Archive for category Raising Healthy Kids

Most Common FAQ on Drugs Asked By Teens

Despite reports on the rising number of incidents related to drug abuse, a lot of people would still turn to drugs as their means of recreation or their last resort to mask off their problems. What makes this very alarming is the fact that children way before pre-teen stage have already been exposed to such illicit drugs. At this very innocent stage in the life of children, they may view drugs as just another kind of “amusement” that can provide them with an “unusual high” as part of their normal lives.

This article aims to provide information and awareness to prevent the use of illegal drugs and to hopefully combat unnecessary exposure of children from these substances. Here are some of the most common questions about teen drug abuse, and answers to the frequently asked questions by teenagers regarding these substances.

teen drugs

What is drug abuse?

Drug abuse refers to the inappropriate consumption, ingestion or intake of prescription drugs or drugs that are found to have no legitimate medical purpose or benefit. It may also be referred to as a form of brain-altering condition wherein a user experiences various psychological issues that often lead to unfavorable results.

What factors influence teens to take drugs?

Children are taught in school about how they should avoid getting hooked on drugs, smoking and alcohol use. However, since children are naturally curious, they will always be curious to try on something new, and that includes trying drugs.

Apart from mere curiosity, peer pressure plays a very significant role. Teens want to “belong” or be part of a “cool group”. Unfortunately, not all groups may be good influences. As a result, some groups would persuade their new “recruits” to try drugs and force them to think that drugs are their best friends – as their means of escape from their problems.

Other factors that may trigger teenagers to use drugs include:

  • Low self-worth
  • Desire to enhance performance

How come some individuals get addicted to drugs and some don’t?

Drug addiction is a complex disease, which means that there are contributing factors that may lead one to become addicted. These factors may be because of genetics or because of the influence of the environment. Nevertheless, the likelihood of getting addicted to a particular drug or substance may vary from person to person.

What drugs do teens tend to abuse?

The most commonly abused substances among teens are alcohol and tobacco. They also tend to favor inhalation of fumes from household chemicals, pens and glues. Older teens, however, would often use marijuana, synthetic marijuana (known as Spice or K2), and other prescription and over-the-counter medication.

Which drugs can be very addictive?

The answer to this question is variable because the effect of drugs on each individual. The reason behind this is that several factors may come into play, such as genetics, age, dosage taken, length of time that the drug has been used, and frequency of use.

What are the dangers of inhalants?

There are various household products such as cleaning liquids and solutions, glue, lighter fluid, and aerosol sprays that are being inhaled by younger teens to obtain an alcohol-like high. Because these are readily available, younger teens have easier access to these substances, making them some of the common things that young people try to use.

Although the effects from inhaling these substances may be for just a short period of time, prolonged inhalation may cause severe reaction towards the body such as suffocation and heart failure. Long term use can also lead to liver and kidney damage, hearing loss, bone marrow damage and consequently, brain damage.

At what age does drug abuse become prevalent?

teen peer pressureAccording to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted in 2015, an estimated 119 million Americans aged 12 or older used prescription psychotherapeutic drugs in the past year, representing 44.5 percent of the population.

Meanwhile, About 97.5 million people used pain relievers (36.4 percent), 39.3 million used tranquilizers (14.7 percent), 17.2 million used stimulants (6.4 percent), and 18.6 million used sedatives (6.9 percent). In 2015, 18.9 million people aged 12 or older (7.1 percent) misused prescription psychotherapeutic drugs in the past year.

If both parents were drug users prior to having a child, will the child be addicted to drugs?

The fact is, when a baby is born from a mother who is a drug user, the baby may be born addicted to the drug and may suffer withdrawal symptoms. But ultimately, children exposed to such substances in the home have a high risk of becoming addicts themselves.

What are the effects of drug addiction in the brain?

Habitual intake of illicit drugs can severely alter the brain’s function. This is because the effects of these substances either mimic or block the natural flow of neurotransmitters.  Even when a user may have been relieved from its physical attachment to the drug, there would always come a time that a “healed” user may want to do drugs once again.

effect of drugs on teen brain

As a person takes an addictive substance, the limbic system releases dopamine, a naturally occurring chemical that make the user feel good. This encourages habitual substance abuse. To get hooked on drugs again after years of detoxification may be triggered by familiar situations which may have been the cause for addiction before.

What are “club drugs” or “party drugs”?

These are illicit drugs that have gained notoriety in clubs or rave parties. Some of the common party drugs include:

  • Ecstasy
  • GHB
  • Ketamine
  • Rohypnol
  • LSD
  • Methamphetamine

There are also other kinds of synthetic drugs sold as Ecstasy which may be more fatal than Ecstasy itself.

  • Piperazines like BZP and TFMPP
  • PMA/PMMA
  • Mephedrone (mostly outside the US)
  • bk-MDMA (methylene)
  • MDPV

The popularity of party drugs stems from the euphoric feeling that it brings to the user. These drugs have a tendency to enhance the light feeling of people who frequent bars and night clubs. Unfortunately, these substances also pose serious health risks that range from nausea and dizziness to cardiac arrest and death.

ecstasy-molly-mdma-pills-party-drugs

What is Ecstasy?

This drug is known as an empathogen-entactogen, which means that it provides a feeling of empathy towards another person even if you have just met the person. Ecstasy is also commonly known as “Molly” in the club environment.

Ecstasy affects three neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. When Molly is taken, the compound releases an enormous amount of these neurotransmitters and increases its activity.

What are the effects of Ecstasy use?

Drug users may claim that Ecstasy is good for their bodies because it helps them to carry a “happy” attitude. While this may be true for some users, Ecstasy use can also present the following effects:

  • Greater enjoyment of dancing
  • Distortions of perceptions, particularly light, music and touch
  • Artificial feelings of empathy and emotional warmth
  • Increased body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate
  • Threat of dehydration
  • Increased energy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lack of fatigue when it would be normal
  • Jaw clenching and teeth grinding
  • Chills
  • Muscle cramping

After the effect of Ecstasy wears off, what happens?

The effect of Ecstasy lasts between three to six hours. Unfavorable symptoms may be experienced such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Less interest in or pleasure from sex
  • Problems sleeping
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Poor memory
  • Drug cravings
  • Paranoia

Now that marijuana has been approved in some U.S. states, are teens free to use them like adults?

Despite the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, it is still prohibited under federal law to manufacture, possess, buy or use marijuana if you do not have the necessary permits. Only adults above 21 years of age are allowed to have an access from legitimate shops wherein they should also have to secure permits when they intend to use marijuana for recreational purposes.

How are drugs classified?

The Drug Enforcement Agency has categorized drugs into Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III, Schedule IV and Schedule V. The drugs are scheduled depending upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential.

As the schedule number increases, it means that the drugs that are categorized under them are less dangerous and may have some medical use than the ones categorized before them.

What are the signs of substance abuse?

drug abuse teen depressionIt is common among teens to go through certain issues during puberty. Along with these physical changes is their curiosity with so many things, which include the use of alcohol and drugs.

Parents are advised to talk to their children when they notice changes in behavior or appearance, including the following.

Changes in appearance: You may notice that your child pays less attention towards grooming. Other signs include loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss, red and glassy eyes and frequent use of eye drops or breath mints.

Changes in attitude: An attitude that is getting worse, disrespectful behavior and lack of concern about the future may be an indication of drug addiction or substance abuse.

Changes in behavior: Your child may be slowly staying away from family gatherings, performing poorly in school, developing a sneaky behavior, hanging out with new friends but reluctant to introduce them to the family, having loss of interest in other activities, lying, or stealing.

Is teen drug abuse treatment the same as adult treatment?

Adult treatment is not the same as teen treatment because adults usually have to deal with long term use and abuse. Having said that, parents should be able to look for an appropriate program for their teen kids wherein there should also be involvement of the family to speed up the process of the treatment.

There are underlying reasons why teens succumb to such predicament, and this should be the best way to come up with the proper solution to the teen drug abuse issue.

Can teen substance abuse be prevented?

Teens that are less exposed to alcohol, cigarette and drugs are less likely to use them when they become adults. It’s the responsibility of parents and family members to teach the dangers of using these substances.

When parents have time for their children, the children will feel that they are being given importance and that they feel very much loved. Establishing a good relationship with your children allows them to freely talk to you about anything, including drugs. This leads teenagers to become more guided and receive better advice to any kind of problem rather than resorting to friends who may influence them to get hooked on different vices.

When the family is able to support one another, this builds up confidence to teenagers, thereby making a huge impact on their personalities.

parent intervention teens

What is detoxification?

Detoxification is the process of taking drug components out of the body so that the individual may be able to function normally again. This is proven to be effective, but only if there is no permanent damage to the brain due to prolonged drug use.

The general process of detoxification is done by slowly limiting the amount of drug that the user takes. During this process, withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, sleeplessness and irritability may occur.

An effective detoxification process also includes giving counteractive drugs that will help eliminate the unfavorable withdrawal symptoms, which will then aid in completely getting rid of the illicit drug compounds from the system.

Detoxification is only part of drug abuse treatment, and is never designed to be the ultimate solution. After several weeks or months of treatment, the individual is recommended to undergo psychological therapy wherein self-confidence and love is being restored with the help of the individual’s loved ones.

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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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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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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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Teens Exposed To Drug Use Show Immediate Antisocial Behavior

A recent study from Duke University in North Carolina discovered a direct effect of drug use exposure on social behavior in teenagers.

peer prescription drug abuseAlcohol and drug use have always been tied to a number of psychological and behavioral problems, but this new study sheds light into a more specific aspect of teen life. “Past research has shown that children who grow up in families, schools and neighborhoods where alcohol and drugs are frequently used are at risk for behavioral problems later in life, but our findings demonstrate that these effects are immediate,” according to study co-author Candice Odgers, who works for the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy.

The study, which was published in the journal Development and Psychopathology, tapped more than 150 teens between ages 11 and 15 to answer a month-long survey series. The study participants were asked to answer the questions thrice a day using their mobile phones. “Connecting with kids via their devices provided a unique view into their daily lives and, we hope, more valid data as we were capturing events, experiences and behaviors as they happened,” said study lead author Michael Russell in a news item. The survey results were analyzed to check for patterns in terms of exposure to drug use and tendencies of antisocial behavior.

Results showed that adolescents who witnessed use of drugs were more susceptible to experience antisocial misbehavior such as theft, property damage, and violence. “Our findings support the idea that situations where others are using alcohol or drugs may serve as ‘triggering contexts’ for adolescents’ problem behavior,” the study lead author added.

The findings were more pronounced in study participants who were identified to possess the DRD4-7R genotype, a genetic mark associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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