10 year olds treated for alcohol problems

Sunday, March 30, 2008

CUMBRIAN children as young as 10 and 11 have been treated at the Cumberland Infirmary for alcohol problems and people in their 20s have developed liver disease, shocking figures have revealed.

The statistics, obtained by The Cumberland News under the Freedom of Information Act, show for the first time the true extent of the county’s booze culture, with pregnant mums admitted for complications related to alcohol use, three young people killed by drink, and 740 people aged under 30 treated for alcohol-related illness and injury in two years.

The culture of heavy drinking has led to five people aged just 27 and 28 developing liver disease.

Speaking to The Cumberland News yesterday, Cumbrian public health director Professor John Ashton said society was “in a complete mess” where alcohol was concerned.

And A&E consultant Vincent Foxworthy said the alcohol-related casualties were creating a “big workload” for emergency services.

Among the figures, which apply to people aged under 30 and treated at the Cumberland Infirmary and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, it emerged:

Thirteen and 14-year-olds were among 263 patients taken to hospital with alcohol poisoning in 2006 and 2007. In some cases booze had been mixed with drugs including heroin, cannabis and cocaine;

175 teenagers and young adults, including 74 people under 16, have been treated for mental and behavioural disorders related to alcohol use. One of them was aged just 10, two were 11, two were 12, and 17 aged 13;

Thirty-four expectant mums – including a 16-year-old girl – have been treated for alcohol-related complications, including foetal heart rate problems and haemorrhaging after labour.

A one-year-old child was also treated in hospital suffering from the toxic effects of alcohol in the form of ethanol, a chemical which can be found in fuel and household cleaners.

The patients, who have either attended A&E or been referred by GPs, have suffered from a range of alcohol-related illnesses, including chronic pancreatitis; hepatitis; blood clots; cuts and bruises; abdominal pain; poisoning and sickness.

Professor John Ashton, said: “This is young people going out and drinking bottles and bottles of spirits – it is a big issue. Our society is in a complete mess in terms of social awareness about alcohol.

“There needs to be a far more sensible approach.”

He has called for supermarkets to stop selling alcohol and said children need to be introduced to drinking in a more responsible way by their parents.

Vincent Foxworthy, A&E consultant at the Cumberland Infirmary, added: “People do drink more and it is not just young people – everyone seems to be drinking more.

“The kind of people we see are people who are drunk and aggressive, and their victims.

“Also people who have fallen or hurt themselves accidentally – you only have to look at the fact that they have closed Botchergate at the weekends to see this is a social problem.”

Mr Foxworthy has worked in A&E departments in Glasgow and Newcastle and said that the Carlisle booze culture is catching up with the bigger cities.

He added that drunken casualties created a “big workload” and said: “It does put a big strain on all the services involved including police and the ambulance service.

“Social drinking is something that most do but people are getting carried away and drinking more than they used to.”

View this story and the latest newspaper in full digital reproduction, just like the printed copy at www.cumberland-news.co.uk/digitalcopy

Relapse Prevention - Eating Disorders

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The road to recovery is usually long and hard.No one travels it gracefully.There are many slips, trips and lapses.Those who eventually do recover learn to pick themselves up when they fall,brush off the dust, and keep going.By doing so,they keep temporary lapses from turning into full-blown relapses.

they can and will happen during recovery from an eating disorder. I want to say right now that if you are suffering from an eating disorder and making a hard attempt at getting better, that sooner or later you will encounter a relapse (if you haven't already). The relapse could last a day, a week, a month, but a relapse is not an uncommon thing to have happen during recovery from an eating disorder. This does not mean that you shouldn't try at all to recover because you think, "Well, I'm just going to relapse anyway, so what's the point?"

Relapses are a common part of recovery from an eating disorder because during the time at which we are trying to break free from the chains of a anorexia or bulimia, we are learning to be ourselves again. Many times, someone doesn't even know who they actually are when in the world of an eating disorder, so recovery means breaking free from everything they have thought they were in life. This makes recovery from an eating disorder a big learning experience for not just finding out who we are in life, but also how to deal with the pain in our lives that we tried to starve into control or purge away. Relapses will happen, but that doesn't mean you should give up right away or not try. Relapses are here to teach us where the areas are that we still need to work on.

Just like with an eating disorder,recovery from an eating disorder is not about perfection.No one recovery is perfect and never will be.Don't beat yourself up for any relapses that you have.Instead,look at your progress and the good days,and congratulate yourself for those.=)

So how do you prevent eating disorder relapses?
Realize that a relapse can come on quickly by the smallest trigger and that not just one trigger can cause a relapse.Anything from stress from school or your family,to coping with something that a friend is going through,to having just talked about a difficult thing that occurred in your life with a therapist can trigger the onset of an eating disorder relapse.Recognize ahead of time the things that could trigger you to a relapse.Here are some things that I've noticed tend to trigger relapses or slip backs for me:
-Mid-terms and finals at school or any major exams that are in the near future.
-Increasing pressure from family (especially parents) or problems with them are increasing.
-Going through a painful break-up with a girlfriend or boyfriend or being rejected.
-Problems with a husband or wife.
-Problems at work.
-A competition in a sport coming up (spec. gymnastics, ballet and/or dance)
-The loss of a friend or family member.
-Having a friend that is going through a rough time.
-Recently talking to a therapist about past trauma (sexual/mental/physical abuse,rape,etc.)
-Just being released from inpatient treatment.
-Being around those that are engrossed with their own eating disorders while you are trying to recover.
-Fear of recovering.
-Believing that you are fully recovered when there are still underlying issues that have not been properly dealt with in a non-destructive way.

These are just some of the things that can trigger an eating disorder relapse. Look at your own life and make your own list ahead of time of things that can trigger you to turn back to trying to starve or purge your problems away. Recognizing ahead of time what can harm you and what you can do to help deal with those problems in a non-self-destructive way when they come.

Many relapses occur when someone has begun talking with a therapist about past traumas like abuse or rape,but that this does not mean that you should not talk about it just because it triggers you.

With something as horrific as abuse or rape you must talk about it so that you can learn to move on from it.Otherwise,if you just continue to run from dealing with those issues,they will continue to haunt you and cause pain in your life. The only way to finally free yourself of those problems is by dealing with them.If you are talking with your therapist about issues that are triggering, please,please,please let the therapist know that this is very hard for you to talk about and that your other problems,whether they be an eating disorder,depression,self mutilation,OCD, etc.,are at high risk of getting worse from talking and finally having to deal with it.

Studies have suggested that almost 30 to 50% of all patients thought to be successfully treated become ill again within 1 year of achieving clinical recovery.After this first,most difficult post-recovery year,patients may still relapse at the rate of 3% per year.The overall relapse rate is currently about 20%.

Relapse is defined as:
-The failure of the patient to maintain a body weight that is at least 85% of what is considered to be the individual’s ideal body weight given the individual’s height, age, and gender.
-The cessation of menstrual periods in women.
-The resumption of restrictive and/or purging behaviors.
-The resumption of maladaptive attitudes regarding dietary habits

*Relapse can occur only after the achievement of clinical recovery,as previously defined.

Before an eating disorder relapse,it's also helpful to have a list of people(and phone numbers) to call during the times that you are triggered or when you suspect that you will be triggered.If possible,you might also want to have a sponsor,a person who can keep track of your behaviors and reactions,so that you have someone to warn you ahead of time when it is suspected that you are relapsing.No matter what your head tells you,it really is okay to have extra support during the rough times.You are not weak or greedy.You are,however,going through a rough time and just need some help coping.

There is nothing wrong with that!

Sometimes what helps people from relapsing is making a list of things they can do instead of starving or purging.Things like cleaning,playing with your cat your dog, an animal,going on the computer,talking with a friend,going camping,listening to your favorite CD,and so on can be very helpful!

The signs of an eating disorders relapse:
Perhaps you're wondering how you can tell if you are even relapsing or not. Here's a list of signs to look for.If you,or someone you know is experiencing these signs of an eating disorders relapse,then it's time to get help:
-Thoughts continue to turn back to weight and food. -Increasing need to be in control over many things.
-Perfectionistic thinking returns or becomes stronger. -Feelings of needing to escape from stress and problems.
-Feeling hopelessness and/or increasing sadness. -Increasing belief that you can only be happy if you are thin.
-Increasing belief that you are out of control if you are not on a "diet." -Dishonesty with treatment coordinators and/or friends and family.
-Looking in mirrors often. -Skipping meals, or purging them.
-Avoiding food and/or get-togethers that involve food. -Increasing need to exercise continually.
-Thoughts of suicide. -Feeling guilt after eating.
-Feeling the need to isolate yourself from those around you. -Feeling "fat" even though people say otherwise.

When you have most of the signs of an eating disorder relapse:
If you are currently going through an eating disorder relapse:
-Sit down and try to figure out how you were feeling before the relapse occurred and what was going on at the time that could have triggered you.
-Make a plan of how you can deal with the trigger in better ways the next time it comes around.
-Recognize how you are feeling right now and how you can change those feelings through helpful reactions.
-Know that you can talk to someone about what is going on in your life,whether it involves the relapse or things that triggered the relapse.

Most importantly,realize that you do not need to be hard on yourself for this relapse!Guilt and beating yourself up for slipping gets you nowhere and is not needed.All beating yourself up over this will do is make you feel bad and will give even more fuel to the eating disorder to use against you.You are not a failure.Recovery from an eating disorder is not meant to be perfect,and you are not meant to be perfect.There is no shame with having an eating disorder or a relapse.I cannot stress enough that when a relapse occurs it does not mean that you have "failed once again," but what it does mean is that there are feelings inside that still need to be dealt with!!

Once again, relapses - they can and will happen during recovery from an eating disorder. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't try at all or that you are a failure if you relapse.Recovery takes a long,long time to reach and it involves dealing with a lot of painful issues that can leave you susceptible to relapsing into old "comforts" like starving or purging.

Please,reach out for help if you suspect that you have relapsed or that you are close to doing so,and then recognize what caused you to relapse in the beginning.

You deserve help and you deserve to get better...no matter what. Sober Teens Online Can Help

Teen Substance Abuse and Treatment

Monday, March 24, 2008

If you need help for alcohol or substance abuse problems and would like to meet friends who understand then visit our sober forums for teens and adults at The Sober Village or Sober Teens Online where we care about your teen problems and issues!

Now for today's article on teen substance abuse and treatment:

Being a teenager is often a confusing, challenging time, which can make teens vulnerable to falling into a destructive pattern of drug use. While most teens probably see their drug use as a casual way to have fun, there are negative effects that are a result of this use of alcohol or other drugs. Even if adolescent drug use does not necessarily lead to adult drug abuse, there are still risks and consequences of adolescent drug use. These negative effects usually include a drop in academic performance or interest, and strained relationships with family or friends.

Adolescent substance abuse can greatly alter behavior, and a new preoccupation with drugs can crowd out activities that were previously important. Drug use can also change friendships as teens begin to associate more with fellow drug users, who encourage and support one another's drug use. For adolescents, these changes as a result of substance abuse signal a problem in the teen's environment, and should be seen as a call to action for parents, teachers, or friends to seek help for their loved one.
Seeking Help

The sooner you can recognize that your teen is abusing alcohol or other drugs, the sooner you can seek help. Make sure to keep track of your teen, their friends, and where they are going. While your teen will probably call you a nag or become annoyed with the constant questions, it is more important to make sure that you know what is going on in your child's life, so that if a problem does arise you can take rapid action.

There are some things to look for in your adolescent's behavior that may be indications of drug use, which include changes in appearances, friends, behavior, and interests. Indications of substance abuse may include:

* physical evidence of drugs or drug paraphernalia
* behavior problems and a drop in academic performance
* emotional distancing, depression, or fatigue
* changes in mood, eating patterns, or sleeping patterns
* change in friendships
* increased hostility or irritability
* decrease in interest in personal appearance
* lying or increased evasiveness about school or weekend activities

If your teen exhibits these behaviors, they may have a problem with substance abuse, and the sooner you seek help for them, the better.

Once teens start using drugs, they are not usually motivated to stop. For many teens, drugs are a pleasurable way to relax and fit in. For teens, drugs also don't represent a serious threat because teens typically have the mentality that they are invincible. Because of this, it is important that parents and friends are involved in encouraging adolescents to enter treatment in order to help them achieve a drug free lifestyle. Without this support, it is unlikely that teens will seek help for their drug problem.

There is a variety of treatment programs for adolescent substance abuse, and when seeking help for a loved one, it is important that the treatment program that you choose suits their individual needs.

Treatment for adolescent substance abuse usually includes:

* Detoxification: Detoxification is for adolescents who need safe, medically supervised relief from withdrawal symptoms when they first enter a rehabilitation program.
* Residential Rehabilitation: Residential rehabilitation is for teens who cannot stop using drugs without 24 hour supervision. Teens in residential rehab are individuals who have continued to use despite knowledge of the risks and consequences, or have continued to use despite previous attempts to stop. In a residential rehab program, these teens can learn and practice new skills that will help them in recovery. Residential programs may include individual and group therapy, 12-step programs, and relapse prevention.
* Intensive Outpatient Program: Intensive outpatient programs are for teens who have committed to staying drug free, but need treatment after school to prevent use and promote recovery. These programs can also include adolescents who have already completed residential treatment, but feel that they need further support in the transition back into daily life. These programs usually rely on support from friends and family.
* Aftercare/continuing care: These programs are a very important part of recovery, and help adolescents to maintain a drug free lifestyle. These programs usually include family support groups, or alumni support groups of people who have also completed a treatment program to provide support for the adolescent in recovery.

These treatment programs are designed to teach teens the skills that will help them to maintain their recovery and to sustain a drug-free lifestyle.

Alcohol awareness advocates to hold meeting

Friday, March 21, 2008

At the age of 12 Somerset County youths might go on their first hunting trip, get an extended bed time, or, if they’re lucky, watch a PG-13 rated movie.

Local alcohol awareness advocate Mary Ann Bowman said, by 12 years old, quite a few county kids may have already cracked open their first beer.

“Kids get alcohol at home from older siblings and even parents,” said Bowman, project director for the Somerset County Drug-Free Communities Coalition. “Kids are drinking younger than ever. It can be destructive to young people.”
Bowman, along with a host of sponsors and panelists, are organizing a 7 p.m. April 1 meeting at the Somerset high school auditorium designed to educate the community about underage drinking.

It will be the second of its kind in the county. Coordinators say the last one was held about 1 1/2 years ago.

State police Trooper John Matchik, Somerset Borough police Officer Charles Santa, students from Somerset high school and representatives from several alcohol awareness organizations are to present information.

Underage alcohol abusers may form habits that can last a lifetime. According to Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller, those habits may even contribute to an abuser’s death.

Miller said 65 percent of highway fatalities in Somerset County are alcohol related.

“To me, that is an astonishing number,” said Miller, who is participating in the meeting.

Miller said alcohol is often a factor in unnatural deaths that occur in the county.

“It is far and away one of the biggest causes,” he said.

According to statistics provided by the Somerset Borough police, there were 23 underage alcohol-related incidents in the borough last year. There were 35 DUIs and 23 public drunkenness incidents, including adults.

“I can’t say we have a severe problem with under-21-year-olds getting killed,” Miller said. “We have had a few.”

Miller said educating people can help keep that number down and help to decrease other alcohol-related problems.

“Alcohol is involved with so many incidents,” he said. “I try to help (educate kids) when they are young.”

Alcohol may not be hard for some kids to find.

“Kids get alcohol at home from older siblings and even parents. We have a serious problem,” Bowman said. “Alcohol is the No. 1 drug of use.”

Meeting coordinators encourage anyone interested to attend the meeting.

“The parents and community must be involved with this,” Bowman said. “We can’t do this alone.”

source: Daily American Online

Depression: Children and Adolescents

Thursday, March 20, 2008

he signs of depression in infants are often screaming, restlessness, and weeping attacks for no clear reason. Preschool children may behave irritably and aggressively, while schoolchildren may be listless and apathetic. The symptoms in adolescents become similar to those in adults.

It is thought that up to 3.5% of children and 9% of adolescents in industrial countries are depressive. In particular, the risk of depression increases from the age of 12. In a third of minors, the depressive symptoms subside within three months. However, in 80% of those affected, the symptoms may reappear and become chronic. Mehler-Wex and Kölch emphasize that psychotherapy and psychosocial therapy are mostly necessary. The antidepressive fluoxetine can also be used. Patients with a severe clinical course, a difficult family background or suicidal tendencies may have to be admitted to hospital.

Depressive minors often exhibit other psychological abnormalities. Thus, anxiety disorders and disorders in social behavior occur widely, followed by substance abuse and aggression.

The causes of depression are multifactorial. The decisive factors include hereditary, personality and environmental factors, particularly in early youth.

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Harder To Curb Teen Drinking In Inner City Areas Compared To Rural Areas

Monday, March 17, 2008

Efforts to keep middle schoolers from consuming alcohol are more effective in rural areas than inner city ones, according to a study carried out by researchers at the University of Florida.

A three-year, three-pronged prevention program did little to keep Chicago middle schoolers from drinking or using drugs, despite its prior success in rural Minnesota, where the program reduced alcohol use 20 to 30 percent, UF and University of Minnesota researchers recently reported in the online edition of the journal Addiction.

"The intervention found to be effective in rural areas was not effective here, which really surprised us," said Kelli A. Komro, Ph.D., a UF associate professor of epidemiology in the UF College of Medicine and the study's lead author. "This is an important finding to realize this program was not enough. The bottom line is this: Low-income children in urban areas need more, long-term intensive efforts."

Adolescents who drink by age 15 - about half of teens - are more likely to struggle in school, abuse alcohol later in life, smoke cigarettes and use other drugs than those who don't. Even worse, exposure to alcohol at a young age may damage the developing brain, according to a 2007 U.S. Surgeon General report.

"Almost any problem kids might have, alcohol increases that risk," Komro said.

By targeting middle-school-age children, the UF and University of Minnesota team hoped to reduce these risks. The researchers studied 5,812 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders from mostly low-income communities in Chicago, randomly dividing the neighborhoods into two groups: those who would participate in the prevention program and those who would not.

The program, a tweaked version of what Komro and her colleagues developed for their Minnesota study, included three preventive approaches to relay the message that drinking is not acceptable in school, at home and in the community.

In participating schools, an alcohol prevention curriculum was used in the classroom. Students led these sessions because the prevention messages are more accepted when they come from peers rather than teachers, Komro said. The family component included homework assignments that parents and children could complete together, organized events for families, and educational postcards with helpful hints that were sent to parents. For the community aspect of the program, researchers hired organizers to work with community volunteers to change the risks and problems with teen drinking in their neighborhoods.

But at the end of the study, year-end surveys showed no difference in alcohol use among the teens who took part in the project and those who did not. At least 70 percent of the schools in the neighborhoods that did not use the program had some form of drug and alcohol prevention program in the schools. It's unlikely these programs skewed the results of the study though, Komro said. UF's prevention program was larger and more comprehensive than the other school-based programs and researchers would have detected a difference among the students had it worked.

One particular problem surfaced during the community component of the project. The organizers struggled to rally some community members around the cause, often having to explain why they should be concerned about adolescent alcohol use. That gave researchers some insight into why the program did not work there.

"People in these areas are concerned with housing, they're concerned with gangs and other drug use," Komro said. "There was a whole upfront effort where we had to educate people about how alcohol was related to those other issues, and that it was an important issue to think about with their young people.

"We know from other studies in low-income, urban neighborhoods, there is a higher concentration of alcohol outlets, compared to suburban or rural areas. There were a lot of alcohol ads around these schools and a greater density of pro-alcohol messages these children are exposed to. You mix that with the poverty level and it's just a high-risk environment."

Despite the overall results, there were positive findings that researchers hope to build on, Komro said. Of all the components, the family interventions had the most significant effects. And one aspect of the community project worked well: Half of the community teams went to stores that sold alcohol and asked merchants not to sell to underage kids. In those communities, the ability of young people to buy alcohol went down 64 percent.

"While the findings may not be what the investigators were hoping for, they reported them fully and openly, and this is good for the field," said Brian Flay, Ph.D., a professor of public health and director of the Prevention Research Center at Oregon State University. "Science can advance properly only when both positive and negative findings are reported."

The University of Florida Health Science Center - the most comprehensive academic health center in the Southeast - is dedicated to high-quality programs of education, research, patient care and public service. The Health Science Center encompasses the colleges of Dentistry, Public Health and Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine, as well as the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and an academic campus in Jacksonville offering graduate education programs in dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy. Patient care activities, under the banner UF&Shands, are provided through teaching hospitals and a network of clinics in Gainesville and Jacksonville. The Health Science Center also has a statewide presence through satellite medical, dental and nursing clinics staffed by UF health professionals; and affiliations with community-based health-care facilities stretching from Hialeah and Miami to the Florida Panhandle.


'I Was An Alcoholic By The Time I Was 17'

Friday, March 14, 2008

An alcoholic who went into recovery aged just 17 has told her story alongside three other Plymouth women to raise awareness of how lives can be devastated by addiction.

The four women, who all attend a Plymouth Alcoholics Anonymous group, shared their stories in a bid to give others hope of recovery.

Bethany said at age 17 she was feeling suicidal due to binge drinking three or four times a week - downing a bottle of wine before going out and having pints and shots.

Now 22, she said: "I was drinking as often and as much as I could. There can be an insanity around alcohol - just wanting another drink and another drink. A lot of the time I couldn't even remember how much I'd drunk.

"Towards the end I felt suicidal. I'd just lie in bed thinking I wanted to die.

"I know if I had carried on I would have died - suicide or something bad would have happened. I couldn't have felt any worse."

Bethany, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, said she started drinking when she was 13 when she would down cider in local parks with friends.

"I loved it. I love the effect it had on me. It tasted horrible but gave me confidence, took all my inhibitions away," she said.

Her drinking habit worsened from there. By 14 she was being thrown out of nightclubs for "being sick, crying and causing trouble", and was binge drinking on weeknights and weekends with friends.

She said her school work suffered and at age 17 was failing her A-levels at a Plymouth sixth form college.

"My family were so disappointed in me," she said. "A lot of them weren't talking to me. They'd had enough.

"I woke up one morning and just knew my life wasn't going anywhere."

She had heard of Alcoholics Anonymous and attended a meeting out of curiosity, and was surprised to find around 100 people of all ages and professions.

She said she didn't realise she was an alcoholic until that first meeting.

"I knew I had a problem. I would wake up feeling awful," she said. "I'd have done awful things, was promiscuous, got into trouble, lied, fell out with my friends."

"But I thought there's no way I'm an alcoholic, I didn't drink in the morning, I wasn't even old enough to legally drink," she said.

"My idea of an alcoholic was a drunk on a park bench, but it wasn't like that at all - there were all sorts of people there.

"Once I heard their stories I knew I was the same."

She added: "I have friends who drink as much as I probably did but are not alcoholics. The difference is that I tried to stop on my own and couldn't, I couldn't control it."

Bethany has now been going to AA for four-and-a-half years and has not drunk since the first meeting.

"Alcohol isn't an issue any more," she said. "I finished my A-levels, went to university, graduated and have now found a job, get on well with my family. I've been given a second chance at life."

All names have been changed to protect the identity of the women.

source: This Is Plymouth

Extreme drinking culture the problem

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The problem isn't exclusively about a Bradley University junior mortally pushed into traffic by a friend who had been drinking.

The problem isn't exclusively about a pair of Bradley basketball players getting in trouble for underage drinking.

The problem isn't exclusively about a Bradley soccer player dying in a fire sparked by four college students who had been drinking.

The problem isn't exclusively Bradley.

The problem isn't exclusively students.

The problem is our culture, one that accepts excessive drinking as an unavoidable rite of young people.

Bradley is in the middle of crafting a new alcohol action plan. It comes at a time when campuses face new challenges in student imbibing.

Studies by Dr. Aaron White of the Duke University Medical Center include an eye-opener from 2006.

For the past 15 years, colleges have seen a leveling of binge drinking, defined as five drinks for males and four drinks for females at any one time. About 45 percent of college students are binge drinkers.

White says binge drinking is problematic - increased absenteeism, lower grades - but the effects typically aren't devastating.

"You don't see 45 percent of college students dying or destroying their cars every weekend," White says.

The bigger, growing trouble lies at the focus of his study: extreme drinking. During a two-week survey of college students, one in five men reported guzzling 10 or more drinks at one time, while 8 percent reported 15 or more drinks. At the same time, one in 10 women reported drinking eight or more drinks at one time, while 2 percent had 12 or more drinks.

"I think a lot of the damage you see on college campuses you see coming from that category," White says. " ...You have this subset (of college students) drinking themselves into oblivion."

Alcohol kills 1,700 students annually. College drinking also causes 600,000 injuries and 97,000 sexual assaults a year, all according to the National Institutes of Health.

Extreme drinking is a new field of study, so researchers have no hard numbers of yesteryear for comparison. But White says every indication shows students headed in two ways: toward little or no drinking, or more extreme drinking.

"We're seeing a migration to the poles," he says.

White has several theories for the explosion in extreme drinking. For one, sports - college and pro - are rife with alcohol commercials. Not only do young people get the message that liquor is fun, but they tie the competition of sports to competition in drinking, White says.

Meanwhile, college-theme movies continue to glorify "Animal House" themes. And our culture has embraced "extreme" as the ideal in much entertainment, including sports, video games and reality shows.

"You got a lot of students who think the way you drink is, you do it as far as you can," White says.

Meanwhile, as a sad bonus, more females are drinking to binge and extreme levels, White says.

"I think it's an issue of equality," he says. "If you're equal to males, you should drink like males."

What to do? Certainly, students bear responsibility for putting a bottle to their lips

- and whatever happens afterward. Still, to a large degree, young people are reflecting the society in which they grew up.

"The culture has to age out of this," White says.

There are signs that's happening. For example, as for those students choosing little or no drinking, White says science likely played a part. Parents now know that alcohol damages brain development in adolescents, a fact unknown decades ago. So more parents are less likely to wink at teenage drinking.

As for parents and young people who ignore those warnings, colleges can help stem boozing - at least, a little. White developed a program (used for more than 1 million freshmen) that explicitly spells out alcohol's dangers. That might sound simplistic, but he says the program has helped slow (though not eliminate) freshmen booze intake. Some colleges start those programs while prospective freshmen are still in high school - and make the parents come along, boosting anti-drinking pressure back at home.

But other tactics should be explored too, says Henry Wechsler, a retired Harvard University professor whose pioneering research coined the term "binge drinking."

"Address the supply side," he says. "I think you have to change the alcohol culture" at the community level.

Many campuses are surrounded by liquor stores and bars touting inexpensive alcohol. These promotions override student's views of entertainment options, he says.

"It might be cheaper to get drunk than go to a movie," he says.

Some campuses have worked with city governments to strong-arm alcohol outlets to tone down or eliminate advertisements of cheap booze. In turn, that has led to fewer alcohol problems on those campuses, Wechsler says.

"Make them an offer they can't refuse," Wechsler says. "Be tough. Universities are powerful."

The community can pitch in, vowing to stop frequenting businesses that hype cheap booze. If that sounds like pie-in-the-sky thinking, Wechsler points out that anti-smoking advocates have come a long way in what years ago seemed like an impossible battle.

As for Bradley's action plan? I couldn't find anyone to talk about it Monday. But the document is supposed to be finished by the end of the week, with changes instituted by next fall.

Think it's a waste of time? That kids will be kids?

That's dangerous thinking. That's defeatist thinking. That's the kind of thinking that keeps sending college students to county jails and early graves.

We should eagerly look forward to see what Bradley has to offer.

source: Journal Star

How to Identify When Your Child Needs Intervention

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How to identify when your adolescent needs help or outside intervention

Which teenagers are at high risk for such behaviors as drug/alcohol use, dropping out of school, pregnancy, violence, depression, or suicide? One of the difficulties parents face is how to recognize the more subtle indicators of such behavioral problems and when and how to intervene.

One of the obstacles that can cause parents to delay in getting help for their struggling adolescent is their confusion about the answer to this question. What truly defines a troubled teen, and when does a parent really need to seek intervention? Many parents find themselves comparing their child to other children. Parents often vacillate between, "My child is not as bad as their kid!" and "Why can't my teen act like that so-and-so's child?"

Although it is tempting to compare your child to other adolescents in an attempt to measure the seriousness of the situation, this is not truly indicative of a teen's need for outside intervention. Parents will do best if they look at their individual situation and decide for themselves if the teenager is on a self-destructive path. This is not to say that parents should not avail themselves of support groups or other sources of information that might guide them in their choices. It simply means that you know if your child is in trouble. Trust your instincts and take action before the situation deteriorates.

Many adolescents become skilled manipulators, highly secretive, and expert at wriggling out of a situation. If a parent just "doesn't want to know" on some level, these teens can easily manipulate the situation so the parent can feel as if everything is fine. Parents get into the cycle of denial, always finding a way to explain the behavior away so as to avoid the pain that is inevitable when you take decisive action with a rebellious, defiant child.

Is your teen troubled? Or just a normal adolescent going through the growing pains of becoming an adult? There are some tell-tale signs of a truly troubled teenager. Parents should be on the look out for these signs and take a closer look should they recognize a number of them in their child. Parents who take an honest look at their child should trust their instincts; if you think your child is in trouble, take action now.

Signs of a troubled teen:

Your child becomes more secretive, and it seems like more than a desire for greater privacy

Your teen has regular, sudden outbursts of anger that are clearly unreasonable and out of proportion to whatever has caused the anger

Your teen regularly misses curfew, does not show up when expected, and lies about his or her whereabouts (is not where you expected them to be if you check up on them)

Your teenager has suddenly changed his or her peer group and hasn't made an effort to let you meet these new friends. The new group has led to a distinct change in appearance (clothing, jewelry) and change in attitude (more sullen, defiant, hostile).

Your adolescent has stolen money from your purse on regular occasions.

Your adolescent has extreme mood swings, from depression to elation, and seems to sleep a lot more than usual at times.

Your child's grades have suddenly dropped and the child has lost interest in the usual activities.

Providing parents with information to help their troubled teen, troubled teenager, troubled youth, and troubled child including schools for troubled teen and treatment for troubled teens.

Sober Teens

Teen alcoholic admits: Booze nearly killed me

Monday, March 10, 2008

Helen ( name has been changed to protect identity ) nearly died when she was 16 due to a drink habit.

A shy and socially awkward teenager, she had her first drink at 14 “just to fit in with the crowd”.

Quickly becoming hooked, Helen says she and her mates would regularly shoplift to get the alcohol they craved and would think nothing of downing bottles of gin and vodka in local parks and on waste ground.

“I liked it, the feeling of euphoria it gave me, and the confidence to talk to people and especially to boys,” says Helen, now 38.

“Sober, I had no social confidence and felt that I was unattractive. With a drink inside me everything was great. Anyway, people thought you were weird if you didn’t drink.”

But at 16, and after drinking two-thirds of a bottle of neat gin and tumblers of vodka in one evening, Helen threw herself down a flight of concrete steps and nearly died.

“I’ve no memory of what happened,” she says, “but friends said there was some drama or other and it looked like I threw myself down the steps rather than just falling.

“If it hadn’t been for the mate who put me in the recovery position I would be dead, because by then I was vomiting everywhere.”

Her parents were called and they took her home, but did not realise the severity of Helen’s drinking.

“I think they knew I was drinking, but they had no idea how much and anyway they thought it was just a phase,” says Helen, who now lives in Mid Wales.

“They warned me about the dangers of drinking – I had a good, solid upbringing in that sense – but we all hid what we were doing very well.”

But years of heavy drinking through university and then work culminated in a nervous breakdown at 35.

It was then that Helen sought help for her addiction from Alcoholics Anonymous, which she says “completely turned my life around”.

“Drink becomes an obsession, but the more you drink the more you have to drink to get that feeling of euphoria,” says Helen.

“And soon you don’t get that feeling at all.

“For me, drinking in my teens was all about going to the disco and drinking my guts out.

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but if I had my chance I wouldn’t do what I did to that extent again.

“Drinking to excess can put you in so many dangerous situations.

“Basically you lose your right to say ‘no’, because effectively you have lost your mind.

“I used to come home covered in bruises and have absolutely no idea how I got them.

“So very many bad things could have happened to me while I was drunk – and to this day I have no idea whether they did or not.”

source: Wales On Sunday

Anorexia Symptoms Test

Thursday, March 6, 2008

If you suspect you or a loved one may be suffering from Anorexia Nervosa, This test can help you determine the severity of the disorder and what should be done to investigate further or to get additional help to resolve the problem. It is always better to get help to investigate a possible eating disorder than to assume there is no problem. This disease can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated. To learn more about this disease, here are the recent top-selling books on anorexia nervosa.
Anorexia Symptoms Test:

Answer "yes" or "no" to the following questions:

1. Divide your weight (in pounds) by your height (in inches). If the result is over 2.4 pounds per inch or you don't think of yourself as "fat" or "overweight", you can discontinue this test...you are not anorexic. Do you think of yourself as overweight or "fat" although the result is less than 2.4 pounds per inch?

2. Do friends and family regularly express concern about your weight loss?

3. Has a doctor told you you need to gain weight?

4. When you look at yourself in the mirror, can you see your individual ribs or hip bones?

5. Do your arms have light, soft, peach-fuzz-like hair?

6. Have friends or family members regularly expressed concern about how little you eat or about your apparent weight loss?

7. Do you regularly suffer from fatigue or inability to concentrate?

8. Do you feel anxiety about eating?

9. Do you regularly find it difficult to consume a normal serving of meat, grain and vegetables at one meal? A normal serving of each is about 6-8 ounces.

10. Do you regularly find it difficult to consume 3 normal meals a day?

11. To control your weight, do you feel it's necessary to exercise more than 1 hour a day, 3-4 days a week?
Anorexia Symptoms Test Scoring:

A. If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, monitor yourself for the next 3 months and visit Anorexia Nervosa Tips for more information.

B. If you answered "yes" to 3 or more of the questions, take the actions in "A" above and find a trusted friend or family member (one without an eating disorder) to help you monitor yourself.

C. If you answered "yes" to 5 or more of the questions, Take the actions in "A" & "B" above and have your friend take you to the doctor for a complete examination to rule out Anorexia Nervosa. Your friend is necessary because many who suffer from this disease also suffer from denial.

D. If you're taking this test to see if a loved one may have Anorexia Nervosa, understand you may have fewer "yes" answers for them by observation and they still may have the disease. If you're still concerned after the test, confront them on the issue and get them to take the test, themselves. Then help them follow the instructions in the test scoring section.

Teen Smoking

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Why do children smoke?

There are a number of reasons why children may try smoking.

Tobacco advertising

Research has shown that advertising may encourage children to start smoking. Even adverts aimed at over 18s are attractive to children who aspire to adult behaviour. Direct cigarette advertising is now banned in the UK.

A sibling or parent who smokes

Siblings and parents are role models for children. If a child's parents smoke they are four times more likely to smoke themselves.


All teenagers experiment - often with activities that they believe make them appear more 'grown up'. Trying new things and making mistakes is part of the normal learning process. But the danger with trying smoking is that nicotine is very addictive.

What can you do if your child has started smoking?

Talking to teenagers about smoking can be tricky. Read these tips if your child is smoking and you want to try to help them quit.

- If you smoke yourself, give up. It will help if you can set a good example.
- Don't panic or overreact. If you are very worried you may want to talk to another adult before talking to your child.
- Choose a time to talk to your child when you're calm and they don't want to be somewhere else.
- Ask lots of open questions to find out how they started smoking, how often they smoke, who they smoke with etc. Be aware that starting conversations with 'why' can seem aggressive.
- Make sure you really listen to what your child is saying.
- Explain that it's better never to start smoking as it quickly leads to addiction.
- Point out how expensive smoking is and discuss what else your child could do with the money.
- You can try discussing the health effects of smoking. But young people will often have learnt about the consequences of smoking at school and may not want to think about their long-term health.
- Keep talking about smoking from time to time in a non-confrontational manner. At the same time make it clear that you do have your own views and house rules.
- Offer your love and support. Focus on the positives and try to build your child's self esteem. Acknowledge any progress they make with giving up.
- Giving up isn't easy for adults or children. Be aware of the difficulties your child may be facing and the isolation they may feel if all their friends are smoking.

Giving up smoking

There are professionals available to help you give up smoking. The NHS has a range of services on offer including stop smoking groups and one-to-one counselling. You are up to four times more likely to succeed if you use NHS support and stop smoking medicines such as patches or gum to manage your cravings. To find out more about these services call the NHS Smoking Helpline on 0800 169 0 169, open 7am-11pm every day, or visit the NHS Go Smokefree website.

Quit also have a helpline with information and advice to help you give up smoking. Call 0800 00 22 00 between 9am and 9pm or visit the Quit homepage. Quit have also developed a youth stop smoking programme called Quit Because.

Early Signs of Drug Abuse in Children and Adolescents

Monday, March 3, 2008

Some signs of risk can be seen as early as infancy. Children’s personality traits or temperament can place them at increased risk for later drug abuse. Withdrawn and aggressive boys, for example, often exhibit problem behaviors in interactions with their families, peers, and others they encounter in social settings. If these behaviors continue, they will likely lead to other risks. These risks can include academic failure, early peer rejection, and later affiliation with deviant peers, often the most immediate risk for drug abuse in adolescence. Studies have shown that children with poor academic performance and inappropriate social behavior at ages 7 to 9 are more likely to be involved with substance abuse by age 14 or 15.

Other risk factors relate to the quality of children’s relationships in settings outside the family, such as in their schools, with their peers, teachers, and in the community. Difficulties in these settings can be crucial to a child’s emotional, cognitive, and social development. Some of these risk factors are:
• inappropriate classroom behavior, such as aggression and impulsivity;
• academic failure;
• poor social coping skills;
• association with peers with problem behaviors, including drug abuse; and
• misperceptions of the extent and acceptability of drug-abusing behaviors in school, peer, and community environments.
Association with drug-abusing peers is often the most immediate risk for exposing adolescents to drug abuse and delinquent behavior. Research has shown, however, that addressing such behavior in interventions can be challenging. For example, a recent study (Dishion et al. 2002) found that placing high-risk youth in a peer group intervention resulted in negative outcomes. Current research is exploring the role that adults and positive peers can play in helping to avoid such outcomes in future interventions.
Other factors—such as drug availability, drug trafficking patterns, and beliefs that drug abuse is generally tolerated—are also risks that can influence young people to start to abuse drugs.

Research has shown that the key risk periods for drug abuse occur during major transitions in children’s lives. These transitions include significant changes in physical development (for example, puberty) or social situations (such as moving or parents divorcing) when children experience heightened vulnerability for problem behaviors.

The first big transition for children is when they leave the security of the family and enter school. Later, when they advance from elementary school to middle or junior high school, they often experience new academic and social situations, such as learning to get along with a wider group of peers and having greater expectations for academic performance. It is at this stage—early adolescence—that children are likely to encounter drug abuse for the first time.

Source taken from excerpts of http://www.drugabuse.gov/pdf/prevention/RedBook.pdf