Signs Your Child is Using Drugs

79167651When adolescents are using drugs they usually go to great lengths to hide it from their families. But there are always signs that give it away.

The Health, Behavioral and Psychological Indicators of Drug Abuse

If your instincts tells you something is going on with your son or daughter it probably is. But it may not have anything to do with drugs or alcohol, which is why you have to be very careful before jumping to conclusions or making accusations.

This list isn’t intended to be complete and definitive. However, these are some of the surest indicators of drug abuse and they are signs that you as a mom or dad cannot afford to ignore.

       Health-Related Indicators

  • Nighttime insomnia combined with frequent daytime naps.
  • Bad breath or unexplained chemical-like odors on clothing.
  • Neglect of normal grooming practices.
  • Bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils.
  • Frequent injuries or bruises that he or she can’t or won’t explain.
  • A loss of motor skills plus shakes, tremors or incoherent speech.
  • Sudden weight gain or loss.

       Behavioral Indicators

  • Rapid decline in academic performance, revealed by poor grades or reports of missed classes or school days.
  • Old friends replaced by new ones that parents have never met (and introductions are not forthcoming).
  • Missing money, valuable items or prescription pills, all of which your child had access to.
  • Loss of interest in treasured hobbies, sports or other extracurricular activities at school.
  • Secretive behavior, locked doors and excessive demands for privacy.
  • Frequently getting into fights or arguments with friends, teachers or family members.
  • A sudden affection for incense, perfume, air freshener or other odor-masking agents.

       Psychological Indicators

  • Sudden mood swings occurring on a daily basis.
  • Memory loss or difficulty in concentrating.
  • Hyperactivity or agitation without apparent cause.
  • Loss of motivation and drive along with other signs of depression.
  • Unpleasant personality changes, such as short-temperedness, defensiveness or paranoia.

One or two of these symptoms may not be cause for worry. But if several apply to your child substance abuse could very well be the problem.

The Threat is Real, Take it Seriously

All parents have a healthy fear of drugs. We know the damage they can cause in our kids’ lives, but no matter how hard we try to protect our children we know drugs are everywhere and that young people will be tempted to experiment.

So it is better to keep your eyes open and stay alert at all times, and if you do see signs of drug abuse you need to sit down and talk to your son or daughter right away. These conversations can be difficult but they are essential and it is your responsibility as a parent not to turn a blind eye to the truth.

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7 Tips for Performing an Intervention for a Loved One

178711325If you have a loved one who is suffering from addiction, you may be considering performing an intervention. Interventions have the potential to help a loved one seek treatment. When done well, the intervention can help the loved one feel supported and can help him or her decide to make a change.

  1. Make a Plan

Consult a professional, such as a counselor, therapist or interventionist, for advice on how to perform the intervention. Planning what will be said and who will be present can greatly increase the chances of success.

  1. Gather Information

Once you’ve discussed the intervention with others, gather information about your loved one’s addiction, including the severity and how long the loved one has been wrestling with the addiction.

  1. Decide on the Intervention Team

Choose positive people whom you trust, and whom your loved one feels close to, for participation in the intervention. You might also decide that you want a professional interventionist present, or another qualified professional. You can also use this opportunity to decide when and where the intervention will take place.

  1. Decide on Consequences

If your loved one is resistant to treatment, have consequences that have already been discussed with others on the intervention team. Ideally, each person should have specific consequences that he or she will follow through with, like asking the loved one to move out. It’s important not to state any consequence that you aren’t comfortable following through with.

  1. Make Notes About What to Say

Interventions can be very emotionally charged, especially if they aren’t well planned in advance. In order to help keep you and others focused on the task at hand, come up with specific things you want to say. For instance, it can be useful to say, “I felt angry when you got drunk on my birthday,” which provides a specific example and how it made you feel.

  1. Hold the Intervention

It’s important to not let your loved one know about the intervention until it takes place. Have him or her be at a specific place at a specific time. Members take turns expressing their concerns, and they offer the loved one a treatment plan. Emphasizing your unconditional love and concern for the loved one can help prevent him or her from feeling ambushed or judged.

  1. Follow Up

Once your loved one is in treatment, the road to recovery doesn’t end. Often, loved ones are able to successfully overcome their addictions largely through the support of their friends and family. You can offer to attend counseling sessions with your loved one, or provide other types of support while the loved one is in recovery.

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Understanding Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

458892257Small lapses of judgment can snowball into life-altering problems. Alcoholism and drug addiction are perfect examples of this stealth dynamic in action, and the subtle nature of the decline they precipitate makes it hard for people with substance abuse disorders to accurately perceive what is happening.

Choosing to drink or take drugs will not automatically lead to addiction. But addiction almost always leads to denial and rationalization, and that is as much a part of this disease as the physical dependency that defines it.

Your willingness to consider the possibility you might have a substance abuse disorder is a positive sign. But unless you understand how addiction distorts your perception you may never be able to face the truth about your plight.

The natural tendency of drug addicts and alcoholics who reflect on their substance abuse is to avoid a full and honest self-appraisal, leading them to underestimate how far down the rabbit hole of dependency they’ve actually fallen.

The best way to ensure your process of self-analysis stays on track is to educate yourself about the symptoms of alcoholism and drug addiction. Not just the physical symptoms but the emotional and psychological mind tricks substance abuse problems play, which can make it difficult to detect addiction from a first-person perspective.

Here are some common warning signs that might indicate your drug or alcohol habit has gotten out of control:

  • You need to drink more or take larger quantities of drugs to get the same effects.
  • You drink or take drugs every day, or always return to alcohol or drugs again after brief periods of sobriety.
  • You’ve started telling “little white lies” to the people you love, most of which revolve around your drinking or drugging.
  • Guilt and shame have become your constant companions, even though you’re not always sure what you’re feeling guilty or ashamed about.
  • In conversations about your behavior you frequently find yourself on the defensive (even in instances where your substance abuse isn’t brought up during the discussion).
  • You’ve gotten into the habit of using drugs or alcohol for mood alteration or enhancement (you can’t relax, have fun or feel comfortable in social situations without it, to give some examples).
  • You’re experiencing more of the troubling mood swings that helped push you toward drugs or alcohol in the first place.
  • Your physical health has started to decline.
  • Your family and friends are worried and they’ve been telling you about it.
  • The real-life consequences of your drinking and drug use have become impossible to ignore (financial troubles, relationship problems, declining performance on the job, etc.).
  • Your internal dialogues are loaded with rationalizations, as you’ve begun making just as many excuses to yourself as you’ve been making to others.

Generally speaking, the more of these symptoms you manifest the worse your substance abuse problem is likely to be.

With Eyes Wide Open, There is Hope

Alcoholism and drug abuse affect the mind, body and spirit. They sneak up on you and catch you by surprise, changing your entire life day-by-day until their ravages are undeniable. You have to notice what drugs or alcohol are doing to your life before you can do anything about them, and that means learning to recognize the warning signs of addiction while there is still time to make a change.

Follow our blog at A Calming Tide for more valuable information about substance abuse and strategies to overcome it.

Why Ignoring A Suicide Attempt Isn’t the Answer

79073434If you have a friend or loved one who has attempted suicide, you may be unsure how to best offer support going forward. While it may seem like the best course of action is to ignore the suicide attempt, friends and family often better help a loved one when they open up dialogue about the event and what led to it.

When someone attempts to commit suicide, he or she is usually suffering from extreme pain—either physical or emotional. Instead of looking for attention, most suicidal individuals are only seeking to remove themselves from a situation over which they feel no control. This situation could be a number of things, including chronic depression, schizophrenia, chronic illness, drug and alcohol dependency or a sudden life event.

When a suicide attempt is not fully carried out, your friend or family member may feel embarrassed and will most likely expect some sort of retribution from those he or she cares about. Instead of punishing your loved one with words of judgment, start a conversation asking what circumstances led to the event, always emphasizing empathy.

During your conversations, avoid minimizing what your friend or loved one is experiencing. Even statements that may seem positive could cause alienation. These statements include, “Everything happens for a reason,” and “Everything will be better soon.” Statements like these tell the individual that his or her experiences and feelings aren’t valid. While the statements come from a good place, they end up being placations that don’t address the complexity of everyday life. Instead, you can offer encouragement by letting your loved one know that you’re there to offer support.

If someone who has once attempted suicide exhibits certain signs that lead you to believe he or she will attempt it again, it’s always a good idea to talk about it directly instead of avoiding the situation. Signs include withdrawing from friends and family, making a will, saying goodbye in a way that seems final and exhibiting erratic behavior. While it may seem scary to discuss your concerns with the person in question, being open is generally more helpful than staying quiet. Ask your friend or family member if there is anything upsetting him or her and what you can do to help. Often, knowing that someone genuinely cares will help someone who is considering suicide rethink his or her decision.

It’s not always possible to protect someone from suicide. If you’ve lost a loved one, you will probably experience a level of survivor’s guilt. While ultimately suicide is a personal decision and no one can be held responsible, the best way to help those you love is to be aware of how to best support them during trying times.

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The Link Between Alcohol, Insomnia, And Suicide

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Insomnia, Depression, Suicide and Alcohol: The links

Recent studies in alcohol consumption and ensuing behavioral disorders reveal that excessive alcohol consumption or alcohol addiction may result in insomnia and other sleeping disorders and these, in turn, can cause acute depression in the affected individuals. The alarming fact is that studies and surveys show that these depression bouts often lead to suicide and suicide attempts.

Alcohol and Insomnia: What is the Relationship?

Alcohol and insomnia share a sort of two-way relationship. People who suffer from insomnia are often known to revert to alcohol as a sort of curative. Since alcohol slows down the functions of our central nervous system, it acts as a kind of sedative. However, this does not mean that this leads to peaceful sleep. The tranquilizing effects of alcohol are known to last only during the first cycles of sleep but gradually wear away when we plunge into deeper sleep. As a result, alcohol-induced sleep may cause repeated waking in the last hours of sleep and this often results in fatigue, anxiety and depression.

On the other hand, people who are already alcohol addicts have high chances of suffering from insomnia and other sleep disturbances when they go off alcohol. This is one of the common withdrawal symptoms noted in alcohol addicts and it is common for many to start drinking again in an effort to escape these afflictions.

A figure shows that 1/5th of all Americans who die when drunk are suicides. Moreover, a large number of suicide attempt survivors are diagnosed with alcohol abuse-related disorders. According to researchers, young adults and teenagers form the greatest number of these suicide victims.

Researchers have found a causal link between alcohol consumption to suicidal action. Since sleeping patterns are impacted negatively by alcohol consumption and since this often leads to disturbing nightmares and hallucinatory or paranoiac vision and images, the affected individual often falls victim to acute forms of depression. And this in turn increases the suicide risk related to alcohol.

For more articles on drugs, alcohol, behavioral topics and more, follow our blog A Calming Tide: Drug, Alcohol and Behavioral Resource…

Is Non-Alcoholic Beer Safe For Recovering Alcoholics?

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Whether the use of non-alcoholic beer should be used by people in recovery from alcoholism has become a topic of some debate in the recovery community. The question revolves around whether the drink is a safe substitute or whether it will trigger the obsession for the real thing despite its negligible alcohol content.

Non-alcoholic beer, some argue, could be used in social situations as a way for the alcoholic to blend in rather than feeling like the odd man out. Others do not see why it cannot be used in the same way a nicotine patch helps smokers ween off of tobacco, since it only contains 0.5 percent alcohol by volume compared with at least 4.2 percent in true beer.

There likely is no one simple answer to the near beer question, given the variety of ways alcoholism can express itself in the individual. Alcoholics experience their disease as one that is not just physical, but also one of the mind and spirit.

Rather than being a safe choice as a means of staying off the hard stuff, non-alcoholic beer could actually bring back memories of the good old days of drinking. Sight, taste, and smell are known to trigger detailed remembrances, so the taste and smell of the near beer could be a gateway to a return to problem drinking. If the alcoholic can successfully drink this, they may think that perhaps a drink of the real deal will be alright.

We at A Calming Tide: Drug, Alcohol and Behavioral Resource believe it is better to err on the side of caution. After all, non-alcoholic beer cannot truly be compared with a nicotine patch, since the patch does not need to be lit and inhaled to do its job.

For all too many alcoholics, the act of drinking such a close booze substitute is too near to the real act of drinking alcohol that the amount of alcohol in the drink is beside the point. It becomes is slippery slope that those in recovery may not be able to navigate successfully.

Recovery from alcoholism is a process that must take all aspects of the disease into serious account on a daily basis. The sight or smell of alcohol for some sufferers is enough to derail their efforts return to health and sanity. That is why many alcoholics in early recovery stay away from situations where alcohol will be available. That is why we believe non-alcoholic beer should be avoided, as well.

Emergency Room Interventions And Teen Drinking

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Teenagers seem to think that drinking is cool and many of them do it regularly or as often as they get the chance. However, what these children fail to realize is that alcohol can cause serious harm to the body. Emergency room attendants witness teenagers coming in with alcohol poisoning all the time and they have realized that a intervention program that counsels teens against substance abuse keeps them from returning to the emergency room a second time.

Underage drinking is classified as anyone under the age of 21 consuming alcohol. Teenagers do not comprehend the damage that drinking can cause on relationships and your life as a whole. Under age drinking cause more harm to teens than it does to anyone over the age of 21. Their bodies are still developing and cannot handle the effects of alcohol. Teen drinking occurs as a result if teens wanting to fit in with the cool or popular crowd. Most teenagers do it because they see it as the only way to look cool and socialize.

Studies show that under age drinking affects brain development as our brain still continues to develop well into out early 20’s and drinking too early on in life can hinder this development. Drinking causes inhibition, which means you make poor decisions, engage in spontaneous sexual activity and violence. It also increases the risk of physical and sexual assault in teenagers. Serious injuries occur as a result if drinking and driving and engaging in other activities whilst under the influence of alcohol. In the U.S 190 000 injuries were reported in 2008, related to alcohol.

Hospitals that have introduced Emergency Room Interventions programs agree that education is the best way of addressing the problem of under age drinking. Just a session or 2 with a teen recovering from alcohol poisoning can have a positive effect on the child’s life. All a teen really needs to understand is the consequences of their actions and the problems that can arise from them not heeding sound advice and this could prove extremely thought provoking.

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Social Anxiety and Drug Use

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Many people resort to drugs to break out of their shell or prove some kind of point to society. Over the years, researchers and therapists have established a link between social anxiety and drug use. In theory, initial drug use may be completely unrelated to social anxiety. This proposition could lead into better methods of treatment.

Need to Fit in

One of the basic emotional needs is acceptance; people need to feel loved and accepted by others. If this desire is unfulfilled, it could lead to anxiety and drug use. A study conducted on about 200 adolescent who had sought addiction treatment identified issues with fitting in. The teens seemed to respond well to activities which alleviated social anxiety.

About half of them experienced some sort of social anxiety, with about 15% showing a disorder. The latter were noted to have started exhibiting symptoms of the disorder about two years before they began to use drugs. The study stated that the participants used alcohol and drugs because they provided an outlet to release anxiety. Using these substances helped them take their minds of worries about not fitting in.

After sobering up, the anxiety returned, thus causing the teens to return to using alcohol and drugs. This trend continued and matured into addition. Treating anxiety could thus be an effective solution.

Further Analysis

The next part of the study involved teens who attended AA meetings. It was observed that this particular group made a better recovery after they were treated. The likelihood of relapsing after completing treatment among them was about 50% less.

Social activities were found to be beneficial for young people experiencing social anxiety. In addition to reducing worries about fitting in, it encouraged them to be more friendly, welcoming and outgoing. This goes to restoring a sense of belonging and self-confidence.

Implications

The study revealed that those who didn’t show up for meetings stood a higher chance of relapsing. It would thus be helpful for drug and substance abusers to not only show up for meetings, but also be actively involved. The risk of relapse is usually higher within the first 6 months of completing treatment.

Teens should be observed to see if they’re socially anxious. Involving youths prone to addition in activities that deal with the symptoms reduces the likelihood of them resorting to drugs. Those already suffering from addiction due to social anxiety are advised to seek immediate treatment.

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Lithium Treatment For Bipolar Disorders

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Bipolar Disorder, which used to be called manic depression, is a difficult condition that affects  moods in a dramatic way. Sometimes the person will suffer from depression, when their mood is extremely low and they feel lethargic and unable to motivate themselves in any way. At other times their mood will swing completely to the other end of the spectrum and the person becomes incredibly active and their mood is very high, but this is above normal levels and is referred to as mania. This is a specialist area and treatment needs to be adjusted for each individual but Lithium For Bipolar Disorder is the preferred medication.

Lithium For Bipolar Disorder is effective as it works on both parts of the problem. It reduces the mania in both intensity and frequency but also helps to ward off the depression. Lithium has been around for many years but it still isn’t clear exactly how it actually works but it certainly does help to stabilize mood and behavior. It is however a strong medication and anyone taking it should be monitored carefully with regular blood tests to ensure their kidneys and thyroid continue functioning normally. It can also take some weeks for the full effect of Lithium to become apparent. It is important that anyone taking it realizes that there will be a delay before they feel an improvement otherwise they are likely to stop their medication before it has had a chance to work.
The dose will vary between individuals but it is always advised to ensure the person drinks adequate amounts of water to keep them hydrated whilst on this medication. They should also stick to a normal amount of salt in their diet as this can also alter Lithium levels.

Whilst there seems to be a lot of points to consider, overall the outcome for people taking Lithium is very good and their mood stabilizes and levels out. They should be encouraged to continue taking their medication at regular intervals and only alter the dose if their doctor is monitoring them.

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Teens’ Access To Drugs And Alcohol Increasing

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According a recent study, teenagers can now access prescription drugs, alcohol and marijuana much faster and easily than they did last year. Fortunately, easy access does not directly translate to increased drug abuse cases. For instance, marijuana use has been declining over the last few years. This paradox has raised serious questions about what drives teenagers to abuse controlled substances.

The findings of the study were recently released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance abuse, commonly referred to as CASA. The report raised nationwide concern as it was released at a time when more teenagers in the country are abusing prescription drugs than most controlled substances, except inhalants and marijuana.

A Calming Tide: Drug, Alcohol and Behavioral Resource is meant to shed some light on some of these substance abuse trends. We understand that substance abuse is a bigger problem now than ever before since kids do not need to find a drug dealer to get their daily dose. All they have to do is open their parent’s medicine cabinet and take as many pills as possible.

According to the study, 23% of teens aged between 12 and 17 years said they could get their hands on marijuana in less than one hour. 42% of them claimed they could get marijuana within 24 hours. These figures are considerably larger than figures obtained from studies in 2007.

While these figures may be scary, there is some good news – marijuana use by teens is falling steadily. Some studies we have looked at indicate teens are using 25% less marijuana than they did less than a decade ago. Unfortunately, usage of prescription drugs has not changed much. Since 2005, the number of teens using prescription drugs has remained at 1 in 5, still a troubling figure. Our experience with teenage drug abuse is that most parents are passive pushers. This is because many homes do not have locks on the medicine cabinet.

One of the main factors affecting drug use by teens is attitudes and perceptions. Before 2001, ecstasy was viewed by teens as a safe drug to get high on, which made it incredibly popular with teens. However, usage declined drastically once ecstasy was linked to several deaths.

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