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Friday, May 31, 2013

ADHD Medication Substance Abuse

It is no secret that ADHD drugs have the potential for abuse especially amongst college students who use drugs like Adderall and Ritalin to help with studying. In many cases, the aforementioned drugs are prescribed to children to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. While it may seem like the practice of prescribing ADHD medications to children may lead to substance abuse problems, new research has shown that it does not affect the risk of substance abuse later in life.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, compiled 15 previous studies on ADHD medication use in childhood and later risk of substance abuse. The work was published in JAMA Psychiatry. In fact, earlier reports had shown that children who took ADHD drugs had a reduced risk of substance abuse, The New York Times reports.

About one in five boys of high school age, and 11 percent of school-age children overall, were diagnosed with ADHD in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is estimated that 6.4 million children ages 4 to 17 had an ADHD diagnosis at some point. The numbers point to a 16 percent increase since 2007, and a 53 percent increase in the past 10 years.

“For any particular child, parents should consult with the prescribing physician about potential side effects and long-term risks,” Study Senior Author Steve S. Lee said in a news release. “Saying that all parents need not be concerned about the use of stimulant medication for their children is an overstatement; parents should have the conversation with the physician. As with other medications, there are potential side effects, and the patient should be carefully evaluated to, for example, determine the proper dosage.”
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Strong Connections Reduce Substance Abuse

A parent’s role in influencing their children regarding the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse is crucial. More teenagers than ever are reporting having had used prescription and illegal drugs. Parents have the ability to educate and warn their children about substance abuse. Teenagers who have strong connections with parents and teachers who warn them about the perils of drug use reduce teens’ risk of abusing prescription drugs, a new study finds.

Students with strong connections with peers who are against substance abuse also had a decreased chance of abusing prescription medications, according to University of Cincinnati researchers.

More than 54,000 teens in grades 7 through 12 took part in the study. The research showed that 13.7 percent reported using prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription, Science Daily reports. The study found that teens who reported having strong relationships with peers who used alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana increased the risk of non-medical prescription drug use.

Remember, parents are the first line of defense against drug and alcohol misuse and abuse - talk to your children, it could save their life...

The study is published in the Journal of Primary Prevention.
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Adult Drinking On the Rise

The amount of alcohol being consumed by adults is on the rise compared to last year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) conducted research and issued a report which found that adults had five or more drinks in one day at least once in the past year.

Fortunately, smoking rates amongst teenagers is on the decline yet about 20 percent of adults smoke and smoking habits remained the same as the year before.

The CDC determined that about 60 percent of American adults drink, HealthDay reports. The percentage of adults who had five or more drinks in one day in the previous year increased from 20.5 percent in 2005-2007, to 23.6 percent in 2008-2010.

Young adults ages 18 to 24 who smoke declined from 23.5 percent in 2005-2007, to 21.2 percent in 2008-2010. Less than one-half of smokers tried quitting in the past year, the study found.

“Smoking has remained very stubborn at one in five adults. It’s just a terrible addiction,” said report author Charlotte Schoenborn of the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. “The one small little glimmer of hope I saw was in the 18- to 24-year-olds, where we saw some improvement.”

The findings come from a survey of 77,000 people.
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Monday, May 20, 2013

Teenage Addiction Most Common Mental Health Problem

Mental health problems are a growing concern amongst teenagers across the globe and new findings suggest that addiction is the number one offender. However, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, more commonly referred to as ADHD, is the most commonly diagnosed mental health problem in youth ages 3 to 17, NBC News reports.

About 7 percent of children under 18 are diagnosed with ADHD and 3.5 percent have behavioral problems and 1.1 percent have autism, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 1.3 percent of teenagers between the ages 12 and 13 used marijuana, compared with 6.7 percent of 14 to 15 year-olds and 15.1 percent of 16 to 17 year-olds.

The CDC report found that an estimated one million teenagers abuse drugs or alcohol and more than 695,000 are addicted to tobacco. A total of 4.2 percent of teens were dependent on or abused alcohol in the year 2010-2011. An estimated 4.7 percent of teens had an illicit drug use disorder in the past year.

“This first report of its kind documents that millions of children are living with depression, substance use disorders, ADHD and other mental health conditions,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. “No parent, grandparent, teacher or friend wants to see a child struggle with these issues. It concerns us all. We are working to both increase our understanding of these disorders and help scale up programs and strategies to prevent mental illness so that our children grow to lead productive, healthy lives.”
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS): Hospitals Consider Surge In Addicted Babies

Newborns born addicted


Typically when a woman discovers that she is pregnant either by an in-home pregnancy test or a test given by her health care provider she begins to make changes in her daily living habits. For example, the expectant mother might try to improve her eating habits; she might examine her daily exercise routine by either maintaining her amount of exercise or considering lessening the amount or types of exercise she practices. She might consider improving her sleep habits, she might review how many hours she works outside the home over the course of each week. She might also give up smoking or drinking that daily or weekly glass of wine. These are positive changes in behavior all tackled with the goal of having a healthy baby. Mothers generally want to provide their new baby with the best start in life possible.

But what about the expectant mother who is already addicted to such items as prescription pain medication? We have written about this topic before and we know how difficult recovery from prescription pain medication can be for anyone. It is particularly difficult when an expectant mother needs to face her addiction with the hope of delivering a healthy non-addicted baby.

The fact is many babies are born addicted. How many?  Well, it turns out that the US Government does not track the number of babies who are born addicted; however, there was a study conducted in 2009 that found that the number exceeds 13,000 infants who were born dependent on drugs. This study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is rising in Tennessee


This week it was reported that the number of newborns born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is rising in Tennessee.  Here are some surprising statistics:

  • At Holston Valley medical Center 20 to 50% of all babies in the neonatology intensive care units (NICU) are battling NAS
  • The Tennessee Department of Health reported 55 NAS cases in 1999, as compared to 174 in 2005, 525 in 2010 and 672 cases reported in 2011.
  • At East Tennessee Children's Hospital in Knoxville this year they expect to treat 320 children with NAS, in 2008 the number was 33.
  • Tennessee is the first state to track the number of babies born with NAS.

WCYB.COM  reported on treating babies with NAS


You can view the news report here. It is important to remember that these NAS babies require a great amount of care and love.  Also, they really need to be held, rocked, talked to, sung to, and swaddled gently. Many hospitals have started a new volunteer position...cuddlers. If you have time to volunteer for a program like this, contact your local hospital and see if they need your help. Programs such as these, more education about addiction and getting services for the addicted woman prior to conception will help to reduce the number of babies born addicted.  


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Monday, May 13, 2013

Social Anxiety May Affect When Teens Begin To Use Alcohol and Marijuana

How much do you think about social anxiety?


We have just celebrated Mother's Day and it is a good guess that most mothers hope their children will progress through childhood, adolescence, the teen years and on to adulthood without experiencing social anxiety. However, according Wikipedia:

"According to the US National Comorbidity Survey, social anxiety has a 12-month prevalence rate of 6.8%, placing it as the third most common mental disorder in the U.S. An estimated 19.2 million Americans suffer from social anxiety disorder and it can occur at any time but most often presents in adolescence, early adulthood, or even early childhood. Statistically it is also more common in women than in men."

Many scientists study the causes of social anxiety. They look at biological elements, genetics, environmental factors, family history of anxiety, aversion to stressful situations, parenting styles from rejection to over-protection.

New research examined teens with social anxiety and age of onset of substance abuse


This study was conducted at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The principal investigator was Alexandra Wang, a third year medical student at Case Western Reserve. Co-investigator was Christina Delos Reyes, MD, a psychiatrist specializing in addictions at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Ms Wang presented the findings at American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) 44th Annual Medical-Scientific Conference, which was held in Chicago from April 25-28, 2013.

Study's parameters


  •  The study involved 195 teens
  • 52% were girls (102)
  • Age range was 14 to 18
  • Each had a current diagnosis of substance use disorder
  • Researchers assessed each teen's history of drug and alcohol use, as well as a history of social anxiety disorder, panic disorder or agoraphobia.

Study's findings


According to a PsychCentral article the researchers presented the following results:
  • Marijuana was the most popular drug of choice. 
  • Of the 195 participants, 92 percent had marijuana dependence, starting at a mean age of 13 years; 
  • 61 percent were alcohol-dependent, having started drinking at 13.5 years on average. 
  • Teens with either social anxiety disorder or panic disorder were far more likely to have marijuana dependence.
  • Both of these disorders were more likely to occur before marijuana dependence. 
  • Approximately 80 percent of teens with social anxiety disorder and 85 percent with panic disorder had symptoms of that disorder before the onset of their substance abuse. 
  • Furthermore, panic disorder tended to start before alcohol dependence and occurred in 75 percent of alcohol-dependent adolescents. 
  • Among teens with substance use disorders, those who also have social anxiety disorder begin using marijuana at a mean age of 10.6 years — an average of 2.2 years earlier than teens without anxiety.

Going forward...


This is a small study, but with interesting results. Parents and teachers should be proactive if they see signs of anxiety disorders in their children or students.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

SAMHSA Report: Positive Outcomes For Teens And Young Adults Who Participate In Community Mental Health Services

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day


Tomorrow, May 9, 2013, is National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. This day is part of the Public Awareness and Support Strategic Initiative by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). According to SAMHSA: The purpose of this day is to raise awareness about the importance of children's mental health and that positive mental health is essential to a child's healthy development from birth.

New report issued by SAMHSA


As part of National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day SAMHSA has issued a new report titled: Promoting Recovery and Independence for Older Adolescents and Young Adults Who Experience Serious Mental Health Challenges.

Important findings of SAMHSA report on children and young adults mental health challenges


As reported by UPI.com:
  • 20 percent of young adults lining in U.S. households had a mental health condition in the last year
  • Of these 20 percent, more than 1.3 million had a disorder so serious that their ability to function in many aspects of everyday life was compromised
  • Of older adolescents and young adults who participated in a SAMHSA-sponsored Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Programs, 28 percent showed significant improvement in their behavioral and emotional health within the first six months
  • 38 percent showed significant improvement within the first year.
SAMHSA's Administrator Pamela S. Hyde offers her observation regarding this report:
“These data show that treatment is effective. Young people who experience mental or substance use disorders can recover and lead healthy, productive lives with improvements in employment opportunities, housing, education and emotional well-being." 
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Monday, May 6, 2013

Research Results: Binge Drinking And Its Impact On Heart Health Of Young Adults

What is binge drinking?


We hear the expression binge drinking a lot. We see it in news articles and news reports, we hear people talking about it with their friends. We hear parents speak of it when they talk about their teen-age and college age children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines binge drinking as:

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism binge drinking is defined as a pattern of alcohol consumption that brings the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to 0.08% or more. This pattern of drinking usually corresponds to 5 or more drinks on a single occasion for men or 4 or more drinks on a single occasion for women, generally within about 2 hours.

We have often posted about binge drinking to assist our readers to have a better understanding or binge drinking and also to bring to their attention new studies about the impact of binge drinking on our health, social lives, careers, and our families.

New study examines heart health and the effects binge drinking


Researchers at the University of Illinois were led by senior study author, Dr. Shane A. Phillips, an associate professor and associate head of physical therapy and co-author, Mariann Piano, PhD, RN who heads the department of biobehavioral health science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The result of their research "Binge Drinking Impairs Vascular Function in Young Adults" was published online in the May 2013 edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Study's parameters


  • 38 healthy college non-smoking college students were surveyed
  • Researchers divided the students into two groups
  • One group consisted of those who had a history of binge drinking - this group numbered 17 students
  • The second group drank no more than five alcoholic beverage over the course of one year - this group numbered 19 students
  • Each student was asked to provide a medical history, including information about their diet, frequency of binge drinking and family history of alcohol abuse

Study's findings


According to a CBS News report the researchers found:

Binge drinkers on average imbibed about six times per month for a four-year period. Blood tests that looked at cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and blood cell and protein counts revealed that binge drinkers had impairments in the function of endothelial and smooth muscle cells. These are the two main types of cells that control blood flow in the body, the researchers said.

These changes to vascular cells were equivalent to the problems found in people with a lifetime history of drinking heavily every day, they added.

Such changes can precede the hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Having high blood pressure and high cholesterol can also cause these changes the students exhibited, but the researchers pointed out the binge drinkers in the study had healthy levels for both.

You can learn more about binge drinking and its health risks in a video provided by the CDC



CDC Video Player.  Flash Player 9 is required.
CDC Video Player.
Flash Player 9 is required.


If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Drunk Mom: A Memoir ~ Parenting And The Disease Of Addiction

Some thoughts on becoming a new mother...


If you have ever experienced childbirth or the adoption of an infant, then there is a good possibility that you have struggled with this process. After all, you might be dealing with a prolonged labor and delivery, or even a planned or emergency Cesarean section, then there is the decision to breast-feed or not, all coupled with bringing a new baby home and trying to get everything just perfect. All new parents hope to provide the best for their new child, we want to share the baby with our family and friends, and we want to get back to some semblance of normalcy like enjoying favorite foods, perhaps sleeping more comfortably and getting into our pre-pregnancy wardrobe. But then reality sets in: You suddenly find yourself trying to do it all, but with less sleep, more daily chores and maybe even trying to figure out how to continue being a good wife to your spouse or partner and considering how you will do all of this while planning to return to a full-time career.

Many new moms often find they may start to suffer from anxiety, depression or a severe case of postpartum depression. Some may turn to drinking alcohol to calm their nerves and if the new mother is a recovering alcoholic or addict, they might relapse while trying to be the perfect mom.

Jowita Bydlowska writes Drunk Mom: A Memoir


On April 23, 2013, Jowita Bydlowska's Drunk Mom: A Memoir was published. According to Amazon's book description:

"Jowita Bydlowska's memoir of her relapse into addiction is an extraordinary achievement. The writing is raw and immediate. It places you in the moment--saddened, appalled, nerve-wracked, but never able to look away or stop turning the pages. With brutal honesty, Bydlowska takes us through the binges and blackouts, the self-deception and less successful attempts to deceive others, the humiliations and extraordinary risk-taking. She shines a light on the endless hunger of wanting just one more drink, and one more again, while dealing with motherhood, anxiety, depression--and rehab."

Jowita Bydlowska is originally from Warsaw, Poland and she immigrated to Canada when she was a teenager. She has published magazine articles and had had featured articles in the Huffington Post and Salon.com.

CBC News interviews Jowita Bydlowska


Deana Sumanac of The Canadian Broadcasting Association (CBC) published an interview with Jowita Bydlowska.


If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Maybe it is time to update your 2013 Summer reading list


We have often talked about books that deal with addiction and recovery. We have made suggestions on books to add to your Summer reading list.  Perhaps you know someone who would benefit from reading Drunk Mom.
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