truth about prescription drug abuse. Contact the Family Guidance Center for more information about prevention and treatment programs available.

Alcoholism is a Family Disease

Alcoholism 2Parents with issues of alcoholism don’t cope with the disease alone. Alcoholism is a condition that impacts every member of the family from spouses to children. Children are especially vulnerable as they may feel partially responsible for alcohol-related problems, failing to comprehend the complications related to addiction.

According to a Livestrong article, children whose parents are affected by alcoholism have healthcare costs that are nearly a third higher than children of non-alcoholic parents. The risk of child abuse and childhood mental and physical health problems also rises when children have one or more parent living with alcoholism.

Expectant mothers are warned of the dangers of drinking during gestation as it can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, developmental abnormalities, and termination of the pregnancy. Prenatal alcohol consumption has also been tied to the onset of learning disabilities.

Alcohol related difficulties often weigh heavily on families. According to ProjectKnow.com, the development of poor self-esteem, shame, guilt, fear, or depression in children could stem from parental levels of alcohol abuse. Kids may even struggle in school or have trouble forming relationships because of such problems at home. These children may feel that they are somehow to blame for household arguments and are forced to grow up much more quickly than normal. Worse, they may repeat the cycle and live with addiction themselves as adults.

In fact, figures from the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) shows that children of alcoholics are at quadruple the risk of other children of having problematic drinking patterns. They are also more likely to marry others whose families have histories of alcoholism. Additional complications from alcohol can result in broken communication, divorce and even violence.

Family members wishing to get help for alcohol-related problems should contact the Family Guidance Center. Mental health professionals at the Family Guidance Center offer confidential support and programs to assist families living with addiction so that they can resume healthy, productive lives.

Alcoholism: Confronting Chronic Denial

Alcoholism 1The disease of alcoholism is often tied to two symptoms that allow it to perpetuate, sometimes undetected, over time – denial and validation. Though not specifically referenced in diagnostic criteria, both symptoms are widely-known to be associated with the disease. Both denial on the part of the person affected and a feeling of validation, either by the person or by family and friends, can serve as significant barriers to treatment and recovery.

Denial is one of the main mechanisms by which the cycle of alcoholism continues despite negative consequences. A person’s level of denial is usually tied to the strength of the addiction. This helps explain why some people drink despite losing a job or being threatened with divorce.

However, denial affects people to different degrees. Some people are more aware of problematic drinking than others, meaning they may be more receptive to treatment. New treatment methods are taking this fact into account and are altering therapy based on a person’s level of readiness for change.

According to a report from PsychCentral, family members and friends can also be in denial about their loved one’s behavior, explaining it away instead as depression, bad health, hot temperament, anxiety or various other conditions. Children of alcoholics may only recognize a problem upon growing up because of the denial that might have existed on both ends. Societal stigma regarding alcoholism often serves to further the cycle of denial; for this reason some families have chosen to simply ignore or hide the issue.

Well-meaning loved ones may also enable patterns of substance abuse without even knowing it. They often have good intentions but the results can be destructive. When those close the person living with addiction either validate or enable the patterns of consumption, those living with the disease are prevented from facing the consequences of their actions and the disease is allowed to continue.

If you feel like someone you care about may be living with addiction to alcohol, the experts at the Family Guidance Center can help. Addiction or dependence on alcohol is highly treatable with the right resources. Family Guidance Center can connect individuals and their families with resources which aid in understanding and working through issues underlying addiction. For more information on substance addiction, contact the Family Guidance Center.

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.