Is Teenage Substance Abuse Prevention Realistic?

In today’s world, substance abuse is rampant, especially amongst teens. Anyone can access drugs. It’s almost impossible to avoid them. However, experts believe that parents have a great role in the path of their teen’s habits. So, yes, it is realistic to believe that teenage substance abuse prevention practices may be effective.

Where Do We Start for Teenage Substance Abuse Prevention? 

Research has shown that prevention may start with parents who stay involved. They often incorporate positive parenting tips.

During adolescent and teen years, parents are encouraged to keep open communication with their children. In this manner, adults are more likely to help prevent their kids from falling prey to substance addiction.

With that said, there are other vital tips. Some parents may find them useful during these unsure times.

1.    Set Proper Guidelines

As a parent, you have many responsibilities. One to is to set clear and firm guidelines. These will help your teen identify the best direction. Let your child know your expectations . This will aid them to stay focused. And, hopefully avoid peer pressure.

2.    Remain Involved

It’s brutally common how parents neglect their kids unwittingly. This can be due to outside work or other family commitments. This could be very dangerous for kid who has just entered his teens.

A lack of direction and attention can lead a youngster astray. Teenage substance abuse prevention begins with listening and giving attention.

 Therefore, it is recommended that parents monitor their teens’ activities and behaviors.

Keep the lines of communication open. Nurture trust so that they may share their concerns with you. Also, it is important to make sure that you are aware of where your teen is at all times.

3.    Use Positivity

The world our kids live in is different from what experienced. It’s tough, but we have to wrap our brains around that.

Instead of comparing your teen’s performance to others, try this instead. Use positivity whenever possible to motivate. Remind them of the fine choices they make. Then, use positive reinforcements. Help your child gravitate towards “good” company and healthy activities.

4.    Talk About it

At the same time, it’s also important to make sure your teen is aware of all the consequences associated with substance abuse. 

Unfortunately, many adolescents are blind to the dangers of addiction. Sometimes they don’t even know they’re adopting bad habits.

Additionally, adolescents often feel immune to poor results. Consequently, they don’t realize until after addiction has set in. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to inform your child about all the imminent harms of drug use.

5.    Keep the Environment Healthy

Oftentimes, children whose parents suffer from addiction are more likely to become addicts. Moreover, it’s no surprise that if the environment at home is stressful, the teenager will be more stressed. He/she may be more inclined towards adopting negative “coping” habits.

Thus, as a parent, try to keep the home environment welcoming. Reduce as much stress as possible. The child will be more apt to feel satisfied. Hopefully, this will help avoid looking for self-destructive solutions.

In conclusion…

The role of the parent is significant when it comes to teenage substance abuse prevention. Positive parenting includes: listening to your child, keeping open communication, and staying involved. These may help deter your teen from gravitating towards drug use.

For other up-to-date tips on keeping you and your family healthy, check out Get Thrive! If you like our articles, be sure to sign up for our Newsletter too!

Here are a few articles you may also appreciate:

https://getthrive.com/complete-guide-main-parenting-styles/

https://getthrive.com/raising-entitled-child-without-knowing/

https://getthrive.com/parent-quiz-know-teen/

Thank you for joining the Get Thrive family!

 

Teenage Substance Abuse Prevention

In today’s world, substance abuse is a common problem prevalent amongst teens. This can be explained by understanding how easy it is to access illegal drugs today. However, experts believe that parents have a great role in determining the fate of their teen’s life. Parents that remain involved and incorporate positive parenting tips during this phase are more likely to prevent their kids from falling prey to substance addiction. In this article, we will be discussing some vital tips that parents can use when they find their children reaching adolescence and being exposed to uncertain environments.

1.     Set Proper Guidelines

As a parent, it is your responsibility to set clear and firm guidelines that will help your teen identify the right direction. Make sure that you let your child know what expectations you hold. This will help them stay focused and avoid peer pressure.

2.     Remain Involved

There is no question that it has become brutally common how one or both of the parent conveniently neglect their kids because of work or other professional commitments and whatnot. And this could be very dangerous for kid who just entered his teens. A lack of direction can eventually lead to a substance abuse problem.

It is therefore strongly recommended that parents keep monitoring their teen’s activities and behaviors. Keep the lines of communication open and act like a friend to them so that they can share their concerns with you. Also, it is important to make sure that you are aware of where your teen is at all times.

3.     Use Positivity

Too many parents have the habit of comparing their children’s performance with that of their own. It is essential to understand that the world that they live in is different from what it was earlier.

Hence, instead of comparing your teen’s performance to others, it is effective to use positivity whenever you can to motivate them. The use of positive reinforcements will make your child more likely to gravitate towards good company and activities.

4.     Talk About it

At the same time, it is also important that you make sure that your teen is aware of all the consequences associated with substance abuse.

There are many adolescents that are unaware of the dangerous results of adopting these habits and get to know them only after they have become addicted to them. As a parent, it is your responsibility to inform your child about all the harms and trust that they will make the right decision.

5.     Keeping the Environment Healthy

It has been seen that children whose parents suffer from addiction themselves are more likely to adopt such habits.

Moreover, it is no surprise to know that if the environment at home is stressing the teen out they will be more inclined towards adopting such habits. Thus, as a parent, make sure that you keep the home environment as welcoming and less stressful as possible. Having such an environment will reduce the dissatisfaction that your child feels in life and will eliminate any need to look for other solutions.

Bottom Line

The role of the parents is significant when it comes to preventing substance abuse in teens. This is why parents should always make sure that they are aware of what is going on in their child’s life and practice positive parenting.

To learn more about teens, substance abuse and addiction, check out GetThrive.com

Helping Kids Overcome Trauma

According to the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, half of the children in America have faced at least one type of traumatic event in their young lives. In lieu of the recent violence (from humans and weather), that statistic has probably, sadly, increased. The good news is that early acknowledgment and treatment has shown to help youngsters successfully recover from various types of trauma.

What is Trauma?

The clinical definition of trauma includes a personal experience of injury, threat of death or injury, or witness of the same. A child’s response generally involves helplessness, intense fear, and horror. Additionally, children may experience trauma from seeing or hearing about events that did not happen to them personally. Even an event that occurred far away can trigger feelings of danger and extreme worry.

Signs of Trauma in Youngsters

Unfortunately, childhood trauma can result from many different events. The most common are: physical or sexual abuse, the death of a loved one, bullying, violence or substance abuse in the home, war, terrorism, and natural disasters. Keeping an eye out for particular signs may help you recognize if your child may be affected by trauma.

For children under six, some of the symptoms of trauma may be: extreme clinging to a caregiver, excessive crying, screaming or whimpering, moving aimlessly or becoming immobile.

For children between six and 11, you may notice: nightmares, complaints of physical problems, loss of interest in friends and fun activities, depression, development of unfounded fears.

For adolescents age 12 to 18, they may reveal signs such as: having flashbacks or nightmares, abusing alcohol or drugs, being disruptive or destructive, feeling isolated or depressed, having suicidal thoughts.

The Importance of Expedient Intervention and Help

The need for early intervention and treatment for children who’ve experienced trauma is tremendous, especially if it’s been more than one event. The stress of the event(s) can interrupt brain development. Physical health, the ability to learn, and proper socialization are all at risk. Emotional issues, if not confronted in a timely space, can create negative challenges for many years to come. As adults, without treatment during childhood, the ramifications of trauma can effect successful employment and increase risk of psychiatric disorders.

Treatments for Psychological Trauma

Any type of appropriate, caring intervention from an adult will reap benefits to a child. Specifically, however, many experts suggest trauma-based cognitive therapy if the youngster’s state doesn’t improve after several weeks. In the meanwhile, here are a few tips for helping your kids at home.

  • Listen to your child’s fears. Even if they seem absurd or unfounded to you, remove judgment and comfort your child. Do not feed into their fears, but don’t discard them either.
  • Reassure your child is safe. Create routines to keep stress levels low. Keep your own stress in check—that will help you both.
  • Make positive future plans. Help your child focus on something optimistic. Distract his/her thoughts from the negative past or dark thoughts.
  • Take away any blame your child might be placing on him/herself. Remind the child you love him/her and you have his/her back.
  • If you don’t know the answers to questions, don’t make them up. It’s OK to admit to your child that you don’t know.
  • Encourage a healthy diet and good rest.

Children can be pretty resilient, so any help that can be offered will have value.

Recently, the Sesame Workshop launched a new program. It’s aimed at helping kids deal with fear resulting from the increase in natural disasters and mass shootings. Their program offers videos, books, and digital activities created to help provide coping strategies.

Sesame’s initiative is similar to what cognitive-behavior therapists would suggest as an effective treatment. Parents, caregivers, teachers, and other adults can learn how to better empathize with the child (by trying to see the child’s perspective.) The child is offered suggestions on how to recognize thinking and behavior patterns and replace them with other, more positive ones. Puppets, art, music, talk, etc. are all tools that can be used to help the child feel safe and learn how to self-soothe and heal.

Check out GetThrive! for other informative articles to help keep you and your family safe and healthy.

Sources:

https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017/10/07/Sesame-Street-launches-Muppet-program-to-help-kids-cope-with-trauma/8501507394116/?utm_source=fp&utm_campaign=ts&utm_medium=14

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Claudio_Ortiz5/publication/5408453_Evidence-Based_Psychosocial_Treatments_for_Children_and_Adolescents_Exposed_to_Traumatic_Events/links/00b49529c968e08334000000.pdf

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/helping-children-cope-with-traumatic-stress.htm

http://lookthroughtheireyes.org/what-is-childhood-trauma/

 

 

 

 

 

Are We Becoming a Nation of Addicts?

We see or hear news stories about addiction almost every day. There are statistics, overdose deaths, DUI arrests, and celebs checking into rehab. Legal prescription and illicit drug use and abuse seem to be at an all-time high, (pardon the pun.) Is the news sensationalized or is it really that grim?

It’s not Just the Pills

Besides substance abuse (alcohol, tobacco and drugs,) addiction comes in other equally harmful forms. Gambling, eating, shopping, porn/sex, and even technology addictions can interfere with or even ruin lives. With so many opportunities for addictive behavior to manifest, odds are that you or someone you know has been touched by addiction. Knowing the enemy is a good first step to fighting back.

What is Addiction?

Simply put, addiction is a chronic disease involving compulsive behavior.  Typically, addicts do not have control over what they are doing due to physical and/or mental dependence. Unlike a habit, which involves choice and an ability to stop, an addict can’t disengage from the behavior, no matter how destructive it might be.

The causes of addiction and factors contributing to it are wide and varied. Genetics, environmental, emotional, circumstantial, mental and physical factors may all play into a person becoming an addict or not. Recent studies have shown that both substance and behavioral/psychological addictions trigger similar “reward” areas of the brain.

By the Numbers—Bad and Good News

Are we at epidemic levels of addiction?  The numbers seem to indicate that possibility in some cases, but not all.

A few discouraging statistics are :

  • Almost 25 million Americans have an addiction, excluding tobacco
  • Both illicit and prescription drug use and abuse is up overall
  • Approximately 100 people die daily from drug overdoses
  • Over 5 million annual ER visits are drug-related
  • Substance abuse costs the economy over $740 billion annually

 

 

There is some good news, hidden amongst the bad:

  • More people are seeking and in treatment—700,000 per day
  • Use of cocaine, hallucinogens, PCP, and ecstasy (MDMA) is down
  • Fewer Americans are smoking
  • Alcohol dependence/abuse are down overall

The government doesn’t collect statistics on non-substance addiction. Various estimates indicate that 5.5 million adults have serious or compulsive gambling problems.  Another 18-24 million suffer some form of sex addiction, and anywhere from 3-6% of the current population may have some type of technology addiction.

Opioids and Synthetics—the New Enemy

America appears to have an opioid problem. We are five percent of the global population, yet we consume a whopping 80% of the opioid drugs. Opioids include legal drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone, as well as the illegal opium and heroin. Even though prescriptions for opioids are down, use, abuse, and overdoses are up. Long-term use and abuse are on the rise, and it seems there is no end in sight.

The other emerging problem is the abundance of synthetic drugs, often referred to as Spice, Bath Salts, K2, Flakka, and other odd names.  Often available in convenience stores and gas stations, they promise to offer cheap highs similar to illegal drugs.

Most come from China, and none can be effectively regulated by the FDA or DEA, as the names and formulas change too quickly. The one thing they all have in common is that they are far from safe. They offer unpredictable results at best, and in many cases have led to hallucinations, psychotic behavior (including murder) and even death.

Finding Solutions

Addiction in any form is problematic, but rest assured, it can be overcome.  Many forms of rehabilitation and treatment are available.  In most cases, insurance will cover some, if not all of the costs, and low-cost or free options exist.

If you think you or a loved one may have a problem with addiction, the following resources will help you spot the warning signs and seek assistance:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/

https://www.addict-help.com/

https://www.addictioncenter.com/

https://www.drugrehab.com/

http://rehab-international.org/

http://mentalhealthtreatment.net/

http://compulsionsolutions.com/

http://www.techaddiction.ca/index.html

Addiction doesn’t have to control you or someone you know.  Armed with the right tools, the road to recovery can be found.  For more information on addiction, drug use, and rehabilitation search GetThrive.com

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/nationwide-trends

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/drug-use-illegal.htm

https://www.drugrehab.com/addiction/statistics-trends/

http://www.amhc.org/1408-addictions/article/48335-addiction-statistics-how-big-of-a-problem-is-it

https://www.sovcal.com/substance-abuse/opioid-abuse-trends-u-s-world/

Screen Time for Kids May Not Be So Bad

For a while now, it’s been recommended that screen time for children and teens should be limited to two hours daily. A new study, however, does not corroborate findings from past studies. Limiting screen time for youngsters may not be as imperative as we’ve been led to believe.

What The Research is Now Showing

Surely, anyone’s face in front of a screen every waking hour is unhealthy, regardless of age. Data from over 6,000 teens (16 years old on average) was analyzed in the new study. The research conducted out of Stetson University showed that the link between excessive screen time and mood disorders and misguided behavior are minimal.

The data collected was from teen questionnaires. The participants were asked about the amount of time they spent on screens daily. They also answered questions about their nightly amount and quality of sleep. Additionally, the teens were asked about their personal and family relationships, risky behaviors, drug or alcohol use, eating disorders, and if they experienced feelings of depression.

The amount of time spent on social media or electronics was found to have no impact on reckless driving, promiscuity, or substance abuse. The association between large amounts of screen time and higher levels of depression were very slight. Even up to six hours a day of screen use showed no significant negative impact on the youngsters’ mental well-being.

Any negative outcomes were extremely low. And although the participants were equal in number (make and female), the males tended to be more affected by excessive screen time.

Is There a Clear Picture?

The discrepancy in “screen time” studies over the past few years seem to have one element in common: screen time recommendations are merely estimates. The actual optimum time (where very little negative results ensue) is just not clear. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics no longer offers a recommended amount of screen time for children and teens. They had been advocating a maximum or two hours a day, but they can’t offer appropriate guidance when the findings are not necessarily clear.

How the Time is Spent

Perhaps a more valuable element, instead of the questioning the amount of time, is examining how the time is spent. How are children and teens using their time while on the screens? This seems a consideration more worthy.

If websites are compelling our youngsters to read and learn, then they are an educational tool as praiseworthy as a book or a professor’s lecture. Kids are teaching themselves how to play instruments and explore foreign languages on their electronic devices. Even gaming provides a social outlet.

Just as one would advise for anything else, moderation is the key. Screens before bed definitely disrupt sleep patterns, so shut them down at least a half an hour before turning in. Monitoring the sites your children visit is not a bad idea. But if your teen is using screens a few hours a day, you can stop worrying that his/her mental health is at stake. It’s just a sign of the times…

Sources:

http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017/02/07/New-study-finds-screen-time-for-kids-not-that-bad/8931486482796/?utm_source=sec&utm_campaign=sl&utm_medium=10

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/11/28/is-screen-time-dangerous-for-children

Most Pressing Health Problem in US May Surprise You

According to the US Surgeon General in his latest report, there are over 20 million Americans suffering from alcohol and drug abuse. That is a larger number than those who have cancer in this country. Alcohol- and drug-use disorder is a tremendous health challenge and requires attention now.

Alert: Substance Abuse Epidemic

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy had some strong feelings and words on the topic of drug and alcohol addiction. He expressed that the word “addiction” carries such stigma that many people avoid getting treatment. There are many people misusing substances and it’s taking a toll.

Murthy reported that 90 percent of those abusing illicit and prescription drugs, as well as alcohol, are not getting treatment. If the figure of those suffering from substance use disorder is over 20 million, that means at least 18 million American are not getting help.

The US Surgeon General believes “it’s time to change how we view addiction.”

The Toll It Takes

Drug and alcohol abuse, for the body of the user, ages exponentially. All major organs become affected: brain, stomach, liver, skin… Life perception becomes distorted. Depression may set in (or get deeper.) Relationships disintegrate; that includes boss, coworkers, spouse, children, parents, friends, and the list goes on.

Financially, the addiction can become a burden, too. Health issues or accidents arising from the addiction increase medical costs. Day-to-day living becomes more consumed by using the substance than just about anything else. We know people experiencing this. Maybe we even do.

The stigma of addiction needs to be removed. In order for people to seek treatment, they have to feel they will not be shamed by reaching out for help.

Is Our Youth at Greatest Risk?

Murthy believes our youth are at greatest risk of succumbing to substance abuse disorder. Adolescence and young adulthood are precarious times, emotional and sometimes fragile. Between the ages of 12 and 22, the risk of becoming addicted is substantial.

Anyone at any age can develop a misuse of substances, but our younger set tends to be more vulnerable. For one, their brains are not fully developed. Decision-making will not always be at its optimum.

The Surgeon General emphasized that if we prevent our youth from experimenting at a young age, it reduces the likelihood of future substance-use disorder.

Treatment in the Near Future

Already there have been some recent changes to government-overseen treatment policy. The US Department of Health and Human Services has expanded training to physician assistants and nurse practitioners. They will soon be able to prescribe buprenorphine, a treatment for opioid addiction.

Opioid addiction is rampant and the numbers continue to grow. More help is on the way…

What Murthy stated about altering the perspective of addiction is a powerful first step. It needs to be moved from a moral realm into a health-social-emotional based arena. He suggests it’s a chronic condition that requires immediate medical and cognitive treatment—as well as compassion.