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Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Know the Warning Signs-

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Here’s an Easy-to-Remember Mnemonic:



S Substance Abuse

P Purposelessness
A Anxiety
T Trapped
H Hopelessness

W Withdrawal
A Anger
R Recklessness
M Mood changes

The warning signs of acute risk are related to suicide ideation and require immediate action:
-Threatening to hurt or kill himself or herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill himself or herself; and/or,
-Looking for ways to kill himself or herself by seeking access to means; and/or,
-Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary.

Other signs and behaviours to be aware of and that might suggest someone being at risk of suicide include:

Increased substance use

No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life

Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time

Feeling trapped - like there’s no way out


Withdrawal from friends, family, interest, and society

Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge

Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking

Dramatic mood changes

Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities

Lack of Self Care or outright neglect of self

Changes in Eating Patterns

Giving away prize possessions and/or making a will

Reconnecting with old friends and extended family as if to say goodbye

Previous unresolved or recent suicide attempts

Remember, if you or someone you know is in crisis or in need of immediate attention

CALL 911

or go to http://www.suicidehotlines.com/canada.html and find the crisis hotline in your area.

SOURCE: http://www.suicideprevention.ca/about-suicide/warning-signs/

Suicide: The Warning Signs

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

What goes on in the mind of a person leading up to their suicide attempt.

Published on June 3, 2009 byLisa Fireside, Ph.D. in Compassion Matters

Suicide has been recently described as an “epidemic.” With tragedies associated with the current financial crisis and the increasing suicide rate of military personnel, a need clearly exists for more extensive training in the management and treatment of suicidal clients. It is the most common clinical emergency therapists face, yet many do not receive formal training.

What goes on in the mind of a person in the time leading up to his suicide attempt often sounds similar to this: “If you don’t matter, what does matter? Nothing matters. What are you waking up for? It’s so agonizing to wake up in the morning, why bother doing it? End it. Just end it.”

These words provide a window into the thoughts or critical inner voices that drive self-destructive behavior. We can all learn from people who survive their suicide attempts. We can come to identify specific self destructive behaviours that the person is engaging in, which we know from our research are dictated by a critical inner voice. In an effort to increase awareness, I’ve highlighted the following warning signs and examples of the accompanying inner voices:

Disrupted sleep. Often people who commit suicide have not slept for weeks at a time.

Isolation. The person will start pushing away her friends, wanting to be alone. If the person is pulling away from you, don’t just take it as a personal rejection. Look for evidence of her connections to other people-is she pulling away from everyone? She may think: “Be by yourself. You’re miserable company anyway. Who’d want to be with you?”

Loss of interest. Is he giving up the activities that used to matter to him, that used to be part of his identity? He might think: “What’s the use? Your grades don’t matter any more. Why bother even trying? Nothing matters anyway.”

Extreme self-denial, lack of pleasure. People at risk often lose the ability to find any pleasure in life. When they feel like giving up on themselves, they start to give up on other things. “You’re too young and inexperienced to apply for this job.” “You’re too shy to make new friends.” “Why go on this trip? It’ll be such a hassle.”

Extreme self-hatred. When a person becomes involved in a downward spiral of self-destruction their thoughts become self-hating, creating psychological pain and agitation. The inner voice makes attacks: “You idiot! You creep! You’re worthless.”

Not belonging. The person may express feelings and thoughts that no one cares or that she doesn’t fit in. These thoughts may be distorted, not representing what others really think of the individual. As one woman describes it, she believed that her family didn’t love her, that her friends didn’t care, that she was different and no one could understand her experience: “Why couldn’t my own family love me? I’m not like them. They would never understand.”

A burden to others. The person perceives the world through a negative filter. For example, a young man diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which is associated with suicide risk, described how he felt like a burden to his friends and family: “What’s wrong with you? Look at all this trouble you’re causing your family and friends. Why don’t you stop bothering them?”

Positive mood change. Just before a suicide attempt, when the individual has made the decision to kill herself, she may appear much calmer, happier and more relaxed. That’s because she is no longer in turmoil. Suicide seems like the “perfect solution.” As one survivor remembers: “Got in the car, elated, very happy because I was going to end the pain. I’m going to end the pain. I was going to go the bridge and I was going to jump.” Often, family and friends become less worried about the person at risk. It is important to notice these mood shifts and not to be fooled by them.

Suicidal talk. When family shows concern, the person may quickly deny that he is in distress. He is clearly ambivalent about wanting to be stopped. If he makes actual statements or alludes to suicide, TAKE IT SERIOUSLY. It is much better to overreact and get help than to underreact and lose the person.

In my next blog entry I will discuss what you can do to help a person who is in the midst of a suicidal crisis and put him or her in touch with the help he or she needs.

Remember, if you or someone you know is in crisis or in need of immediate attention

CALL 911

or go to http://www.suicidehotlines.com/canada.html and find the crisis hotline in your area.

5 Signs It’s Time to Seek Therapy

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Most people can benefit from therapy at least some point in their lives

Published on March 18, 2013 by David Sack M.D.. in Where Science Meets the Steps

Contrary to popular misconception, you don’t have to be “crazy,” desperate or on the brink of a meltdown to go to therapy.  At the same time, therapy isn’t usually necessary for every little struggle life throws your way, especially if you have a strong support system of friends and family. So how do you know when it’s time to see a therapist?

Most people can benefit from therapy at least some point in their lives. Sometimes the signs are obvious but at other times, something may feel slightly off and you can’t figure out what it is. So you trudge on, trying to sustain your busy life until it sets in that life has become unmanageable. Before it gets to this point, here are five signs you may need help from a pro:

#1 Feeling sad, angry or otherwise “not yourself.”

Uncontrollable sadness, anger or hopelessness may be signs of a mental health issue that can improve with treatment. If you’re eating or sleeping more or less than usual, withdrawing from family and friends, or just feeling “off,” talk to someone before serious problems develop that impact your quality of life. If these feelings escalate to the point that you question whether life is worth living or you have thoughts of death or suicide, reach out for help right away.

#2 Abusing drugs, alcohol, food or sex to cope.

When you turn outside yourself to a substance or behavior to help you feel better, your coping skills may need some fine-tuning. If you feel unable to control these behaviors or you can’t stop despite negative consequences in your life, you may be struggling with addictive or compulsive behaviour that requires treatment.

#3 You’ve lost someone or something important to you.

Grief can be a long and difficult process to endure without the support of an expert. While not everyone needs counseling during these times, there is no shame in needing a little help to get through the loss of a loved one, a divorce or significant breakup, or the loss of a job, especially if you’ve experienced multiple losses in a short period of time.

#4 Something traumatic has happened.

If you have a history of abuse, neglect or other trauma that you haven’t fully dealt with, or if you find yourself the victim of a crime or accident, chronic illness or some other traumatic event, the earlier you talk to someone, the faster you can learn healthy ways to cope.

#5 You can’t do the things you like to do.

Have you stopped doing the activities you ordinarily enjoy? If so, why? Many people find that painful emotions and experiences keep them from getting out, having fun and meeting new people. This is a red flag that something is amiss in your life.

If you decide that therapy is worth a try, it doesn’t mean you’re in for a lifetime of “head shrinking.” In fact, a 2001 study in the Journal of Counseling Psychology found that most people feel better within seven to 10 visits. In another study, published in 2006 in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 88 percent of therapy-goers reported improvements after just one session.

Although severe mental illness may require more intensive intervention, most people benefit from short-term, goal-oriented therapy to address a specific issue or interpersonal conflict, get out of a rut or make a major life decision. The opportunity to talk uncensored to a non-biased professional without fear of judgment or repercussions can be life-changing.

You may have great insight into your own patterns and problems. You may even have many of the skills to manage them on your own. Still, there may be times when you need help – and the sooner you get it, the faster you can get back to enjoying life.

Call today and book an appointment with a licensed, qualified, professional, experienced counsellor, who is compassionate, understanding and not going to give you  lip service for your time and money.


Never Give Up!

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Hamilton Spectator, Cecelia Carter-Smith, Tue Dec 25 2012

The near-fatal agony, ecstasy of Mac runner, aspiring Olympian

McMaster cross country-runner and triathlete Lionel Sanders, pictured, has a truly unique story to tell.

Peter Self/McMaster University

In 2012 he stood on the podium — a gold medal wrapped around his neck.

In 2009 he stood on a chair — a belt wrapped around his neck.

For more than 10 years I have been privileged to quilt quotes and thread them into stories about kids in our community, who all share a common goal: the pursuit of academic and athletic excellence at university or college.

McMaster student Lionel Sanders — has a truly unique story to tell, one I believe could make the difference in the life of other people.

Lionel’s “raw” story, however, is unlike any I have penned previously. So poignant. So powerful.

Twice, through struggles with addiction, he came close to taking his life. He found a way to move on, to fight on.

Now, Sanders (a transfer from the University of Windsor) is a twice named academic all-Canadian — Dean’s Honour List, two-time CIS cross country all-star and aspiring Olympian (triathlon).

He is also now on Canada’s radar for the national triathlon team, and he trains with Barrie Shepley, the former Olympic coach of Simon Whitfield.

Each story is unique.

This is Sanders’s story, for the most part in his own words. He wants to tell it, raw as it is, not only because it helps him see his way forward, but because he hopes it will help others who might have similar struggles.

“I discovered running at an early age, and I immediately excelled at it. But for most of my running career I never really enjoyed it. It quickly became something I did because I felt people expected me to do it — teachers, parents, etc.

“I have always been very easily influenced. I can still remember the night the joint came to me for the first time in a friend’s garage. I didn’t have the guts to say no.

“This sort of lifestyle went on for much of high school. My focus started to turn from sports to partying.

“For a while, I began to take pride in my ability to party hard and excel at sports. Eventually my partying started to take over so much of my mind that I wasn’t excelling nearly as much at sports — and running in particular.

“At this point, I think I started to believe that I wasn’t really cut out to be an athlete. And so much, if not all, my identity began to get wrapped up in partying.

“One night I got curious about trying ecstasy. A friend of mine had been dealing drugs on the side to make extra cash. I asked him if he could bring some over. He said he had some bad news. He couldn’t get his hands on any ecstasy, but he had a bunch of coke and was willing to share it at no cost.

“I was very afraid. I had prepared myself to take a hit of ecstasy, but this cocaine stuff I didn’t know much about. He had a line in front of me and he seemed OK. I caved.

“I then followed the exact same progression I took with marijuana, but with cocaine.

“By the end of the summer (2008) my sanity was starting to slip. I broke down to my parents. I told them everything and that I was beginning to lose control of myself. I listened to them for a few weeks and then decided I had regained control over myself.”

It was only temporary.

“My girlfriend and I were supposed to go to a concert in the States. I didn’t feel like going. Some of my friends came over and we started chugging whiskey and chasing it with beer. I remember waking up in the Windsor Detox facility.

“I believed I had hit rock bottom and that something needed to change. I vowed I would no longer hang around with that crowd. I got a library card and I read hundreds of spiritual books. I think I was looking for a purpose — or to give my life some meaning.

“After about six months, I felt like a new man. I felt like I had gained a ton of mental strength and discipline.

Derailed — again …

“I decided to go play a game of poker at my friend’s house. Of course, on the way I grabbed a six pack. I wasn’t three beers deep before I was on the phone with an old friend who I knew sold cocaine. Twenty minutes later I had done a gram in one line. Once again I continued my old ways.

“My relationship with my girlfriend was dysfunctional. We decided to go our separate ways (in 2009).

“My self-respect began to dwindle even more. I started to think about cheaper drugs.

“I had another friend who was selling methamphetamine. It was cheap and really powerful. I bought a couple of grams one night and did not emerge from the basement for nearly a day. At this point, my sanity really started to escape me. I was also starting to hallucinate, even when I wasn’t high.

“I went on like this for about four months — lost about 40 pounds and couldn’t look at myself in the mirror.

“My loss of sanity really started to scare me. It was at this point that I started running again. I don’t know why, but it was something that had a bit of familiarity to me — something I could do that made me feel secure again.

“Very quickly, I stopped using drugs completely. But I felt like crap most of the time. Eventually, though, I had an idea to enter an Ironman Triathlon. I had never done a triathlon before, so I have no idea where this idea came from, but once I got it in my head, it seemed like the perfect idea. It would force me to get healthy, and I had a suspicion that if I stuck to it, eventually my mental health would improve.

“Now, I had a goal. At this point I thought my worst days were behind me. Admittedly, I still wasn’t feeling very good about myself. I still had severe phobia, and I still felt depressed quite often. But I wasn’t doing drugs anymore, so this was a good thing.

“One night I decided to let loose with my friends. I pounded back a 26er of whiskey and a couple of smokes. And by the end of the night I spent every dollar I had to my name on cocaine.

“The next day was terrible. As nightfall came I started drinking again. And as the night wore on I got more and more depressed. I was deeply ashamed of myself. I had no money and very little food. I felt that despite my best efforts I had failed myself and my family yet again. After much pondering, I decided I didn’t want to live anymore. The guilt and shame was just too deep.

“Once my roommates had gone to bed, I found my strongest belt. I went into the garage and looked for a bolt in the rafters from which to hang it. I was bawling my eyes out, but it felt like the only solution to end the pain. I pulled up a chair, tied the belt around my neck and then attached it to the bolt. I stood on the arm of the chair for a long time and cried. My mind was racing.

“One of the thoughts that popped into my head was how my friend would find me the next morning. The next was what my mom’s reaction would be when she found out.

“When the image of my mom popped into my head, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew she would never, ever be able to live a normal life again. She would go the rest of her life with the guilt of feeling that she was responsible for me taking my own life.“It was at that exact instant that I knew this was not the solution. It could not be the solution. I had to step down. For my mom. So I unhooked the belt and stepped down.

“At that moment I knew that failure was no longer an option. I would succeed in overcoming my demons. There was no other choice.

“The next morning I put on a ‘Livestrong’ bracelet, which I still have on my right wrist to this day. For me it signifies the commitment I made to myself at the moment in time where I had come closest to the end.

“On Aug. 29, 2010, I completed Ironman Louisville. It was a big stepping-stone for me. I felt like I could do anything.”

Fast forward

In the past two years, the 24-year-old has won the USA National Duathlon Championship, the Canadian Duathlon Championship, the Ontario Sprint Triathlon Championship. He was named 2012 Elite Duathlete of the Year, and honoured as a CIS all-Canadian with the McMaster cross country team.

“I always wanted to tell that story raw,” he said. “A burden has been lifted.

“When I recount the story, I hear the story of a lost and troubled soul … and it makes me sad. But then I realize that the story doesn’t end there, and that it turns much more positive.

“I was a young person making bad decisions. Unfortunately, too many young people don’t see the light and never make it out. I am one of the lucky ones.

“I will tell this story in its entirety for the rest of my life, in case there is one person out there who may be somewhere on that path and has ears to hear, that it doesn’t have to be that way forever.

“I want to prove to anyone who has ever battled addiction that not only can you beat it, but you can turn yourself into something great in the process.”

Lionel Sanders is hooked — on life.

Cecelia Carter-Smith is a former Canadian and world record holder in track and a member of the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame and Hamilton Gallery of Distinction. Her column appears weekly.

Kids Who First Drink During Puberty at Greater Risk of Alcohol Problems

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

By Janice Woods,  Associate News Editor, May 18th, 2013

Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D

New research shows that youths who first drink during puberty are at greater risk for developing later alcohol problems.

“Most teenagers have their first alcoholic drink during puberty. However, most research on the risks of early-onset alcohol use up to now has not focused on the pubertal stage during which the first alcoholic drink is consumed,” said Miriam Schneider, Ph.D., a researcher at the Central Institute of Mental Health, University of Heidelberg, and one of the authors of the new study.

She noted that a common notion in alcohol research is that the earlier adolescents began to drink, the bigger problems they faced later in life.

“However, a closer look at the statistics revealed a peak risk of alcohol use disorders for those beginning at 12 to 14 years of age, while even earlier beginners seemed to have a slightly lower risk,” she said.

On average, girls begin puberty between the ages of 10 and 11, while boys typically start between the ages 11 of 12. Puberty lasts approximately 5 to 6 years for most teens.

For the study, Schneider and her colleagues determined the age at first drink in 283 young adults — 152 females, 131 males — who were part of a larger epidemiological study.

In addition, the participants’ drinking behavior — such as number of drinking days, amount of alcohol consumed, and hazardous drinking — was assessed at ages 19, 22, and 23 years via interviews and questionnaires.

The researchers also concurrently conducted a rodent study to examine the effects of mid-puberty or adult alcohol exposure on voluntary alcohol consumption in later life by 20 male Wistar rats.

“Both studies revealed that those individuals that initiated alcohol consumption during puberty tended to drink more and also more frequently than those starting after puberty,” said Schneider.

That means that puberty is a “risk window” for having that first drink, said Rainer Spanagel, Ph.D., head of the Institute of Psychopharmacology at the University of Heidelberg.

The study’s results also show a higher Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) score later in life in those individuals who had their first drink in puberty, he said.

“A higher AUDIT score is indicative of a high likelihood of hazardous or harmful alcohol consumption,” he explained. “This information is of great relevance for intervention programs. Even more interesting, neither pre-pubertal nor post-pubertal periods seem to serve as risk-time windows. Therefore, intervention programs should be directed selectively towards young people in puberty.”

Both Schneider and Spanagel noted the influence of a high degree of brain development that occurs during puberty.

“Numerous neurodevelopmental alterations are taking place during puberty, such as maturational processes in cortical and limbic regions, which are characterized by both progressive and regressive changes, such as myelination and synaptic pruning,” said Schneider.

“Typically, an overproduction of axons and synapses can be found during early puberty, followed by rapid pruning during later puberty, indicating that connections and communication between subcortical and cortical regions are in a highly transitional state during this period.”

“Puberty is a phase in which the brain reward system undergoes major functional changes,” added Spanagel. “For example, the endocannabinoid and dopamine systems are at their peak and these major neurobiological changes are reflected on the behavioral level; reward sensitivity is highest during puberty.

“Therefore, during puberty the brain is in a highly vulnerable state for any kind of reward, and drug rewards in particular. This high vulnerability might also affect reward seeking, or in this particular case, alcohol seeking and drinking behavior later in life.”

Said Schneider, “It is exactly during puberty that substances like drugs of abuse — alcohol, cannabis, etc. — may induce the most destructive and also persistent effects on the still developing brain, which may in some cases even result in neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia or addictive disorders.

“Prevention work therefore needs to increase awareness of specific risks and vulnerability related to puberty.”


Source: Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research


Partner Violence Can Damage Victim’s Mental Health

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

By Rick Nauert  PHD, Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on August 31, 2011

The damage from partner abuse extends beyond physical bruises and lacerations as victims often suffer high rates of mental health distress.

A new policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research reported that of the 3.5 million Californians who said they had been the victim of intimate partner violence (IPV), more than half a million — 594,000 — said they experienced recent symptoms of “serious psychological distress.”

This classification includes the most serious kinds of diagnosable mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Adult victims of IPV were more than three times as likely as unexposed adults to report serious psychological distress in the past year.

Victims of IPV were also far more likely than non-victims to seek mental health care and to cope by binge drinking and the like.

“Violence does double damage to a victim, leaving both a physical and emotional scar,” said the study’s lead author, Elaine Zahnd, Ph.D.

“Policymakers and care providers need to ensure that support services and screenings are available to victims even weeks or months after an attack.”

Among the findings:

    • • Women were more than twice as likely as men to have been the victim of IPV (20.5 percent vs. 9.1 percent), with almost 2.5 million women having experienced adult IPV;
    • • Both female (17.5 percent) and male (15.3 percent) victims of adult IPV were more likely than non-victims to report serious psychological distress during the past year;
    • • Larger numbers of female victims (428,000) were affected by serious psychological distress than male victims (166,000) — since women make up the majority of IPV cases;
    • • Almost half of all IPV victims (47.6 percent) said that their partner appeared to be drinking alcohol or using drugs during the most recent violent incident;
    • • Nearly one in three adults (33.1 percent) who reported being an adult IPV victim said they needed help for a mental or emotional problem or an alcohol or other drug problem. In contrast, just 12.6 percent of non-victims reported needing similar help;
    • • Adult IPV victims were two-and-a-half times more likely (23.9 percent) than non-victims (9.5 percent) to report seeing their primary care physician, a psychiatrist, a social worker or a counselor in the past year for problems with their psychological or emotional health and/or their use of alcohol or other drugs;
    • More than half of all IPV victims subjected to a recent IPV incident (52.4 percent) reported engaging in binge drinking over the past year, a significantly higher rate than those who had not experienced a recent IPV incident (35.1 percent). And 7 percent of recent IPV victims reported binge drinking on a daily to weekly basis, a higher level than those who were never exposed to IPV (4.5 percent).

Given these findings, study authors recommend that health screening for IPV, for emotional health and for substance use problems among patients and clients, regardless of gender, should be expanded, standardized and made routine.

“The study shows that our response to violence as a society must be many-faceted, and California’s domestic violence service providers are able to offer an array of services to survivors of IPV, ” said Peter Long, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Blue Shield of California Foundation.

“But most of all, we must all work harder to prevent violence from occurring in the first place.”

Source: UCLA


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Teens with Social Anxiety Engage in Earlier Alcohol, Marijuana Use

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

If your teen is struggling with Addiction, please do not hesitate to call 1-877-523-8369

Turning Point offers intensive compassionate outpatient counselling and various workshops to help your teen create better habits and a more positive attitude in their own journey of life.

By Traci Pedersen, Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on May 8, 2013

Among teens with substance use disorders, those who also have social anxiety disorder begin using marijuana at a mean age of 10.6 years — an average of 2.2 years earlier than teens without anxiety, according to a study conducted at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

“This finding surprised us,” said principal investigator Alexandra Wang, a third-year medical student at the university. “It shows we need to start earlier with prevention of drug and alcohol use and treatment of social phobia[in children].”

The study involved 195 teens (102 girls, 52 percent), aged 14 to 18 years, who met the current diagnosis of substance use disorder and had received medical detoxification if needed.

Researchers assessed the teens’ history of drug and alcohol use and looked into whether they’d had any of three anxiety disorders: social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and agoraphobia.

Marijuana was the most popular drug of choice.  Of the 195 participants, 92 percent had marijuana dependence, starting at a mean age of 13 years; 61 percent were alcohol-dependent, having started drinking at 13.5 years on average.

Teens with either social anxiety disorder or panic disorder were far more likely to have marijuana dependence, Wang said. Both of these disorders were more likely to occur before marijuana dependence.

Approximately 80 percent of teens with social anxiety disorder and 85 percent with panic disorder had symptoms of that disorder before the onset of their substance abuse.  Furthermore, panic disorder tended to start before alcohol dependence and occurred in 75 percent of alcohol-dependent adolescents.

There was no clear evidence showing whether agoraphobia came before or after either marijuana use or the first drink, according to the authors.

A limitation of the study, according to the research team, was that 128 (66 percent) of the teens were juvenile offenders who had received court-referred treatment for their substance abuse. These findings might not generalize to a less severely addicted population.

Still, interventions to reduce social anxiety might help prevent substance abuse in teens.

“We need to treat these young patients initially with nonpharmacologic means, such as cognitive behavioral  therapy or mindfulness meditation,” said Christina Delos Reyes, M.D., a psychiatrist specializing in addictions at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.

Patrick Bordeaux, M.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Quebec, Canada, said that “comorbidities tend to be the rule in adolescents, not the exception.”

“Adolescents are more likely to have social and mental disorders that make them more likely to use drugs,” said Bordeaux, who was not involved with the study.

Source:  Case Western Reserve University of Medicine


Most Parents Unaware of Teens’ Use of Study Drugs

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

If your teen is struggling with Addiction, please do not hesitate to call 1-877-523-8369

Turning Point offers intensive compassionate outpatient counselling and various workshops to help your teen create better habits and a more positive attitude in their own journey of life.

By Rick Nauert PHD, Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on May 21, 2013

As students prepare for final exams, some will turn to a prescription amphetamine or other stimulant to gain an academic edge.

Yet a new University of Michigan poll shows only one in 100 parents of teens 13 to 17 years old believes that their teen has used a study drug.

Study drugs often include stimulant medications prescribed for the treatment of  attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Common drugs abused for this purpose include Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, and Vyvanse.

Researchers discovered that among parents of teens who have not been prescribed a stimulant medication for ADHD, only 1 percent believes their teen has used a study drug to help study or improve grades.

The finding stems from the latest University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

However, recent national data from the Monitoring the Future survey indicates that 10 percent of high school sophomores and 12 percent of high school seniors say they have used an amphetamine or other stimulant medication not prescribed by their doctor.

Experts say that students without ADHD will take someone else’s medication, to try to stay awake and alert and try to improve their scores on exams or assignments.

However, taking study drugs has not been proven to improve students’ grades, and it can be very dangerous to their health, says Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., director of the Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

“Taking these medications when they are not prescribed for you can lead to acute exhaustion, abnormal heart rhythms and even confusion and psychosis if the teens get addicted and go into withdrawal,” said Davis.

What we found in this poll is a clear mismatch between what parents believe and what their kids are reporting. But even though parents may not be recognizing these behaviors in their own kids, this poll also showed that one-half of the parents say they are very concerned about this abuse in their communities,” he said.

White parents were most likely to say they are “very concerned” (54 percent), compared with black (38 percent) and Hispanic/Latino (37 percent) parents.

Despite this concern, only 27 percent of parents polled said they have talked to their teens about using study drugs. Black parents were more likely to have discussed this issue with their teens (41 percent), compared with white (27 percent) or Hispanic (17 percent) parents.

“If we are going to make a dent in this problem, and truly reduce the abuse of these drugs, we need parents, educators, health care professionals and all who interact with teens to be more proactive about discussing the issue,” Davis said.

More than three-quarters of parents polled said they support school policies aimed at stopping abuse of study drugs in middle schools and high schools. Overall, 76 percent of parents said they believe schools should be required to discuss the dangers of ADHD medication abuse.

Moreover, 79 percent of parents support a policy to require students with a prescription for ADHD medications to keep their pills in a secure location such as the school nurse’s office.

This requirement could prohibit students from carrying such drugs which could potentially be shared with, or sold to, other students.

“We know teens may be sharing drugs or spreading the word that these medications can give their grades a boost,” Davis said.

“But the bottom line is that these prescription medications are drugs, and teens who use them without a prescription are taking a serious risk with their health.”

Source: University of Michigan


National Survey Finds Big Jump in Teen Abuse of Prescription Drugs

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

If your teen is struggling with Addiction, please do not hesitate to call 1-877-523-8369

Turning Point offers intensive compassionate outpatient counselling and various workshops to help your teen create better habits and a more positive attitude in their own journey of life.

By Rick Nauert, PHD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on April 24, 2013

A new national survey finds that one in four teens has misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime, a jump of 33 percent in just five years.

Using data from The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), researchers found, for instance, that one in eight teens (13 percent) now report they have taken the stimulants Ritalin or Adderall when it was not prescribed for them, at least once in their lifetime.

“These data make it very clear: the problem is real, the threat immediate and the situation is not poised to get better,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org.

“Parents fear drugs like cocaine or heroin and want to protect their kids. But the truth is that when misused and abused, medicines — especially stimulants and opioids — can be every bit as dangerous and harmful as illicit street drugs.”

Researchers believe the sustained trend in teen medicine abuse is associated with inappropriate parental and caregiver oversight. Investigators say that nearly one-third of parents say they believe Rx stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, normally prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), can improve a teen’s academic performance – even if the teen does not have ADHD.

Further, according to some, parents are often not communicating the dangers of Rx medicine misuse and abuse to their kids, nor are they safeguarding their medications at home and disposing of unused medications properly.

“Medicine cabinets are the number one access point for teens who want to misuse and abuse prescription drugs. That’s why we are making a concerted effort to let parents and caregivers know how important it is to safely dispose of their unused, unwanted or expired medicines. Doing so can literally save a life,” said Marcia Lee Taylor of The Partnership at Drugfree.org.

Trends in teen prescription drug abuse according to the new PATS data (2008-2012):

  • One in four teens (24 percent) reports having misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime (up from 18 percent in 2008 to 24 percent in 2012), which translates to about 5 million teens;
  • Of those kids who said they abused Rx medications, one in five (20 percent) has done so before the age of 14;
  • More than a quarter of teens (27 percent) mistakenly believe that “misusing and abusing prescription drugs to get high is safer than using street drugs,” and one-third of teens (33 percent) say they believe “it’s okay to use prescription drugs that were not prescribed to them to deal with an injury, illness or physical pain.”

Experts say that medicine abuse is one of the most significant and preventable adolescent health problems that families face today. Rx stimulants a key area of concern, with misuse and abuse of Ritalin and Adderall in particular driving the noted increases in teen medicine abuse.

Stimulants are a class of drugs that enhance brain activity and are commonly prescribed to treat health conditions including ADHD and obesity. The 2012 data found:

  • One in eight teens (about 2.7 million) now reports having misused or abused the Rx stimulants Ritalin or Adderall at least once in their lifetime;
  • 9 percent of teens (about 1.9 million) report having misused or abused the Rx stimulants Ritalin or Adderall in the past year (up from 6 percent in 2008) and 6 percent of teens (1.3 million) report abuse of Ritalin or Adderall in the past month (up from 4 percent in 2008);
  • One in four teens (26 percent) believes that prescription drugs can be used as a study aid.

Although abuse of prescription pain medicine remains at unacceptably high levels among teens, the new PATS data shows that use may be flattening.

Teen abuse of prescription pain relievers like Vicodin and OxyContin has remained stable since 2011 with one in six teens (16 percent) reporting abuse or misuse of an Rx pain reliever at least once in their lifetime. One in 10 teens (10 percent) admits to abusing or misusing an Rx painkiller in the past year.

Nevertheless, the availability of prescription drugs (in the family medicine cabinet, in the homes of friends and family) makes them that much easier to abuse.

The new survey findings stress that teens are more likely to abuse Rx medicines if they think their parents “don’t care as much if they get caught using prescription drugs, without a doctor’s prescription, than they do if they get caught using illegal drugs.”

Some parents (one in six or 16 percent) believe that using prescription drugs to get high is safer than using street drugs.

Parents often fail to talk with teens about substance abuse (16 percent of parents); in comparison, a majority of teens (81 percent) say they have discussed the risks of marijuana use with their parents, 80 percent have discussed alcohol and nearly one-third of teens (30 percent) have discussed crack/cocaine.

Source:  The Partnership at Drugfree.org/Metlife Foundation


Is there a strategy to a successful recovery?

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Creating a Plan for Success:

Managing a life is like managing a business. We often wonder why some companies  are so successful, and yet some companies had great products and a lot of enthusiasm, and passion, but still failed horribly.  The reality is that successful companies do not become successful on their own. They do not manage everything.

They are successful because they have an integral approach which includes a team of experts to help them to become successful by identifying their strengths and weaknesses, implemented changes to create a strong foundation, and believed in a continuum of care to help support them through their challenges. There were wise enough to know that supports were necessary component before, during and after they started their business.

So, why not adapt this mentality into an addiction plan? You can plan to succeed, by incorporating Turning Points’s Habitude™Addiction Program into your/their recovery plan.

Turning Point’s Habitude™Addiction Program offers that expert support and can be an important step for individuals wanting a strong, Life Recovery Plan.

Call today and let’s get started



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