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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Three Tips for the ADHD College Student

ADHD 7It’s that time of year again, starting the semester anew. A change of classes, catching up with friends, and the opportunity to try new things can all be exciting and at the same time, a little overwhelming. Most college students experience this type of emotion at some point or another, but for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the feeling may be more pronounced.

With a little preparation, however, college students with ADHD can make sure to get the most out of the school year. Here are a few tips to get the semester started off right:

1. Seek reasonable accommodations early. Request any needed accommodations before the semester starts as they may take time for approval. Petitions will most likely need to be submitted to the student services office. Check back to make sure they have all materials needed to deliver their decision. Collect accommodation letters the beginning of the first week back so they can be distributed to teachers as soon as possible.

2. Review and plan to meet coursework deadlines. Allow 30 minutes every night the first week to review coursework and exams for each class. Plug due dates for all assignments, course projects, and tests into a smartphone or paper calendar. After everything has been entered, it will be easier to see which times are the busiest. Set alarms as reminders for when to start working on big projects or major homework assignments so they can be spaced out. Do the same thing when scheduling time to study for tests; this way it won’t be as stressful as having to cram for everything at the last minute.

3. Keep a record of class schedules. It’s easy to forget what time or where a class is meeting during the first week of school. It’s helpful to note this information into a calendar as a back-up. Roughly outline the day’s events and use calendar reminders as tools to help stay on track.

Family Guidance Center offers assistance to help kids with special needs such as ADHD. With proper coping techniques, students can achieve higher academic functioning and improve relationships with others. Contact Family Guidance Center to learn more about ADHD and local programs.

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.


New Study Shows First Three Months are Critical in Drug Recovery

14429202_sFor the person living with addiction, there are many factors that can complicate the success of recovery. Addiction can lead to risky decision making and impulsivity that might not occur otherwise. A person living with addiction may engage in precarious sexual encounters, overspending or compulsive gambling, compulsive overeating or other behaviors that can create feelings of hopelessness or lead to depression.

Abstinence from an addictive substance is often challenged by underlying mental, emotional, and social elements. Guibin Wang of China’s National Institute on Drug Dependence located at Peking University sought to get a better understanding of the process that occurs during abstinence in the hopes of developing more effective drug treatment plans and minimizing the occurrence of relapse.

Wang studied 183 individuals receiving treatment at a particular recovery facility. He evaluated drug cravings and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and impulsivity. Participants had been sober anywhere from about a week to more than a year.

The findings indicated that the longer participants were drug-free, the lower their level of impulsivity and the better their decision making skills became. Wang also found that longer periods of abstinence were associated with fewer instances of depression and anxiety.

And though general cravings diminished over time, Wang found that the first three months were critical to the recovery process as individuals actually experienced increased cue-based cravings during this period. The implication for clinicians is to be particularly vigilant during the initial phase of recovery and take additional steps to help minimize stress and regulate emotions during those first critical months of sobriety.

For over 100 years, Family Guidance Center has been aiding individuals and their families in breaking the cycle of addiction. Family Guidance Center also has programs for adults who are working through depression and other common types of chronic mental illness. Treatment is offered on both an inpatient and outpatient basis and focuses on learning positive ways to manage substance abuse triggers. Recovery can, and does, happen. Contact Family Guidance Center for more information.


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.

How to Successfully Prep You and Your ADD/ADHD Child for Back to School

16498787_sWith the back to school season comes a flood of emotions. Some parents and children are very excited to get back into the swing of things while others are quite apprehensive. Summer with its laid back schedule can create for a difficult transition into the structured nature of classes and homework – particularly for those with ADD or ADHD.

But beginning the year anew doesn’t have to feel like groundhog day – with previous year’s issues repeating themselves. Start the school year off fresh and productive with a few simple tips from child psychologist, Dr. Robert Myers.

Collaborate with your child to come up with a set daily routine.

  • Choose school outfits, make lunches, and pack book bags beforehand.

  • Create a list of things that need to be done each morning and how long each task should take.

  • Do a test run of the morning routine with a stopwatch to ensure it is workable and that everyone can get out of the house on time.

  • Discuss a framework for homework and free time.

Post the finished schedule for everyone to see, and celebrate weekly successes.

  • Set goals and expectations for the year.

  • Convey clear expectations regarding completion of homework, sticking to the morning routine, behaving at school, and maintaining a set bedtime.

  • Hold regular family meetings and have children create some of their own goals.

  • Have motivators for reaching set goals such as a pizza party or bowling night for a positive report card.

Have a sit down with your child’s teacher.

  • Discuss upcoming homework assignments, projects, and teacher expectations.

  • Find out how best to communicate with the teacher to ensure your child stays on track.

  • Talk to the teacher to find out how you can help your child be successful in the classroom as well as meet their IEP or 504 plan if they have one.

For over a century, Family Guidance Center has been working with children and their families to create change and promote mental health as an integral part of total well-being. These changes translate to more positive home and classroom experiences. For more information on ways you can help your ADD/ADHD child have a successful year at school, contact Family Guidance Center.