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Monthly Archives February 2016

How Advertising Affects Teen Consumption of Alcohol

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 28, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

TeenDrinking5It is easy to ignore the effects that advertising has on the habits of our teens, yet research suggests that exposure to specific marketing campaigns does, indeed, lead to unhealthy choices. One study (Wellman et al, 2006) found that exposure to tobacco marketing increased smoking by teens, and another (Hastings et al) concluded that food marketing increases food intake and the likelihood of obesity. Alcoholism, too, is a risk, with various longitudinal studies showing a link between exposure to alcohol advertising, and increased consumption.

Important findings include:

  • 12-year-olds who are heavily exposed to alcohol advertising are 50 per cent more likely to start drinking one year later compared to those who are only slightly exposed to similar material (Collins et al, 2007).
  • Teenage males who own a promotional item from an alcohol manufacturer are almost twice as likely to start drinking alcohol than male teens who do not own these items; statistics are similar for female teens (for whom percentages are slightly lower). (McClure et al, 2009).
  • Teens who have been heavily exposed to alcohol marketing tend to drink greater amounts than those who are slightly exposed to similar material. (Snyder et al, 2006)
  • Youths who watch 60 per cent more alcohol advertising are 44 per cent more likely to have ever drunk beer and 26 per cent more likely to have consumed three or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion. ((Stacy et al, 2004).

In one important study carried out by researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, it was found that one in every three youths choose a brand of alcohol based on advertising and marketing. The reasons for the choice of a specific brand include:

  • Fondnessfor a particular celebrity or brand ambassador who endorses a specific alcoholic product.
  • Taste: Some youths choose a particular brand because they expect that it will taste good.
  • Price: Youths can make their selection based on the low cost of some items.
  • Emulation: Youths can opt for a particular brand because they see adults drinking it or see movie or television stars make the same choice.

Those who see alcohol as a lesser problem for youths in the U.S, should think again: alcohol is the most commonly abused drug among teens in America; it causes over 4,000 deaths among youths, every year. Research shows that around 70 per cent of 12th grade students have consumed alcohol and the problem extends to younger students, with around 13 per cent of eight graders admitting that they have consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days.

Meanwhile, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2013) found that among high school students, in the 30 days prior to the survey, 21 per cent engaged in binge drinking, 10 per cent drove after drinking alcohol, and 22 per cent rode in a car driven by a person who had been drinking. Some 35 per cent in total consumed some amount of alcohol.

As a whole, it can be said that exposure to marketing and advertisements promoting alcohol, is linked to a greater chance of teens starting to drink, and of teens drinking more than counterparts who have not been bombarded with promotional material. It is therefore vital that parents and teachers enlighten teens on these findings, so that they become more aware about the link between what they view, and the choices they make. They should also be presented with the facts: alcohol and drugs are the leading factors in teen suicide, over 23 million people aged 12 and above are addicted to alcohol or drugs, and there is a direct relationship between addiction and poor academic results.

Of course, advertising is not the only reason teens use drugs and consume alcohol. Other factors are in play, which should be recognized and addressed by parents and teachers. These include the influence of other teens, escape, boredom, rebellion and instant gratification. For others still, drugs and alcohol are a way to gain the confidence they might not otherwise have. These people may use alcohol to rid themselves of inhibition and social anxiety. Finally, misinformation is one of the biggest culprits as far as abuse and addiction are concerned. Most teenagers will come across friends who used drugs and alcohol, yet seem to be functioning at school and socially. It is vital that schools and families work together to enlighten children on the pure, unadulterated facts regarding drugs and alcohol.

It is easy to ignore the effects that advertising has on the habits of our teens, yet research suggests that exposure to specific marketing campaigns does, indeed, lead to unhealthy choices. One study (Wellman et al, 2006) found that exposure to tobacco marketing increased smoking by teens, and another (Hastings et al) concluded that food marketing increases food intake and the likelihood of obesity. Alcoholism, too, is a risk, with various longitudinal studies showing a link between exposure to alcohol advertising, and increased consumptionImportant findings include:

  • 12-year-olds who are heavily exposed to alcohol advertising are 50 per cent more likely to start drinking one year later compared to those who are only slightly exposed to similar material (Collins et al, 2007).
  • Teenage males who own a promotional item from an alcohol manufacturer are almost twice as likely to start drinking alcohol than male teens who do not own these items; statistics are similar for female teens (for whom percentages are slightly lower). (McClure et al, 2009).
  • Teens who have been heavily exposed to alcohol marketing tend to drink greater amounts than those who are slightly exposed to similar material. (Snyder et al, 2006)
  • Youths who watch 60 per cent more alcohol advertising are 44 per cent more likely to have ever drunk beer and 26 per cent more likely to have consumed three or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion. ((Stacy et al, 2004).

In one important study carried out by researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, it was found that one in every three youths choose a brand of alcohol based on advertising and marketing. The reasons for the choice of a specific brand include:

  • Fondnessfor a particular celebrity or brand ambassador who endorses a specific alcoholic product.
  • Taste: Some youths choose a particular brand because they expect that it will taste good.
  • Price: Youths can make their selection based on the low cost of some items.
  • Emulation: Youths can opt for a particular brand because they see adults drinking it or see movie or television stars make the same choice.

Those who see alcohol as a lesser problem for youths in the U.S, should think again: alcohol is the most commonly abused drug among teens in America; it causes over 4,000 deaths among youths, every year. Research shows that around 70 per cent of 12th grade students have consumed alcohol and the problem extends to younger students, with around 13 per cent of eight graders admitting that they have consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days.

Meanwhile, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2013) found that among high school students, in the 30 days prior to the survey, 21 per cent engaged in binge drinking, 10 per cent drove after drinking alcohol, and 22 per cent rode in a car driven by a person who had been drinking. Some 35 per cent in total consumed some amount of alcohol.

As a whole, it can be said that exposure to marketing and advertisements promoting alcohol, is linked to a greater chance of teens starting to drink, and of teens drinking more than counterparts who have not been bombarded with promotional material. It is therefore vital that parents and teachers enlighten teens on these findings, so that they become more aware about the link between what they view, and the choices they make. They should also be presented with the facts: alcohol and drugs are the leading factors in teen suicide, over 23 million people aged 12 and above are addicted to alcohol or drugs, and there is a direct relationship between addiction and poor academic results.

Of course, advertising is not the only reason teens use drugs and consume alcohol. Other factors are in play, which should be recognized and addressed by parents and teachers. These include the influence of other teens, escape, boredom, rebellion and instant gratification. For others still, drugs and alcohol are a way to gain the confidence they might not otherwise have. These people may use alcohol to rid themselves of inhibition and social anxiety. Finally, misinformation is one of the biggest culprits as far as abuse and addiction are concerned. Most teenagers will come across friends who used drugs and alcohol, yet seem to be functioning at school and socially. It is vital that schools and families work together to enlighten children on the pure, unadulterated facts regarding drugs and alcohol.

Contributor: Helen Canning – Now working primarily as a writer, Helen Canning used to work in the health care sector, initially in social care. After battling her own problems with depression and stress, she decided to leave the pressure of her job behind and become a stay-at-home writer. It fits in perfectly with raising her two children and means she can pen articles on the topics she knows most about.

If you feel your teen is struggling with an alcohol problem, don’t waste time in seeking them help. If you have exhausted your local resources and feel outside options might be your last resort, contact us for information on what’s available for your teen’s individual needs.

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Synthetic Drugs: What Parents Need to Know

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 22, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help

One small dose. That’s all it was.  She was an honor roll student, not into drugs, never in troubled or into partying. Tara Fitzgerald, only 17 years old, however, was curious to try LSD and on one night made one bad decision she never woke up from.

“We all feel immune to drugs because our kids are better than that – they know better, they’re going to be smarter and it’s not going to happen to us. Well, it can happen to anybody,” – said Tara’s father in the following video.

What is synthetic drugs?

Synthetic drugs are created using man-made chemicals rather than natural ingredients.

A number of synthetic drugs on the market, including Ecstasy, LSD and methamphetamine, are described in other booklets in The Truth About Drugs series. This booklet gives the facts about “synthetic marijuana” (Spice or K2), “synthetic stimulants” (Bath Salts) and a drug known as “N-bomb.” These are among the synthetic drugs known as “designer drugs.”

Source: Drug-Free World

ParentsTalkingTeensWhat can parents do?

Communication is key.

If you watch the entire segment of Dateline, you will discover that although parents want to be able to trust their teenagers, it doesn’t mean you stop checking in on them — assuming they are a good kid, and nothing is going on.

Tara’s parents would give anything to go back to that night and check in on her – rather than assume she’s a good kid – all is just fine.

Even good kids make bad choices, don’t be that parent in denial. Don’t end up being a statistic. Worse – don’t end up being a headline.

If you’re struggling with your teen and have exhausted your local resources, sometimes residential therapy can be your next step. Contact us for quality resources.

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When Safety Trumps Privacy: Snoop

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 13, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

teens 4Are you concerned your teenager’s is hiding something from you?

Are they becoming withdrawn? Secretive? Changing friends? Underachieving in school? Possibly experimenting with drugs and alcohol?

Have you noticed a change in their behavior, but they are telling you it’s nothing or don’t worry about it.

Don’t be a parent in denial. Don’t be a parent that is afraid to break a bond of trust in exchange for finding out that there is something you could have helped with.

Recently ABC 20/20 interviewed Sue Klebold, mother of the infamous Dylan Klebold that shot 13 people at Columbine in 1999.

She believed it was time to give Dylan is privacy.

A time she regrets more than anything.

I’m not saying you are raising killers, this is an extreme.  However the fact is, teens today are struggling with not only their offline lives — but the pressure of keeping up with the social life of online activity. How many people are LIKE-ng them!

Especially if your child is acting suspiciously and refusing to communicate with you, it’s a parent’s responsibility to reach out and get help from outside sources.

Sometimes the signs are subtle, sometimes they are in plain sight — but many times it can be the parent that is refusing to admit there is a problem.  They want to brush it off to adolescence – or they will grow out of it.

Maybe they will – or maybe it is teen-hood, but maybe it isn’t.

If you feel you have exhausted your local resources and believe you want to find out more about residential treatment, contact us for more information.

 

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Risky Use of Stimulants and Teenagers

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 10, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

TeensADHDMedsBy Constance Scharff, PhD

Prescription ADHD medications like Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse are becoming increasingly popular for overworked and overscheduled college students. ADHD stimulants strengthen the brain’s inhibitory capacities, by increasing the amount of certain neurotransmitters, like dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Students like these drugs because they enhance their study efforts.

Prescription “study drugs” are commonly abused to increase concentration for last minute cramming or paper writing. The numbers vary significantly by school, with the greatest proportion of users at private and “elite” universities. Some researchers estimate about 30% of university students use stimulants non-medically.

Students believe that they take these stimulants for the “right reasons,” to be more productive in classes and to stay afloat in a flood of intense competition. In the competitive atmosphere at many schools, students seldom take the time to consider short or long-term risks of taking these drugs, nor understand how certain stimulants may interact with other drugs.

Sean McCabe, research associate professor at the University of Michigan Substance Abuse Research Center said:

“Our biggest concern is the increase we have observed in this behavior over the past decade. College students tend to underestimate the potential harms associated with the nonmedical use of prescription stimulants.”

While students’ knowledge of the health dangers are limited, even less consideration is given to the illegality of use. Obtaining stimulants from friends with prescriptions, as the vast majority of college students do, seems less dangerous and illegal than buying drugs off the street. Yet these drugs are illegal if used other than intended or by someone other than the person to whom they are prescribed. These drugs are Schedule II substances, on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list right next to cocaine and morphine.

Colleges and universities need to increase awareness about the abuse of these drugs and prompt broader discussion about misuse of medications like Ritalin or Adderall for study purposes. Prevention education for all students may help inform many that these drugs are highly addictive and can have serious side effects. A medical professional or counselor can provide help and support if a student you know is abusing these drugs, along with more information if needed.

BookEndingAddictionAbout the author: Constance Scharff has a Ph.D. in Transformative Studies, specializing in addiction recovery. She is the Senior Addiction Research Fellow and Director of Addiction Research at Cliffside Malibu Treatment Center, and co-author of Ending Addiction for Good with Richard Taite.

 

If your teen is struggling with drug use, please don’t hesitate to get help immediately. If you have exhausted your local resources please contact us for options on residential treatment.

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Teen Online Dating: Digital Love

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 05, 2016  /   Posted in Digital Parenting, Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help

Should teens be looking for love online? Should they be on sites such as Tinder or Match?

Age restrictions on these sites are in place for a reason, however we know that many teenagers will find a way around them if they want to bad enough. It’s not any different then tweens joining social media platforms designed strictly for ages 13 and older.

LoveisRespectLove Is Respect offers advice, resources and tips for parents, teachers and teens.

Everyone deserves to be in a safe and healthy relationship, both in person or online. If your partner is digitally abusive, know their behavior is not acceptable and could be illegal. Check out the tips below for staying safe on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and others.

  • Only post things you want the public to see or know. Once it’s online, it’s no longer under your control.
  • Be protective of your personal information. Your phone numbers and addresses enable people to contact you directly, and things like your birth date, the schools you attended, your employer and photos with landmarks may make it easier for someone to find where you live, hang out or go to school.
  • Set boundaries and limits. Tell people not to post personal information, negative comments or check-ins about you on social media. Ask people not to post or tag pictures if you’re not comfortable with it.
  • You can keep your passwords private — sharing passwords is not a requirement of being in a relationship.
  • Don’t do or say anything online you wouldn’t in person. It may seem easier to express yourself when you are not face-to-face, but online communication can have real-life negative consequences.

Abuse or Harassment

  • Don’t respond to harassing, abusive or inappropriate comments. It won’t make the person stop and it could get you in trouble or even put you in danger.
  • Keep a record of all harassing messages, posts and comments in case you decide to tell the police or get a restraining order.
  • Always report inappropriate behavior to the site administrators.

HeartbrokeLeaving an Abusive Relationship

  • If you are leaving an unhealthy relationship, start by blocking your ex on Facebook and other social networking pages. We recommend you don’t check-in on foursquare or other location-based sites or apps — you don’t want your ex or their friends tracking your movements.
  • Adjust your privacy settings to reduce the amount of information that particular people can see on your page. Privacy settings on sites like Facebook allow the user to control how their information is shared and who has access to it. Remember, registering for some apps require you to change your privacy settings.
  • Avoid posting private details on your friend’s pages. They may not have appropriate settings and doing so may allow someone to see your movements and location. The same goes for tagging yourself in pictures.
  • Consider what is called a “super-logoff” — deactivating your Facebook account every time you log off and reactivating it every time you log back on. This way, no one can post on your wall, tag you or see your content when you’re offline, but you still have all of your friends, wall posts, photos, etc. when you log back on.
  • While it is inconvenient and may seem extreme, disabling you social networking page entirely may be your best option to stop continued abuse or harassment.

Your Friends’ Safety

If your friend is in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, be careful what you post about them. Pictures, locations, check-ins and even simple statements can be used to control or hurt them. If you’re unsure of what’s ok to post, get your friend’s permission before you click “Share.”

Source: Love Is Respect

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