Archive for March, 2016

What Is Kratom And Why Is It Dangerous?

Kratom is on the spotlight these days when it comes to alternative medicine. This plant has been touted to possess many health benefits, but some studies say that it’s harmful to human health.

kratom leavesKratom (scientific name Mitragyna speciosa) is a large tree grown in South East Asian countries. Its popularity rose when it was discovered that its leaves can be chewed or made into a tea and utilized for healing purposes. Some variants of Kratom are available in concentrated extract with synthetic chemicals incorporated to it.

Advocates of Kratom claim that it cures stress, anxiety, pain, and depression. The alkanoids contained in Kratom give stimulating, depressing and intoxicating effects. Here are some of the reported benefits of using Kratom in moderate amounts:

  • When taken in moderation, users of Kratom become more talkative, alert and energetic.
  • In tropical forest areas where they are grown, Kratom has been attested by locals to restore vigor.
  • Its leaves can alleviate diarrhea and stabilize hypertension.
  • The drug is also found to be effective in losing weight as it suppresses appetite.
  • People who are exposed to the sun can derive good protection from Kratom as it enhances production of melanin.
  • When consumed more, it creates a euphoric feeling, giving a sense of relaxation and inner calmness.

Some books mention that Kratom is less destructive than morphine and cocaine. However, claims like these on alternative medicine have not yet been proven because no extensive studies have been conducted, despite having many people attesting to its health advantages.

Below are some unwelcome consequences when a person uses Kratom. Some of these effects manifest right away and may last up to seven hours (longer if taken in high doses).

  • Nausea (can be severe and prolonged)
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Itching
  • Increased urination
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle tremors and jerking
  • Episodes of panic
  • Sudden swings of mood
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia

Kratom may be helpful physically and psychologically. However, quitting the use of Kratom may lead a person to experience typical withdrawal symptoms such as muscle pains, jerky limbs, runny nose, and even as far as being violent.

There are a number of new age alternative medicines popping up as of late. Many people want to stay away from synthetic medication and shift towards herbal and natural alternatives. With all that has been said about Kratom, studying about the plant can significantly contribute to the world of wellness. In fact, experts in the field of health and drug industry are spending time and money to conduct extensive studies for such a potential breakthrough in the medical arena.

[Image from ThorPorre via Wikimedia Creative Commons]

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Three Best Hollywood Films About Drug Addiction

Much has been depicted on the silver screen about drugs – its abuse, addiction, manufacturing and distribution. Hollywood remains tactful in touching issues about drugs because there is very little difference between glamorizing a drug and communicating the moral and legal consequences of being hooked to it.

Drug-themed movies have come out simply because of the many angles in bringing the topic into life, despite the challenge to create a film that will capture the interest of a particular audience.

Below are some outstanding Hollywood films about drugs, the wild imagery of its turbulent world, and the thrilling adventure of being involved in this illicit trade.

traffic movie posterTraffic

Traffic is hailed as one of the most excellent films about drugs. It tackles the substance (pun intended) in different angles from the source, supporters, high risks and the battle against it. It is a modern-day suspense story set in the world of drug trafficking, bringing to mind the dangers of the trade.

Practical scenarios depicted in the story expose truths such as the influence of people in public positions who support the trade. Their awareness of drug laws does not hinder them from using drugs as a lucrative source of money. The movie perfectly captures the spirit of the drug problem as a punching bag: No matter how hard you hit, it will always be there, hanging and unchanged.

Limitless

limitless movie posterThe story revolves around a wonder drug called NZT, which is said to boost the brain to perform to its full capacity as opposed to the myth that an individual can only use 10 to 20 percent of the brain’s power. Amazingly, instead of distorting thoughts, it enables the user to remember whatever he has seen and read like a reliable storage device.

An exciting and thrilling movie, Limitless is about a writer who has low self esteem after being rejected by his girlfriend who thinks that he has no future. He proves her wrong when one day he comes across NZT through a friend. His life turns right side up when a business tycoon takes notice of him because of his cleverness. The two pair up to make billions, but the protagonist faces a disturbing reality: he is running out of NZT.

Thrill and adventure emerges as he struggles to cope with withdrawal symptoms and run away from hit men who threaten to eliminate him in line with the wonder drug trade.

Pineapple Express

pineapple express movie posterNamed after a special variety of marijuana, Pineapple Express is all about a process server who witnesses a murder involving the most treacherous drug lord in the city. The state of shock in seeing the crime unfold makes him drop his stash of marijuana in the crime scene. Too disturbed that his joint of Pineapple Express is rare enough to be traced back to him, he and his two friends try to escape the bad guys who are out to kill them.

Pineapple Express is a hilarious film about the perils of drug industry.

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You might also want to read our earlier recommendations on drug-themed movies from the classics, the 1980s, and the 1990s.

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Warning Signs of Alcohol Abuse in Your Children

In this age of multi-tasking and multiple jobs, parents cannot spend enough time with children to be able to monitor their activities. As a result, it has become acceptable for socially active teens to be away from home and with their friends. Because of this, parents find it difficult to know the exposure of their children to alcohol, and especially in terms of whether their drinking habits are crossing way beyond the line.

Alcohol abuse can be attributed to a number of factors, some of which include genetic predisposition, family relationships, exposure to peers and the environment, and emotional health. Drinking can rise in a lot of occasions, and the effects may vary from person to person.

beer teen drinking

It is always best for parents to be aware of the signs of alcohol abuse before it leads to dependence or addiction. “Parents are usually the first to sense a problem, even if they don’t know what it is. If you see signs, seek the help of a professional,” said Leslie Adair in a news release. Adair works at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s Adolescent and Young Adult Services program as director of Mental Health and Family Services.

Here are some of the telltale signs that your kids may be dangling on excessive alcohol consumption:

Personal Appearance

Teens who engage in alcohol abuse have a higher likelihood to be unmindful of their physical appearance. They may dress lousily, and beg off from taking a shower. Their focus is shifted towards alcohol rather than proper hygiene.

  • Messy, shows lack of caring for appearance
  • Poor hygiene
  • Red, flushed cheeks or face

Personal Habits or Actions

teen alcohol abuseYou may notice sudden changes in the usual things that your children do. Dishonesty may set in as your teenage children try to cover up lies. It may even come a point when things in your house start to disappear, only to find out that your child has put them up for sale in order to earn something to purchase alcohol. They may also withdraw themselves from family gathering and dinners to evade questions and confrontations.

  • Clenching teeth
  • Smell of smoke or other unusual odors on breath or on clothes
  • Chewing gum or mints to cover up breath
  • Frequently breaking curfew
  • Cash flow problems
  • Locked doors
  • Secret phone calls/conversations

Health Concerns

Growing teens may experience several physical changes as part of their natural growth to adulthood. However, some of these health-related concerns may also reveal abuse of alcohol.

  • Nosebleeds
  • Runny nose, not caused by allergies or a cold
  • Frequent sickness
  • Sores
  • Vomiting
  • Wetting lips or excessive thirst (known as “cotton mouth”)
  • Sudden or dramatic weight loss or gain

What to do upon discovery

Realizing that your child may be drinking will probably cause you panic, confusion, and anger. In dealing with the issue, it is always best to be composed and non-emotional when confronting your teen. Clarify the matter with love will make them feel that you are concerned for their welfare and willing to support them in any way that you can.

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Five Tips In Teaching Kids To Say No To Drugs

Drug use is considered an epidemic by world governments, and it has become one of the leading health and social problems of this generation. Parents find it extremely difficult to reach out to their children and lead them way from drugs, because chances are they will listen to their friends more than their own mothers and fathers. As a result, kids these days adopt the bad habits of their peers, and parents seem helpless to veer them away from drug abuse.

If you want your kids to stay away from drugs, you should start them early. By teaching them to refuse anyone who offers them drugs, you could help them live better lives in the future.

family drug abuse prevention

Here are five tips that you can use in teaching your own children how to say no to drugs:

1. Set ground rules

As the parent, you need to establish rules that your kids need to follow. Some of the rules that will help them stay away from drugs include setting curfews on weekdays, and requiring them to inform you of their whereabouts after school. Conduct the proper discipline and punishment if they disobey. These guidelines will firmly establish the fact that children should obey their parents, who shouldn’t forget to inject love in these rules.

2. Use role-playing to reenact a potential scenario

This works effectively for children who are still too young to make firm decisions, because parents can teach them the correct way to respond to drug offers. Ask your kids to reenact a potentially real scenario in their everyday life, and play the role of someone who offers them alcoholic beverages or a joint. If they have difficulty responding, guide them to possible replies. Make sure that you teach them strong but friendly answers.

3. Learn about your child’s world.

One of the reasons why kids can’t relate to their parents is because they live in a different world. Try to understand what your children are going through on a daily basis by entering their world without being nosy or intrusive. Ask them about their day, their future plans, their interests, and their social circles.

drug abuse prevention family enjoy kids skating

Best of all, get to know their friends. This is a great way to not only understand your children’s social interaction but also learn if their peers have a good influence on your kids.

4. Take pride in their achievements

Aside from telling them how proud you are of their academic and extra-curricular triumphs, make sure that you give them words of encouragement whenever they share about an experience where they said no to drugs. Refusing peers who offer them alcohol or drugs is a pretty huge decision for your kids, and so make sure that you let them know how you appreciate what they did.

5. Educate them, but don’t forbid them

Much like how children should learn about sex from their parents, teaching them about drugs is an effective way to lead them away from these harmful substances. This might need you to study up on the most commonly abused drugs and their effects on human health.

With that being said, it might not be a good idea to tell them “don’t do drugs”. Teenagers usually respond negatively to reprimands — sometimes to the point of rebellion. In other words, they might do exactly the opposite of what you just told them. Instead of enforcing them to stay away from drugs, teach them what these substances will do to their bodies. Let them decide for themselves — based on your inputs and guidance — to say no to drugs.

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Swedish Teenagers Get Drunk On Hand Sanitizer Gel

Here’s some news that you don’t get to hear often: Hand sanitizers designed to rid the skin of bacteria are now being ingested by teens as a way to satisfy their alcohol cravings.

hand sanitizer gel teen alcohol abuseThis was reported by the BBC, after local police in the Swedish locality of Karlskoga have discovered multiple cases of teenagers drinking anti-bacterial hand sanitizer gels. “Young people have been coming to the emergency room with alcohol poisoning and saying they had drunk alco-gel,” said police representative Stefan Sund.

As a result of this disturbing discovery, police have now ordered the pullout of hand sanitizer gel products in open store shelves so that they are made available only in over-the-counter pharmacies.

Sweden law prohibits individuals below 20 years of age to purchase alcoholic drinks, most of which are being sold in liquor stores regulated by the government. However, some bars and restaurants usually serve drinks to customers as long as they are 18 years old or older. It’s because of this restriction that some teenagers resort to ingesting hand sanitizer products, which contain as much as 85 percent alcohol. Some teens reported to mix these sanitizing products with fruit juices to make the taste more pleasant.

Similar cases were also reported by other countries, mainly due to the appeal of these products to children. Many of the hand sanitizer gels sold in the market come in sweet and fruity flavors, which could mislead kids and teens.

[Image by Jade Jackson via Flickr]

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Male Teen Athletes Increase Likelihood of Doping When Experiencing Parental Pressure

If your son is taking interest in sports at school, be careful not to pressure them too much, because a recent study revealed a link between parental pressure and the likelihood of doping.

teen football male athletes dopingThis was discovered by a team of researchers from the University of Kent in England, after conducting a survey on close to 130 male student athletes with an average age of 17. The participants were asked about their opinions on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the form of stimulants, hormones, or steroids. The student athletes were also asked about their response to four forms of honing perfection: self-motivation, fear of making mistakes, pressure from school coach, and pressure from parents.

Of the four modes of perfectionism, parental pressure was the only option that led to a student’s tendency to dope. The research team believes that this is a serious and dangerous issue, considering that parents may have extremely high expectations from their children. “With the rise of so-called ‘tiger’ parenting — where strict and demanding parents push their children to high levels of achievement — this study reveals the price young athletes may choose to pay to meet their parents’ expectations and dreams,” said study lead author Daniel Madigan in a news release.

Sports event officials and referees are aware of this stigma on student athletes, but parents also need to be equally careful. “The problem of pressure from parents watching their children play sports is widely known, with referees and sporting bodies highlighting the difficulties and taking steps to prevent it,” Madigan added.

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