Archive for June, 2012

Negative Side Effects of Alcohol Abuse That Every Teenager Should Know

Alcoholic beverages are familiar sights in nearly all social gatherings. For many years, people have been drinking alcohol for several different reasons, such as to celebrate an occasion, to achieve a sense of euphoria, to cultivate group relationships, to deal with some personal problems, or to forget conflicts within the family. Although some of the side effects of alcohol drinking are temporary, others can be long-term and may only show later in life. Among the health risks of drinking alcohol include:

alcohol drinking in teensDisease: Alcohol abuse can increase your chances of contacting diseases like cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, throat cancer, and breast cancer. It is also believed that heavy alcohol drinking can cause some psychological disorders, as well as sex-related problems, such as impotence.

Pregnancy Issues: Expecting mothers are usually advised by doctors to stop drinking alcohol for their own safety, as well as that of the fetus’ in their womb. There is no safe level of alcohol use during pregnancy. Pregnant women who drink alcohol are exposing their unborn child to the risk of acquiring Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Syndrome – one of the common causes of mental retardation and whose effects can be irreversible.

Stress: There was a study that link alcohol consumption in teenagers to social isolation. The researchers found that teens drinking alcohol often feel lonely and see themselves as social outcasts in schools. It’s important to understand that you can still live a happier life even if you are not under the influence of alcohol. Depression and mood swings are also very common occurrences in individuals who often go on drinking spree.

Legal Problems: Alcohol drinking is one of the top reasons behind road accidents in teenagers. If you are in the habit of drinking, it’s very likely that at one point or another you are bound to experience some legal problems that can potentially take a heavy toll on your life. Statistics show that among college students under 21 alone, 430,000 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.

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ACLU Dubs Ohio School Plan As Unlawful

A proposal put forward by an Ohio school district has been dismissed as wasteful and unlawful by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The ACLU claims that the proposed drug testing of students in Vermilion schools is a violation of the students’ Fourth Amendment rights, as well as a waste of school funds.

drug testingChristine Link, executive director of the Cleveland chapter of the ACLU, shared the organization’s sentiments in a letter that was sent to the Vermilion school board, voicing out her opinion regarding the proposal. Among the points Link made in the two-page letter is that there are other school districts that have tried similar programs but discontinued them, as they were found to be costly and ineffective.

Link specifically shared the experience of Dublin Schools, which implemented drug testing for students in 2006, but decided to discontinue it after only 11 out of 1,473 students tested positive for drugs and spending $35,000 a year for the program, the costs of which were borne by taxpayers.

Link suggested that the district hire a drug counselor instead; this will set the district back around $32,000 per year. This, Link pointed out, may be better than having to spend money on a program that has not been proven to work, and has Constitutional implications.

The points raised by the ACLU will be considered by the school board when they convene for a meeting on June 2, according to Vermilion Schools Superintendent Phil Pempin.

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Alcohol Content in Medicines and Household Non-beverage Products May Hurt Your Kids

It’s common knowledge that alcohol abuse is prevalent among adolescents and adults. Aside from statistics that show the number of accidents and injuries caused by alcohol drinking, there are also studies that link alcohol consumption to sleep disruptions, as well as social isolation in teenagers. Recently, the NCADD (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence) run a report on kids that may be exposed to products with alcohol content, such as medicines and household non-beverage items.

alcohol on household productsAlthough Benadryl, Cheracol Plus, Dimetane, Donnatal, Geritol, Novahistine, Robitussin, Sominex, Triaminic, Tylenol, and Vicks may often find their place in your medicine cabinet, some remedies can contain up to 25 percent alcohol. Similarly, household items like mouthwashes, rubbing alcohol, and after shave lotion can have alcohol content to help dissolve certain ingredients or preserve the products.

In most cases, giving your kids these products in the right dosage is not harmful, but some children may not have the tolerance to absorb even small amounts of alcohol. According to the NCADD headline, they once received a report from a woman whose 11-year-old child experienced seizure while taking a shower. The child’s blood test result reveals an elevated blood alcohol level, which was most likely the cause of the child’s symptoms. From the mother’s accounts, the child was being given an SSS Tonic, an over-the-counter high potency liquid iron/B vitamin supplement, which contains 12 percent alcohol – equivalent to a 24 proof beverage.

In younger kids, ethanol can result to low blood glucose, an important sugar for brain cell function, because it suppresses the normal body functions that convert a liver substance called glycogen. Children who have not eaten for a while is susceptible to hypoglycemia even in small quantities of ethanol, especially since glycogen in kids is not stored in quantities as large as adults

Keeping some household products out of your children’s reach is as important as reading the label of the medicines and over-the-counter dietary supplements you’re buying. Don’t leave things to chance. Likewise, avoid giving your kids more than your health care provider’s instructed dosage. Unless prescribed by your child’s doctor, you shouldn’t give your children more than one product with alcohol content. Medicines and dietary supplements that contain alcohol should also not be given to children below 2 years of age.

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Teenage Drinkers Struggle Fitting In Social Circles

Despite the notion that teens are often pressured to drink to gain acceptance from their peers, the complete opposite could happen when kids pick up the alcohol habit.

teen drinkingIn a new study undertaken and led by sociologist Dr. Robert Crosnoe from the University of Texas in Austin, teens who drink often feel as social outcasts due to their habit. In schools where alcohol consumption is low, teen drinkers feel the increase in social stress which leads them to develop problems in academics and in their intrapersonal relationships.

“The results suggest that we need to pay attention to youth in problematic school environments in general, but also to those who may have trouble in seemingly positive school environments,” Dr. Crosnoe said.

The study was conducted by analyzing statistics from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). About 8,271 adolescents from grades 7 to 12 from at least 126 schools were questioned with regards to their health-related behaviors.

It was found out that kids who drink often feel lonely and sees themselves as social outcasts especially in schools where majority of students stay away from alcohol and form close bonds by having the same anti-alcohol advocacies.

Researchers were able to discover a connection between the outcast perception of adolescents and their declining grades in school. In fact, there was a three-tenths difference in point grades between socially-secured students and those who feel isolated from the student community.

Dr. Crosnoe confirms that kids encounter troubles in their academics when they don’t feel accepted in school. “In general, adolescents who feel as though they don’t fit in at school often struggle academically, even when capable and even when peers value academic success, because they become more focused on their social circumstances than their social and academic activities.”

The complete details of the study are published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

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Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms to Watch Out For in Recovering Loved Ones

marijuana withdrawal symptomsDespite the proliferation of synthetic drugs in today’s generation, marijuana remains as one of the most commonly abused substances among Americans. Some marijuana users who tried to quit experienced withdrawal symptoms that make them uncomfortable enough to go on relapse.  A Duke University study found that of the 496 adult marijuana smokers who tried to quit, about 95.5% of them experienced at least one withdrawal symptom while 43.1% experienced more than one symptom.

If your loved one is on the process of quitting marijuana use, here are some of the withdrawal symptoms you need to know to help the drug user avoid relapse.

Marijuana craving. In one study, 75.7% of the participants who tried to quit reported intense craving for marijuana. Like quitting alcohol and other drugs, craving is one of the top reasons why people who are trying to quit marijuana fail.

Mood swings. This is the second most common withdrawal symptom reported by those who have tried to fight their marijuana addiction. In fact, more than half of those who tried to give up marijuana smoking reported experiencing mood swings, irritability, or anxiety. Others reported aggression, nervousness, restlessness and a loss of concentration.

Sleep disturbances. Among the sleep disruption problems that have been associated with marijuana withdrawal include insomnia symptoms, nightmares, and very vivid dreams that get in the way of sleep. Insomnia symptoms after smoking weed may usually last a few days or several weeks. Meanwhile, some former marijuana users have reported vivid dreams years after they quit marijuana.

Headaches. Although not everyone who stops using marijuana experiences headaches, those who do appear to have very intense episodes particularly on the first few days after quitting. This kind of withdrawal symptom can last for a few weeks up to a couple of months.

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Risk Factors for Teenage Drug Addiction

drug-addiction-risk-factorsIt’s tough being a teenager, but it’s a lot tougher for parents to raise a youth in an environment where drug addiction remains an unbeatable dilemma. Every now and then, there are news about drugs being a culprit of suicide and other accidents involving teenagers. If you’re a parent, it’s only natural to feel worried about the safety of your own youngster. If at all possible, you’d want them to stay drug-free throughout their lifetime. Unfortunately, some things are just hard to control. Below are some of the risk factors attributed to drug addiction. Understanding them will help you determine how vulnerable your own teenager might be in becoming a victim of drug abuse.

Family History of Drug Addiction. Like other diseases, drug addiction can run in the family. Teenagers who have parents or relatives who struggle with some form of addiction (drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc.) are believed to be at greater risk of taking drugs as well. A SAMHSA document reveals that children of alcoholics are two to four times more likely than other children to become alcoholics themselves. However, aside from genes, other environmental influences can also play a role in teenage drug addiction. Infants being born already addicted to prescription drugs are said to have greater risk of addiction later in life.

Stress. A survey from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University found that high-stressed teenagers are twice as likely as their peers to smoke, drink and use illegal drugs. Similarly, there have already been reports that prescription drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are being used by some students across the United States to cope with the demands of education.

Lack of Parental Supervision or Involvement. Teenagers crave for attention and guidance. Those who do not have close relationship with their parents or who receive little parental monitoring have an increased risk of embracing drugs and alcohol. Similarly, teenagers with parents who set unrealistic goals and demands or who experiences high level of family conflict are at risk of drug or alcohol use.

Childhood Trauma. The way our brain is wired is different from person to person. Sadly, there are people who have poor coping skills when faced with adverse experiences during their childhood, such as losing a parent to death or divorce, neglect, emotional or physical abuse, sexual abuse, or domestic violence. Kaiser Permanent’s Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study found a clear relationship between severe childhood stress and all types of addictions. The more adverse trauma a child experienced, the higher his/her chance of drug or alcohol problems later in life.

Perceptions About Drugs. Teenagers who believe that drugs and alcohol are not dangerous are far more likely to become addicted to drugs. Prescription drug use, in particular, is fast-becoming a concern among parents, health care providers, and government officials because of the rising cases being reported lately. Teenagers using prescription medications often believe that the drugs are inherently safe because doctors prescribe them. Celebrity influences is also another factor that gives prescription drug use a trendy and glamorous appeal to teenagers.

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