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Monthly Archives May 2016

Skittling: It May Not Be What You Think

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 25, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

By Blaise Brooks

Skittling2Skittling. If you’re like most parents, you probably don’t have the faintest idea of what this word could possibly signify. Maybe a poor attempt at verbalizing the act of eating Skittles? Don’t let your sweet tooth kick in quite yet! Among many other terms, “skittling” has come to signify the abuse of over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines containing the active ingredient dextromethorphan (DXM).

While these medicines are safe and effective when taken as directed, they can produce harmful side effects when taken excessively. Some teens intentionally take large amounts of DXM – sometimes more than 25 times the recommended dose. In fact, one out of three teens reports knowing someone who has abused medicine containing DXM to get high, while one out of 30 teens has abused it themselves. Unfortunately, this issue is more prevalent than most people realize. Next time you’re around your teen, be sure to keep an ear out for the following common slang terms that are used to describe DXM misuse and abuse:

  • Skittling, Robo-dosing, Dexing: Terms for abusing products with DXM
  • Syrup head, Robotard: Terms to describe someone who abuses DXM
  • Robo, Tussin, Velvet: Terms to reference cough syrups with DXM
  • Red devils, Red hots: Terms to reference capsules or tablets that contain DXM

You can find a full list of the many slang words used for DXM abuse here.

If you hear your teen using this slang, it’s important to have an open and honest conversation about the risks of abusing DXM, including the potential side effects. You can also visit WhatIsDXM.com with your teen to watch and discuss stories from real teens who have abused DXM. You have the power to ensure your teen is educated, so that he or she can confidently make smart and safe decisions.

Learn more about how to prevent teen OTC cough medicine abuse at StopMedicineAbuse.org.

Skittling
Contributor: Blaise is a mother of one, caregiver of two, accountant and community advocate. Blaise is also a contributor to The Five Moms blog on StopMedicineAbuse.org, working to spread the word about cough medicine abuse with other parents. Join the conversation by following Stop Medicine Abuse on Facebook and Twitter.

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Seven Signs Your Teen is Hiding Drug or Alcohol Abuse

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 11, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

7DrugsThere are over 7,800 new users of illicit drugs, daily. Over half of those new users are minors. Marijuana, over-the-counter, prescription, ecstasy, and cocaine are among the most popular drugs teens use – but how are parents getting in front of their teen’s drug use before it starts?

TeenSafe, one of the most popular parental monitoring services, wants to empower parents with the tools to monitor and manage a child’s online activity in order to help know when they need to open a dialogue and start a conversation, before their activities lead to serious problems.

Below is a roundup of signs your teen may be hiding drug or alcohol abuse.

7 Signs your teens is hiding or abusing drugs or alcohol:

1.       Suddenly messy or unkempt appearance – A teen abusing substances may suddenly become messy or unkempt, have poor hygiene, or have unexplained marks or burns

2.       Separate social groups – Teens are more likely to do drugs in social situations. The introduction of drugs or alcohol also often comes with new friends, separate social groups, or the loss of old friends

3.       Sudden drop in grades – If your teen’s abuse has led to addiction, it can also impact their academic performance, including increased truancy, sudden drops in grades, or loss of interest in extracurricular activities

4.       Unexplained income – Dealing with drugs can lead to dealing drugs. Be on the lookout for unexplained income, cash flow problems, increased requests for money, or signs of theft

5.       Dramatic weight loss or gain – Signs that substance abuse is impacting your teen’s health include dramatic weight loss or gain, erratic sleep schedule, slurred or unintelligible speech, and clumsiness or lack of balance

6.       Altered emotional state – Drugs and alcohol don’t just affect a child’s physical health. It also alters their mental and psychological well-being, causing rapid mood swings, loss of inhibitions, loss of focus, and hyperactivity

7.       Abrupt personality change – Perhaps the most worrisome sign is that substances can create changes in the core personality of your teen. If your teen has developed secretive behavior, the tendency to lie, or depression, it may be time to seek help

7SignsAlcoholAbuse

If you believe your teen is struggling with substance abuse, seek help through a local therapist.  If you have exhausted your local resources and it doesn’t seem to be helping, please contact us for options in residential therapy. There are programs that will accept PPO insurance and IEPs as a portion of their tuition.

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Helping Your Child with Addiction

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 05, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

By Matt Gonzalez

Teen Drug Abuse

Teens today grapple with a variety of problems. In response, many of them turn to drugs as their outlet.

Teen drug use has spiked in recent years. Per the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

  • In 2014, more than 27 percent of high school students used illicit drugs
  • More than 36 percent of 12th-graders reported using marijuana, nearly six percent of whom reported daily marijuana use
  • Nearly 44 percent of 12th-graders reported drinking alcohol in the past month
  • Nearly 5 percent of high school seniors reported using Vicodin, a prescription painkiller

Drug use can be especially problematic for young people. Substance abuse can stunt their brain development and lead to academic problems, drug dependence or serious health ailments.

A number of factors lead to teen drug abuse. They may have a family history of substance abuse, which increases the likelihood he or she picks up an addiction. They may have been socially rejected. They may be suffering from depression or low self-esteem.

ParentTeenChatWhatever the reason, teens who use drugs or alcohol need assistance. Much of this support comes from parents.

Ways to Help

Talking to your teen about drugs is an important step for any parent. When doing so, be sure to consider the following:

Find a Quiet Setting

The conversation should take place in a comfortable environment, with as few distractions as possible. This limits interruptions, which will helps your teen focus.

Listen to Your Child

Listen carefully to what your child has to say and encourage honesty. Watch their body language as they talk about certain subjects and avoid lecturing.

Ask Them About Media Messages

Media outlets glamorize and promote substance abuse. Talk to your child about these messages and find out if he or she is influenced by them. This could help you create a set of rules or guidelines for your home.

Discuss Peer Pressure and the Benefits of Saying No

If your teen is influenced by peer pressure, brainstorm with them ways to say “no.” There are a variety of reasons not to do drugs. Talk to your teen about these benefits without using scare tactics.

Other Strategies to Consider

Kids are human. They have their own personalities and likes and dislikes. Treat your child like an individual, but be clear that you are the parent and you are in charge.

Establish Rules

Lay down ground rules, such as a curfew or places to avoid. Your child may not like these new rules, but they may prevent him or her from engaging in substance abuse.

Keep an Eye on Your Child

Is your child acting differently? Are they irritable? Do they have trouble concentrating? Monitor whether they exhibit any signs of drug use and take action when needed.

Know Their Friends

If their friends use drugs, your teen may fall into the same bad habits. Monitor who they hang out with and their behaviors around these friends.

Provide Support

Offering praise or encouragement can help establish a strong relationship between you and your teen. This communication could boost their self-esteem and prevent them from substance abuse.

Set an Example

Children learn a lot from their parents’ actions. Set an example by avoiding drug use yourself. The less they are around drugs or alcohol, the less likely they are to use.

Treatment Options

Treatment is essential for teens with addictions. Luckily, there are a number of rehabilitation centers, some of which cater specifically to teens.

Parents constantly worry about their children. If drugs enter the equation, this anxiety increases. It is important to have an open dialogue with your child about drugs, especially if you suspect they are using illicit substances.

Open communication and support could prevent them from fighting a lifelong battle.

Bio: Matt Gonzales is a writer and researcher for DrugRehab.com. He boasts several years of experience writing for a daily publication, multiple weekly journals, a quarterly magazine and various online platforms. He has a bachelor’s degree in communication, with a Journalism concentration, from East Carolina University.

Sources:

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2014, December). DrugFacts: High School and Youth Trends. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/high-school-youth-trends

Mayo Clinic. (2016, February 2). Teen drug abuse: Help your teen avoid drugs. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/tween-and-teen-health/in-depth/teen-drug-abuse/art-20045921

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If you have exhausted local resources for your troubled teen, please contact us for information about residential therapy.

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The Link Between Bullying and Teen Suicide

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 03, 2016  /   Posted in Digital Parenting, Featured Article, Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help

TeenBullyingSuicideExamining the Link Between Bullying and Suicide (and What to Do if Someone You Know is in Danger)

Bullying is a significant and complex problem in our society. We used to worry about in-person bullying — physical injuries, theft, and even vandalism. Today, in addition to bullying we also must be concerned about cyberbullying, which can be just as harmful. In 2013 the Urban Institute’s study on bullying revealed that “17% [of] students reported being victims of cyberbullying, 41% reported being victims of physical bullying, and 45% reported being victims of psychological bullying.”

In 2014 JAMA Pediatrics reported that “cyberbullying was strongly related [to] suicidal ideation in comparison with traditional bullying.” Most kids spend a lot of time online, talking to friends, but also gossiping at times. Because they see the Internet as anonymous, kids feel as though they can pretend to be someone else online (known as catfishing), and bully people in this way. This can be immensely harmful to others, as well as themselves, and can have devastating consequences.

Who, Where, Why?

Like other forms of bullying, cyberbullying can occur anywhere, by anyone. All that’s required is a device with Internet access, which is incredibly common anymore.

People from all different backgrounds are bullied. Some groups are unfortunately more likely to be bullied, such as LGBTQ youth, young people with disabilities, and individuals who tend to isolate themselves from others. Basically anyone who is different from the accepted norm in their respective community or peer group is at a higher risk of being bullied.

A bully can pick on anyone about anything. They can target those they deem to be too “weird” or different from themselves, or even someone they’re secretly jealous of. Children and young adults have been bullied for myriad reasons, from weight, to wearing the “wrong” clothing, to merely being outside a clique. Some of the warning signs that may indicate that someone is being bullied include:

  • Unexplained physical injuries
  • Items missing that the victim states are “lost”
  • Feeling or faking illnesses, often headaches or stomach problems
  • Different eating habits, whether overeating or undereating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of interest in school and having trouble with schoolwork
  • Not wanting to be in social situations or a loss of friends
  • Low self-esteem and hopelessness
  • Hurting themselves, speaking of suicide, and leaving home without notice

The Link Between Bullying and Suicide

Children who are bullied may be at an increased risk of suicide. However, most bullying victims do not think about suicide. Bullying itself is seldom the single cause of suicide; it’s typically a combination of issues, illnesses, or situations in the individual’s history combined with bullying that leads to suicidal thoughts. Some issues of concern include mental illness, traumas, and bad home situations. In addition, there are different groups who may have an increased risk of suicide including:

  • American Indian and Alaskan Native
  • Asian American
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth
  • Kids [who] are not supported by parents, peers, and schools

How to Help With Bullying

There are many ways to help someone you know if they’re being bullied, including:

  • Really listen to the individual, show that you care by paying attention.
  • Let the child know that being targeted by bullies is not their fault.
  • Realize that bullied children might have trouble talking about it with you. You may want to have them talk with a psychologist, psychiatrist or even a counselor at their school.
  • Give them some good advice as to what to do. You may want to partake in role-playing in this situation.
  • Work together with the victim, the victim’s parent(s), school, or an organization to come up with a fair solution. The child being bullied should not have to have their schedules or routines changed; they are not at fault.

How to Help With Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is new to our society and is becoming more and more common. Some children have taken their lives as a result. There are some ways you can help your child or friend prevent cyberbullying, such as cutting off communication with the bully, blocking the bully on social media sites (so they do not have any access to your postings or phone number), or complaining anonymously to the social media sites where cyberbullying is taking place — they have strict rules and will keep evidence of bullying interactions.

If you’re a parent, ways to help your child include supporting them mentally and emotionally and not forcing them to end online communications with others. When a child is the victim, being banned from participating on social media may be perceived as punishment. It’s not their fault, though, that they are being victimized. Consider speaking with the other child’s parent(s) or even the police (if the situation is serious enough). Bullying is a serious problem and can lead to many terrible events, including violence and suicide. Remember that there is always someone out there to listen and support you.

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Contributor: Steve Johnson co-created PublicHealthLibrary.org with a fellow pre-med student.The availability of accurate health facts, advice, and general answers is something Steve wants for all people, not just those in the health and medical field. He continues to spread trustworthy information and resources through the website, but also enjoys tennis and adding to his record collection in his spare time.

(Image via Pixabay by Jedidja)

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