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Addiction Guest Blogs Recovery

Is Your Teen Taking Drugs?

Illegal Drug Addiction and Substance Abuse

Is Your Teen Taking Drugs? Follow This 4 Step Action Plan

Guest post by Rosy Cooper of Future Expectations Today

In a survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that the US has a higher number of teen substance-abuse cases in comparison to many other countries. These results can be frightening for the parents of teens, especially those whose age is between 10 to 19 years.

When you discover that your teen is struggling from drug addiction or abuse, you may have a difficult time with your own emotions, anger and feelings. This is the biggest mistake most parents make. Regardless of how critical your teen’s case seems, recovery is feasible with the help of the right support and treatment.

Here is a 5-step action guide to follow to help your teen overcome the drug abuse or addiction:

 1.      Emotional Nurturing

This is one of the most effective factors in drug abuse treatment for adolescents. Take a step forward and reach out to the root cause of the problem and always let your teen know you’re with them until they start loving themselves again.

Remember, it’s not a piece of cake to recover from serious substance abuse. The path is long and challenging. Your teen requires space, time, motivation, commitment and support throughout their recovery.

 2.     Explore Different Treatment Options

Now it’s time to look for the treatment options available in your country.

One of the most important things to consider when you search for treatment is there is no single treatment for all drug addicts. For example, an adult facility wouldn’t work for your teen. Look for an exclusive teen rehabilitation center that best suits your child’s needs and conditions.

Often, drug addict suffer from psychological disorders, which means you need to find a dual-diagnosis treatment center where your teen can get both mental health and drug addiction treatment.

 3.     Don’t Hesitate in Asking For Support

You need support too!  You may share your problems with friends, relatives and other reliable people in your life. Because addiction is a family problem, treatment facilities will also provide family groups, as well as offer support groups. Having supportive resources will provide you with the support you need while also supporting your teen’s recovery process.

 4.     Keep Them Engaged

The best teen drug rehabs, camps or schools follow this concept as a helpful tool for recovering addicts. They organize various fun activities like hiking, mountain climbing, cycling, picnicking, et cetera, to keep struggling teens engaged and to teach social skills while also showing them they can have fun without drugs and alcohol.

These rehab centers or camps may also take troubled teens to various places, so they can experience a diversity of culture and nature. Many studies show that a positive environment, friendliness and healthy activities (both physical and intellectual) play a crucial role in the recovery of adolescents.

The road to recovery is challenging, but the right road map can certainly help your teen on the battlefield of his or her life.

Author Bio: Rosy works for a trust based teen rehabilitation center. She often writes about prevention methods, signs and various treatment methods of teen drug addicts in many health magazines and online blogs. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Categories
Addiction Eating Disorders Recovery Smoking

Eating Disorders: Using Smoking As Weight Control

Smoking cigarettes in adolescence has always been considered a pathway to coolness, or a way to fit in. For a time, smoking began to be considered passé, but amongst teens in recovery, it still holds the mythical status of cool and is often key to fitting in. So much so, kids who want to quit or who don’t really want to smoke may even start smoking E-cigarettes in an attempt to reach the same level of cool. (It is just vapor, right?). I digress. For girls who smoke, there may be another reason behind the nasty habit: presumed thinness, or a path to thinness. Some assume that smoking is also the answer to hunger pains and subconsciously satisfy (albeit temporarily) the desire for food.

 

In their working paper titled “The Demand for Cigarettes as Derived from the Demand for Weight Control,” Stephanie Von Kinke Kessler Scholder and John Cawley found that “among teenagers who smoke frequently, 46% of girls and 30% of boys are smoking in part to control their weight.” We see this behavior all the time within our recovery community, particular among those suffering from and beginning to recover from eating disorders. For some, the idea is that it’s far easier to go smoke than to eat lunch. We are highly aware of this predilection amongst our eating disorder population and we take great measures to stop these behaviors in their tracks. Some of which include supervised meals and several focus groups dedicated to eating disorder recovery.

 

But what about someone struggling with an eating disorder who is not in the safe, healing environment of a treatment facility? What if they are on their own, doing the dance of recovery solely through meetings and fellowship? Will they notice their use of cigarettes to stifle hunger pains? More than likely, they will not. I remember being new and bragging that I was surviving on a diet of coffee and cigarettes, ever chasing the goal of “perfection.” At the same time, I also had a raging eating disorder, consuming my thinking and vision. I was clueless. It took me years to learn to recognize that smoking was a key to assisting me in my process of acquiring thinness.  In fact, one of the fears when I quit smoking was the presumed assurance of weight gain.

 

As always, one of the first steps to recovery is asking for help. This is not a feat that comes naturally to an addict or alcoholic. We are accustomed to “doing it all ourselves.” Still, going to meetings, getting a sponsor, finding a therapist, all of these things can help us begin the healing process. Beginning the process of digging deeply and getting to the root cause of whatever is causing you to harm yourself with addiction, starvation or binging, or binging and purging is crucial. We cannot recover alone, nor can we stop the insanity of our addictions without asking for help.

Categories
Mental Health Recovery Spirituality

Acceptance: Recovery and Beyond

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Acceptance is a facet of recovery that challenges many of us. It can be the impetus for pushback and resistance regardless of how much sober/recovery time one has.  Initially, we begin by learning to accept the basics of recovery: our powerlessness, our mental health, and our addictions. As we progress, the areas in which we may need acceptance shift, or broaden, and the work continues. We may ask ourselves why we are not where we think we should be in our lives, and finding acceptance around that can be a thorny process. It means holding space for the fact that our addiction or mental illness more than likely postponed our hopes and expectations of being doctors or lawyers or from saving the world from zombies. Don’t worry; you can still do all of these things, though not on your original schedule. In fact, you may find yourself capable of doing a heck of a lot more!

Another difficulty for a some folks is the time and energy spent trying to please others. People-pleasing behaviors are pretty common when a lack of acceptance is involved. Behaviors like:

  • Shifting one’s reality—environment, opinions, friends, likes, dislikes–in order to please others.
  • Ignoring your own needs (see above)
  • Seeking approval from others in an effort to find happiness
  • Making others more important than yourself
  • Being inauthentic or a chameleon in order to “fit in”

Sure, accepting that we are enough as we are is not easy, especially at first. We ask for “spiritual progress not perfection,” right? However, we may be asking ourselves why we aren’t prettier, thinner, or more handsome, or why we don’t have better clothes or that cool car, or that guy or that girl. These thoughts are harmful, not helpful. As we create this ever-growing list of what we think we should have versus what we do have, we will come to find acceptance moving further and further away. Bottom line is, negative self-talk is terribly detrimental to the recovery process. It prevents us from being in the “here and now.” It prevents us from loving ourselves, which makes it more of a challenge to love others. It disallows us to accept love into our own lives. Our efforts to please others or subscribe to the expectations of others act as a filter that prevents change yet encourages codependence.

Acceptance takes time. It takes effort. It takes willingness. It is understanding that things are as they are: you pay your taxes, you obey the speed limit, you listen to your parents, you don’t drink and use, you practice self-care, you go to meetings and call your sponsor, and you take direction.

Surely, the challenges that lead to or distract from acceptance are many; in truth, writing it is even a bit nebulous because the concept is almost undefinable. Frankly, acceptance is best learned and discovered by simply beginning to take contrary actions that lead to letting go of old behaviors so we can be less reactive and more accepting in the face of adversity and discomfort.  To aptly quote Joseph Rogers, “It’s easier to work with the laws of the universe than to bash our heads against them.”

Categories
Mental Health Recovery Treatment

Teen Rehab: A Space for Healing

Making the decision to send your child to teen rehab is emotionally complex. It takes great courage to pick up the phone and ask for help when your family is in crisis. Harder yet is the process of following through and accepting the help you are given. A suffering teen, who is spiraling quickly down the rabbit hole of addiction and mental health isn’t exactly a pillar of willingness; parents are sure to be confronted with resentment and resistance. The truth is, a teen who is in trouble more than likely won’t look at going to a teen rehab as a viable option, let alone a necessity. For some, however, it is a life-saving necessity.

As we enter into our second decade of service, we want you to know you have a safe refuge to turn to.  At Visions, we have built a treatment facility ready to provide you with the tools to heal from the wounds of addiction and mental illness, while providing you with the skills to love without crossing the boundaries into co-dependence. We have two residential houses: one that caters to mental health issues and one to addiction. We also have an outpatient facility, a day school, and a young adult program, and gender specific sober living facilities. The varying levels of care we provide are broad. Teen rehab need no longer be considered a frightening place to send your adolescent, but rather a refuge for your teen to heal and rediscover a space of emotional and physical safety.

Curious about whether or not your child needs teen rehab?  Check for these warning signs:

  • Is your child away from home for long periods of time and unable to communicate where they’ve been or what they’ve been doing?
  • When they do come home, do they beeline for their room, making no eye contact or conversation?
  • Is there a profound change in behavior: is your child especially angry or easily agitated or are they showing signs of depressions or apathy?
  • Are their grades suddenly dropping?
  • Has their social circle suddenly changed?
  • Have they radically altered their appearance in some way?
  • Are their moods markedly changing?
  • Has there been an abrupt change in weight?

Some parents are fortunate enough to have a child who attempts transparency and who tells them they have been using. Keep this in mind: if your child does tell you they’ve tried drugs or are doing drugs, you more than likely need to multiply the amount by 3,  if not more.  Teen rehab isn’t just about your teen; it provides a space for the family to heal as a unit. A teen using drugs and alcohol, cutting, or starving themself is voicelessly begging for help. As parents, we have to step outside of that place of blame and anger to help our teen step on a path to recovery. Teen rehab can facilitate that process.

Categories
Feelings Recovery

Facing Our Shame

Science Fiction League (March 1958) … The Real You (July 6, 2011 / 4 Tammuz 5771) … (Photo credit: marsmet541)

SHAME
noun

A painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety” 

2“A condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute.”

Shame is that biting, gnawing feeling in your gut after a lie or petty theft, or sexual indiscretion, drunken blackout, or drugged psychoses. It is the “what the hell did I just do?” feeling we face when we walk or crawl our way into recovery. It is often the impetus for doing the same thing over and over again once we get here. Recovery doesn’t magically make it go away.  Oh, in case you were hoping for exemption, shame is impervious to age, economic status, race, gender.  If anything, it is addiction and mental health’s close cousin.

According to John Bradshaw there are two types of shame: “innate shame” and “toxic/life-destroying shame.” Innate shame is what will allow you to have discretion BEFORE you do something. The toxic/life-destroying shame usually happens later, after the act, when you can’t take it back. This emotion is the greasy residue of your reckless behaviors. Toxic/life-destroying shame is what separates you from others and from yourself. I believe this is where addiction sinks its teeth and feeds into this vicious, emotive cycle.

When we are new in recovery, the shame is overwhelming. There is regret and then more regret. There is anger about the regret and then shame for feeling the anger. Feeling dizzy yet? Being new is a dizzying experience. When we are using, we respond to our shame by using more, drinking more, starving more, eating more, cutting more. Shame begets shame. In recovery, we have the propensity to do the same thing. This time, instead of drugs and alcohol, we turn to other vices. Perhaps it’s gambling, or sexual indiscretions, or the internet. The list goes on. The shame of our actions can therefore make it more difficult to get or stay sober. Again, we have to face the shame head on. But we can’t do it alone.

If you are in treatment, you are in a remarkable place to address this. Treatment provides a safe container for the focused, internal work necessary to learning about processing shame. It allows one to begin to break the patterns of behavior that feed toxic/life-destroying shame. You learn to create boundaries for yourself–sometimes that might mean limiting contact with individuals whose knee-jerk response is to automatically shame you.  When you’re in treatment, you can face shame without falling into the chasm of addiction or a weakened state of mental health. As I mentioned, we cannot overcome this debilitating faction of toxic shame alone: we need a community of others to support us. Being in treatment provides that initial, healing community of support.

To really dissect shame and look at its underbelly layer-by-layer would take thousands of words. It’s complicated, this shame business, because it is a natural emotion living in all of us. What we must begin to do is eradicate the harmful type of shame that drives us into the vicious cycle of addiction and negative behaviors. We will come to see the shaming behavior of others and be able to protect ourselves using healthy boundaries and a firm sense of self-love.  John Bradshaw addresses this issue eloquently in Healing the Shame that Binds You. He deconstructs shame and its many faces beautifully. Once we can stare it in the face, we can stop living in the hell of addiction and begin to love ourselves for who we really are.

“Hell, in my opinion, is never finding your true self and never living your own life or knowing who you are.”

John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame That Binds You

Categories
Addiction Adolescence Smoking

Smoking: Not So Cool Anymore

Smoking Alone… (Photo credit: Dr. Jaus)

When I was growing up, smoking was emblematic of the Outsiders or James Dean or the Marlboro man. It was a symbol of “cool,” or of being a rebel or a badass. I grew up with tobacco ads emblazoned upon billboards across Los Angeles and littering the pages of magazines. What could possibly be wrong with smoking if it looked so cool, right? Wrong. Did you know that the three men who held the role of the Marlboro Man eventually died of lung cancer, and the infamous brand ended up with the nickname “Cowboy Killers“?  Still, it wasn’t until 1999 that smoking billboards were ultimately replaced with anti-smoking ads, despite efforts toward the prohibition of tobacco advertising building for years.

Finally, in 2009, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act went into effect. The Act requires placement of new warnings and labels on tobacco packaging and in tobacco ads; its ultimate goal is to deter minors and young adults from using tobacco products. Tobacco companies are also required to seek FDA approval for new products. But why am I talking legal Acts and advertising,  or reminiscing about the Marlboro Man? Because statistics gathered from a recent are showing us that teens are, in fact, finally smoking less! The full results of the survey done by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health can be found here.  However, I’ll give you a brief window into what the results showed. Perhaps those terrifying, graphic warnings are finally starting to work.

According to this study:

  • 1 in 11 (8.7 percent) adolescents smoked cigarettes in the past month.
  • Rates of adolescent past month cigarette use ranged from 5.9 percent in Utah to 13.5 percent in Wyoming
  • 10 States with the highest rates of past month cigarette use among adolescents, 4 were in the Midwest (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Ohio)
  • Of the States with the lowest rates of past month cigarette use among adolescents, 5 were in the West (California, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, and Washington)

Teen perceptions of the danger of smoking are increasing:  2 in every 3 adolescents recognize that smoking is dangerous. This is a good thing. It would appear that smoking is no longer seen as cool. If anything, smoking has been relegated to outside locations, where smokers are allowed to smoke in small, outdoor spaces, which are a specified distance away from any doors. Smoking in this day and age would really just be a pain in the rear. The recent laws and views toward smoking have made it really a challenge for those who want to indulge. At this point, why bother?

Categories
Addiction Adolescence Parenting Synthetic Drugs

Smiles: The Dark Side of a Joyful Symbol

Smiles, yet another designer drug to hit the US seems to be just as deadly as the other synthetic drugs we are more familiar with. According to the DEA, this drug is “a synthetic drug abused for its hallucinogenic effects,” and has “been encountered in a number of states by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.”  Still, the findings regarding this substance are so preliminary, all we really have to refer to are user stories on YouTube, and that’s not an ideal source. The popularity of drugs like Smiles, K2, Spice, and Bath Salts is partly due to the ease of their availability and their inexpensive price tag. They are easily purchased online, in liquor stores, and particularly in states that haven’t elicited new, prohibitive laws regarding these synthetic drugs. What’s troublesome is these drugs are typically created and recreated faster than the FDA can process requests to ban them. Often times, it’s a sudden increase in ER visits by patients suffering similarly which alerts professionals of a new drug is on the scene.

What is Smiles? 

We don’t know much, but we do know that 2C-1 aka Smiles is an amphetamine/hallucinogen whose effects have been compared to a combination of LSD and MDMA. Some even say it’s similar to PCP.  2C-1 (Smiles) was initially popular in Europe, emerging onto their party scene in 2003. Smiles is classified as aphenethylamines—essentially amphetamines but with an additional chemical compound added which change its effects. Instead of the increased heart rate and feeling of speediness so commonly associated with amphetamine use, the effect of 2c-1 is more euphoric and psychedelic, again more in line with that found in psychedelics.  Like most of these synthetic drugs,  they are commonly manufactured in illegal labs, which make it terribly difficult to regulate.

What population is using Smiles?

The same population that uses this elicit drug is the same one that uses drugs like Ecstasy, Spice, Bath Salts, K2, and other club drugs: high-school and college students and other young adults that frequent party and club settings. Like the others, Smiles is easy to get, cheap, and not always easy to detect in drug tests. Because the evolution of these synthetic drugs is so fast, parents, teachers, mental health and law enforcement professionals may be caught off guard. Awareness is going to be your best defense.

So, what can you do?

  • Be aware of your young adults’ friends and sudden changes in those social circles.
  • Do you really know where your kids go when they “hang out”? Sudden secrecy (more than the usual we expect from adolescents) should raise a red flag. Instead of approaching your concern with anger, show concern with an open heart. Try and remember how YOU felt as a teen.
  • Look into your teens’ eyes: Are the pupils dilated (huge)?  Are they pinpoints?
  • Watch for sudden changes in grades or attendance.
  • Gather information from viable, legitimate sources (NIDA, DEA)
  • Get some support for yourself: therapy, support groups, et cetera.
  • Practice self-care. It’s harder to care for others when you are not taken care of.

These drugs are serious. They are unknown in many ways, and that fact alone makes them deadly. Stay tuned; I’m sure there will be more information to follow. In the meantime, be as transparent as you can be with your kids. Chances are, if they feel emotionally safe enough to confide in you and talk to you in general, they are less likely to hide the important things and travel along a path of self-destruction.

Categories
Addiction Mental Health Recovery

Compulsive Shopping: Feeding Feelings With Stuff

Shoes 2 (Photo credit: marcovdz)

Has compulsive shopping become the bane of your existence? Do you find yourself chasing the “high” of your next big purchase only to be met with the common crash-and-burn of buyer’s remorse? Have you replaced your drug or alcohol addiction with shopping?

Many people shop compulsively as a means of “feeding their feelings” via shopping bags full of swag.  They are reinforcing the often unconscious theory of  “If only I had _____,  then I would be happy.” Shopping can also reinforce one’s childhood memories of a parent or parents showing “affection” with a credit card in lieu of engaging emotionally. Let’s not forget that shopping may simply be the only way one knows how to feel better when things feel like they are coming apart. It’s almost as though the idea of a full shopping bag contains the psychological glue they’ve equated with emotional fulfillment or stress relief.

The difference between compulsive shopping and say, a splurge, is the regularity of the behavior along with the emotional satisfaction felt after the cash drawer closes. Sure, there is some satisfaction and even fear felt after a huge but necessary purchase (I know this from having to buy photography equipment and panicking at the price tags even though it was an investment in myself!). However, the compulsivity that occurs when someone continues to shop beyond their literal need is different. For example, someone shopping with an addictive mind will come home with clothes they didn’t try on, shoes they already have, electronics they don’t need, whilst ignoring bills that need to be paid. In this case, they are shopping to satisfy an untenable emotional need to feel better.

When we get sober, compulsive shopping can rear its ugly head for many. With drugs and alcohol being taken off the table, all of sudden the outlets one used to feel better shift into new territory. Honestly, most of us don’t revel in the chance to face our crap head on. We would rather continue to numb it with outside stimulation, regardless of the negative outcome. At least we’ll feel better for a moment, right? Wrong.

Scott McMillin, Principal, Recovery Systems Institute poses a great question “If you’re shopping more than you need to–or more than you can afford, it’s time to think about why:  What are you getting out of it?  What is the ‘reward’ feeling all about?” Recovery is an opportunity to find the answers to those questions in a way that is healing and insightful.

While there isn’t a clinical diagnosis for compulsive shopping, there are certain factors that make one prone to this behavior.

  • Other addictive behaviors
  • Mood disorders
  • A  hereditary propensity toward compulsive shopping

Here are some clues that you may be heading in a bad direction with your shopping  habits:

  • Spending over budget
  • Compulsive buying
  • Hiding  your purchases or shopping activity
  • Chronic returns resulting from buyer’s remorse.
  • Negative effect on your relationships.
  • Clear consequences to your actions (i.e., your electricity was shut off)
  • Shopping in response to feeling angry, sad, depressed, anxious, lonely.
  • Arguing with others around you about your shopping habits.
  • Buying on credit rather than with cash.
  • Feeling an adrenaline rush or surge of euphoria with shopping.
  • Feeling guilt or remorse after a spree.
  • Lying about how much you actually spent.
  • Obsessing about money.
  • Juggling your accounts and bills to make room for more shopping.

If you find yourself relating to more than four of these bullet points, it’s time to seek help. You can start with some of these steps:

  • Admit you have a problem
  • Seek professional help so you can determine the underlying issue(s) driving your compulsivity.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Take measures to get out of debt.
  • Find healthier ways in which to feel better:
    • Working with others
    • Meditation
    • Yoga
    • 12-step meetings

Compulsive shopping is merely a symptom. Like drugs and alcohol, it only provides temporary relief and in the end, all it really gives you are more problems to manage. Take some deep breaths and have the courage to face the real issues confronting you. Interesting fact: Facing the darkness and pain takes less effort than building a maze of denial. You can and will recover.

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… We must do that which we think we cannot.”

— Eleanor Roosevelt

Some articles that really helped pave the way to this piece:

WebMd

About.com

CNN

The Atlantic

Thank you to @RecoverySI for your amazing online support and for your insightful quote.

 

Categories
Addiction Recovery Substance Abuse

Remembrance: International Overdose Awareness Day 2012

Today marks the 12th annual International Overdose Awareness Day. The idea behind this day is to commemorate the lives of those lost to drug overdoses. This event originated in Melbourne, Australia in 2001. A woman named Sally Finn, the manager of a Salvation Army needle and syringe program, founded International Overdose Awareness Day in response to the lives she’d seen destroyed by overdoses. This is an event of remembrance.

International Overdose Awareness Day presents an opportunity to honor those whose lives were lost to their addiction, to acknowledge and honor your grief as a result of that loss, and an opportunity to bring awareness to the detrimental effects of an overdose.

This year’s theme is Prevention and Awareness. The goal is to lesson the shame, stigma, and guilt associated with addiction and so you can begin to meet it with compassion and understanding. We need to become transparent in our discussions about addiction and the potentially fatal outcome of using illicit drugs and alcohol; we’ve seem far too many young lives lost to addiction. International Overdose Awareness Day is a call to lift the lid on the darkness of drug use and shed a light of hope for the families and individuals suffering at the hands of this disease.

The statistics regarding overdoses are quite grim. See here for an extensive list.

Here are some ideas to help in your efforts to raise awareness.

  • Tweet using the hashtag #OD12 and help build momentum today.
  • Hold a memorial service.
  • Light a candle.
  • Plant a tree.
  • Raise awareness.
  • Celebrate and commemorate.

We’d love to hear how you’ve raised awareness, so please share your thoughts with us in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!

Categories
Addiction Adolescence Marijuana Recovery

Response to New Study: Marijuana Use In Adolescence

English: Areas affected by THC on the brain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The most recent study on marijuana has linked smoking marijuana in adolescence to a long-term drop in IQ. Marijuana, the innocent “natural” drug is often falsely viewed as being relatively harmless, and it’s sometimes even assumed to be a rite of passage in adolescence. Working in recovery, and being surrounded by recovery professionals, I can tell you the idea of harmlessness has been refuted time and time again. While the effects aren’t as overtly detrimental as amphetamine use or synthetic pot, there remains a definitive and negative effect on the developing brain in pot smokers, particularly when they start in adolescence—prime time for brain development.

According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS),

“The purpose of the present study was to test the association between persistent cannabis use and neuropsychological decline and determine whether decline is concentrated among adolescent-onset cannabis users. Participants were members of the Dunedin Study, a prospective study of a birth cohort of 1,037 individuals followed from birth (1972/1973) to age 38 y. Cannabis use was ascertained in interviews at ages 18, 21, 26, 32, and 38 y. Neuropsychological testing was conducted at age 13 y, before initiation of cannabis use, and again at age 38 y, after a pattern of persistent cannabis use had developed.”

The results of this study confirmed that “long-term users of marijuana showed impairment in memory and attention that endure beyond the period of intoxication and worsen with increasing years of regular cannabis use.” (PDF

Marijuana effects one’s decision-making skills and judgment and negatively impacts memory and one’s ability to learn. THC, the drug found in marijuana, wreaks havoc on the brain particularly during its development period. According to NIDA Teen, “THC finds brain cells, or neurons with specific kinds of receptors called cannabinoid receptors and binds to them.” The highest concentration of cannabinoid receptors in the brain are found in the hippocampus, the cerebellum, the basil ganglia, and the cerebral cortex. These particular parts of the brain play a crucial part in the brain’s ability to learn. Negatively impacting this part of the brain, particularly while its developing, will make studying, learning new things, and remembering that which you’ve learned extraordinarily difficult. We honestly don’t need medical language to make this clear. Our Medical Director, Dr. Lewis, puts it plainly: “It’s simple…Marijuana makes you stupid.”

So, yes, this study illuminates the eminent dangers of marijuana use in adolescence and backs it up with very clean scientific data. What’s clear is this: marijuana use in adolescence is bad for your brain; marijuana use in general is bad for your brain. Debating whether or not those 8 IQ points are no big deal?  According to researchers, “For a person of average intelligence, an 8-point drop would mean ranking higher than only 29 percent of the population rather than 50 percent.”

Is a temporary high really worth this type of permanent mark on your intelligence?

 

The Study:

https://www.cmcr.ucsd.edu/images/pdfs/cannabis2.pdf

PNAS

Articles used for this blog:

The Guardian

Huffington Post

NIDA Teen

Discover Magazine – blog

 

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