Parent, Sibling Military Deployment Raises Drug Abuse Risk in Teens

Study results showed that youth whose parents or siblings were deployed were at 14 percent higher risk of abusing drugs than other people. Researchers found that military deployment of parents or siblings increased both recent and lifetime use of drugs, but not smoking.


Inhalant Abuse — The Invisible Addiction

Parents tend to be concerned, with good reason, about illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin and alcohol (the most abused drug in the US).   However most of them, when asked, indicate that they have never considered the broad variety of perfectly legal substances containing volatile solvents or aerosols — many of them found in almost every household — that can be used to get high by inhalation — known to kids as huffing.

Nor are parents, and consequently their kids, aware that even single or occasional use can be extremely dangerous.  Surveys commissioned by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) indicate that more than 22 million Americans have used inhalants at least once in their lives, including nearly 16% of eighth-grade students.  Most kids start out of curiosity, and try inhalants because these items are readily obtainable without drug connections that are more available to older adolescents and adults.

Common products that can be used to get high include:

  • alcohol
  • glues
  • nail polish remover
  • lighter fluid
  • spray paints
  • deodorant and hair sprays
  • whipped cream canisters
  • cleaning fluids
  • gasoline
  • paint thinners

and these just scratch the surface.  There are hundreds of other products, some sold expressly for the purpose, that can be legally purchased by anyone.

Inhalants can cause heart irregularities and death from cardiac arrest, or by suffocation.  Deaths on first use are not uncommon.  Chronic use of inhalants can result in damage to the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver and especially the brain, which is still growing and forming neural connections in teens, and is thus extremely susceptible to damage.

Parents should look for the same sorts of symptoms they would consider worrisome in relation to alcohol or other drugs, especially changes in personality and signs of intoxication, along with discarded aerosol cans, unusual stains on clothing, and respiratory problems.  More importantly, perhaps, they should discuss these matters with their kids, who will likely not be hearing the cold hard facts from their peers, nor browsing the Sunrise Detox website.  Girls are as likely to abuse inhalants as boys, if not more so at certain ages, so parents should not assume their young ladies are safe.

If  it looks as though something may be amiss, the young person should receive a medical exam at minimum.  Further treatment is strongly indicated.  While inhalants are not addictive in the usual sense, users report that the high is so sudden, and so intense, that they just want to keep coming back for more.  Additionally, there will be underlying reasons for their using that should be examined by professionals so that the patient can work through them and reduce his or her desire to shut out reality.

See the NIDA site for further information.

How Can I Help My Alcoholic Or Other Addict?

The short answer is, “You can't.”

Addicts of all kinds, including alcoholics, have to help themselves. They do not seek relief until they are so miserable that they see no alternative.  Therefore “helping” one is usually the worst possible thing that a friend or loved one can do. Making sure they have enough to eat, helping out with the rent, giving them a place to stay when they blow the rent on liquor or drugs, giving them rides to the liquor store, bringing them booze so that they don’t have to go out themselves, bailing them out of jail, allowing them to get away with stealing you blind — all of those things that seem like the sort of thing friends and loved ones do, in reality allow the person to continue in their alcoholism/addiction without truly facing the consequences. This is called enabling.

Those who truly wish to help a person with a problem will assure them that they are loved, but that they cannot expect assistance in anything but getting treatment and sobering up. Be aware that they will then pull out all the stops and try to bully or guilt you into doing things their way. They will make all sorts of promises. Don’t believe them. They are terrified of quitting — for excellent reasons — and they will do or say whatever it takes to continue drinking or using. They do not understand that they have a choice.

Well-meaning friends and relatives who try to take the pain and unhappiness out of the addiction are keeping the person from finding a reason to make changes, and until that happens, recovery IS NOT POSSIBLE! Enablers are helping their loved ones to kill themselves.

If you are a family member or employer, you can consult with an addiction professional about arranging for an intervention. Do not attempt to intervene on your own; it almost certainly will not work. Intervention specialists know all the tricks, and are able to set up immediate referrals to detox, treatment and so forth. You don’t have access to those resources, and an intervention that is only done halfway is likely to waste what may be your last effective shot.

All you can do to really help is drive them to detox when they decide they want to go there, and withhold all other assistance. There will be plenty you can do after they have been sober for a while and have learned to function on their own, but there is nothing you can do until they make up their mind to take that first step.

For their sake, don’t stand in their way by “helping”.

Just Two Non-Blaming Talks With Teens Can Reduce Marijuana Use

According to researchers at the University of Washington and Virginia Tech, just one brief voluntary discussion with an adult reduced teenagers' use of marijuana by up to 20 percent.  The research was carried out among frequent users who, after hearing the program explained, volunteered to be interviewed.

The researchers report that many of the teens had concerns about their marijuana use, frequency of use, and the overall effects it might have on their lives, but were not sharing them with family or friends because of imagined peer pressure and the reactions of family members.  They stated that the response was overwhelmingly positive among those interviewed, and that it seemed to be due to the non-blaming opportunity to air their questions with people who clearly knew what they were talking about.  The program was designed “to attract people who aren't ready for a full treatment, but are interested in having a conversation with a professional trained to discuss concerns with substance use.”

The report goes on to say that the most reduction came from motivational interviews where the teens discussed their use with the interviewers, and explored potential problems that might occur because of the physical and emotional effects of smoking.  This achieved an average 20% reduction over a 60-day period (from an average of 40 days of use out of 60 days to 32 out of 60 days), and the reduction still held at about 15% after one year.  The other approach, an educational interview that used PowerPoint presentations to present factual information about marijuana use, showed an 11% overall drop at the end of one year.

The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

What Is A High-Functioning Alcoholic?

Here at Sunrise Detox we run across a lot of misinformation about alcoholism, addiction, and abuse of alcohol and drugs. One of the more misunderstood issues is that of the high-functioning alcoholic.

Three martoonies

Credit: Kyle May - flickr

The stereotypical alcoholics who can't keep a job, fail in their careers, destroy families and relationships and eventually end up jailed, homeless or in the morgue are only part of the picture. Not only is this picture sometimes blurry, it is one of the reasons some people who need intervention and treatment fall through the cracks.

There are many alcoholics who are high functioning. These people get educations, have stable jobs, careers, friends, get married, raise families, accumulate wealth, become community leaders, and in most ways seem like any other successful citizen. In fact it is not unusual for them to be overachievers, who excel in their studies and professional lives, who are held up as examples to others.

Because of this seeming normality, the problems of high-functioning alcoholics are ofter overlooked or misdiagnosed, and when they are noted it is usually extremely difficult to get the person to admit the problem and seek treatment. Their denial often takes the form of statements to the effect that they are successful, perform their duties and obligations, and only drink to relieve stress, or as a reward for a hard day's work.

It is not uncommon for these individuals to suffer and die from alcohol-related ailments without ever having been diagnosed: high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, organ degeneration such as cirrhosis, pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, alcoholic hepatitis, diabetes, and so forth. It is important that family and friends take a good look at the behavior of folks who are frequent drinkers, in order to discern any destructive patterns that might indicate that their use of alcohol has become chronic.

Here are some of the things to look for:

  • whether the person often has one drink and then stops, or if, once they start drinking, they continue even in situations where it is inappropriate (such as having to drive, in the presence of non-drinking business associates, early in the day, and so forth);
  • whether they make excuses for drinking, or find reasons to justify a drink;
  • whether they become irritable or attempt to change the subject when questioned about their drinking;
  • whether their personality changes when they drink;
  • whether their sense of propriety and morals seems to change;
  • whether they drink at times or in situations where most people would not be drinking;
  • whether they compartmentalize their lives, spending more time away from home than they used to, making excuses for not being home when they say they will, and so forth.

For the drinkers themselves: do you spend a lot of time assuring yourself that you are OK, that you don't have a problem because you are successful? Do you keep telling yourself that you must be OK because you “aren't like one of those alcoholics?” If so, has it ever occurred to you that people without problems don't need to spend time convincing themselves?

Untreated alcoholism is a progressive, deadly disease. It is, however, eminently treatable once a person becomes serious about quitting. Ironically, high-functioning alcoholics tend to have resources and good insurance, and are among the people most likely to be able to afford professional help. In addition, because they do have a lot left to lose, they are often among the most successful in sobriety.

So, No One Understands Your Pain Pill Addiction?

How about the Deputy Commander of  United States Special Forces?

US Army Photo

In going public about his drug dependency during interviews with USA TODAY, [Lt. Gen.] Fridovich, 59, echoes the findings of an Army surgeon general task force last year that said doctors too often rely on handing out addictive narcotics to quell pain.

An internal Army investigation report released Tuesday revealed that 25% to 35% of about 10,000 soldiers assigned to special units for the wounded, ill or injured are addicted to or dependent on drugs, according to their nurses and case managers. Doctors in those care units told investigators they need training in other ways to manage pain besides only using narcotics.  READ MORE…
If a three-star general can admit a problem and get help, so can you!

Kelly Pavlik in rehab for alcohol issues…

Former middleweight boxing champion Kelly Pavlik has been in the Betty Ford Center in California since November 4 for treatment of a problem with alcohol. The 28-year-old slugger’s boxing career is in doubt, said co-manager Cameron Dunkin, who said, “I don’t know if he’ll ever fight again.
More on Yahoo News…