Sunday, November 27, 2011

When Teen Drinking Becomes Drunkorexia

At first, "drunkorexia" may sound like kind of a funny word, jokingly made up to describe a situation in which college students and others forgo food in order to be able to afford more alcohol and feel higher effects of alcohol on an empty stomach. But what some may brush off as crazy college-kid behavior is actually a serious problem that can have highly damaging consequences both in long- and short-term health.

Of course, that hasn't stopped college students from engaging in this unhealthy trend, and a study at the University of Missouri-Columbia indicated that one in six students had practiced drunkorexia within the last year. Typically, drunkorexia is done by women; the study showed that three out of four drunkorexia respondents were female.

Students may not realize that drunkorexia is incredibly damaging to their health, but the fact remains that the practice puts them at risk for problems like sexually transmitted diseases, malnutrition, and even seizures and comas. Specifically, the University of Missouri study indicates that drunkorexia may lead to:
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • HIV
  • Drunk driving
  • Injury risk
  • Perpetrating or being a victim of sexual assault
  • Passing out
  • Malnutrition
  • Cognitive disabilities
  • Heart problems
  • Seizures
  • Comas
  • Organ failures
All of the possible effects are disturbing, but perhaps the most worrisome are heart problems and cognitive disabilities that can stem from drunkorexia-induced malnutrition. STDs, injury, or sexual assault are without a doubt difficult to bounce back from, but malnutrition-induced heart problems and cognitive disabilities are something you just can't take back.

Cognitive problems are especially disturbing for college students, as they can result in "difficulty concentrating, studying, and making decisions." These are long-term health issues brought on by drunkorexia that can follow a college student for the rest of her life. That is, assuming that the student survives past the possibility of seizures, comas, and organ failure.

So it seems that a practice that may be approached lightheartedly is in fact a very serious problem that doesn't just stop with fun (and possible weight loss) one night. Used as a regular practice, drunkorexia can scar you for life and even end in death. And although the long-term effects are certainly frightening, the short-term possibilities of drunkorexia aren't incredibly easy hurdles to get over, either. Just one night of drunkorexia can have serious consequences, with higher levels of intoxication and starvation putting students at risk for dangerous behavior.

At high levels of intoxication, students lose the ability to make good decisions, which can lead to dangerous situations like having unprotected sex, or even being involved in a rape, driving drunk, and becoming injured as a result of stunts, fights, or simply an inability to function properly. In addition to these risks, just one night of intense drinking on an empty stomach can lead to blackouts, hospitalization, and death from alcohol poisoning.

Clearly, drunkorexia has serious and lasting consequences, even for students who aren't repeat offenders.

Source:  Online College

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Teen Depression: Know How your Teen is Feeling - Check their FB Status

"Forgive me."
"When will this end?"
"I hate my life"

RED FLAGS and parenting.  Know them!

Facebook is the social hangout of the internet for all ages, but it is particularly true of teenagers.
Teenagers often are much more open about what they are thinking and feeling in this cyber environment than most older adults. Since teens experience many emotional ups and downs, it can be easy to dismiss most of their dramatic postings as nothing more than normal teenage drama. However, there have been too many instances in recent years when parents had wished they’d paid more attention to what their teenager had posted as their ‘current status’.
Here a few status updates parents should watch for and investigate further.
  1. I can’t take it anymore. Although, this could mean anything from homework overload to sibling irritation, it could also be a cry for help from a teen who is truly overwhelmed with life in someway. It is not a status update that you want to ignore. Parents should take the initiative and find out what prompted this entry.
  2. Text me. This may seem innocent enough, but, for some parents, it may be a signal that their teen may be trying to keep something hidden that needs to be in the open. Privacy and protection are always a fine line to walk with teenagers. Parents, however, should never hesitate to ask about the reason behind such a post.
  3. Really loaded right now. If your teen is high enough to make this post on Facebook without thinking about the fact that their parents might see it, there is drug or alcohol abuse going on. Ignoring these types of problems does not make them go away.
  4. Depressing song lyrics. Song lyrics are popular posts from teens. It may be what they’re listening to at the moment or a song that is running through their head. If the lyrics of the songs are continually negative and depressing, this could be an indication of the teen’s emotional state, as well.
  5. No one understands. This is a common feeling during teenage years, but it is also one that can develop into a true depressive state. Seeing this posted as your teen’s Facebook status should raise enough concern for their parents to pursue the reasons behind the posting.
  6. I hate my life. Again, this is not an unusual statement to come from a teen at different points in their adolescence, however, posting it as your Facebook status is similar to shouting it from the rooftops. It is always better to treat these statements seriously, than to ignore them as a simple impulse statement.
  7. Forgive me, Mom & Dad. This kind of post would be one that should require immediate connection with your child. If it doesn’t mention what they are asking forgiveness for, it may be a subtle plea for you to stop them from doing something terrible. Take this very seriously!
  8. You’re all going to die. In light of the terrible things we have seen happen in our schools, a teen who posts something like this should not be ignored. “I was just joking” is not an acceptable explanation for this type of post. A teen who posts such a statement publicly should expect inquiry from, not only his parents, but school and law enforcement as well.
  9. I wish I were dead. Never assume these statements are words only. Any type of suicidal expression like this should be taken very seriously. Many parents have had the misfortune of finding out that even a verbal statement can be an indication of suicidal thoughts. A public posting of that thought should be taken just as seriously.
  10. I hate my school. The key word in this status update is ‘my’. It doesn’t say ‘I hate school’, it is more specific than that. It would behoove the parents to find out what it is, about the child’s school, that made them post this statement, and what can be done to improve the situation.
Facebook status updates reach a lot of people, a parent of a teenager should definitely be one of those people who pays attention to what their child is broadcasting into cyberspace. It may be their way of trying to find out if anyone is really paying attention, and if anyone really cares.

Source: My ISP Finder

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Words Kill: Abuse Bites - It's not just bullying anymore - It is suicide

Words kill - literally!
Bullying and cyberbullying is rapidly spreading and harming our kids today. 
Some being driven to suicide - why? Because words do kill!

The stats are disturbing:

·  42% of kids have been bullied while online.
·  35% of kids have been threatened online.
·  21% of kids have received mean or threatening e-mail or other messages.
·  58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online.
·  53% of kids admit having said something mean or hurtful to another person online.
·  58% have not told their parents or an adult about something mean or hurtful that happened to them online.
  • 51% of teen girls say pressure from a guy is a reason girls send sexy messages or images
  • 44% of both teen girls and teen boys say it is common for sexually suggestive text messages to get shared with people other than the intended recipient.
  • Middle school cyberbullying victims are more apt to commit suicide
  • Suicide rates among 10-14 yr. olds have risen over 50% the last 3 decades
Abuse Bites was created by Lisa Freeman who is an abuse survivor.
Many don't realize that bullying isn't just limited to kids and teens.  Adult bullying is more prevalent that many know.

Abuse Bites Workshops Aim to Educate & Train employers and workers alike how to defeat bullying and make the workforce a more enjoyable, safer, and productive place.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Drugs and Teens: Know the risks and dangers

Learn more about today's drugs and what our kids are using and dealing on the street.  Be a parent in the know - you will have safer and healthier teens.

Anabolic Steroids—Hand out this "damage diagram" activity and help kids understand the big picture about steroids' side effects.
Brain & Addiction—Try this activity to get the brain going and the discussion flowing.
Ecstasy—Find out how much your students know or don't know about ecstasy. Have them try this quiz.
HIV, AIDS, and Drug Abuse—Teach your children/students the connection between drugs and HIV infection.
Inhalants—Students will learn how the chemicals in inhalants can change how the brain and body work by finding their match.
Marijuana—A friend on "weed" is a friend in need-of your kids' knowledge. Download and discuss this email-writing activity.
Prescription Drug Abuse—Have your students take this quiz to learn more about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
Stimulants—Help your children/students better understand the symptoms and consequences of stimulant abuse by having them fill in the missing blanks of this diagnostic report.
Tobacco Addiction—Try this matching activity in class to help kids understand nicotine's causes and effects.
Mind Over Matter—This series is designed to encourage young people in grades five through nine to learn about the effects of drug abuse on the body and the brain.
Mind Over Matter Teacher's Guide—Use this Teacher's Guide in conjunction with the Mind Over Matter magazine series to promote an understanding of the physical reality of drug use, as well as curiosity about neuroscience.

Need more help?  Visit

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sex, AIDS, HIV, Drugs and Teens

It's only sex.....or is it?

October 31st through November 6th is National Drug Facts Week.

This is an opportunity to shatter the myths about drug and substance abuse as well as become an educated parent and build a stronger drug-free community.

What Are HIV and AIDS?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). AIDS is a disease of the immune system that has treatment options, but no cure, at the present time. Most people just say “HIV/AIDS” when they are talking about either the virus (HIV) or the disease it causes (AIDS).

HIV is a blood-borne virus. That means it can spread when the blood or bodily fluids of someone who’s infected comes in contact with the blood, broken skin, or mucous membranes of an uninfected person. Sharing needles or other equipment used for injection drug use and engaging in risky sexual behaviors are the two main ways that HIV is spread. Infected pregnant women also can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding.

HIV destroys certain cells, called CD4+ cells, in the immune system—that’s the body’s disease fighting department. Without these cells, a person with HIV can’t fight off germs and diseases. In fact, loss of these cells in people with HIV is a key predictor of the development of AIDS. Because of their weakened immune system, people with AIDS often develop infections of the lungs, brain, eyes, and other organs, and many suffer dangerous weight loss, diarrhea, and a type of cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma.

The good news is that HIV isn’t the death sentence it was when the epidemic began, thanks in large part to a treatment called HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy). HAART is a combination of three or more antiretroviral medications that can hold back the virus and prevent or decrease symptoms of illness.

How Many People Have HIV/AIDS?

HIV/AIDS has been a global epidemic for more than 25 years; today's youth have never known a world without it. In the United States, the estimates indicate that more than 1 million people are living with HIV or AIDS.

It is estimated that in 2009, approximately 35,000 people were diagnosed with AIDS. During that same year, the estimated number of HIV diagnoses in U.S. areas where this information is collected (it isn’t collected in all 50 states) was 42,959. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that close to one-quarter of the people in the United States who are infected with HIV do not know they are infected.

Can You Tell if Someone Is Infected With HIV or Has AIDS?

You cannot tell by looking at them if someone is infected with HIV. A person can be infected with HIV for many years, and the virus may or may not progress to the disease of AIDS. A medical test is the only way to know if a person has HIV or has developed AIDS.

How Are Drug Abuse and HIV Related?

Drug abuse and addiction have been closely linked with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic. Although injection drug use is well known in this regard, the role that non-injection drug abuse plays more generally in the spread of HIV is less recognized.

Injection drug use. People typically associate drug abuse and HIV/AIDS with injection drug use and needle sharing. Injection drug use refers to when a drug is injected into a tissue or vein with a needle. When injection drug users share “equipment”—such as needles, syringes, and other drug injection paraphernalia—HIV can be transmitted between users. Other infections—such as hepatitis C—can also be spread this way. Hepatitis C can cause liver disease and permanent liver damage.

Poor judgment and risky behavior. Drug abuse by any method (not just injection) can put a person at risk for contracting HIV. Drug and alcohol intoxication affect the way a person makes decisions and can lead to unsafe sexual practices, which puts them at risk for getting HIV or transmitting it to someone else.

Biological effects of drugs. Drug abuse and addiction can worsen the progression of HIV and its consequences, especially in the brain. For example, research has shown that HIV causes more harm to nerve cells in the brain and greater cognitive damage among people who abuse methamphetamine than among people with HIV who do not abuse drugs. In animal studies, methamphetamine has been shown to increase the amount of HIV in brain cells.

Drug abuse treatment. Since the late 1980s, researchers have found that if you treat drug abuse you can prevent the spread of HIV. When people who have a drug problem enter treatment, they stop or reduce their drug use and related risk behaviors, including drug injection and unsafe sexual practices. Drug treatment programs also serve an important role in getting out good information on HIV/AIDS and related diseases, providing counseling and testing services, and offering referrals for medical and social services.

How Are Teens Affected?

Young people are at risk for contracting HIV and developing AIDS. According to CDC, more than 50,000 young people age 13 to 24 in the United States had been diagnosed with AIDS by the end of 2009. In the past, most of those cases were in adolescent males. That ratio is changing as more females become infected.
In youth, as in adults, some populations are disproportionately affected. That means that some populations are more affected than others. For example, Blacks/African Americans age 13 to 19 represent only 17 percent of the U.S. teenage population, but accounted for more than 70 percent of the HIV infections among people age 13 to 19 in 2009. The reasons for this gap aren’t completely understood; in fact, Black/African American youth have lower rates of drug abuse than Whites and Hispanics. This remains a strong research priority for NIDA.

In general, middle and late adolescence is a time when young people engage in risk-taking and sensation-seeking behaviors that may put them in jeopardy of contracting HIV. Regardless of whether a young person takes drugs, unsafe sexual practices increase a person's risk of contracting HIV. But drugs and alcohol can increase the chances of unsafe behavior by altering judgment and decision making.

How Can Teens Protect Themselves?

The best way to protect yourself is to stay healthy and think clearly. Choose not to use drugs. Know that drug use can change the way the brain functions, thereby affecting the way people make decisions and weigh risks.
Why Is NIDA Studying HIV and AIDS?
Since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began, injection drug use has accounted for about one-third of the AIDS cases in the United States. We now know that the poor judgment and impaired critical thinking that can result from non-injection drug abuse also can contribute in a big way to the spread of this lethal virus through risky behavior.
What Can I Do To Help?
Go to for more information on learning the link between drug abuse and HIV/AIDS. On World AIDS Day—every December 1—participate by spreading the word that drug abuse and HIV/AIDS can shorten lives. Tell your friends what you've learned and how they can avoid infection.

Source:  NIDA

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