Spillover Effects Of Family And School Stress Linger In Adolescents' Daily Lives

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

ScienceDaily (May 15, 2008) — Teenagers today face increasing pressures and demands from school and home. New research has found that stress at home affects adolescents' school life, and vice versa. What's more, that stress lasts for two days and affects academic performance across the high school years.

The research, carried out at the University of California, Los Angeles, examined the implications of stress in adolescents' daily lives, looked at the spillover between daily family stressors and school problems among an ethically diverse group of 589 9th-grade students in the Los Angeles area. The teenagers reported their daily family and school experiences in a diary every day for two weeks, completing a checklist that assessed conflict with parents, family demands, learning difficulties, school attendance, and other experiences.

The study found that when adolescents experienced family stress, they had more problems with attendance and learning at school the next day. And when they had attendance and learning problems, they experienced more family stress the following day. These spillover effects continued for two days after the initial stressor occurred: Teenagers who experienced family stress had school adjustment problems not only the next day, but two days later. Similarly, teens with academic problems reported family stress for the next two days.

Stress also affected academic performance across the high school years, the researchers found. Adolescents who had higher levels of family stress and school problems at the start of high school, in 9th grade, saw declining academic achievement four years later, at the end of 12th grade.

"The findings from this study indicate that there are indeed short- and long-term consequences of daily stress that should not be overlooked," according to Lisa Flook, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the study's lead author. "By the same token, the two-directional process of spillover between family and school identified here suggests that reducing stress in the family may have benefits for adolescents' school adjustment and vice versa."

Journal reference:

1. Family and School Spillover in Adolescents' Daily Lives. Flook, L, and Fuligni, AJ (University of California, Los Angeles. Child Development, Vol. 79, Issue 3. (May/June 2008).

Adapted from materials provided by Society for Research in Child Development, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Program Works On Body Image Of Young Women To Reduce Onset Of Obesity And Eating Disorders

Saturday, May 24, 2008

In their research on eating disorders, Oregon Research Institute (ORI) scientists help young women reduce the influence of the "thin ideal," which is described as associating success and happiness with being thin.

ORI scientist Eric Stice, Ph.D. and his colleagues have found that their obesity prevention program reduced the risk for onset of eating disorders by 61% and obesity by 55% in young women. These effects continued for as long as 3 years after the program ended. Results of this study are published in the April issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

These results are noteworthy because, to date, the idea that we can reduce risk for future onset of eating disorders and obesity has been an unrealized goal: over 80 prevention programs have been evaluated, but no previous program had been found to significantly reduce risk for onset of these serious health problems.

Stice notes that, "One reason these programs might be more effective is that they require youth to take a more healthy perspective, which leads them to internalize the more healthy attitudes. In addition, these programs have simple take-home messages, which may be easier to remember in the future than messages from more complex prevention programs."

Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Stice has been studying eating disorders for 18 years. He has conducted this line of research at Stanford University and the University of Texas, and now continues at the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene, Oregon. He is presently funded by NIH to conduct two research studies to further test these programs with young women in Eugene/Springfield.

The obesity prevention program, called Healthy Weight, helps adolescents adopt a healthier lifestyle, wherein they gradually reduce intake of the least healthy portion of their diet and increase physical activity. This program simply teaches youth to balance their energy intake with their energy needs, and to do so on a permanent basis, rather than on the transient basis which is more typical of diets. College-age women in Eugene/Springfield are participating in this study.

The eating disorder prevention program, called the Body Project, consists of four one-hour weekly sessions in which participants critique the thin ideal espoused for women in our culture and learn how to challenge current and future pressures to be thin. The program has also produced reductions in other important outcomes such as body dissatisfaction and eating disorder symptoms. Stice has partnered with area high schools on this study and has trained high school counselors to facilitate the weekly sessions.

"It is our hope that other institutions and communities will adopt this program for delivery in their schools," notes Stice; "If this program is delivered to enough youth, it should be possible to reduce the prevalence of these serious health problems."

Given that eating disorders are one of the most common problems faced by young women and that obesity is presently credited with 111,000 deaths per year in the US, it is vital to develop brief prevention programs for these pernicious conditions. At least seven other institutions have begun delivering these interventions in the US and in other countries.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release.

Problems Facing Teens Today

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Teen problems are growing. If you think that being a teen today is the same as it was when you were in their shoes, you are probably mistaken. Now, listen to yourself say how strict and how hard life was when you where young. But, you need to realize that teens today face huge, life threatening decisions just about ever day. What they face has a lot to do with where they grow up. Yet do not be fooled into thinking that your child is safe.

In the normal course of your teen's day, he or she may face any of these things; one or more of them.

Drugs. Think that drugs are simple like they used to be? They are not. Kids today are not just smoking the easy stuff. They are into crack or other strong and deadly drugs.

Sex. Not only are they exposed to it on the television, but they are encouraged by others. They may be engaging in sexual acts that you have never heard of. They may be doing it unprotected as well. At school, after school, on the car ride home - there are many opportunities you do not realize. Teens get pregnant and have babies.

Violence. Today's teen problems often revolve around violence. They see friends with guns at school or after school. They witness huge fights. They hear threats. They see anger and deal with it daily.

Depression. With all that they see and do, teens face depression today at an alarming rate as compared to just a decade ago. Depression is not something that just goes away, but can cause them harm and threaten their lives.

Driving. Teens drive drunk. Teens drive under the influence of drugs. Teens get in cars that others are driving under the influence. Teens may also be responsible drivers, but share the road with those that are not.

Teen problems that are at a lower level can be just as deadly. They face lying, cheating, emotional trauma, learning disabilities and divorce. All of these things a child will face daily in some cases. In those cases, it is no wonder that they have low self esteems, high drop out rates and some of the students will break under the pressure. Teen problems should be addressed and noticed by their parents first.

Therapy for Teens and FamiliesHelp with Parenting Teens

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Keith_Allen

Teenagers and their Invincibility-Complex

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Teenagers often think they are invincible. They are in the stage where they perceive themselves as all high and mighty. They think they can always get away with any trouble that they may encounter in their teenage escapades. But nothing could be further from the truth.

One major cause of teenage addiction is young people’s tendency to underestimate the risk of dependence associated with drug, alcohol or tobacco experimentation. These potentially harmful habits may seem to young people the mature thing to do, yet they do not really understand that those habits can post detrimental threats to their health and well-being.

Also adding insult to injury to the teenager’s underestimation of the danger of addiction is the harsh truth that they have not been educated enough about the risks of addiction. Today’s young generation tend to underrate addiction because they have not received proper drug, alcohol and tobacco resistance lessons in school, or heard much of it from the media. If the absence of effective anti-addiction messages continues to grow, teenage drug and alcohol abuse will, consequently, continue to rise.

The risk of addiction is overwhelmingly strong for teenagers who try experimenting with harmful substances for fun. The younger they are when they had their first taste of drugs, alcohol or cigarettes, the higher their chances of addiction become. Teens most likely do not intend to become addicted on their first puff or their first bottle. But frequent use could lead to abuse and before they realize it, they are now unable to get themselves out of the web they have spun themselves into.

With all of these disturbing trends, it is also helpful to note that the media has not been doing anything to help curb the development of teenage addiction. Movies, music videos and TV portray celebrities that teenagers look up to and idolize get themselves into drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Exposure to this could mislead teenagers into thinking that it’s cool. Another thing to worry about is how the parents do not set a good example to their children. The lack of parental guidance greatly contributes to the rising population of teenage addicts.

It is of utmost importance to identify the common causes of how teenagers get hooked. Though undeniably, there are many overlapping causes, it would greatly help that the society tackles each cause once and start the change from there. Big things come from small beginnings – this applies well to addiction as much as it does to the process of stopping it.
C.King, M.Ed.
Sober Sources Network


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Drunkorexia. It's not a real word, but describes an emerging, confounding, and self-destructive behavior engaged in primarily by young women of college-age to twenty-somethings. They avoid food as much as possible, saving the calories for alcohol. Without food, of course, these young women may unwittingly get drunk quite quickly.

The Pop Culture influence on thin and sexy

In our celebrity-crazed society, maybe we can blame this practice in part on omnipresent images of super skinny celebs. These images are difficult to avoid, from the tabloid at the supermarket checkout, to television and movies. A number of stars and other high profile luminaries also seem to be going to rehab almost as if it was summer camp - a retreat from partying, a little therapy and back to hanging out with the same pals.

A frightening aspect of the recent rise of "drunkorexia" is that the young women who suffer from it don't view this as a disorder, for the most part. They thought they'd live a fun lifestyle, but for many it has spun out of control. When it does, the dual occurrence of eating disorders and drinking is threatening their health and their lives.

How does this happen? Some influence are rooted in pop culture: look at a video of Sex and the City and you'll see how sexy and smart it seems for young women friends to meet each other in hip settings for cocktails after work. And these are cool cocktails that taste sweet, like appletinis or every kind of Margarita imaginable. Drinking regularly and to excess while remaining thin has become fashionable.

Elevating the risk for "Drunkorexia"

Actually, the fact is, no one really knows all the causes for this phenomena in America today. Academic studies pose different theories but these dual disorders may have some common causes in a range of contributing factors. Does an eating disorder lead to alcohol abuse and vice versa? Bulimia is much more commonly associated with alcohol and substance abuse than anorexia, because while bulimia is associated with binging followed by purging, anorexia centers on continual and severely controlled restriction of food.

It could be that the attitude towards compulsive substance and alcohol abuse can lead to compulsivity and lack of control over drinking. Both behaviors can be self-soothing, although drinking on an empty stomach often leads to vomiting. And dehydration may require hospitalization. Some women suffered from eating disorders first, and even after purging, would drink because it self- medicated the guilt and tension they felt. Those suffering from anorexia who try to cope with the challenge of eating with other people may use alcohol to ease the stress.

Of course, a young woman may come into the wretched state of "drunkorexia" without an eating disorder, but only with the idea of having fun, being attractive and living the good life. But drinking repeatedly without food can be both humiliating and dangerous, and ongoing habits can eventually become addictive both biologically and psychologically. The brain pathways are actually altered.

Hope for recovery fro m"Drunkorexia"

Left untreated and unabated, the "drunkorexic" suffers serious consequences to her health, job or school status, and relationships. Medical stabilization is part of a treatment process that should address both the chemical dependency and the eating disorder. The Hanley Center's Center of Women's Recovery, http://www.hanleycenter.org, has increasingly treated young women with the dual diagnoses of eating disorders and alcohol and/or substance abuse. Earlier treatment methods for co-occurring eating disorders and alcohol abuse sought to treat the alcohol problems first, with the idea that this was the more serious problem. Eating disorders are deadly as well.

Treating both disorders concurrently, in a medically based, holistic program that is rooted in the Twelve Step philosophy has been shown to be effective, and therapists who treat eating disorders must also have received related training. Depression is usually associated with dual diagnoses like this, and there may underlying conditions such as bi-polar disorders. Recovery is a process that may entail longer treatment, a combination of pharmacology and interactive therapies such as Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, based on mindfulness and mood regulation, and expressive therapies that help to address and safely express deep-seated emotions. Hormonal Shift Assessment and care plans also help women understand and address mood swings, anxiety and cravings. Continuing care and support group participation are associated with more successful recovery.

The role of culture, environment, genetics and biochemistry

Studies now have shown that young girls who start to diet at about sixth grade are more likely to abuse alcohol and other chemicals as teenagers or young adults. Besides the pop culture images we're bombarded with, family history of substance abuse, and genetic factors can be factors along with other environmental markers, such as history of abuse or abandonment or family instability.

Neurochemical changes that affect opiod peptides in the body, regulators of food intake, may also modulate intake of alcohol or cocaine, say some studies. Personality characteristics may hold clues too, such as extreme impulsiveness and difficulty in controlling behavior. Borderline Personality Disorder causes rapidly cycling mood swings and impulsively as well. Another behavioral profile is what has been called the Novelty Seeker, who continually pursues new stimuli and "more" of it. The young woman suffering from bulimia often fits a profile of the "Novelty Seeker" and one with mood wings and impulsivity.

"Drunkorexics" don't share all the same behavioral or personality types, genetic background, hormonal makeup or family histories. By understanding some underlying causes, though, treatment can be more effective, and the individual more readily engages in the recovery process. Sustained support of Twelve Step groups, for example, can provide the stability to continue, and tools learned in such therapies as Dialectical Behavior Therapy can offer help in self-regulating moods without addictive and destructive behaviors.

How to find gender-specific treatment for recovery from addiction and dual diagnosis for women: for the Center for Women's Recovery at Hanley Center, has developed a medically-based, holistic program for women that is rooted in the Twelve Step philosophyHttp://www.hanleycenter.org Jeannie Provost, program director, is a distinguished professional with broad experience in the treatment of women who suffer from addictions.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jeannie_Provost

Addiction Award

Friday, May 9, 2008

First Addiction Science Award to be Given to Students at International Science Fair
NIDA Teams with Scholastic to Create Award at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

This year, for the first time, three students will receive awards for exemplary projects in Addiction Science at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world’s largest science competition for high school students. The Addiction Science award is co-sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company.

"We want talented young scientists to know that the science of addiction is fascinating and complex, encompassing a wide array of research areas," said NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "We are hoping as their careers develop, they will consider contributing to this diverse and growing field."

Every year, nearly 1500 students from more than 40 countries compete in the ISEF competition, which is coordinated by the Society for Science & the Public. This year the 59th annual Intel ISEF will be held in Atlanta beginning May 11. NIDA scientists will participate as judges and the winners of the Addiction Science Awards will be announced at the awards ceremony on May 15; winners will receive cash awards.

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing yet treatable brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. The science of addiction includes any research that contributes to our understanding, the prevention, and treatment of addiction, and its health consequences.

Addiction science projects can involve a variety of scientific disciplines, including biology, neurology, psychology and medicine. Addiction scientists research the role of genetics and what makes people vulnerable to addiction, as well as the structure and function of the brain and how it is changed by drug use. They also study the behaviors that can lead to addiction; strategies that can prevent it; counseling and medication to treat it; and how our health system can get the best treatments to those who need it. Projects that focus on these scientific questions will be considered for the 2008 Addiction Science Award.

Scholastic will co-sponsor the award as part of its ongoing collaboration with NIDA. Scholastic provides age-appropriate educational information on substance abuse and the effects that drugs have on the brain for select Scholastic classroom magazines, including Science World and Super Science.

"Scholastic applauds NIDA’s ongoing efforts to bring relevant educational materials on the science of addiction and its impact on the developing brain and body to schools across the country," said David Lange, general manager, Scholastic InSchool Solutions. "Our work together in this endeavor draws consistent accolades from classroom teachers who do their best each day to educate and inspire the nation’s 50 million students."

The Intel ISEF is the world’s premiere science competition exclusively for students in grades 9–12, and annually provides a forum for more than 1,500 high school students to showcase their independent research. Each year, millions of students worldwide compete in local and school-sponsored science fairs; the winners of these events go on to participate in Intel ISEF-affiliated regional and state fairs from which the best win the opportunity to attend the Intel ISEF.

The nonprofit organization Society for Science & the Public partners with Intel — along with dozens of other corporate, academic, government and science-focused sponsors — provide support and awards for the Intel ISEF each year. This is the first series of awards given exclusively for projects that advance addiction science. NIDA has developed a special section on its Web site to help science fair entrants understand the criteria for the awards, which includes other resources on addiction science http://www.drugabuse.gov/sciencefair/.

Scholastic Corporation is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology and children’s media. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs and school-based book fairs, retail stores, schools, libraries, television networks and the Company’s Internet Site, www.scholastic.com.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy and improve practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at www.drugabuse.gov.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

Double Damage: Teenage Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A seventy-three-page report that was released by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University revealed that half of individuals who suffer from eating disorders also abuse alcohol and illicit drugs. The study, aptly titled Food for Thought: Substance Abuse and Eating Disorders, is the first research of its kind that was aiming to find any significant correlation between eating disorders and substance abuse.

Eating disorders are gaining grounds as a common problem for teenagers today. Ranging from teen bulimia, to teen anorexia, to teen obesity, these disorders are becoming detrimental to young people’s health and over-all well-being. Though some of these disorders stem from hormonal imbalance, some are products of mental disorders associated with depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. Some of these disorders can cause serious health problems in teens that would require long-term treatment.

Compounding the damage done by weight issues is alcohol and drug abuse. Going back to the research findings of the study aforementioned, up to thirty-five percent of alcohol or drug abusers also have eating disorders. This is a significant statistic that we should be concerned about. With the already damaging health effects that eating disorders can cause, added effects that are caused by alcoholism and drug abuse is therefore considerably destructive.

Some of the risk factors of these dual disorders are unhealthy peer norms and social pressure. With the way looks and personalities are packaged by the media, young people are often misled into pushing themselves to the limits, often resulting to eating disorders. Susceptibility to messages from advertising and entertainment media has also been known to cause unfavorable effects to the minds of teens. Unhealthy parental behaviors coupled with an ongoing battle against depression and anxiety is also a factor that could be blamed.

When ignored or overlooked, these problems could be life-threatening to young people. Teenagers can become socially isolated, difficult to handle and show self-destructive signs like self-harm and possibly even suicide. They could suffer short or long term effects like chronic diseases with high relapse rates as a result to these prolonged and untreated disorders.

Dual disorders in teenagers are serious issues that need full attention today. It is very important not to overlook the significant link between eating disorders and substance abuse, so treatment options can be geared into solving these co-existing conditions.

Teen Drug Abuse

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

As a teenager, the likelihood that you will be exposed to drugs and alcohol is very high, and there is a good chance that you will try drugs and alcohol. Even though you tell yourself that you will only try drugs once, you do it one more time, and then one more time after that, and before you know it you are developing a drug problem. Most teens don't start using drugs expecting to develop a substance abuse problem, and 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 and abuse of alcohol and other drugs.

One of the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse is addiction. Most teens don't think that they will become addicted, and simply use drug and alcohol to have a good time. However, the reality of addiction to drugs and alcohol can result in some pretty undesirable consequences, such as loss of friendships, health problems, behavioral problems, alienation of family, and a loss of interest in sports, academics, hobbies, etc.

Substance abuse and addiction can greatly alter behavior, and a new preoccupation with drugs can crowd out activities that were previously important, like sports or academics. Abuse of drugs and alcohol can also change friendships, as teens begin to move away from old friends who don't approve of their drug use and begin to associate with fellow drug users who will encourage and support one other's drug use. Most teens who are addicted won't see a problem with their behavior or their drug use. Drugs make them feel good, and are a way to relieve the stress of school, problems at home, disagreements with friends, etc.

Because it is unlikely that teens will want to stop using drugs, it is important for friends and parents to look for the signs of drug use in their loved ones. The sooner you can recognize that your child or your friend is abusing alcohol or other drugs, the sooner you can seek help. If you notice changes in behavior, changes in friends, lying about after school or weekend activities, changes in mood, or depression your teen might have a problem with substance abuse.

If you or someone you care about has a drug problem, talk to them about it and encourage them to get help. For teens, your parents are probably the last people you want to ask for help, but they can help you to find the treatment program that will support and guide you through recovery. If you are a parent or friend of a teen who has a substance abuse problem, talk to them about their problem and encourage them to get help. The sooner you or someone you love gets help, the more likely they are to be successful in their recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.
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Understanding Teen Addictions

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Closer Look at Teen Addictions

You may never know that your kids are involved in substance abuse, drug addiction, as well as experiencing personality disorders in terms of eating, self cutting that may be due to depression and a feeling of helplessness, etc. These disorders may normally result from substance abuse because of the mind of the user not being able to think as clearly as before. It is a reality nowadays that teens need to be handled with care especially since experimentation with drugs in the adolescent stage is common and something that will be hard to avoid.

It is said that the use of cigarettes and alcohol at a young age will increase the possibility of the teen being involved in substance abuse and alcoholism at the latter part of life increase the risk of using other drugs later. There are teens that would just have a taste to satisfy their curiosity and eventually stop while some become dependent on the drugs and the booze, causing harm not only to themselves but to the people around them.

The relationship between substance abuse and personality disorders have not really been proven or understood well but there sure are instances wherein substance abuse either leads or develops more the disorder that was observed in the user. The most common so called co-occurring disorder would be bipolar disorder which is defined as a manic-depressive ailment that is characterized by frequent changes in the person’s mood and feelings. These people, more often than not use drugs as a tool for balancing their mood swings. Once a person is addicted to drugs, smoking or alcohol and at the same time has developed a disorder, both the addiction and the disorder must be treated distinctively.

Cutting is also a form of disorder that is a coping mechanism for the cutters. Substance abuse and cutting have a correlation because they are both “survival tools,” enabling teens to be comforted in difficult times as well as from the harsh realities of life. Self-injury or cutting your own skin might be something you will never ever do because of the pain that comes with it. For teens that resort to cutting, however, the method is effective in a strange kind of way in helping them cope with the pain they feel inside that they wouldn’t really be affected with the external pain of cutting one’s self.

Substance abuse may also be connected with the teens with the latchkey syndrome, wherein most of them would feel alone and unnoticed by their parents or other family members. Because these teens are given independence at an early age, they might feel neglected and may resort to substance abuse, alcoholism, and other harmful activities without the knowledge of their loved ones.

What parents, siblings, as well as relatives should do would be to keep a close watch over the teens in their homes. Make sure that you would have an open relationship wherein these teens would be able to trust you enough to tell you anything or better yet, everything. If your teens have been acting strangely for some reason you do not know, never ever let that pass. Do your own “research,” have a meaningful talk and make them feel that you are there to care for them.

Copyright 2008 C.King, M.Ed., Sober Sources Network may be reproduced with proper acknowledgments.