Drug Abuse in Affluent Teens

Money can do very strange things to people. It can cause some to completely lose their sense of self, which in turn causes them to seek out a new sense of self. Often times with kids and teens that are raised in a wealthy environment this can be the case because they are looking for a sense of purpose. They struggle to make an identity for themselves, separate from their family name. Their parents are often high achievers, Unknown (1)choosing to work and earn rather than spend time with their families. Being a high achiever comes with high standards, standards that teenagers may often fail to meet. These expectations can be overwhelming for a child. Children in wealthy families also often have a lot more spare time on their hands than other children would. Often times they lack responsibilities such as chores and jobs, leaving them with unstructured and unfilled time. So what do these children and teens choose to fill their time with? Well they often have the means to participate in anything that they would like to, but there are some that will choose to do something extreme to make an identity of their own. This is where experimentation and the abuse of substances comes in.

Prescription medications, illicit substances, and alcohol are more readily available to more affluent teenagers. Whether they are purchasing from peers, or taking them from home, wealthier teenagers seem to have access to a wider variety of substances early on and the means to acquire anything they might have in mind. It is pretty much a given that there will be substances present at a high school party, and it should come as no images-3 (1)surprise that there is a large variety to choose from. More and more teenagers are choosing to experiment during parties with their friends, and it is a breeding ground for future addiction and substance abuse. Often trying these drugs once is more than enough to get hooked, and the consequences aren’t always the first thought with teens and peer pressure.

One question that often can come about is how is it possible for kids to get a hold of these substances? Often the home medicine cabinet is more than enough. Coupled with an accessible liquor cabinet, the home can be just as diverse in the types of things kids are trying to get their hands on. This begs the question, what can be done about preventing overdose and addiction?

Well the first step is education about the consequences of using drugs. Now this isn’t exclusive to educating about illicit substances like cocaine and heroin, but also the dangers of using alcohol, prescription medications, and over-the-counter medications imagesas well as marijuana. Often times parents will use scare tactics in an attempt to discourage their children from using drugs, but this doesn’t work. Just the facts are often enough. This education needs to be paired with encouragement to make good choices and an understanding that there is an open line of communication at all times. Structure is also very important for teens. It is important that they learn responsibility and earning what they have. Teaching teenagers these values early on is a great way to set them up to be a contributing adult.  Having dinner as a family can be the most crucial time you have with your kids and teens in educating them, creating communication, spending time with them and bonding with them daily. images-1 (1)

Adolescence is a crucial period in a child’s life. Their bodies, minds, and spirits are changing at a rapid rate, and with these changes comes big responsibility. It is so important that children and teens are educated about drugs and alcohol in order to make informed decisions. Mistakes will be made, boundaries will be pushed, but the important things is that the teens stay safe, happy and healthy.

FASD: The Effects of Alcohol Use During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a stressful time for all those involved. Hormones, relationships, and preparing for baby put a strain on your body and mind. During and after pregnancy, taking care of your health is extremely important not only for you but for your child. That is why it is so important to abstain from use of drugs, which can do serious damage to you and your child.

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Alcohol is a highly dangerous substance to use during pregnancy. It can have serious effects on your baby’s development and well being after birth. There is no determined “safe amount” of alcohol that can be consumed during pregnancy. It is important that you have the facts so you can make the best choices possible for you and your child.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (or FASD) is a term used to describe a range of disorders commonly found in children with mothers that used alcohol throughout their pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), describes developmental, physical, and behavioural problems in children due to alcohol use/abuse by the mother during pregnancy. FAS is diagnosed by a team of healthcare professionals as the effects of alcohol on the child’s development can extend to several aspects. Some characteristics of FAS include: below average birth weight and height, thin upper lip, and function/structure abnormalities in the brain.

The diagnosis of FAS can occur before the age of 6, however, most children are diagnosed after the age of 6. There are many things that you as a parent can do to help your child if he or she is diagnosed with FAS. Seeking the appropriate medical attention and support is key in making sure your child can thrive. Making sure that she/he has the appropriate supports in school, daycare, and other care providers is also essential.

There can be a lot of guilt and shame associated with using alcohol during your pregnancy. It is important to be honest with your healthcare provider about any and all drug use during pregnancy. This honest can open up doors to treatment and recovery, as well as help you get connected to the right supports during your pregnancy.shutterstock_84089224

Abstaining from alcohol use during pregnancy is the only way to directly prevent FAS from occurring. There are several ways that you can abstain from alcohol use. They include: having people that support a sober pregnancy, removing yourself from situations in which you feel you may want to use alcohol, as well as seeking counselling and other programs that will encourage you to stay sober during pregnancy. Developing a support network that you can rely on is important not only for mothers in recovery, but mothers in general. Ensuring that you are doing everything in your power to stay healthy for you and your baby is the first step in becoming a successful parent.

An In Depth Look at Carbs and Cravings: Part 2

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There are many factors that influence our need to feed and overeat. The current obesity epidemic has experts exploring these factors. So what influences our need to feed? Being able to see and smell the food tempts us to eat, even if we are eating outside of meals and snacks. Dehydration and alcohol consumption also plays a part in our need to eat outside of mealtimes. Brain chemistry (unbalanced) also increases our need to eat excess, all in an attempt to increase the serotonin and dopamine in our brains. Excess eating may also be due to a lack of control over emotional distress (loneliness, stress, depression, boredom, etc). So what can be do to curb our cravings?

Well the first thing is to identify what is causing the craving in the first place. It could vary widely from person to person. However, commonly it is a hormonal imbalance (low blood sugar, low serotonin levels) brought on by stress, poor eating habits, and a variety of other things. Regulating blood sugar levels by being healthy and taking care of yourself is an easy way to ease these cravings. Other lifestyle changes like sleeping well and managing stress are good ways to also help eliminate cravings.

Preventing the craving from happening in the first place is quite clearly the goal, first and foremost. This can be done by ensuring that your meals are balanced and nutritious. Making sure that you are getting the appropriate amounts of protein is important for every meal, as well as making sure you never miss an afternoon snack. This is an easy way to prevent cravings in between meals and get you through the afternoon until dinner time.

If you are having a craving, it is better to choose a healthy sweet alternative rather than reach for the sweet cupboard. Having berries and other naturally sweet treats is a great way to get rid of your craving.

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Giving up carbs is a hard thing to ask anyone to do, but even reducing your carb intake can make a huge difference. A few ways that you can cut back on your carbs include:

  • Making sure that you are well rested and can manage your stress well

  • Have a healthy digestive tract

  • Have supplements on hand to balance your brain chemistry and to help manage stress.

Say no to the unhealthy carbs and yes to an overall healthier and happier you!