January 9 2016

PARENTS XVI

Flakka (Alpha-PVP)

bath-salts04

What are the street names/slang terms?

Flakka, Gravel

What is it?

Flakka is the street name for a synthetic cathinone named

alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (Alpha-PVP). It is chemically similar to other

synthetic drugs known as “Bath Salts.” These synthetics mimic cathinone, an

amphetamine-like stimulant found naturally in the khat plant.

What does it look like?

Flakka comes in the form of white or pink crystals.

How is it used?

Flakka is ingested by eating, snorting, injecting or vaporizing (similar to an e-cigarette).

What are it short term effects?

Flakka can cause “excited delirium,” which includes hyper-stimulation, paranoia and

hallucinations. It can dangerously raise body temperature and lead to kidney damage

and failure. Flakka can also lead to violent aggression and self-injury, and has been linked to suicides and heart attacks.

What are its long-term effects?

Unknown.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); Drug Enforcement Agency (WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD

 

‘$5 Insanity’: What You Should Know About Flakka

 By
WebMD Health News

May 21, 2015

Flakka, a new designer drug, is surging in popularity. Poison control centers in states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas are responding to an increasing number of incidents involving it.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is flakka?

It’s a man-made stimulant called an alphaPVP. It’s similar to “bath salts,” another dangerous drug that’s grabbed headlines in recent years.

Its off-white, coarse crystals sell for as little as $5 a hit. The name comes from la flaca, a Spanish club-slang term for a sexy, skinny girl.

“It looks like aquarium gravel,” says Alfred Aleguas, PharmD, managing director of the Florida Poison Information Center, Tampa.

How is it used?

People have tried taking it in a number of ways, says Jeffrey Bernstein, MD, medical director of the Florida Poison Information Center, Miami.

Those ways include:

  • Snorting

  • Mixing with food

  • Drinking like a tea

  • Pressing into pill form

  • Inserting it into the rectum

  • Vaping in an e-cigarette

  • Injecting

“With injecting, you’re really asking for trouble, because the drug is likely to be cut with … dirt, with talc, who knows what else — and you’re putting all that in your veins,” Bernstein says.

How does it work on the brain?

Users feel a sense of euphoria, Bernstein says. “It plays with your neurotransmitters, [brain chemicals] like dopamine and serotonin.”

That can lead to a state called excited or agitated delirium in a high that lasts for several hours.

What are the risks?

People who are high on flakka often lose touch with reality, Aleguas says.

“They don’t know what they’re doing, they’re hallucinating, they’re paranoid, they’re aggressive, they’re super-agitated,” he says. “That’s why you see news stories of people running down the street naked, banging on cars in traffic and just crazy, crazy stuff.”

Other health effects that Aleguas and Bernstein often see include:

Another dangerous effect is hyperthermia, or elevated body temperature, which Bernstein says can reach 108 degrees. At that temperature, he says, blood can no longer clot and a person starts to bleed internally.

“They bleed and they go into multi-organ failure,” he says. “Lung, liver, kidney, and brain injury can each occur when their temperature stays too high for too long.”

In an emergency room, doctors attempt to cool the person, to calm them. They may also use diazepam, midazolam, or another similar drug to slow a user’s heartbeat.

“We give them symptomatic and supportive care, try to keep them from hurting themselves and hospital staff,” he says.

Who’s using flakka?

Bernstein says most users are male and in their teens, 20s, or 30s, although some are older.

“I haven’t seen any regular users,” he says. “It tends to be used sporadically and is associated with concerts and parties and things like that.”

And those users don’t always know what they’re getting, says Bernstein, who gets a call about flakka every day, and more on the weekends. About one-third of calls are from users looking for help, he says, while the others are from emergency personnel caring for users and looking for guidance.

“There’s no quality control on the street, so no one knows for sure what they’re taking,” he says. “Just because they bought something called flakka, no one knows if that’s really what they used, much less what kind of concentration you’re getting. It’s an unknown drug at an unknown dose, and any dose is abuse.”

SOURCES:

Alfred Aleguas, BS Pharm, PharmD, D.ABAT, managing director, Florida Poison Information Center, Tampa, FL.

Jeffrey Bernstein, MD, medical director, Florida Poison Information Center, Miami.

 

 

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December 5 2015

Parents XV

          Suprised parents 1

Dear Parents,

This article is so important. The information you are about to read will surprise you. There is no end to what our children are trying to get high on these days. We have to be so careful with what  we leave around the house. Practice locking this stuff up!

 

Parents Kids what will they think of next

Drug and alcohol abuse by kids is a major concern of parents, health experts and even government officials. We’ve had the ‘War on Drugs,’ ‘Just Say No’ campaign, as well as in-school anti-drug education programs, all in an effort to inform kids and keep them safe. Does it work? For some kids, yes it does. Drug use for them goes no further than a quick sniff of that magic-marker or the sharp scent from that new tube of model glue. For many kids, however, experimenting with alcohol and drugs is common and even seen as normal. Odds are that you or your friends enjoyed more than a few beers while under the legal age. A significant number of kids also try more accessible drugs like marijuana or mushrooms before they even leave high school. Generally, a small proportion of these kids move on to harder drugs and develop severe addiction issues. The rest leave the experimentation behind them and move on with life.

It seems like every few years there comes a news story or article which alerts the population to some new drug trend among the younger generations. These alerts are not about kids smoking pot. Those stories belong in the 1980s. A couple of years ago bath salts were the big story. Not to be confused with what you put in the tub when you want a relaxing soak, bath salts were a legally obtainable, over the counter substance available at many convenience stores. A concoction of chemicals and typically containing the stimulant Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, bath salts cause hallucinations, heart problems, high blood pressure and suicidal thoughts in those who snorted, smoked or injected the substance. Of course, the news media, as they always do, focused on bath salt use to the point where we all thought every kid was doing it. Until a new drug trend came along.

The following list looks at 15 of the more strange and bizarre (and stupid) ways kids have tried to get high or get a buzz. There are no ‘mainstream’ drugs here. Meth, coke, pot, bath salts, lsd and the rest have no place in this list because, crazily enough, they are too mainstream and ‘normal.’ After reading through this list you won’t look at your home in the same way again. You might as well change your name to Walter White (Bryan Cranston’s character on Breaking Bad – for those of you who don’t know) because when you see what kids have been using to get high, your house might as well be a meth lab.

2 duster

15. ‘Dusting’

Inhalant abuse, or “huffing” is not a new method kids use to get high. It’s been around for a long time. Cans of compressed air can be found in most homes with computers and can be purchased very easily and inexpensively. While the intended use of compressed air products, like ‘Dust Off,’ are for keeping keyboards and computers clean, kids have found another use. Inhaling the product’s hydrocarbons creates a state of temporary paralysis and oxygen depravation. It can also damage organs and cause death. Parents are warned to look out for strange smelling kids, dazed looks and a quickly diminishing supply of compressed air products. So, basically just keep an eye on your cans of Dust Off.

14. Mothballs

This one is strange and shows that kids will try anything to get a buzz. Another substance in the “huffing” category of drug use, Mothballs are another common household product. The gas emitted by Mothballs is meant to keep hungry insects away from your clothes. Turns out it also attracts kids looking to get high. Placing the product in a bag and breathing the gas causes light headedness and dizziness. Users become mentally impaired, lose coordination and can even develop scaly skin as the body tries to break down the chemicals being inhaled. The next time you visit the grandparents, keep an eye on the kids. While they may appear interested in Grandpa’s war stories, it could all be a cover as they try to get to the mothballs stashed in the closet.

purp 3

13. Purple Drank

Made popular by rappers in the 1990s, Purple Drank, also known as ‘Texas Tea’, ‘Sizzurp’ or just ‘Drank,’ is another substance which continues to be used by kids to get high. Purple Drank is just cough syrup mixed with Sprite or Mountain Dew and, sometimes candy like Jolly Ranchers to add sweetness. At the core of this concoction is codeine, the drug found in prescription strength cough syrup. Popularized in hip-hop culture and reportedly consumed by Justin Bieber, Purple Drank causes a mild euphoria in users. It also produces lethargy and drowsiness and can, if taken in high enough doses, depress the nervous system and cause a person to stop breathing. High sugar content has also been linked to excessive weight gain and tooth decay.

USA_Choke-Hold

12. Choking Game

This stands out on the list because it is not a drug. Kids do it, however, to get the same sensation they normally would from huffing. In short, the choking game involves cutting off the flow of blood to the brain to the point that the person passes out or starts to black out. Once the flow of blood to the brain is restored the burst of oxygen to the brain creates a warm, euphoric and tingly sensation. Hands, belts and ropes are common tools used and kids often believe this method of getting a buzz is safer because it involves no drug use. So young and so stupid.

o-HAND-SANITIZER-facebook

11. Hand Sanitizer

It’s supposed to go on your hands to kill germs. Some kids decided that you could drink it and get really drunk fast. Sanitizers, like Purell, contain upwards of 60% ethanol. This means that just a couple ounces taken orally is the equivalent to having a couple shots of vodka. Like regular alcoholic drinks, too much can have serious side effects, including impaired motor function, memory loss, organ damage and drop in blood sugar.

catnip-1

10. Catnip

If teenage drug abuse studies have shown us anything it’s that kids will eat, drink or smoke anything in an effort to get high. Enter catnip. Most people know catnip as the plant which makes your cat act like a complete idiot. As far as human consumption goes, catnip was actually smoked by people in the 1960s as an alternative to marijuana. The fad has returned as kids turn to the feline narcotic to get their own fix. Taken orally or smoked, catnip can cause relaxation, mild euphoria or giddiness. Side effects can include nausea, headaches and people making fun of you. If you notice a teenager rolling around meowing or batting a ball of yarn, call 911. Chances are their catnip was laced with something.

whip-it9. Whip-Its

Known as Hippie Crack, nitrous oxide is a well known party drug. Beyond that, the dentist uses it to prep for surgery and Paul Walker even used it to make flames shoot out of his Mitsubishi Eclipse in the Fast and Furious. The most readily accessible source of whip-its can be found in the dairy section of your grocery store. In cans of whipped cream, nitrous oxide is used to expel the product from the can. Inhaling this substance (the nitrous, not the whipped cream) causes euphoria among users. It can also cause frost-bite, organ damage, suffocation and death. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that in a year, over 700,000 kids tried inhalants like whip-its. It’s not limited to kids though. Even Demi Moore was hospitalized after reportedly suffering whip-it induced seizures.

8. Freon

Freon is the gas used in your freezer and refrigerator to keep things cold. If you breath it in, like whip-its, it can get you high. Kids have figured out that the family air-conditioner also has freon in it. This has reportedly led to them taking a screw-driver to the A/C unit in order to inhale the gas. In recent years, technicians and repairmen have reported an increase in calls related to Freon loss in air conditioner units. In addition to euphoria, huffing freon can cause liver, heart and brain damage as well as death. It can also cause severe frostbite on the face and airway.

potpourri

7. Potpourri and ‘Incense’

This is not the stuff your mom or wife puts out to make the place smell nice. It may look like ‘regular’ potpourri, but the substance kids are smoking is along the lines of synthetic marijuana. The product was sold legally in gas stations and convenience stores. Its main chemical was never meant for human consumption and the dangers are increased by a host of other unknown chemicals often added to the potpourri mixture. While kids look for a euphoric high, side effects are known to include convulsions, hallucinations, paranoia and seizures. Experts even point out that trying to get high with potpourri is more expensive than using marijuana, the drug it is trying to mimic.

 

burt1

6. Burt’s Bees

There’s a new drug term being used today – beezin’. It refers to kids who have found a bizarre way to use Burt’s Bees products to get a high. Burt’s Bees produces a line of all-natural and organic products which include toothpastes, shampoos and balms. Kids have discovered that putting the company’s lip balm on your eyelids can create a tingly high. Experts say the peppermint oil is what causes the sensation. Side effects aren’t really known but boredom and lower than average intelligence must be a prerequisite to try something so weird.

i-dosing

5. I-Dosing

This method requires no substances but instead uses music to produce a ‘digital high.’ Utilizing stereo headphones, the user listens to a different sound or beat in each ear. The result is that the listener experiences a distinct sound ‘inside’ their head. Some have reported feelings and sensations similar to using marijuana or acid. Experts say the music can upset the body rhythm and sleep cycle patterns. We here at The Richest are pretty sure this was already done decades ago by Jimi Hendrix. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go watch Wizard of Oz while listening to Pink Floyd.

APTR_Vodka

4. Vodka Tampons or Vodka Eyeballing

Kids are always sticking things where they don’t belong. Over the past few years there has been a surge in bizarre methods of alcohol consumption. Turns out they are soaking tampons in alcohol and sticking them where the sun doesn’t shine or pouring the alcohol directly into their eyes. The logic is simple, if stupid, that the thinner skin membrane and concentrated blood vessels found in these ‘certain’ areas allows alcohol to be absorbed faster. This is true but the problem is that the alcohol goes straight into the blood stream in a higher concentration than if it had been processed by the liver first. While it appears the media have made a bigger story of this than it actually is, those who do try this can face alcohol poisoning or damage to their eyes.

APTR_Nutmeg

3. Nutmeg

Continuing our trip up the wrung of the crazy drug use ladder, we arrive at nutmeg. Yes, that’s right, nutmeg. Nutmeg oil contains a tiny amount of myristicin, a psychoactive drug. Apparently kids have been eating/drinking and smoking this spice in order to get some form of high. Reported experiences appear to vary from a slight ‘buzz’ to full on hallucinations. Other side effects include drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, headaches and dizziness. It appears any effects of nutmeg require hours to manifest and can last for days at a time. Long enough to realize that you could have used the nutmeg to bake yourself up something tasty and useful.

 

Bowl_of_smarties

2. Snorting Smarties

This is just plain stupid. We all probably remember someone in grade school who was bet to eat something gross or stick something up their nose. Turns out the future geniuses of the world are now crushing up Smarties (aka Rockets) and snorting them. Yes, we see the irony in this. The only thing worth saying about this ‘trend’ is that one side effect is reported to be the possibility of getting nasal maggots. That’s right, snort food up your nose and you could end up with maggots. What’s next? I wonder if I can smoke that loaf of bread?

 

jenkem

1. Jenkem

We’ll just save you some time here; Jenkem is fermented human waste. Now, for those of you who want to carry on, the ride is about to depart. The use of Jenkem reportedly originated in Africa in the 1990s. Stories of its use in North America, fuelled by the media over the last decade, have been shown to be urban legend or hoax. Logically (if we can use that word here) inhaling the naturally produced methane would contribute to any “high” as oxygen levels would lower inside the body. That said, if kids are willing to snort Smarties and smoke nutmeg, we are willing to wager that somewhere there is a group of kids who have tried to ride the Brown Dragon. The whole thing is just so ridiculous that it deserves to be #1.

www.therichest.com/

 

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November 24 2015

PARENTS Pg. XIIII

religion

Can spirituality promote a healthier physical life for your family? Recent medical studies indicate that spiritual people are less prone to self-destructive behaviors (suicide, smoking, and drug and alcohol abuse, for example), and have less stress and a greater total life satisfaction.

Much of the research linking spiritual and physical health has involved elderly patients; however, the data offer a glimpse into a possible tie between a spiritual life and good health for people of all ages.

Although spirituality has been shown to reduce depression, improve blood pressure, and boost the immune system, religious beliefs should not interfere with the medical care kids receive.

So what exactly is spirituality and how can it enhance your family’s health?

Spirituality and Physical Health

Doctors and scientists once avoided the study of spirituality in connection to medicine, but more recent findings have made some take a second look. Studies show that religion and faith can help to promote good health and fight disease by:

offering additional social supports, such as religious outreach groupsimproving coping skills through prayer and a philosophy that all things have a purpose

 

Although research on kids hasn’t been done, many studies focusing on adults point to the positive effects of spirituality on medical outcome:

In a 7-year study of senior citizens, religious involvement was associated with less physical disability and less depression. Death rates were lower than expected before an important religious holiday, which suggested to researchers that faith might have postponed death in these cases.Elderly people who regularly attended religious services had healthier immune systems than those who didn’t. They were also more likely to have consistently lower blood pressure.

Patients undergoing open-heart surgery who received strength and comfort from their religion were three times more likely to survive than those who had no religious ties.

 

Spirituality and Mental Health

Religious and spiritual beliefs are an important part of how many people deal with life’s joys and hardships. Faith can give people a sense of purpose and guidelines for living.

When families face tough situations, including health problems, their religious beliefs and practices can help them fight feelings of helplessness, restore meaning and order to life situations, and help them regain a sense of control. For some families, spirituality can be a powerful and important source of strength.

Medical studies have confirmed that spirituality can have a profound effect on mental states. In a study of men who were hospitalized, nearly half rated religion as helpful in coping with their illness. A second study showed that the more religious patients were, the more quickly they recovered from some disorders. A third study revealed that high levels of hope and optimism, key factors in fighting depression, were found among those who strictly practiced their religion

Can Spiritual Beliefs Enhance Parenting?

Attending organized religious services may help some families connect with their spiritual values, but it’s not the only way. Less traditional paths also can help kids and parents find spiritual meaning.

To foster spirituality within your own family, you may want to examine your own values. Ask yourself: What is important to me? How well do my daily activities mirror my values? Do I neglect issues that matter to me because I’m busy spending time on things that matter less?

Here are other suggestions to start your family’s spiritual journey:

 

Explore your roots. In examining your shared past, you and your kids may connect with values of earlier times and places, and gain a sense of your extended family’s history and values.

Examine your involvement in the community. If you’re already involved in a group, maybe you will want to take on a larger role — first for you, then as a role model for your kids. If you haven’t joined a community group, consider investigating those in your area.

Recall the feelings you had at the birth or adoption of your child. Try to get back to that moment in your mind, remembering the hopes and dreams you had. It can be the start of a search for similar or related feelings in your everyday life.

Share some silence with your kids. Take a few minutes for silent meditation alone or together. Think about parenthood, your life as an individual, and your place in the larger scheme of things. Spend time discussing these thoughts with your kids and listen to their ideas on what spirituality means.

Take a nature walk. Nature has long been an inspiration and spiritual guide. A walk will relax you and allow you to contemplate the wonders of the world around you.

Read books that express spiritual ideas with your kids and share your thoughts about what you’re reading.

 

This search can be conducted on your own or as part of a larger group — a religious community, friends, or your own family. Making a spiritual journey might help you and your family live a healthier life, both emotionally and physically.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: August 2014

Kids Health by Nemours http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/spirituality.html

 

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November 14 2015

PARENTS XIII

Parents talking to teens

Talking With Teens

Tips for Better Communication

 Parents and teens can bridge the communication gap with a little patience and a healthy measure of

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Here are 6 tips for parents and 6 for teenagers.

A parent’s view of speech development: it begins in infancy, blossoms in childhood, and stops dead in its tracks at adolescence.

A teenager’s view of speech development: “My parents don’t understand a word I’m saying.”

You don’t need a degree in communications to know that parents and teenagers seem to spend more time talking at and past one another than to or with one another. Chalk it up to different agendas, the stress of daily life, or familiarity breeding contempt. Whatever the reason, adolescents and their folks are as good at making conversation as the construction crew at the Tower of Babel.

But with a little give and take, a lot of patience, and a healthy measure of R-E-S-P-E-C-T, parents and teens may be able to remove the roadblocks hindering two-way communication.

To help understand talking with teens, WebMD interviewed two experts in adolescent development: Laurence Steinberg, PhD, Distinguished University Professor and Laura H. Carnell Professor of Psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia; and Carol Maxym, PhD, who counsels families in Honolulu and Washington, D.C.

First, says Steinberg, parents need to recognize that “although your child doesn’t have the same level of knowledge, information, wisdom or experience as you do, he or she has essentially the same logical tools and can see through logical fallacies and lapses in what’s sensible.”

In other words, the “do-it-because-I-said-so” approach to talking with teens doesn’t work anymore. “They can’t be bullied around by power-assertive statements by parents that aren’t based on any kind of logical reality,” Steinberg says.

Teenagers have exquisitely sensitive B.S. detectors, agrees Maxym, who counsels families of troubled adolescents in private practice. “Parents need to be emotionally authentic. Don’t try to act as though you are angry when you’re really not. Don’t try to tell your child ‘I’m really hurt when you don’t go to school,’ when what you really are is angry. Kids know their parents really well and pick up on it, and as soon as you as a parent become inauthentic, you’ve lost any chance of real communication,” says Maxym.

Research also shows that “the big barrier is in how parents and teenagers define issues,” If the parent sees a teen’s messy room as a moral issue, and the teen sees it as a matter of choice, they may never reach a mutually satisfactory solution, says Steinberg.

What can you do to communicate better? Our experts offer these tips both parents and teenagers:

For Parents

 

Don’t lecture your teen, have a conversation. When parents complain “my teenager doesn’t want to talk to me,” what they’re really complaining about is “my teenager doesn’t want to listen to me.” Conversation involves at least two people, Steinberg emphasizes.

 

Don’t attack. “The conversation between any two people will break down if one of the two is put on the defensive and made to feel he’s being accused of something,” says Steinberg.

Show respect for your teen’s opinions. Teenagers can be surprisingly easy to talk with if the parents make it clear that they’re listening to the teen’s point of view.

Keep it short and simple. Maxym urges parents to remember what she calls the “50% rule”: “Almost every parent says at least 50% more than he or she should. Shut up. Remember when you were a teen and your parents lectured at you? And you thought, ‘Will you please stop; I already got the point!’ Stop before your teen gets there.”

Be yourself. Don’t try to talk like your kids or their friends. “You’re an adult, so be an adult,” Maxym says.

Seize the moment. A spontaneous conversation in the car or at home late at night — any time when you’re not rushed — can make for some of the warmest, most rewarding moments, Steinberg says. “I think for parents, one of the key parts of having good communication with kids is being around enough to capitalize on these moments that invariably don’t come up when you expect them to.”

For Teenagers:

Try to understand the situation from your parents’ point of view. If your goal is to be allowed to stay out later on Saturday night, for example, try to anticipate what they are concerned about, such as your safety and your whereabouts.Address their concerns honestly and directly. Try saying something like, “If I am allowed to stay out later, I will tell you in advance where I’m going to be so you know how to reach me,” or “I’ll call you to let you know what time I’m going to be home, and that way you won’t have to worry about it.”

Don’t go on the defensive. If you feel deeply about the subject of the conversation — clothes, friends, politics, sex, drugs, whatever — stick to your guns, but listen to what your parents have to say.

Don’t criticize or ridicule their viewpoints. Show them and their opinions the respect you want them to give you.

Make requests. Don’t issue a list of demands.

Make “I” statements. Explain your concerns by saying things such as “I feel you’re not being fair.” Or, “I feel like you’re not listening to my side.” Avoid “you” statements, such as “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

 

By Neil Osterweil
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Charlotte E. Grayson Mathis, MD

 

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November 3 2015

PARENTS XII

silouette family 1

Talking To Your Children About

DRUGS

Just as you protect your kids against illnesses like measles, you can help “immunize” them against drug use by giving them the facts before they’re in a risky situation.

When kids don’t feel comfortable talking to parents, they’ll seek answers elsewhere, even if their sources are unreliable. And kids who aren’t properly informed are at greater risk of engaging in unsafe behaviors and experimenting with drugs.

Parents who are educated about the effects of drug use and learn the facts can give their kids correct information and clear up any misconceptions. You’re a role models for your kids, and your views on alcohol, tobacco, and drugs can strongly influence how they think about them. So make talking about drugs a part of your general health and safety conversations.

Preschool to Age 7

Before you get nervous about talking to young kids, take heart. You’ve probably already laid the groundwork for a discussion. For instance, whenever you give a fever medicine or an antibiotic to your child, you can discuss why and when these medicines should be given. This is also a time when your child is likely to pay attention to your behavior and guidance.

Take advantage of “teachable moments” now. If you see a character in a movie or on TV with a cigarette, talk about smoking, nicotine addiction, and what smoking does to a person’s body. This can lead into a discussion about other drugs and how they could cause harm.

Keep the tone of these discussions calm and use terms that your child can understand. Be specific about the effects of the drugs: how they make a person feel, the risk of overdose, and the other long-term damage they can cause. To give your kids these facts, you might have to do a little research.

Ages 8 to 12

As your kids grow older, you can begin talks with them by asking them what they think about drugs. By asking the questions in a nonjudgmental, open-ended way, you’re more likely to get an honest response.

Remember to show your kids that you’re listening and really paying attention to their concerns and questions.

Kids this age usually are still willing to talk openly to their parents about touchy subjects. Starting a dialogue now helps keep the door open as kids get older and are less inclined to share their thoughts and feelings.

Even if your questions don’t immediately result in a discussion, you’ll get your kids thinking about the issue. Show them that you’re willing to discuss the topic and hear what they have to say. Then, they might be more willing to come to you for help in the future.

News, such as steroid use in professional sports, can be springboards for casual conversations about current events. Use these discussions to give your kids information about the risks of drugs.

Ages 13 to 17

Kids this age are likely to know other kids who use alcohol or drugs, and to have friends who drive. Many are still willing to express their thoughts or concerns with parents about it. They may ask you more specific questions about drugs.

Use these conversations not only to understand your child’s thoughts and feelings, but also to talk about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Talk about the legal issues — jail time and fines — and the possibility that they or someone else might be killed or seriously injured.

Consider making a written or verbal contract on the rules about going out or using the car. You can promise to pick your kids up at any time (even 2 a.m.!), no questions asked, if they call you when the person responsible for driving has been drinking or using drugs.

The contract also can detail other situations: For example, if you find out that someone drank or used drugs in your car while your son or daughter was behind the wheel, you may want to suspend driving privileges for 6 months. By discussing all of this with your kids from the start, you eliminate surprises and make your expectations clear.

Laying Good Groundwork

No parent, child, or family is immune to the effects of drugs. Any kid can end up in trouble, even those who have made an effort to avoid it and even when they have been given the proper guidance from their parents.

However, certain groups of kids may be more likely to use drugs than others. Kids who have friends who use drugs are likely to try drugs themselves. Those feeling socially isolated for whatever reason may turn to drugs.

So it’s important to know your child’s friends — and their parents. Be involved in your children’s lives. If your child’s school runs an anti-drug program, get involved. You might learn something! Pay attention to how your kids are feeling and let them know that you’re available and willing to listen in a nonjudgmental way. Recognize when your kids are going through difficult times so that you can provide the support they need or seek additional care if it’s needed.

Role-playing can help your child develop strategies to turn down drugs if they are offered. Act out possible scenarios they may encounter. Helping them construct phrases and responses to say no prepares them to know how to respond before they are even in that situation.

A warm, open family environment — where kids can talk about their feelings, where their achievements are praised, and where their self-esteem is boosted — encourages kids to come forward with their questions and concerns. When censored in their own homes, kids go elsewhere to find support and answers to their most important questions.

Make talking and having conversations with your kids a regular part of your day. Finding time to do things you enjoy together as a family helps everyone stay connected and maintain open communication.

If you are looking for more resources for yourself or your child, be sure to also talk to your doctor.

Reviewed by: Rupal Christine Gupta, MD
Date reviewed: November 2014

Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2015 The Nemours Foundation. All rights reserved.

 

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October 28 2015

“PARENTS” XI

teens

5 Mistakes Parents Make With Teens and Tweens

Here are the top mistakes parents make with their teens and tweens, and how to avoid them.

Your child isn’t a little kid anymore. They’re a teen, or a tween — and it’s time to tweak your parenting skills to keep up with them.

Yes, they’re probably moodier now than when they were young. And you have new things to think about, like curfews, dating, new drivers, and friends who make you raise your eyebrows.

No doubt about it: Your teen, or tween, will test your limits, and your patience. But they’re still your child. And, though they won’t admit it, they still need you!

The key is knowing what efforts are worth it, and which ones backfire.

1. Expecting the Worst

Teenagers get a bad rap, says Richard Lerner, PhD, director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University. Many parents approach raising teenagers as an ordeal, believing they can only watch helplessly as their lovable children transform into unpredictable monsters.

But that sets you — and your teen — up for several unhappy, unsatisfying years together.

“The message we give teenagers is that they’re only ‘good’ if they’re not doing ‘bad’ things, such as doing drugs, hanging around with the wrong crowd, or having sex,” Lerner says.

It could become a self-fulfilling prophecy: Negative expectations can actually promote the behavior you fear most. A Wake Forest University study showed that tee ns whose parents expected them to get involved in risky behaviors reported higher levels of these behaviors one year later.

Lerner’s advise: Focus on your child’s interests and hobbies, even if you don’t understand them. You could open a new path of communication, reconnect with the child you love, and learn something new.

2. Reading Too Many Parenting Books

Rather than trusting their instincts, many parents turn to outside experts for advice on how to raise teens. “Parents can tie themselves into knots trying to follow the advice they read in books,” says Robert Evans, EdD, author of Family Matters: How Schools Can Cope with the Crisis in Child Rearing.

It’s not that parenting books are bad.

“Books become a problem when parents use them to replace their own innate skills,” Evans says. “If the recommendations and their personal style don’t fit, parents wind up more anxious and less confident with their own children.”

Use books to get perspective on confusing behavior — and then put the book down and trust that you’ve learned what you need to learn. Get clear about what matters most to you and your family.

3. Sweating the Small Stuff

Maybe you don’t like your tween daughter’s haircut or choice of clothes. Or perhaps she didn’t get the part in the play you know she deserves.

But before you step in, look at the big picture.

If it’s not putting your child at risk, give her the leeway to make age-appropriate decisions and learn from the consequences of her choices.

“A lot of parents don’t want growing up to involve any pain, disappointment, or failure,” Evans says. But protecting your child from the realities of life takes away valuable learning opportunities — before they’re out on their own.

Of course, you’ll still be there for guidance and comfort — you’re still the parent. But challenge yourself to step back and let your child know you’re there for them.

4. Ignoring the Big Stuff

If you suspect your child is using alcohol or drugs, do not look the other way. Even if it’s “just” alcohol or marijuana — or even if it reminds you of your own youth — you must take action now, before it becomes a bigger problem.

“The years when kids are between 13 and 18 years old are an essential time for parents to stay involved,” Amelia M. Arria, PhD, tells WebMD. She is director of the University of Maryland’s Center on Young Adult Health and Development. Parents might consider teen drinking a rite of passage because they drank when they were that age. “But the stakes are higher now,” Arria says.

Watch for unexplained changes in your teen’s behavior, appearance, academic performance, and friends. And remember, it’s not just illicit drugs that are abused now — prescription drugs and even cough medicines and household products are also in the mix.

If you find empty cough medicine packaging in your child’s trash or backpack, if bottles of medicine go missing from your cabinet, or if you find unfamiliar pills, pipes, rolling papers, or matches, your child could be abusing drugs.

Take these signs seriously and get involved. Safeguard all the medicines you have: Know which products are in your home and how much medication is in each package or bottle

5. Too Much, or Too Little, Discipline

Some parents, sensing a loss of control over their teens’ behavior, crack down every time their child steps out of line. Others avoid all conflict for fear their teens will push them away.

You don’t have to do either of those things. It’s about finding a balance between obedience and freedom.

If you put too much emphasis on obedience, you may be able to make your teen or tween fall into line — but at what price? Teens raised in rigid environments miss out on the chance to develop problem-solving or leadership skills — because you’re making the decisions for them.

Yet too little discipline doesn’t help, either. Teens and tweens need clear structure and rules to live by as they start to explore the world outside.

As their parent, it’s up to you to set your family’s core values and communicate them through your words and actions. That’s being an authoritative parent, an approach that “helps children develop the skills they need to govern themselves in appropriate ways,” Lerner says.

Remember, your influence runs deeper than you may think. Most teens say they want to spend more time with their parents. Keep making time for your child throughout the tween and teen years. Even when it doesn’t show, you provide the solid ground they know they can always come home to.

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on October 19, 2011

© 2010 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

By Joanne Barker

 

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October 23 2015

“PARENTS” X

teenagers green

10 Parenting Tips for Raising Teenagers

How do you breach the barriers of adolescence?

Your chatterbox son now answers your questions with a sullen “yes” or “no.” Your charming daughter won’t go to the store with you at all anymore. They must be teenagers. Don’t despair. It’s natural — and important — for kids to break away from their parents at this age. This emotional separation allows them to become well-adjusted adults.

Yet these must be among the most difficult years for any parent. To help with parenting tips, WebMD turned to three national experts:

10 Parenting Tips

1. Give kids some leeway. Giving teens a chance to establish their own identity, giving them more independence, is essential to helping them establish their own place in the world. “But if it means he’s going out with a bad crowd, that’s another thing,” says Elkind.

2. Choose your battles wisely. “Doing themselves harm or doing something that could be permanent (like a tattoo), those things matter,” says Kaslow. “Purple hair, a messy room — those don’t matter.” Don’t nitpick.

3. Invite their friends for dinner. It helps to meet kids you have questions about. “You’re not flat-out rejecting them, you’re at least making an overture. When kids see them, see how their friends act with their parents, they can get a better sense of those friends,” Elkind tells WebMD. “It’s the old adage, you catch more bears with honey than vinegar. If you flatly say, you can’t go out with those kids, it often can backfire — it just increases the antagonism.”

4. Decide rules and discipline in advance. “If it’s a two-parent family, it’s important for parents to have their own discussion, so they can come to some kind of agreement, so parents are on the same page,” says Bobrow. Whether you ban them from driving for a week or a month, whether you ground them for a week, cut back on their allowance or Internet use — whatever — set it in advance. If the kid says it isn’t fair, then you have to agree on what is fair punishment. Then, follow through with the consequences.

5. Discuss ‘checking in.’ “Give teens age-appropriate autonomy, especially if they behave appropriately,” says Kaslow. “But you need to know where they are. That’s part of responsible parenting. If it feels necessary, require them to call you during the evening, to check in. But that depends on the teen, how responsible they have been.”

6. Talk to teens about risks. Whether it’s drugs, driving, or premarital sex, your kids need to know the worst that could happen.

7. Give teens a game plan. Tell them: “If the only option is getting into a car with a drunk driver, call me — I don’t care if it’s 3 in the morning,” says Bodrow. Or make sure they have cab fare. “Help them figure out how to handle a potentially unsafe situation, yet save face,” she suggests. “Brainstorm with them. Come up with a solution that feels comfortable for that child.”

8. Keep the door open. Don’t interrogate, but act interested. Share a few tidbits about your own day; ask about theirs. How was the concert? How was the date? How was your day? Another good line: “You may not feel like talking about what happened right now. I know what that’s like. But if you feel like talking about it later, you come to me,” Elkind suggests.

9. Let kids feel guilty. “I think too much is made about self-esteem,” says Elkind. “Feeling good about yourself is healthy. But people should feel bad if they have hurt someone or done something wrong. Kids need to feel bad sometimes. Guilt is a healthy emotion. When kids have done something wrong, we hope they feel bad, we hope they feel guilty.”

10. Be a role model. Your actions — even more than your words — are critical in helping teens adopt good moral and ethical standards, says Elkind. If they have a good role model from early on, they will be less likely to make bad decisions in their rebellious teen years.

David Elkind, PhD, author of All Grown Up and No Place to Go and a professor of child development at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.

Amy Bobrow, PhD, a clinical psychologist and professor in the Child Study Center at New York University School of Medicine in Manhattan.

Nadine Kaslow, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University.

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October 22 2015

“PARENTS” IX

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Preventing Teen Suicide

Many young people face high levels of stress and confusion, along with family problems. When you throw in raging hormones, it sometimes seems more than a teen can handle. Perhaps it’s not surprising that teen suicide is increasingly common.

In fact, suicide is the third leading cause of death among people between ages 15 and 24, with about 5,000 lives lost each year. Males comprise 84% of all suicides.

However, attempted suicides greatly outnumber suicides. Because males often choose more violent methods in their attempts, they are often more successful. But females may attempt suicide more often than males.

In 2012, suicides among teens between ages 15 and 24 accounted for 10.9% of all suicides in the U.S.

If you have ever seriously contemplated suicide — meaning doing some serious planning, not just feeling very down — it’s important to take this very seriously. Contact a trusted adult or a mental health professional immediately.

It’s also important to know the suicide risk factors, so you can help yourself, a friend, or a family member if suicide ever becomes an issue.

What Are Teen Suicide Risk Factors?

Risk factors are habits or histories that put someone at greater likelihood of having a problem. Some of the risk factors for suicide may be inherited, such as a family history of suicide. Others, like physical illness, may also be out of your control. But if you can recognize the risk factors for suicide early and act to change the ones you can control, you may save your life — or that of a close friend or family member.

Read the suicide risk factors below and check the ones you can control. (For instance, you can talk to a mental health professional for ways to deal with lack of social support, feelings of hopelessness, or mood disorders like depression.)

It’s important to take these risk factors for suicide very seriously:

Previous suicide attempt(s)

Psychological and mental disorders, especially depression and other mood disorders, schizophrenia, and social anxiety

Substance abuse and/or alcohol disorders

History of abuse or mistreatment

Family history of suicide

Feelings of hopelessness

Physical illness

Impulsive or aggressive tendencies

Financial or social loss

Relationship loss

Isolation or lack of social support

Easy access to methods/means of suicide

Exposure to others who have committed suicide

 

What Are Suicide Protective Factors?

Suicide protective factors are things that reduce the potential for suicidal behavior. They include:

Psychological and clinical care for physical, mental, and substance abuse disorders

Restricted or limited access to methods/means of suicide

Family and community support

Support from medical and health care personnel

Developing problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills

Religious and cultural belief systems that discourage suicide

 Is Depression Linked to Suicide?

If you want to prevent suicide, it’s important to understand depression. Depression is often used to describe general feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, and hopelessness. When teens feel sad or low, they often say they are depressed. While most of us feel sad or low sometimes, feelings of depression are longer lasting and often more serious.

A mental health professional (such as a psychologist or psychiatrist) diagnoses and treats depression. Depression is diagnosed when someone has at least five of the following symptoms:

Feeling down, depressed or sad most of the day; feeling irritable and angry

Loss of interest in daily activities

Significant weight loss or weight gain; a decrease or increase in appetite

Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much

Feeling very nervous and hyper; feeling sluggish

Fatigue or no energy

Feeling worthless or unnecessarily guilty

Difficulty concentrating and/or indecisiveness

Either recurrent thoughts of death without a specific plan or a suicide attempt, or a specific plan for committing suicide

If you feel a sense of hopelessness, talk to your parents or guardians. They can make you an appointment with a mental health professional for a diagnosis and proper treatment, possibly including medications and/or therapy.

Restrict Access to Suicide Methods

One key protective factor of suicide is to restrict access to the methods for committing it. It’s vital for friends and family members of someone who is at risk of suicide to understand the methods commonly used.

The most common method of successful suicide among young adults is firearms. If your parents, family members, or adult friends own guns, they should take careful measures — especially gun trigger locks and locked cabinets — to ensure that someone with risk factors for suicide cannot get to the weapon. Such safety precautions also prevent accidental misuse by children.

Other common methods of suicide are hanging, drowning, cutting arteries, overdosing on medications or illegal drugs, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Friends and family of someone with suicide risk factors should take all available steps to restrict that person’s access to things like knives, rope, pipes, and medication.

What Should I Do If Someone Threatens Suicide?

Take any suicidal thought or suicide threat seriously. Even if the person seems to have the “perfect life” on the outside, it is impossible to know what is going on behind closed doors.

Teens contemplating suicide should seek immediate help from friends, family, and health care or mental health care professionals. Anyone confronted with a teen threatening suicide should contact mental health care professionals at once.

Even if you have doubts about the seriousness of a suicidal threat, you should still consider it an emergency and take appropriate action.

Help for Teens Considering Suicide

There are many resources available to teens who are thinking about suicide. Close friends, family members, teachers, and other members of the community can provide comfort and moral support.

If you’re feeling suicidal or know someone who is, don’t be afraid to approach these people to express your feelings. They can help save your life — or the life of your friend or family member. Religious groups and community organizations are also a valuable resource. In addition, there are many suicide hotlines that provide anonymous assistance.

depression-symptoms

 

 

  

One of them is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK FREE (8255).
WebMD Medical Reference
Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on January 13, 2015
© 2015 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

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October 20 2015

“PARENTS” VIII

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When Teens Lie About Drugs: A Guide for Parents

If Tom Hedrick could change one thing about teen drug use, he would reduce the time it takes between a parent’s first hunch that something is wrong and the child getting treatment. The fact that teens lie about drugs, and parents believe them, delays treatment, says Hedrick, a founding member of The Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

Brian and Julie Unwin have heard a lot of lies, both from their son and through other parents in their support group. A few examples:

“Other people were smoking marijuana. I must have inhaled some by accident.”

“My friend had a cold, so I gave him our bottle of cough medicine.”

“I was the only one at the party who wasn’t drinking, but they arrested all of us.”

“I ate a poppy seed muffin. That must be why the drug test came back positive.”

The Unwins’ teenage son lied and manipulated them for four years until he got sober. And they, like many parents, had a hard time accepting that reality. “When you raise a child, when you hold him in your arms as an infant, you want to believe him. No family wants to go through this,” says Brian.

This article explores the lies teens tell about drugs and what parents can do to get over their hurt and anger to keep their child safe.

Kids Lie, and Parents Believe Them

A group of researchers wanted to know how common it is for teens to lie about drugs. They asked 400 teenagers if they used cocaine, then took hair samples to test for traces of the drug. Even though they knew their answers were private, and that the drug test would prove them right or wrong, most teens who had cocaine in their systems denied using it. The hair samples revealed drug use 52 times more often than the teens admitted.

The fact that teens lie even when they know they’ll get caught doesn’t surprise Mason Turner, MD, chief of psychiatry at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco. “Most teens don’t think about what comes next,” he tells WebMD. “Concerns about the future don’t enter into their decision making.”

6 Tips for Parents of Teens

If your child is lying about using drugs or alcohol, looking the other way is a dangerous mistake. Study after study shows that parents’ involvement plays an important role in preventing adolescent drug use. And the earlier problem is addressed, the better your chances of containing potential damage. Here are six things you can do.

1. Trust your instincts.

Turner sees many parents discount their concerns about their child’s behavior. They say things like, “I’m probably just being an obsessive parent.” Or “Maybe I’m being hypersensitive.” But parents know their children. “If a parent’s gut is telling them something is off, there has got to be a reason,” Turner tells WebMD.

If the cold or cough syrup in your medicine cabinet disappears or gets used up, ask about it. Over-the-counter cough medicines contain dextromethorphan, an ingredient teens can drink in excess to get high.

Cagey behavior may have a simple explanation or a serious cause. Perhaps your child is stressed over schoolwork. Maybe she had a fight with a friend. Or she could have a problem she’s afraid to talk about. Turner counsels parents to make it as easy as possible for their teens to talk to them. Start by asking what is going on. Talk about specific things you see and concerns you have, and then be ready to listen.

2. Educate yourself.

Julie Unwin saw her middle-school son become increasingly sullen and withdrawn. “In my gut I believed something was wrong,” she says. “But I thought, if he was using drugs I would see a physical sign.” The Unwins’ son didn’t come home slurring or with bloodshot eyes because he wasn’t using alcohol or marijuana, at least not at first. There might have been signs, but his parents didn’t know what to look for.

Drugs rise and fall in popularity over time. It’s possible you have never heard of your child’s drug of choice. With time and research you can get to know the different substances available to kids today. The web sites drugfree.org or drugabuse.gov have drug guides that describe commonly abused substances and their effects.

3. Don’t take it personally.

If you find out your child is lying about drugs, you may see red. You may feel hurt, angry, guilty, and betrayed. All of these emotions are understandable. And none of them will help you help your child.

“First, recognize that lying is a normal teen behavior,” advises Turner. He goes on to say that normal or not, parents can and should teach their kids that lying is unacceptable. Your conversation with your child could cover the following ground:

Explore the reasons your child lied

Understand what is going on

Let your child know that lying is not OK

Talk about how to be honest in the future

 

4. Get help.

A lot of parents try to keep their child’s drug use within the family, Hedrick tells WebMD. “The idea that addiction reflects badly on the family keeps a lot of kids out of treatment until the problem is too big to ignore.”

Like diabetes or a broken bone, treating drug abuse requires expertise most parents don’t have. If your child is using drugs, you’ll have your hands full, even with a professional involved. Start by talking to your family doctor or pediatrician. The counselor at your child’s school may be able to recommend specialists or treatment centers that can help both you and your child.

5. Leave room to rebuild trust.

When parents don’t trust their kids, problems like drug abuse can snowball. Strained parent-child relations typically cast a negative tone on any and all interactions. Families tend do fewer things together, leaving kids fewer opportunities to feel connected to their parents. “Parents need to build a safe space for the child, while also defining boundaries and limits,” says Turner.

Try not to let the lies you’ve been told overshadow every conversation you have with your child. “So many kids in our groups say, ‘I never get a chance to talk. My parents cut me off all the time,’” says Hedrick. Open, two-way conversations can reinforce your child’s awareness of your family values and make the idea of drugs less appealing

6. Expand your parenting style.

“A lot of parents are at one end of the spectrum or the other: overly permissive, or overly aggressive,” says Turner. Substance abuse requires a variety of parenting styles. Sometimes your child will need you to be warm and loving. Other times, you will have to enforce rules your child considers unfair.

Everyone interviewed for this article emphasized how important it is for parents to be their child’s parents, not their friends. There’s a significant difference.

Friends think it’s OK if another kid does drugs, puts himself in danger, and lies about it.

Parents love their children and are willing to set limits and boundaries to keep them safe, no matter much strife it causes in the household.

 

The Unwins often had to do the opposite of what they considered good parenting while their son was going through treatment. “Instead of protecting our child and taking care of his needs, we had to put the  responsibility on him. We couldn’t let our emotions take over and try to fix everything,” says Brian.

WebMD Feature
By Joanne Barker
Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

 

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October 19 2015

“PARENTS” VII

bullying

Long-Term Effects Of Bullying: Pain Lasts Into Adulthood

(STUDY)

We have to teach our children (and ourselves) that caution is often a sign of courage. That often NO is as brave an answer as YES.    Glennon Melton

 

Kids don’t easily outgrow the pain of bullying, according to a new study that finds that people bullied as kids are less mentally healthy as adults.

The study is one of the first to establish long-term effects of childhood bullying, which is still often considered a typical part of growing up.

“To my surprise at least, there were some very strong long-term effects on their risk for depression, anxiety, suicidality, a whole host of outcomes that we know just wreak havoc on adult lives,” said study researcher William Copeland, a clinical psychologist at Duke University Medical Center.

How bullying hurts

Previous studies have found that both bullies and their victims are at higher risk for mental health problems and other struggles in childhood. One study, presented in 2010 at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, found that bullies were at higher risk of substance abuse, depression, anxiety and hostility than non-bullies.

For bully victims, being targeted can result in increased suicide risk, depression, poor school performance and low self-esteem. But most studies on the effects of bullying focus on the childhood period.

“The question for our study is what happens long-term, down the road, after they’re no longer being bullied and after they’re no longer children,” Copeland told LiveScience. [10 Scientific Tips for Raising Happy Kids]

Copeland and his colleagues used data from a study begun 20 years ago, which queried 1,420 children and their parents about general mental health beginning ate age 9, 11 or 13. The kids were assessed annually until age 16, and then they came back for follow-ups at ages 19, 21 and 25.

Before age 16, participants were asked whether they had been bullied or bullied others, how frequently, and where any bullying occurred, among other questions.

Using this data, the researchers divided the kids into four groups: kids uninvolved in bullying; pure victims who were bullied but did not bully others; pure bullies who were never victimized themselves; and “bully/victims,” a group of kids who both bullied and were bullied.

Five percent of the kids, or 112, were bullies only, and 21.6 percent, or 335 kids, were pure victims. Another 4.5 percent were bully/victims. The rest were neither.

Long-term effects

The researchers then looked at the mental health outcomes of each group in young adulthood, controlling for childhood factors such as pre-existing mental health conditions, struggles with home life and childhood anxiety levels.

They found that any involvement in bullying boded poorly in adulthood. Pure bullies did not show problems with emotional functioning as adults, Copeland said, which is unsurprising given that they had all the power in their childhood relationships. But they did show increased risk of developing antisocial personality disorder. People with this disorder have little empathy and few scruples about manipulating others for their own gain. The disorder is linked with a greater risk of becoming a criminal. Most bullies did not go on to have the disorder, Copeland said, but they were more likely to develop it than other groups.

Pure victims, on the other hand, were at higher risk for depression, anxiety, panic attacks and agoraphobia than kids uninvolved in bullying, the researchers found. Worst off were the bully/victims, who were at higher risk of every depressive and anxiety disorder in the book. [5 Ways to Foster Self-Compassion in Your Child]

For example, pure victims were four times as likely to develop an anxiety disorder in adulthood compared with kids who were uninvolved in bullying. Bully/victims had a five-times greater risk of depression than uninvolved kids, as well as 10 times the likelihood of suicidal thoughts or actions and 15 times the likelihood of developing a panic disorder.

“By far, being a bully and a victim meant having the worst long-term outcomes,” Copeland said.

Because they were able to take childhood mental health into account, the researchers are confident that the adult mental health struggles are an effect of the bullying, not pre-existing conditions that made them vulnerable to bullies in the first place.

While it’s not yet clear why bullying might have such a long-term effect, it’s possible that torment at school is not so dissimilar to maltreatment or abuse in the home, Copeland said. Kids spend a lot of time at school and surrounded by peers, he said, so it’s not surprising that troubles there could have long-lasting consequences.

“More and more, I’m coming to the mindset that what happens to kids when they’re with other kids, their peers, is as important, or maybe more important, than what happens at home,” he said.

The next step, Copeland said, is to investigate what makes some bullied kids more resilient and able to bounce back in adulthood than others. The researchers report their results online today (Feb. 20) in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

By: Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer

 

 

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