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Teen Depression: 10 Common Causes

Adolescence can be a very turbulent and difficult time, even for the most well-adjusted child. Depression strikes teenagers and adults alike, and can have far-reaching implications when kids suffer from emotional difficulties that they aren’t sure how to manage. After noticing the signs of depression in your teen and helping him to get the treatment he needs, understanding the root of his depression can help to make the situation more manageable for everyone involved.

While this is by no means a comprehensive list of all causes of teen depression, these ten situations can be very common contributing factors to depression.

  1. Academic Stress – Kids are under an enormous amount of pressure to succeed academically, especially as the costs of higher education rise and more families are reliant upon scholarships to help offset the expense. Stressing over classes, grades and tests can cause kids to become depressed, especially if they’re expected to excel at all costs or are beginning to struggle with their course load.
  2. Social Anxiety or Peer Pressure – During adolescence, teenagers are learning how to navigate the complex and unsettling world of social interaction in new and complicated ways. Popularity is important to most teens, and a lack of it can be very upsetting. The appearance of peer pressure to try illicit drugs, drinking or other experimental behavior can also be traumatic for kids that aren’t eager to give in, but are afraid of damaging their reputation through refusal.
  3. Romantic Problems – When kids become teenagers and enter adolescence, romantic entanglements become a much more prominent and influential part of their lives. From breakups to unrequited affection, there are a plethora of ways in which their budding love lives can cause teens to become depressed.
  4. Traumatic Events – The death of a loved one, instances of abuse or other traumatic events can have a very real impact on kids, causing them to become depressed or overly anxious. In the aftermath of a trauma, it’s wise to keep an eye out for any changes in behavior or signs of depression in your teen.
  5. Separating or Divorcing Parents – Divorced or separated parents might be more common for today’s teens than it was in generations past, but that doesn’t mean that the situation has no effect on their emotional well-being. The dissolution of the family unit or even the divorce of a parent and step-parent can be very upsetting for teens, often leading to depression.
  6. Heredity – Some kids are genetically predisposed to suffer from depression. If a parent or close relative has issues with depression, your child may simply be suffering from a cruel trick of heredity that makes him more susceptible.
  7. Family Financial Struggles – Your teenager may not be a breadwinner in your household or responsible for balancing the budget, but that doesn’t mean that she’s unaffected by a precarious financial situation within the family. Knowing that money is tight can be a very upsetting situation for teens, especially if they’re worried about the possibility of losing their home or the standard of living they’re accustomed to.
  8. Physical or Emotional Neglect – Though they may seem like fiercely independent beings that want or need nothing from their parents, teenagers still have emotional and physical needs for attention. The lack of parental attention on either level can lead to feelings of depression.
  9. Low Self-Esteem – Being a teenager isn’t easy on the self-esteem. From a changing body to the appearance of pimples, it can seem as if Mother Nature herself is conspiring against an adolescent to negatively affect her level of self-confidence. When the self-esteem level drops below a certain point, it’s not uncommon for teens to become depressed.
  10. Feelings of Helplessness – Knowing that he’s going to be affected on a personal level by things he has no control over can easily throw your teen into the downward spiral of depression. Feelings of helplessness and powerlessness often go hand in hand with the struggle with depression, and can make the existing condition even more severe.

It’s important that you speak to a medical professional or your teen’s doctor about any concerns you have regarding his emotional wellbeing, especially if you suspect that he’s suffering from depression. Depression is a very real affliction that requires treatment, and is not something that should be addressed without the assistance of a doctor. Your general practitioner or pediatrician should be able to help you determine the best course of action if your child is suffering from depression, including referrals to a specialist or medication.

Source: Babysitting.net

Medicine Cabinets: Your Teens Drug Dealer – Be AWARE

It isn’t street drugs you have to worry about – your kids, teens and tweens can find drugs in your home or a friends home – even more prevalent if a grandparents home.

You know how easy it is to forget about a prescription that you never finished and stored in your medicine cabinet. Proper drug disposal protects your loved ones from misuse. Prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drugs among 12-13 year olds. Many of these pills can be found in your medicine cabinet and around your house. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Foundation and their AWARxEConsumer Protection Program are helping to stop this growing!

 April 28 is theDEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.  If you have any unused prescription drugs in your home, you can drop them off at the designated collection site in your community on April 28. The DEA coordinates with the local law enforcement and community partners to provide thousands of sites across the country, many of them at police departments, so that the unwanted drugs are disposed of safely and legally. Sites will accept pills, both prescription and nonprescription, for disposal.

I had the opportunity to interview the Executive Director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, Dr. Catizone on the dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse.  Dr. Catizone is the Executive Director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and a licensed pharmacist. He currently serves as a Governor of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) Board of Directors and Chair of the PTCB Certification Council. Dr. Catizone is regularly called to serve as an expert witness for the US Government in the areas of pharmacy practice and regulation on both the state and national level issues.

Check out my interview with Dr. Catizone below and visit www.AWARERX.ORG for more information on prevention and the April 28 DEA Take-Back Day. Also, don’t forget to like AWARxE on Facebook! www.facebook.com/AWARxE

A)      What are the dangers associated with taking prescription drugs that are not prescribed to you.

Dr. Catizone:   Taking a medication not prescribed for you can lead to serious health consequences, permanent injuries, or death. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2009, 1.2 million emergency department visits were related to the misuse or abuse of prescription drugs. Controlled substance medications have the potential for abuse, and taking these medications if they are not prescribed to you could lead to addiction. Every year, 15,000 people die from an overdose of prescription painkillers, according to the CDC.

B)       What is the best way to prevent teenagers from abusing prescription drugs?

Dr. Catizone:   An important step is to talk with teens about the serious dangers of prescription drug abuse. A video recommended by AWARxE, called The Road to Nowhere, tells the story of a teen who experimented with prescription drugs at a party and became addicted to the drugs. A link to the video is available on the AWARxE Get Local Oklahoma page. Teens can visit AWARErx.org for many other resources.

C)      Are there any other ways to dispose of unused prescription drugs besides DEA prescription drug take-back days?

Dr. Catizone:  Many cities and counties across the country provide permanent medication disposal programs. Many programs provide a drop-box at a police department—these programs can take controlled substance medications for disposal. Other programs are run by hazardous waste disposal agencies or other entities that cannot accept controlled substance medications, but can take all other unused drugs for safe disposal.

Many of the AWARxE Get Local pages have links to local disposal programs, and we are actively expanding these resources. We are happy to take information about local programs and post it on our Web site. Anyone who has information on a disposal program can e-mail the information they have to AWARErx@nabp.net – we will review for inclusion on the respective state’s Get Local page.

If there are no drug disposal sites near you, there are options for disposing of drugs at home. The information that comes with your prescription may provide instructions on home disposal. Only some medications should be flushed down the toilet and the US Food and Drug Administration has a list of these drugs on its Web site. If there are no instructions for disposal you can throw the drugs in your home garbage. But first, take them out of the container and mix them with an undesirable substance like coffee grounds or cat litter.

More details about drug disposal programs are available on the AWARxE Medication Disposal page.

D)      How can you tell if someone is abusing prescription drugs and how can you help them stop?

Dr. Catizone: Side effects associated with prescription drug abuse include dizziness, loss of appetite, unconsciousness, impaired memory, mood swings, loss of motor coordination, trouble breathing and rapid or irregular heartbeat.

Seeking advice and assistance from your family health care provider, such as your doctor is recommended. Your doctor can provide information and/or referrals to local programs that help identify abuse and treat addiction.

If teens are in need of help, a school’s guidance counselor can also be an excellent resource for local information.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides an online substance abuse treatment locator and links to resources about addiction and treatment on its Web site.

E )      What can parents do to make sure the prescription drugs they do have in their homes will not be abused by their teenagers?

Dr. Catizone:  Parents should securely store all medications in the household. For example, you may want to lock your medications in a secure cabinet or a medicine safe. In particular, you should securely store controlled substance prescription drugs, such as certain pain medications and ADHD medications.

You may also wish to keep track of the number of pills left in the bottle.

Remember that sometimes prescription drugs are taken out of medicine cabinets by visitors to the home, such as a teen’s guests.

If you have pills or medication that is no longer needed or has expired, dispose of it at an authorized DEA Take-Back location, or a local medication disposal program. The next DEA Take-Back Day is April 28, 2012 and collection sites will be located across the country.

More information about these events, as well as an alternate method for safely disposing of unneeded drugs in the home garbage, is available on the AWARxE Medication Disposal page.

Links for cited Web pages:

·         The Road to Nowhere video: http://www.awarerx.org/State_OK.php

·         Medication Disposal: http://www.awarerx.org/medDisposal.php

·         Get Local: http://www.awarerx.org/getLocal.php

·         FDA Drug Disposal Information: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/EnsuringSafeUseofMedicine/SafeDisposalofMedicines/ucm186187.htm#MEDICINES

·         SAMHSA online substance abuse treatment locator: http://www.samhsa.gov/treatment/index.aspx

·         SAMHSA links to resources about addiction and treatment: http://www.samhsa.gov/treatment/index.aspx.

Recovery Month March 2012: Join the Voices

Road to Recovery March 2012 is here!

We know that almost 1 in 10 Americans struggle with a substance abuse disorder and 1 in 5 Americans have a mental illness.  Treatment and recovery are a pathway forward.

The National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) campaign offers help and hope not only for individuals receiving recovery services and in recovery but also for families, loved ones, and friends. The benefits of treatment and recovery-oriented services and supports in behavioral health ripple out across entire communities throughout our Nation, proving there are effective treatments and that people do recover.

As the Road to Recovery series kicks off its 12th season, this episode will highlight the many accomplishments of the 2011 Recovery Month campaign and look forward to a successful September 2012 Recovery Month.

 

Please visit http://www.recoverymonth.gov for more information.  Watch video.
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Teenage Smoking: New Youth Cigarette Smoking Data Released

New data, from the Florida Department of Health, shows a decline in the prevalence of cigarette smoking among Florida’s middle school and high school students.The National Institutes of Health sent out a release about the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) 2011 Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF), which shows that cigarette and alcohol use by eighth, 10th and 12th-graders are at their lowest point since the MTF survey began polling teens in 1975. Release: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/dec2011/nida-14.htm
Below is a complete press release on the Florida youth data. The national 2011 results released last week showed that 18.7 percent of 12th-graders reported current (past-month) cigarette use. In Florida, that prevalence rate is below the national average at just 15.4 percent.
Three weeks ago, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids ranked Florida Ranks 13th in “Protecting Kids from Tobacco.” (http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/national-report-florida-ranks-13th-in-protecting-kids-from-tobacco-134745003.html)
New Tobacco Free Florida Website

I also encourage you to visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com. Earlier this month, Tobacco Free Florida re-launched its website in time for the New Year, when many Floridians resolve to quit tobacco. The new, user-friendly website provides substantiated information to encourage tobacco users to quit and offers the tips and tools needed to quit successfully. In early 2012, Tobacco Free Florida will expand the website to include sections on helping others quit, a variety of tobacco-related issues in the state, information for teens, and much more.

Survey Data Shows Decrease in Smoking Among Florida Youth
Data Reveals Decrease in Cigarette Smoking Though Smokeless Tobacco Use Continues to Grow
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health (DOH) released results from the 2011 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS) showing a decrease in cigarette smoking rates among Florida middle school and high school students.
In 2011, 11.9 percent of high school students and 3.5 percent of middle school students reported current cigarette use, meaning they had smoked a cigarette at least once during the past 30 days. Compared to last year, this data shows a decrease of 9.2 percent among high school students and a decrease of 28.6 percent among middle school students. More significantly, since the Tobacco Free Florida campaign launched in 2007, 17.9 percent fewer high school students and 42.6 percent fewer middle school students in Florida were current cigarettes smokers.
“The continued decrease in the smoking prevalence rate among our state’s youth is a clear indication of the effectiveness of our tobacco prevention programs,” said Dr. Frank Farmer, Florida’s State Surgeon General. “However, tobacco prevention remains a critical issue in Florida where tobacco use remains the number one cause of disease and preventable death.”
Despite the promising decline of cigarette smoking among youth, the prevalence of smokeless tobacco use has trended upward among Florida youth over the past several years. This is consistent with an increase in smokeless tobacco use nationwide.
Smokeless tobacco products are perceived to be less harmful. But in reality, these products contain more nicotine than cigarettes[i] and 28 cancer-causing agents (carcinogens).[ii] In addition, people who experiment with smokeless tobacco often develop a pattern of regular daily use.[iii]
“The most prominent influence on youth’s decision to partake in tobacco products is whether the parent engages in tobacco use,” said Kim Berfield, Deputy Secretary for the Florida Department of Health. “Parents with nicotine habits are advised to quit as soon as possible and discuss their quit struggle with their children, as many children tend to underestimate the addictiveness of nicotine. Parents should also be aware and talk to their children about the dangers and misconceptions of smokeless tobacco and flavored tobacco products, which are growing in popularity in younger populations.”
Preventing youth tobacco initiation is a critical step in combating the pervasive problem of tobacco in our state. In fact, nine out of 10 adult smokers begin while in their teens, or earlier, and two-thirds become regular, daily smokers before they reach the age of 19.[iv] In Florida, more than 22,800 kids (under 18) become new smokers each year.[v]
Tobacco prevention is as imperative as ever. Today, the design and contents of tobacco products make them more attractive and addictive than ever before.[vi] In addition, adolescents’ bodies are more sensitive to nicotine, and adolescents are more easily addicted than adults.[vii]
Tobacco Free Florida offers a number of free, convenient and confidential resources to help young tobacco users quit.
·         Online: Floridians age 13 or older can enroll in the Web Coach® at www.quitnow.net/florida, which will help them create personalized web-based quit plans.
·         Phone: Floridians age 11 or older can call the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW to speak with a Quit Coach who will help them assess their addiction and help them create personalized quit plans.
ABOUT TOBACCO FREE FLORIDA
Tobacco Free Florida (TFF) is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. The program is managed by the Florida Department of Health, specifically the Bureau of Tobacco Prevention Program.
Smokers and smokeless tobacco users interested in quitting are encouraged to call the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW to speak with a quit coach. To learn about TFF and the state’s free quit smoking resources, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com or follow the campaign on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeFlorida or Twitter at twitter.com/tobaccofreefla.

Teen Drinking: Alcohol Screening and Intervention for Youth

If you manage the health and well-being of 9- to 18-year-olds, this Guide is for you.

“Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner’s Guide” is designed to help health care professionals quickly identify youth at risk for alcohol-related problems. NIAAA developed the Guide and Pocket Guide in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics, a team of underage drinking researchers and clinical specialists, and practicing health care professionals.

Why use this tool?

  • It can detect risk early: In contrast to other screens that focus on established alcohol problems, this early detection tool aims to help you prevent alcohol-related problems in your patients before they start or address them at an early stage.
  • It’s empirically based: The screening questions and risk scale, developed through primary survey research, are powerful predictors of current and future negative consequences of alcohol use.
  • It’s fast and versatile: The screen consists of just two questions, which can be incorporated easily into patient interviews or pre-visit screening tools across the care spectrum, from annual exams to urgent care.
  • It’s the first tool to include friends’ drinking: The “friends” question will help you identify patients at earlier stages of alcohol involvement and target advice to include the important risk of friends’ drinking.


Download or order the Guide and pocket guide.

You may also be interested in related resources to support you, your patients, and their families

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Teens: Benefits of Joining Sports Clubs in School and your Community

Times sure have changed when it comes to sports.  It used to be that kids would play sports in school or the occasional little league team.  Kids were allowed to be kids.  Today it seems like parents are enticed to join the rec league to teach the kids to play soccer or volleyball.  That’s great, but then along comes a different coach that tells the parents their kids have a lot of talent and they are wasting it in a rec league.  The parents have a decision to make.

Check out 10 reasons parents find sports clubs for their kids.

  1. Better coaching: There’s nothing wrong with a mom or a dad coaching their kids’ sports team, but there comes a time when the kids have learned everything that mom or dad can teach them and they need a professional.  This is a coach’s only job.  He’s not constantly out of town on business and canceling practice.  The skills that the coach teaches the kids are the skills that will take them to the next level.
  2. Top-level players: If your kid is the best player on the team that’s great, but does it offer him or her any challenges?  Can they play to their potential if the other players aren’t at their level?  When all or most of the players on the team are good players then that encourages each player to become better.  This level of players can be found at a sports club.
  3. More opportunity: College scouts don’t go to high school games anymore to recruit.  They go to tournaments with high-level players such that you would find at a sports club.  Scholarships to college are given to the best players and one way to be the best is to be trained by a professional on a sports club.
  4. Bigger venue: Sports clubs play against other higher-level teams from different sports clubs.  These tournaments are not exclusive, but they might as well be since it’s usually filled with other sports clubs as competitors.
  5. Private coaching: More time is given to each child at a sports club and the coach is available to do private coaching to teach the kids higher and higher skills.
  6. Better practice opportunities: Most sports clubs have team practices twice a week by the time the child reaches the age of 10.  Then there are open skills sessions on other nights where each players can learn and improve their skills.
  7. Competition: Healthy competition between the players for a spot to be a starter gives the players incentive to continue to give it their all every time.  Most rec teams don’t even keep score.  Well, they aren’t supposed to, but I bet every kid and parent there knows what the score is.
  8. Being part of something bigger: Sports clubs have many teams and to keep a club going they have fund raisers and banquets.  The work that is involved in keeping the club going often have a bonding effect so the parents become a family.
  9. Better facilities: Sports clubs have their own fields so you don’t have to fight for a spot to practice at the local park are other place.  Many clubs also offer indoor and outdoor options for some sports.
  10. More stability: Sports clubs have more stability in that if the coach has to leave for some reason or quits the team doesn’t disband.  The club just finds another coach to take the team.  It’s very frustrating to find out at the last minute that your coach isn’t going to continue coaching next season and you don’t know where your kid is going to play next season.

Source:  Change of Address

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Family Meals: How Important Are They? New Survey of 2011 Family Dinner Report

Recently a report was released from CASA Columbia about the importance of family dinner.  In today’s hectic world, many parents with two jobs, kids in different activities or single parent homes, family dinners can seem impossible.

2011 FAMILY DINNERS REPORT FINDS:

TEENS WHO HAVE INFREQUENT FAMILY DINNERS LIKELIER TO SMOKE, DRINK, USE MARIJUANA

TEENS LIKELIER TO HAVE ACCESS TO ALCOHOL, MARIJUANA, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS WHEN FAMILY DINNERS INFREQUENT

NEW YORK, NY, September 22, 2011 – Compared to teens who have frequent family dinners (five to seven per week), those who have infrequent family dinners (fewer than three per week) are almost four times likelier to use tobacco; more than twice as likely to use alcohol; two-and-a-half times likelier to use marijuana; and almost four times likelier to say they expect to try drugs in the future, according to The Importance of Family Dinners VII, a new report from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA Columbia).

The CASA Columbia family dinners report revealed that teens who have infrequent family dinners are likelier to say they have ready access to alcohol, prescription drugs (without a prescription in order to get high) or marijuana. Compared to teens who have frequent family dinners, those who have infrequent family dinners are more likely to be able to get alcohol, prescription drugs or marijuana in an hour or less. In contrast, teens who have frequent family dinners are more likely to report having no access to such drugs.

The CASA Columbia family dinners report reveals that 58 percent of teens report having dinner with their families at least five times a week, a proportion that has remained consistent over the past decade.

“This year’s study reinforces the importance of frequent family dinners,” said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA Columbia’s Founder and Chairman and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. “Ninety percent of Americans who meet the medical criteria for addiction started smoking, drinking, or using other drugs before age 18. Parental engagement in children’s lives is key to raising healthy, drug-free kids and one of the simplest acts of parental engagement is sitting down to the family dinner. Seventeen years of surveying teens has taught us that the more often children have dinner with their families the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs.”

Family Relationships Matter
This year’s report examined the quality of family relationships between a child and his or her parents and a child and their sibling(s) and found that teens who report having close family relationships are less likely to smoke, drink or use marijuana.

The family dinners report found that teens having frequent family dinners are more likely to report having excellent relationships with their family members. Compared to teens having infrequent family dinners, teens having frequent family dinners are:

  • One-and-a-half times likelier to report having an excellent relationship with their mother;
  • More than twice as likely to report having an excellent relationship with their father; and
  • Almost twice as likely to report having an excellent relationship with their sibling(s).

Compared to teens who have frequent family dinners, teens who have infrequent family dinners are almost two-and-a-half times likelier to report that their parents do not regularly make time to check in with them.

Less Time Spent with Parents Related to Increased Risk for Substance Abuse
Teens who have frequent family dinners spend more time with their parents overall, and the report finds a relationship between time spent together and teen substance abuse. Compared to teens who spend 21 hours or more per week with their parents, teens spending seven hours or less are twice as likely to use alcohol, and twice as likely to say they expect to try drugs (including marijuana and prescription drugs without a prescription to get high) in the future.

Teen Perceptions of Sibling Substance Use Related to Teen Substance Abuse Risk
Compared to teens who do not believe their older sibling or siblings have ever tried an illegal drug, teens who believe their sibling(s) have are:

  • More than five-and-a-half times likelier to use tobacco;
  • Almost three times likelier to use alcohol;
  • Six-and-a-half times likelier to use marijuana; and
  • More than three times likelier to expect to try drugs (including marijuana and prescription drugs without a prescription to get high) in the future.

Length of the Family Dinner
The report found that families having frequent dinners spend more time around the dinner table.

Five percent of teens say their family dinners usually last less than 15 minutes; 27 percent say 15 to 20 minutes; 41 percent say 21 to 30 minutes; and 28 percent say dinner usually lasts more than 30 minutes.

Teens having infrequent family dinners are four times likelier to say dinner lasts less than 15 minutes compared to those teens having frequent family dinners. Teens having frequent family dinners are twice as likely to say dinner lasts more than 30 minutes, compared to those teens having infrequent family dinners.

“Although having dinner is the easiest way to create routine opportunities for engagement and communication, dinner isn’t the only time parents can engage with their children,” said Kathleen Ferrigno, CASA Columbia’s Director of Marketing who directs the Family Day — A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children™ initiative. “If your schedule can’t be rearranged to include family dinners, engage in other kinds of activities with your children so that you are a reliable, involved, and interested presence in their lives. Remember the magic that happens over family dinners isn’t the food on the table, but the communication and conversations around it. Creating opportunities to connect is what’s important.”

Family Day — A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children™
Family Day is a national movement launched by CASA Columbia in 2001 to remind parents that frequent family dinners make a difference. Celebrated on the fourth Monday in September—the 26th in 2011—Family Day promotes parental engagement as a simple and effective way to reduce children’s risk of smoking, drinking and using illegal drugs. What began as a small grassroots initiative has grown to become a nationwide celebration which is expected to once again be proclaimed and supported by the president, all 50 U.S. governors and the mayors and executives of more than 1,000 cities and counties. This year the first spouses in 26 states are serving as Honorary Chairs of Family Day. Stouffer’s and The Coca-Cola Company once again will serve as leading Sponsors. Ten Major League Baseball teams are celebrating and promoting Family Day and the Empire State Building, Niagara Falls, the Wrigley Building in Chicago, the Cira Centre in Philadelphia, the Terminal Tower in Cleveland, and the governor’s residences in Kansas, Nevada and New Jersey are lighting up in red and blue in support of Family Day. For more information about Family Day, visit www.CASAFamilyDay.org or find Family Day on Facebook or Twitter.

The findings in this report come from The National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XVI: Teens and Parents, released on August 24, 2011. CASA Columbia used Knowledge Networks to do an Internet-based survey administered to a nationally representative sample of 1,037 teens (546 boys, 491 girls), and 528 of their parents, from March 27 to April 27, 2011. Sampling error is +/- 3.1 for teens and +/- 4.4 for parents. As in the past, CASA Columbia used QEV Analytics to do a survey of trend questions at home by telephone which was administered to a nationally representative sample of 1,006 teens (478 boys, 528 girls) from March 29 to May 9, 2011. Sampling error is +/- 3.1.

CASA Columbia is the only national organization that brings together under one roof all the professional disciplines needed to study and combat abuse of all substances—alcohol, nicotine, illegal, prescription and performance enhancing drugs—in all sectors of society. Founded in 1992 by former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA Columbia and its staff of some 60 professionals aim to inform Americans of the economic and social costs of substance abuse and its impact on their lives, find out what works in prevention and treatment of this disease, and remove the stigma of substance abuse and replace shame and despair with hope.

CASA Columbia has issued 76 reports and white papers, published three books, conducted demonstration programs focused on children, families and schools in 36 states and Washington, D.C., held 19 conferences, and has been evaluating drug and alcohol treatment and prevention programs to determine what works best for what individuals. The most recent CASA Columbia book, How to Raise a Drug Free Kid: The Straight Dope for Parents by Joseph A. Califano, Jr., a practical, user friendly book of advice and information for parents, is widely available in paperback. For more information visit www.casacolumbia.org.

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10 Reasons Parents Should Encourage their Kids to Get Involved in School Sports and Clubs

Times sure have changed when it comes to sports.  It used to be that kids would play sports in school or the occasional little league team.  Kids were allowed to be kids.  Today it seems like parents are enticed to join the rec league to teach the kids to play soccer or volleyball.  That’s great, but then along comes a different coach that tells the parents their kids have a lot of talent and they are wasting it in a rec league.  The parents have a decision to make.

Check out 10 reasons parents find sports clubs for their kids.

  1. Better coaching: There’s nothing wrong with a mom or a dad coaching their kids’ sports team, but there comes a time when the kids have learned everything that mom or dad can teach them and they need a professional.  This is a coach’s only job.  He’s not constantly out of town on business and canceling practice.  The skills that the coach teaches the kids are the skills that will take them to the next level.
  2. Top-level players: If your kid is the best player on the team that’s great, but does it offer him or her any challenges?  Can they play to their potential if the other players aren’t at their level?  When all or most of the players on the team are good players then that encourages each player to become better.  This level of players can be found at a sports club.
  3. More opportunity: College scouts don’t go to high school games anymore to recruit.  They go to tournaments with high-level players such that you would find at a sports club.  Scholarships to college are given to the best players and one way to be the best is to be trained by a professional on a sports club.
  4. Bigger venue: Sports clubs play against other higher-level teams from different sports clubs.  These tournaments are not exclusive, but they might as well be since it’s usually filled with other sports clubs as competitors.
  5. Private coaching: More time is given to each child at a sports club and the coach is available to do private coaching to teach the kids higher and higher skills.
  6. Better practice opportunities: Most sports clubs have team practices twice a week by the time the child reaches the age of 10.  Then there are open skills sessions on other nights where each players can learn and improve their skills.
  7. Competition: Healthy competition between the players for a spot to be a starter gives the players incentive to continue to give it their all every time.  Most rec teams don’t even keep score.  Well, they aren’t supposed to, but I bet every kid and parent there knows what the score is.
  8. Being part of something bigger: Sports clubs have many teams and to keep a club going they have fund raisers and banquets.  The work that is involved in keeping the club going often have a bonding effect so the parents become a family.
  9. Better facilities: Sports clubs have their own fields so you don’t have to fight for a spot to practice at the local park are other place.  Many clubs also offer indoor and outdoor options for some sports.
  10. More stability: Sports clubs have more stability in that if the coach has to leave for some reason or quits the team doesn’t disband.  The club just finds another coach to take the team.  It’s very frustrating to find out at the last minute that your coach isn’t going to continue coaching next season and you don’t know where your kid is going to play next season.

Source:  Change of Address

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Teen Body Image: Celebrities open up about their Eating Disorders

Body image can be as important to teens as who their friends are.  Girls and boys alike can be teased or bullied by others for a variety of reasons, however if a teen feels comfortable in their own skin, the likelihood of them allowing the bullying to hurt them is less likely.  Many teens turn to the celebrities – they look at the pencil thin girls, the guys with six pack abs and hopefully realize most of this is simply Hollywood or photo-shop!  Below is a special guest post by Meg Quinlan.

Celebrities Break Barrier of Shame

Whether they wish for it or not, celebrities are role models. Fans follow them in their work, consume the media that examines their lives, and discuss them online and in real life. Their bad behavior is widely publicized, but what about those that are making a positive difference? These stars, all themselves survivors of eating disorders, are speaking out about their own battle and helping to raise awareness about this serious medical problem. They are making a difference, and are part of the solution to the shame and secrecy preventing many victims of eating disorders from seeking help. Here are their stories.

Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler was a typical overachiever. Bright and talented, she filled her schedule with school, acting, student council, teaching kids and studying for the SATs. During her junior year, after a painful breakup with a boyfriend, she began to focus on losing weight. She says “all of a sudden, I felt like everything in my life was getting out of control, and here was one thing I could control.” She adopted a strict regimen of diet and exercise typical of those with exercise bulimia, her particular eating disorder. Her obsession changed and isolated her: physically, she withered to a skeleton; formerly a social butterfly, she now avoided going out with friends and exercised instead for hours; and she wrote down everything she ate, when she ate it, and when she exercised. She recalls that one day her mother hugged her, then burst into tears because she could feel all of Jamie’s bones. Her turning point came when she realized how unhappy her life had become, and she began five months of therapy to rebuild her confidence and her body. Now author of a book called Wise Girl – What I’ve Learned About Life, Love, and Loss and honored by the National Eating Disorder Association for her work on their behalf, she is resolute but realistic. She says, “The eating disorder is always going to be with me. But what I went through was traumatic enough and enough of a learning experience that I would never fall so deeply again. I’m so much happier now.”

Singer and Disney actress Demi Lovato has been in the news recently, speaking out about her eating disorder and treatment. Bullied in school, she started compulsively overeating at age 8 and soon had anorexia, which by her teenage years had escalated to include self-harm, depression, and bulimia. At 18 years old, her family and management team had an intervention, and she entered a residential treatment center. There she learned healthy ways to cope with her feelings, and resolved to set a good example for her little sister and her young fans that may be dealing with the same issues. Today she considers herself still recovering, and tries to be realistic about her progress, saying “I’m going to mess up, and I’m not going to be perfect, but as long as I try every day to get better and better myself, then I’m one step ahead of where I was before.” She now is working with Seventeen Magazine and the Love is Louder campaign for at-risk girls, and is a spokesperson for Teens Against Bullying.

Dancer, singer, and American Idol judge Paula Abdul began purging in high school, as a way to control her weight in the competitive and body-conscious world of dance. She describes her young self as a perfectionist and an overachiever, and as top honor student, class president and head cheerleader, it looked like she had it all. Yet at only 5’2”, she felt she was at a disadvantage against her fellow cheerleaders and dancers. She describes her bulimia as “a war on my body. Me and my body have been on two separate sides.” She continued this war during her rise to stardom as an L.A. Lakers cheerleader, choreographer, and then singer. After a painful divorce in 1994, she finally came to terms with her eating disorder and checked herself into treatment. Then ashamed, she tried to keep it a secret. Now, she is a spokesperson for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and says “I’m more proud of my recovery than of selling millions of records.”

Aussie rocker Daniel Johns of Silverchair and the Dissociatives began restricting his eating in his teens in an attempt to look ill. He was defying convention at school, wearing makeup and playing in a band, and was getting beaten up by bullies and called gay slurs. As for looking ill and deterring his bullies, “unfortunately it worked,” he says, “because then I was addicted to it and couldn’t start eating again.” Convincing himself that food was poisoned, he wouldn’t go to restaurants, and couldn’t bear the smell, look, or even to be around a discussion of food. He explains that his disorder had nothing to do with body image, and everything to do with a desire for control. “Every time…I felt that my life was out of control…I took control of food intake, because it was the only thing that no one could really take charge of.” He realized how much control he had actually lost when more than one doctor told him he was dying. Anti-depressant medications, along with the support of the people around him and his music, helped free him from the addiction that threatened his life. Later, like many who talk publicly about their addictions, he was criticized for self-promotion, which he dismissed. “When you get letters that say, ‘You’ve helped me admit to anorexia,’ and… ‘I was gonna kill myself until I heard this album,’ that makes people that say, ‘You’re exploiting your problems,’ just seem like such a little speck in the dirt.”

Actress Elisa Donovan was never overweight, but that fact didn’t stop her from increasingly restrictive dieting. She says she thought the more weight she lost, the happier she would be, yet she would only see specific body parts that she thought looked “enormous.” She continued to lose weight until her friends started to express their concern, her hair fell out in clumps, and she fainted several times. After being hospitalized, she finally sought treatment and realized how her disorder had restricted her life-she would never go out for lunch or dinner, and as she says, “I was so unhappy with myself, I didn’t answer my phone.” Speaking out has helped her, as has the desire to be a healthy role model. She advises, “There is no connection between the shape of your body and whether you can succeed, or whether you’re a smart person or a good person.”

Shame and isolation are still barriers that prevent many victims from seeking help. Every survivor of this illness can help others by speaking out, even if they aren’t followed by thousands of fans. Watch for our next installment, where we profile five regular people that have beaten an eating disorder and hear their stories.

For more information about eating disorders or to get help, please visit the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website or call their helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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High School to College: Transitional Blues

High School to College, can be an emotional time.

Mental illness continues to mystify the mainstream, and students already stressed and anxious about classes, relationships, jobs and activities end up suffering from the stigmas just as much as the conditions themselves. But they don’t have to nurture their pain in quiet. More and more individuals (students or not), their loved ones and organizations are speaking up in favor of psychological help in all its forms.

The following list represents some of the most common conditions occurring on campuses globally, though by no means should it be considered a comprehensive glimpse at an issue far more broad and complex.

  1. Clinical Depression: At least 44% of college students have reported suffering from some degree of clinical depression — and the number only escalates from there as years tick past. Thanks to prevailing social stigmas regarding psychiatric help, only 23% of victims reported that they’d be comfortable discussing their treatment. Considering the amount of stress, anxiety, sleeplessness and inter- and intrapersonal issues characterizing the college experience, it makes sense that an overwhelming number of students succumb to the symptoms. And, unfortunately, many of the common comorbid conditions and illnesses as well.
  2. Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Statistics from 2000 reveal that roughly 10% of college students received a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder, but in all likelihood the numbers have jumped over the past 11 years. Females suffer from such conditions at a rate of five times more than their male peers, though the numbers may be skewed due to unfair social perspectives regarding men and mental illness. Panic attacks inextricably tie into GAD and related disorders, and the afflicted — regardless of whether or not they attend college — can experience them either spontaneously or based on an external or internal cue. Do keep in mind that not all anxiety disorders manifest themselves via panic attacks, nor are all panic attacks inherently indicative of an anxiety disorder.
  3. Anorexia Nervosa: At least 91% of female college students have attempted to control their weight via extreme dieting, though not all of these cases can be considered anorexia, of course. Bulimia is actually more prevalent on campus, although anorexia kills more of its victims. Between 10% and 25% of total individuals with this tragic eating disorder die either from the disease itself or complications stemming directly from it. As with other diagnoses of its type, anorexia rarely ravages alone. Not only can it exist side-by-side with bulimia, EDNOS or binge eating disorder, it oftentimes settles in as a result of depression, compulsions or severe anxiety. Lifetime statistics show that between 0.5% and 3.6% of American women suffer from this condition at some point in their lives. With eating disorders on the whole, one of the major associated tragedies is the recovery rate. Only around 60% of victims make a full recovery, with 20% making some headway and the remaining 20% not really coming around.
  4. Bulimia Nervosa: Bulimia nervosa can either exist as comorbid with anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder or EDNOS or on its own, though almost always stems from a mood, anxiety or compulsive disorder rather than flying entirely solo. Roughly 19% of female college students suffer beneath the destructive diagnosis, although males do suffer from it as well. This compares with the 1.1% to 4.2% of women who struggle with bulimia at any point in their lifetime — not just the college years.
  5. Substance Abuse: College males admit to past-year drug abuse at a rate of 40%, compared to the 43% of their un-enrolled peers. Females represent an inverse, with 35% of students abusing drugs versus 33% for those outside of college. A total of 37.5% of full-time students and 38.5% of part-timers admitted to illicit substance abuse. Roughly half of the college demographic engages in destructive alcohol consumption, with 1,700 dying, 599,000 injured, 696,000 assaulted and 97,000 raped or sexually assaulted yearly as a direct result. The reasons for these behaviors are as many and varied as there are individuals to display them, although a desire to fit in, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are frequently to blame.
  6. Suicidal Thoughts and Actions: 7.5 out of every 100,000 college students commit suicide, with males between the ages of 20 and 24 standing as the most at-risk demographic. Graduate students are also more vulnerable, claiming 32% of these tragedies. At least 10.1% of total college kids admitted to seriously contemplating suicide, and 1.4% said they attempted it within the past year. The myriad emotional, mental and physical challenges of college life leave so many overwhelmed by hopelessness, stress and despair. Suicide often — but, of course, not always — represents the extreme end of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, compulsive disorders and other mental health conditions. And the general stigma surrounding the seeking of professional help, particularly amongst men, certainly doesn’t quell the problem any.
  7. Self-Injury: A 2006 study by Princeton and Cornell researchers revealed that 14% of male and 20% of female students repeatedly engaged in some sort of compulsive self-injury. Cutting, burning, and other dangerous releases provide a similar temporary comfort as drug and alcohol abuse. And, understandably, tend to correlate directly with anxiety, mood disorders, eating disorders, and even suicidal thoughts and behaviors, although single or repeated instances of physical, mental, and emotional abuse as well as lowered self-esteem can factor in at any time as well. 41% of college-aged self-injurers began hurting themselves between the ages of 17 and 22, although the national average is between 14 and 15. Unfortunately, only around 7% of these individuals seek psychological assistance for their torment.
  8. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: OCD afflicts one out of every 40 adults, one out of every 100 children and 250 out of every 10,000 college students. Considering higher education already severely taxes kids without any preexisting mental health conditions, it might prove hellacious to those suffering from the compulsive disorder. If left untreated, sufferers run the risk of succumbing to depression and anxiety (both of which are oftentimes co-morbid with OCD), substance abuse, self-injury or even suicide.
  9. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: It’s difficult to really gauge just how many college students truly suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, as its symptoms almost always overlap with depressive and anxiety issues — not to mention the fact that both often grow from it. The condition settles in after any number of triggering incidents, but military service and sexual assault (up to and including rape) tend to garner the most attention. Both also impact college students and college-aged as well. An estimated 11% to 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are expected to return home with PTSD. At least 20% of college females reported being victimized by rape at some point in their life, and on a national level only 18% actually take it to the authorities. Women under the age of 30.8 (specifically, those in the 16 to 19 range) are the most vulnerable demographic to sexual assault and rape, comprising 80% of reported cases.
  10. Phobias: Whether mild and largely harmless or in need of professional intervention, specific phobias are incredibly common both on and off college campuses. Arachnophobia appears to be the most prevalent, afflicting a staggering 34% of the student populace. The only one with any real relevance or influence on college life was public speaking, which terrified 31%. Surprisingly enough, 18% of respondents said they thought they might greatly benefit from pursuing counseling or other form of psychological assistance.

Source:  Accredited Online Colleges

Be an educated parent, you will have healthier teens.