Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Teen Substance Abuse

With today's society, kids have access to many different substances that can be addictive and damaging. If you suspect your child is using drugs or drinking alcohol, please seek help for them as soon as possible. Drug testing is helpful, but not always accurate. Teen Drug use and Teen Drinking may escalate to addiction.

We get calls constantly, that a child is only smoking pot. Unfortunately in most cases, marijuana can lead to more severe drugs, and marijuana is considered an illegal drug. Smoking marijuana is damaging to the child's body, brain and behavior. Even though marijuana is not considered a narcotic, most teens are very hooked on it. Many teens that are on prescribed medications such as Ritalin, Adderall, Strattera, Concerta, Zoloft, Prozac etc. are more at risk when mixing these medications with street drugs. It is critical you speak with your child about this and learn all the side effects. Educating your child on the potential harm may help them to understand the dangers involved in mixing prescription drugs with street drugs. Awareness is the first step to understanding.

Alcohol is not any different with today's teens. Like adults, some teens use the substances to escape their problems; however they don't realize that it is not an escape but rather a deep dark hole. Some teens use substances to "fit in" with the rest of their peers – teen peer pressure. This is when a child really needs to know that they don't need to "fit in" if it means hurting themselves. Using drug and alcohol is harming them. Especially if a teen is taking prescribed medication (refer to the above paragraph) teen drinking can be harmful. The combination can bring out the worse in a person. Communicating with your teen, as difficult as it can be, is one of the best tools we have. Even if you think they are not listening, we hope eventually they will hear you.

If your teen is experimenting with this, please step in and get proper help through local resources. If it has extended into an addiction, it is probably time for a Residential Placement. If you feel your child is only experimenting, it is wise to start precautions early. An informed parent is an educated parent. This can be your life jacket when and if you need the proper intervention. Always be prepared, it can save you from rash decisions later.

A teen that is just starting to experiment with substance use or starting to become difficult; a solid short term self growth program may be very beneficial for them. However keep in mind, if this behavior has been escalating over a length of time, the short term program may only serve as a temporary band-aid.

Drugs and Alcoholic usage is definitely a sign that your child needs help. Teen Drug Addiction and Teen Drinking is a serious problem in today’s society; if you suspect your child is using substances, especially if they are on prescribed medications, start seeking local help. If the local resources become exhausted, and you are still experiencing difficulties, it may be time for the next step; Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center.

Visit for more information.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Teens Say School Pressure Is Main Reason For Drug Use

Source:, Triad, NC

New York — A new study reveals a troubling new insight into the reasons why teens use drugs.The study conducted by the Partnership for a Drug-free America shows that of 6,511 teens, 73% report that school stress and pressure is the main reason for drug use.

Ironically, only 7% of parents believe that teens use drugs to cope with stress.

Second on the list was to “feel cool” (73%), which was previously ranked in the first position. Another popular reason teens said they use drugs was to “feel better about themselves”(65%).Over the past decade, studies have indicated a steady changing trend in what teens perceive as the motivations for using drugs. The “to have fun” rationales are declining, while motivations to use drugs to solve problems are increasing.

On the positive side, the study confirms that overall abuse remains in a steady decline among teens. Marijuana, ecstasy, inhalants, methamphetamine alcohol and cigarette usage continue to decrease.

Additional findings show:

- 1 in 5 teens has abused a prescription medication- Nearly 1 in 5 teens has already abused a prescription painkiller- 41% of teens think it’s safer to abuse a precription drug than it is to use illegal drugs.

Teens continue to take their lives into their own hands when they intentionally abuse prescribed medications, said Pasierb. “Whether it’s to get high or deal with stress, or if they mistakenly believe it will help them perform better in school or sports, teens don’t realize that when used without a prescription, these medicines can be every bit as harmful as illegal street drugs.”

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Self Injury and Cutting by Sue Scheff

Self Injury and Cutting

Self abuse (or self mutilation) can come in many forms; most commonly it is associated with cutting, hair pulling or bone breaking, but it can also manifest itself as eating disorders like bulimia, and/or anorexia. This site will focus mainly on cutting, which is the most common form of self abuse, with 72% of all self injurers choosing to do so by cutting themselves, and hair pulling. Cutting is exactly as it sounds; when your teen cuts him or herself as a physical expression to feel emotional pain. There are many reasons why teens injure themselves, but many people assume it’s just ‘for attention’. Often this can be an element of why your teen may be abusing him or her self, but just as often it can be something your teen does privately to express the emotional pain they feel inside. And while self injury is a taboo subject, it is estimated that 3 to 6 million Americans self injure themselves in some way, and that number is on the increase- in fact, its already doubled in the past three years.

Why Teens Self Injure

According to experts, one of the most common reasons teens self injure is because the injury is in some way a “release” from emotional anxiety. The pain of the injury provides a distraction from the emotional pain the teen is feeling, and acts almost as a drug to them. It can also help the injured feel ‘human’ again, by putting them in touch with a common human experience: pain.
Another reason teens may self injure is for the attention they get from the physical manifestation of their injuries. For example, some teens may cut because they get attention from the blood and scars obtained from cutting. Teens that cut for attention may feel neglected in some way, and usually do not care if they receive negative or positive attention from cutting.
Statistics have shown time and time again that the “average” cutter (and in fact, self injurer) is most commonly female.

According to [Dr. Charles Goodstein of the New York University School of Medicine, cutting regularly occurs in one in every 200 adolescent girls between the ages of 13 and 19. Typically, young women begin cutting in their teens following some sort of physical and/or sexual abuse (most commonly sexual abuse). Statistically, the average female cutter was raised with at least one alcoholic parent in the home. Cutters are also typically of middle to upper middle class backgrounds and usually well educated, though this is not always the case. Experts suggest women may be more prone to cutting or self injury because (as opposed to young men) they are not taught to repress their emotions, so keeping any traumatic ‘secret’ becomes extremely difficult for them. Cutting is then used as an outlet for that anxiety; the bleeding is metaphorically releasing the painful secrets the cutter has been holding on to, without requiring the cutter to tell anyone anything.

Unfortunately, studies have also shown that women who self injure are less likely than men to be taken seriously when and if they do seek help for their disorder. Despite its tendency to appear in young women, it is important to remember that cutting affects both men and women, and can appear in any age group, socio-economic group or education level.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Troubled Teens and Military Schools by Sue Scheff Founder of Parents Universal Resource Experts

Some parents may have a teen they feel is in need of special attention needs. Often times parents look at the public school system and realize that it is not fully equipped to handle troubled teenagers. This leads many parents to turn to military schools as an option to discipline and educate their troubled teenagers. Unfortunately, it is a common misconception among many parents that military school can “cure” or somehow transform an unruly child into a model of propriety. Military schools, which seemed headed for extinction in the late 1960s and early '70s, have seen enrollments increase steadily in recent years. Many military schools are jammed to capacity and sport long waiting lists, as anxious parents scramble for slots.

While parents may seek a military school with the hopes that it can provide exactly the discipline they believe their teenager needs, most military schools are seeking motivated candidates that want to be a part of a proud and distinguished institutional history. Many students do not realize they would enjoy military school until they actually visit the campus and understand the honor it is to attend. Typically, traditional military schools will not accept a student who does not want to be there; as such, it is very difficult to find a military school that will accept a teen that has a history of behavioral problems. Parents should realize that attending military school is a privilege and honor for the right candidate, and they are encouraged to emphasize this to their children as well.

The very common misperception of military schools as reforming institutions is a direct result of some states' policies of having chosen to house their child (juvenile) criminal populations in higher-security boarding schools that are run in a manner similar to military boarding schools. These are also called reform schools, and are functionally a combination of school and prison. They attempt to emulate the high standards of established military boarding schools in the hope that a strict structured environment can reform these delinquent children that have often times run afoul of the law. The results of these institutions vary, and successful reform may or may not be the case, depending on the institution and it's “students.” Popular culture sometimes shows parents sending or threatening to send unruly children off to military school, and this reinforces the incorrect, negative stereotype.

However, military programs for troubled teens do exist; these specialized military schools can provide the most effective ways to teach your teenager how to be a respectable, hard-working, and responsible human being. Keep in mind, however, that these military schools, like their counterparts, are not for punishment; they are a time for growth. Many are privately run institutions, though some are public and are run by either a public school system (such as the Chicago Public Schools), or by a state. Regardless, this should not reflect on the long and distinguished history of military schools; their associations are traditionally those of high academic achievement, with solid college preparatory curricula, schooling in the military arts, and considerably esteemed graduates.

Many ADD/ADHD students do very well in a military school or military academy-type setting, due to the structure and positive discipline. Many parents whose children have been diagnosed ADD/ADHD have considered this type of environment, and found it to be beneficial to their child's development. In these instances many times parents will start by enrolling their child in a summer program to determine if their child is a viable candidate for that particular military school. Provided the child responds in a positive manner, they can extend the enrollment to subsequent terms.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Teen Suicide

If your teen tells you he or she has been experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, or if you think your teen may be feeling suicidal but is not telling you, get help immediately. Do not call your teen’s bluff- take all mentions and threats of suicide seriously. There are many mental health professionals trained to deal with suicidal feelings and suicide specifically in teens, and many pediatricians or family physicians can refer parents to specialists if there is an urgent need for your teen to be treated. Another resource is your local emergency room. If your teen is suicidal, do not leave him or her alone, and do not wait for an appointment to see a doctor or specialist- take your teen immediately to the closest ER, where a psychological evaluation can be performed without an appointment. This can literally be the difference between your teen’s life and death.

Some less obvious signs that your teen may be contemplating suicide include depression, withdrawal from daily activities your teen once enjoyed, dramatic personality shifts, drug or alcohol use, lack of attention to personal hygiene, violent behavior or outbursts, running away, decline in school attendance and grades, and change in sleeping patterns. Also, if your teen has already attempted suicide once before, they may be more likely to try again if adequate treatment was not received following the first attempt.

Other behaviors may include: giving away important personal belongings, statements by your teen that he or she is a “bad person” or that he or she “won’t be a problem for much longer”, or any signs of psychosis, which can include hallucinations or bizarre thoughts. According to NIMH, often times many of these warning signs go without notice by family and friends until it is too late. Further complicating matters, just because your teen is exhibiting any of these signs does not mean he or she is suicidal. This is why it is crucial to keep the lines of communication open between yourself and your teen. There is no better way to predict or decipher suicidal feelings than to simply ask your teen how he or she is feeling.