In It For Health

Where health and psychology intersect

Posts Tagged ‘substance abuse’

REALLY underage drinking…

Posted by Dr. Susan on October 25, 2008

Some parents have come to accept that their child will experiment with alcohol–and even perhaps drugs–in college, or even the upper high school grades. They hope that it won’t be serious, but they are realistic in recognizing that very few teens abstain completely.  However, this powerful and important study demonstrates that kids who drink or use drugs before they are fifteen-years old, are at much higher risk for substance dependence, sexually transmitted diseases, dropping out of school or acquiring criminal records in adulthood. Also, please note that a full fifty-percent of these kids had NO prior behavior problems!

The take home message: drinking or drugs and teens not a good combination. Be clear about your message of disapproval. Research clearly shows that parents who give their kids a clear message that they will not tolerate drinking or drugs are more likely to have kids that don’t use–especially at a younger age.

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Amethyst update

Posted by Dr. Susan on August 26, 2008

Here’s a great article  from Slate Mag. taking a look at the Amethyst Initiative!

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Just because they’re legal doesn’t mean it’s not abuse!

Posted by Dr. Susan on July 30, 2008

Weirdly, The Dark Knight, which highlights Heath Ledger’s immense talent and untimely death, is bringing to light even more than before, the rapidly growing problem of abuse of, and addiction to prescription drugs–not only by kids, but by adults too. This article, which focuses mainly on the lives of teenage abuse of legal drugs, does an excellent job outlining the problems–namely, the availability of pain killers, sleep aids, and psychiatric meds; doctors prescribing them too freely; individuals hopping  from pharmacy to pharmacy and doctor to doctor to get more than one prescription; and the fact that their is very low social disapproval.

Many parents are oblivious to their teen and young adult children taking left over meds right from the medicine cabinet or stealing pills from prescriptions of other family members (particularly Ritalin and other meds used for ADHD). Of course kids also buy drugs on the street and at school much like they do the illegal substances. The AntiDrug.com is a superb website for parents who think their kids may be using or abusing legal drugs.

But what about adults…they too are becoming addicted and not acknowledging it, even to themselves. We’re living in stressful times as the economy plummets and gas prices go through the roof. It’s easy to turn to meds to get us through–after all they’re legal, what could be bad, right? But the consequences can be devastating both physically and emotionally. Especially when mixed with a couple of drinks.

Heath Ledger likely didn’t mean to die. He would have wanted to stick around to see his movie in the theaters. Maybe get an Oscar.

Addictions destroy lives and they are expensive. So don’t kid yourself. If you’re hooked on something, get off it. If you can’t do it alone, it means you’re addicted, get help!

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Teens benefit from 12-step programs

Posted by Dr. Susan on June 13, 2008

A fascinating and I think important study finds that teenagers will benefit from attending Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, much like their adult counterparts. There has not been a great deal of research on the importance of these programs for teenagers, but as the study suggests, peer groups are important for teens, and so these programs offer new peer groups. My own experience working with many, many teens with substance abuse difficulites over many years is that I have always referred them to AA or NA and found these to be of critical value in my treatment with kids. Aside from the support that a teen gains and the feeling that they are not alone in their struggle, they very often have to give up their entire social circle in order to give up the substance. This is extremely difficult. By going to meetings, they can instantly form a new social circle and don’t have to be alone without friends. This can be pivotal in a teen’s recovery.

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