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Category Archives: Self Harm

Teenage Addiction

Josh* was introduced to me by his parents because he was struggling to find time for anything other than online gaming and smoking pot.  Josh’s parents were concerned that he had become addicted to marijuana and online gaming. “Who knows?” they thought “Maybe he’s doing other things as well…” His parents shared that their relationship with Josh was deteriorating as a result of this.  They said that when he did come out of his room, which wasn’t often, he would yell and be disrespectful towards them.

After meeting with Josh and his family it was clear to me that Josh did not know how to say to his parents that he was feeling very depressed.  Rather than dealing with his feelings, he was stuffing them away. Instead of talking through his emotions, he was spending more and more of his time in his alternate online reality.

This scenario is reported frequently by the families we work with. Families we meet with frequently report that their teen is an addict. We believe this to be true in a small number of cases. We tend to see that the majority of the clients we work with are using drugs, alcohol, video games, and other process addictions as a way to bring attention to their struggles. Often, teens and young adults are unable to effectively communicate their pain in another way, so they communicate through their actions.

Regardless of whether they are using drugs, alcohol, sexting, online gaming, gambling, or other process addictions, all of these unhealthy coping mechanisms are effective at relieving stress in the short term. The problem is that they are not effective in treating the underlying issue that is creating the pain. This is why our clients will continue to participate in these risky behaviors.

The solution is to identify and treat the underlying issues. This may happen in individual therapy, group therapy and or family therapy.  Whether you or your family are looking for therapists or treatment programs, Prepare To Bloom, LLC may be able to help you locate appropriate help. Please contact us at (650) 888-4575 or on the web at www.PrepareToBloom.com.

*All identifying information has been changed to protect the individual’s privacy.

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Posted by on April 22, 2011 in Addiction, Families, Self Harm

 

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Prescription Drug Abuse Facts

What is prescription drug abuse? Prescription drug abuse is when someone uses another person’s prescription, or uses their own prescription in a manner not as prescribed.

What are the most commonly abused prescriptions?  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Opiods (such as the pain relievers OxyContin and Vicodin), central nervous system depressants, and stimulants are the most commonly abused prescription drugs.  Some drugs that are available without a prescription – also known as over-the-counter drugs can also be dangerous if they aren’t taken according to the directions on the packaging.  For example, DXM (dextromethorphan), the active cough suppressant found in many over-the-counter cough and cold medications, sometimes is abused, particularly by youth.”

Where do teens get prescription drugs? Teens, tweens, and young adults frequently obtain prescriptions from friends and family members. Often the individual does not know that their prescription is being abused by someone else.

Why do teens abuse prescription drugs? As with all other drugs, teens use them for a variety of reasons including getting high, avoiding feelings, avoiding physical pain, and assisting with concentration.

Are prescription drugs safer than illegal drugs? No. While doctors prescribe medications to help their patients, when they are misused the prescriptions become unsafe. Prescription drugs can be lethal if used in a manner that is not in accordance with doctors’ orders.

Is there help for prescription drug abuse? Yes.  There are both out-patient and residential programs that work with teens who are abusing prescription drugs. Whether you’re looking for a therapist or a treatment program or would like more information about therapeutic and educational consulting, Prepare To Bloom, LLC can help. Please give us a call at 650-888-4575 or visit PrepareToBloom.com for more information.

 

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A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Cutting

Cutting is a form of self injury where small cuts are made typically on the body arms and/or legs.  Cutting is a way for teens to release emotional pain.  The practice of cutting has been happening in secret for ages, but more recently has come to light as it has been shown in movies, TV shows and online.  Teens and tweens, who are often unaware of other ways to release intense emotions, turn to the internet for answers and come across information on cutting.  They are also learning from peers.  The majority of my clients report knowing someone who cuts.

The topic of cutting was recently discussed on the Today Show and it was highlighted that teens who are feeling immense “pressure to be perfect” are turning to cutting as an answer.  The segment reported that “a Seventeen magazine poll shows that 15% of teens physically hurt themselves on purpose.”  They are highlighting that this is a common problem and parents need to understand the signs and symptoms of these self destructive behaviors.

What to look for:

  • Changes in attitude, friends, interest in activities and day to day behaviors.  Teens who are not handling the day to day stress of their lives are vulnerable to releasing their emotions through cutting.
  • Need to always be covered up.  If you see that your child is wearing long sleeves, long pants and this does not match with the season, this may be reason to be concerned.
  • Unexplainable cuts or scratches.  Often teens will use whatever they can get their hands on to cut so cuts may be superficial.  Question your child on how they got the scratches or cuts and trust your intuition.
  • Negative self talk.  If your teen is constantly talking about themselves in a negative way with you or others.
There are treatment options for self harming ,and parents need to address self injury head on in a compassionate manner.  Parents need to try and calm their fears, and listen to what your teen is telling you.  Remember that teens can’t always express their feelings and their actions often need to be looked at as communication that things are not going well.  Whether you’re looking for a therapist or a treatment program or would like more information about therapeutic and educational consulting, Prepare To Bloom, LLC can help. Please give us a call at 650-888-4575 or visit PrepareToBloom.com for more information.
 

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