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MY BLOG: PEOPLE USE DRUGS FOR REASONS

People in Addiction Recovery Struggle to Manage Chronic Pain

Many people in addiction recovery also have chronic pain associated with illnesses or injuries. The stigma and public ignorance about addiction and recovery, combined with the epidemic of prescription opioid abuse, create frustrating barriers for many people to get quality, effective care for their pain management.

A recent article in The Philadelphia Inquirer by an anesthesiologist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania identifies the problems built into our healthcare system and culture that contribute to the struggle that people with chronic pain have in getting relief. She describes chronic pain as "a staggering burden, reducing overall quality of life, social functioning, and psychological well-being". She cites a dated but significant research report estimating that pain costs the U. S. public $100 billion a year in associated health care, lost wages, and legal costs. And we know that with as we live longer, the problem is likely to get worse.

Co-Occurring Disorders in Teens: Bipolar Disorder - The Great Imitator

Angry outbursts, erratic sleep patterns, sudden mood swings, and changes in personality. If you’re a parent of a teenager, these behaviors can be the status quo—actually, we often take these behaviors for granted. When teens are in trouble, when they are struggling to cope with issues that are too difficult for them to handle, drinking or getting high makes these behaviors worse often to the point of frightening us.

Symptoms of substance misuse often mimic other behaviors and make it hard to figure out exactly what’s going on in kids who are getting high. We know that kids (and adults) get high to help manage the difficult emotions associated with life’s challenges. And we know that adolescence presents them (and us!) with unique challenges.

Your parental instinct that something is wrong is often correct, but understanding the difference in the root causes of their erratic behavior will help you decide what course to take with your child.

Sometimes the issues are normal external pressures, like arguments with friends, academic expectations, real or perceived rejections by others.

Happy Mother's Day! Celebrate with Mom's Nite Out

by Barry Lessin

May 5th, 2011

In celebration of the great jobs moms do, The Partnership at Drugfree.org is promoting 'National Mom's Nite Out' to give moms a well-deserved night off and celebrate who they are besides being a mom--a girlfriend, a friend and a woman.

Locally, there's a fun nite planned here on Philadelphia's Main Line to give moms a chance to strut their stuff at a fashion show and silent auction.

Taking time out for yourself to re-energize and let off steam is crucial to effective coping with addiction in the family. Make sure you don't just wait for Mother's Day!!

College is a Part of Life; It's Not Apart From Life

Getting a college degree is an impressive accomplishment that any person can be proud of.

Unfortunately, the faulty expectations that are part of the "mystique" of college life--"These will be the best years of your life!"--undermine the success of many kids' adjustment to college, leaving behind a long line of depressed, anxious, alcohol- and drug-abusing kids.

Many kids hit a wall when they get to college, mostly because they're not prepared for what are the normal challenges of this phase of life that college presents. Yes, it's normal-- no, there's nothing wrong with you!--if you struggle with establishing a life separate from your parents, family, lifelong friends and supports.

Confronting brand new academic, financial, and social pressures that the college experience brings is hard enough for any child, let alone with those with acknowledged learning and/or emotional problems. "Changes of scenery" and "getting away from mom and dad" are not part of a good plan for kids already struggling to manage their anxiety, depression, and/ADHD.

A recent Huffington Post article by Meg Schneider points out that, yes, going away to college offers the possibility of growth and positive change, but it's naive to believe that old challenges can just be erased.

Meg offers many excellent realistic suggestions for embracing the opportunities offered in college that will improve the chances of a successful college experience. Her main message is one of normalizing the college experience, and I love how she describes it: "College is a part of life. It's not apart from life". Perfectly stated.

If your child is unhappy at college, it's crucial to have him/her ask for help. It doesn't mean that there's something wrong with him or her. Getting that diploma may involve a few detours or pit stops along the way, including a few at a counselor's office. It's a normal part of the journey to that impressive graduation milestone. 

Substance Misuse Counseling 101 for Parents

Understanding some basic principles of substance misuse counseling will help you as parents develop an approach to intervening with your child.

Substance misuse is a problem that involves the interaction among physical, emotional, social (friends), and environmental (family, school) variables. In the course of our normal daily interaction with our kids, we’re usually aware of any physical, social, and environmental issues. Since children are often not able to articulate their emotional struggles well, we need to look at their behaviors as possible signs of conflict.

People use drugs for reasons. And our behavior, no matter what age, reflects choices we make based on how we think and feel. Also, as humans we tend to move towards rewarding activities and away from uncomfortable activities. Problems with drinking and drug use are associated with the harmful choices we make, often as ways of helping us feel better in the short run. Chemically, alcohol and drugs offer available options ways to self-medicate the uncomfortable feelings of daily life.

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