Archive for February, 2016

Teenage Hospital ER Cases Associated With PTSD and Cyberbullying

A new study based on hospital records showed that emergency cases involving teens usually involve some form of violence, cyberbullying, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Published in the journal General Hospital Psychiatry, the study looked into ER records of roughly 350 teenagers in Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island.

teen sadness PTSDAccording to the study, 46.5 percent of the teenage emergency cases involved violence inflicted by fellow adolescents. Cyberbullying cases accounted for about 47 percent of the cases, while close to 59 percent reported exposure to community violence.

What was startling about the findings was that at least 23 percent of the teenagers sent to the ER had PTSD symptoms, and roughly 11 percent admitted to have thought about committing suicide within the past year.

Study lead author Megan Ranney explained the significance of the research team’s discovery. “Teens with a history of cyberbullying or peer violence are more likely to have PTSD, which is a very treatable disease if properly identified and addressed,” Ranney said in a news release. “PTSD in adolescents has been associated with long-term functional impairment, including poor physical health, academic failure and increased need for medical services.”

The team believes that their study is a significant step to exposing the dangers of PTSD in teenagers. “These results should serve as a reminder to parents, schools and physicians that these problems are prevalent in our community… PTSD is currently underdiagnosed, underreported and undertreated, especially among children and adolescents,” Ranney added.

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Creative Packaging For Illegal Drugs Attracts More Teens

Manufacturers of addiction-prone illegal substances keep coming up with ingenious and creative ways to lure teenagers into abuse. In popular media, drugs are also considered “cool” and are effective ways to make a person famous.

happy teenagerThis information was shared by Lynn Riemer, who works as president of ACT on Drugs, in front of students of Durango High School. “Things are changing so fast in the illegal drug industry, it’s hard to keep up,” Riemer shared via a news release.

She understands that the old approach of lecturing teenagers to stay away from drugs might not work in the current generation. “I’m not here representing the ‘Just Say No’ program because it doesn’t work… I’m not here to judge you or tell you how to live your life. I’m just going to stand here and give you factual information,” Riemer expressed. Besides, “there’s lots of conflicting information out there, you have to look for reputable scientific studies,” she added.

Previous studies have confirmed the adverse effect of abusing marijuana and illicit substances on teenage brains, and Riemer shared this information with the students. “Teen brains are more likely to become addicted, and because drugs make you feel good, unbelievably good, better than anything natural, they make it so your brain can’t uptake serotonin and dopamine and can’t naturally feel happiness any more.”

In a separate discussion with parents and members of the community, Riemer emphasized the importance of being aware and alert in terms of drug abuse by their kids. “Pay attention to what you see, pay attention to what you smell, pay attention to what you hear… And please don’t think drug dealers still look like a homeless guy under a bridge. They look like everyone in this room.”

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Teenagers Start Alcohol Consumption Younger Than Before

Teen drinking is already a disturbing and threatening issue by itself, but a recent review on teenagers revealed that adolescents are starting on the habit much younger than before.

teen alcohol use drinkingAccording to client records from Louisville’s Morton Center and New Albany’s Our Place, the trend on teen drinking is getting worse. As more teenagers get checked in for alcohol abuse treatment, the two centers reported via a news release that “the average age that local teens start drinking is decreasing.” In fact, some workers in these treatment centers say that they have encountered alcohol addiction cases as early as age 10.

Meanwhile, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that the average age when teens start to drink is 13. As for the rest of the teen population, roughly 35 percent have already tasted their first drink before they reached the age of 15. “If you look at use rates say from the late 1980s, early 1990s, they were a lot higher than they are now… We got really good at this and brought those rates down. I think the concern is we’re starting to see those rates go back up,” said Our Place executive director MeriBeth Adams Wolf.

She stated further that one of the reasons behind this alarming trend is the lack of parental control in preventing teen alcohol abuse. “We even have local data that’s showing us that too many kids are stating that they really don’t think their parents would be upset if they had one or two drinks per day… And you look at that, and you’re going, ‘How are you getting that message?'” Adams Wolf added.

All in all, teenagers must be made aware of the effects of alcohol in their lives as they grow up to become adults. “Not that we want to scare them, but they need to have this knowledge… And not just your parents saying, ‘Don’t do this.’ They need to know there’s a reason behind it,” said Morton Center chief executive officer Priscilla McIntosh.

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Excessive Drinking by Teens Linked To Poor Parenting

Allowing your children to experience life according to their own terms may have some advantages, but not when it comes to preventing alcohol abuse. This was revealed through a new study on teen drinking.

teen alcohol consumption drinkingThe study, jointly conducted by Queen’s University Belfast and Glasgow University, said that parents who don’t exercise control and authority in the household may increase the likelihood of their teenage children to engage in excessive alcohol consumption. “We are hypothesising that while emotional support and closeness are important for ensuring mental wellbeing, when it comes to health behaviours like alcohol use, parental rules may have more of an influence over factors outside the home such as peer influences and social media,” said study co-author Mark McCann in a news release.

Researchers reviewed data from close to 5,000 adolescents from 2010 to 2011, and looked into the importance of parental control in limiting alcohol intake by their teen kids.

Based on the study findings, the research team believes that proper parenting plays a key role in preventing teen alcohol abuse, more than any alcohol awareness program designed for kids. “Given that adolescence is often a critical period for the beginning of alcohol use, and that alcohol harms are not confined to children from so-called ‘problem’ families, support for adolescent parenting – rather than alcohol awareness for parents – may be a more beneficial target for public policy aimed at young people’s health behaviour,” McCann added.

Of course, it doesn’t mean that making your kids aware of alcohol abuse isn’t important. In fact, parents are encouraged to discuss alcohol to kids early.

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Chicago Mayor’s Proposal on Stricter Smoking Regulations Opposed By City Council Committee

Implementing more stringent measures against cigarette smoking may sound like a heroic act for any mayor, but it doesn’t seem to be the case in Chicago.

cigarette smokingAfter Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to update the legal smoking age to 21 (from the current 18) and increase taxes on tobacco products, members of the City Council Finance Committee doused water on the mayor’s proposal. According to some aldermen in the committee, the latest move by Emanuel may lead to more harm than good. Here are some of the opposing views on the matter:

  • According to one alderman, the high taxation against tobacco may increase the sale of tobacco products in the black market and lead small tobacco businesses to shut down.
  • Chairman Edward Burke (14th) spoke in behalf of aldermen, saying that the mayor’s plans would worsen the situation on loose cigarettes in the black market.
  • Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) said in a news release that the change in legal smoking age was without basis, considering that people who are 18 years old are allowed to get married. “An 18-year-old is not a kid,” according to Hairston.

Emanuel seems unfazed by the criticism on his proposal. “Mayor Emanuel has stood up to the tobacco industry countless times throughout his career to reduce youth smoking, and he’s not about to back down now”, a statement from the mayor’s office said. He seems to be banking on his effective five-year campaign against teen smoking, the rate of which has dropped to 10.7 percent in the city.

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Depression of Parents Linked To Poor Child Performance in School

Your child’s performance in school may be affected by your depressive tendencies. This was revealed by a recent study that delved into a potential link between parental depression and the child’s scholastic attitude.

child school performance parental depressionA research team led by Brian K. Lee of Philadelphia’s Drexel University School of Public Health arrived as this discovery after reviewing depression cases of parents in Sweden, as well as the school records of more than 1.1 million Swedish children born between 1984 and 1994.

Results of the study, as posted in a news report, showed that mothers and fathers who were diagnosed with depression before a period known as the final compulsory school year were more likely to have their kids perform poorly in school. The biggest impact was observed on the depression of the mother, which led to a larger effect on the performance of their daughters in school.

The team believes that their research shows how the psychology of parents can affect how their children act and perform in school “Because parental depression may be more amendable to improvement compared with other influences, such as socioeconomic status, it is worth verifying the present results in independent cohorts. If the associations observed are causal, the results strengthen the case even further for intervention and support among children of affected parents,” the authors said.

The study was recently published in JAMA Psychiatry.

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