Sunday, April 26, 2015

"How Childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime"

In this TEDTALKS-clip (opens in iTunes) Nadine Burke Harris, pediatrician at Center for youth and wellness, talks about how childhood trauma may be the cause for many people’s health problems. Research shows that being exposed to abuse or neglect, or having parents suffering from an alcohol- or drug addiction, in an early stage of life may effect the person’s brain development, hormonal system and immune system. 

If you don't have iTunes you can watch Nadine Burk Harris' lecture on YouTube here.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

If Your Teen or Young Adult Has a Problem with Drugs

It may be very painful to find out that your child is addicted to alcohol/drugs. Here are some common questions and answers when it comes to teenagers with substance use disorder. The information has been taken from The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Read more at:  

How do I know?
Maybe he/she starts to act different without any reason, for example:

  • Often feels tired/down
  • Acts different towards family members (irritated/angry etc.)
  • Changes circle of friends
  • Doesn’t take care of personal health (hygiene/food intake/physical activities etc.)
  • Misses/fails/skips classes
  • Loose interest in things that used to be important

If you recognize some of these signs - it might be a good start to find out the reason for the changes as soon as possible. Don’t wait for your child to become addicted!

What can I do to help?
To ask for professional help at a medical center is a good start. It takes a lot of hard work and courage to seek help and recover from an addiction, and it might result in big changes in your child’s academic and personal life. Remember that it takes time and require patience. 

What to do if my child refuses treatment?
Don’t use nagging or yelling! Many people suffering from addiction find it frightful to lose their drugs. Explain to your child that the treatment is not dangerous and that the treatment centers will provide all the help she/he needs. Tell your child that you/your family will be at her/his side all the way, whatever happens. Most teenagers only enter treatment if there’s a pressure from their family. To meet a professional may be a big step on the way for your child, since talking to him/her alone may stir up a lot of emotions (accusations, yelling, threats or fear may be some emotions that will only worsen the situation). 

What to do if my child has already been in treatment but has suffered from a relapse?
This means that your child has already been provided with many tools that may help. Instead you should view a new treatment as a supplement for the earlier treatment. Your child is now acquainted with the ways in which he/she may recover from addiction; a relapse doesn’t mean a failure! Try and explain this to your child. 

How to face my child before he/she enters treatment?
Talk! There are many tools that you can use to avoid destructive conversations, many of which you can read about in this blog. Let your child express her/his emotions, but keep in mind that people suffering from addiction may find it hard to tell the truth (mostly because of shame), and that’s why it’s a good idea for your child to speak to someone unknown (professional). 

I’ve heard that teenagers often use drugs to self-medicate in order to treat depression. How do I face this problem?
There might be a possibility that your child is suffering from both addiction and depression, which is very common when it comes to addiction in general. Encourage your child to tell his/her health care provider about all his/her problems/feelings. Don’t try and force your child to speak to you if he/she is not willing to do so. There are many effective non-addictive drugs that can help a person with health mental health issues. Talk to your child’s health care provider! Ask how they deal with depression and tell them about what you know when it comes to your child’s psychological health. 


Monday, April 13, 2015

Alcohol and Heredity

Research shows that the risk for developing alcoholism increases if there is alcoholism in the family. Below is an extract from Maggie Hagglunds book Njutningsparadoxen (transl. "The Pleasure Paradox") (2014):

"When the rats in the experiment were offered food, water and alcohol 10 percent chose alcohol. The rats drank frequently until they lost consciousness, many drank themselves to death. If the researchers then they take 10 percent and breed them, the outcome will be rat pups who like alcohol ".

Information about drugs and heredity must be spread!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Talking to your friend about his/her addiction

The sooner you address the problem, the better!

You may know that the topic is sensitive, and that you may offend your friend, but the main thing is to destroy the stigma of addiction, and this is only possible if we talk about it. Emphasize the fact that you care about the person, and that's why you talk to him/her about it.

Tell your friend what you have seen and noticed, for example: "I get worried when I see ...", "you've changed in ways like...", "I could be wrong ...".

  • If your friend responds that he/she is aware of this, but that he/she doesn't see any problem in it, you should back off. Leave the subject and do not nag.
  • If your friend gets angry and hurt, do not be alarmed right away. Many people who feel "attacked" or who are in denial may become very angry, but when this anger has subsided they might start to think about what you said.
  • If your friend admits that he/she drinks too much, you can first of all help him/her just by being there for support. It is then up to the person if he/she wants to try to change their behavior on his/her own, or seek help.


Source: Njutningsparadoxen (2014). Maggan Hägglund - Den ständigt växande länkkatalogen - Den ständigt växande länkkatalogen