- Eating Disorders
- Teens & Alcohol
- Substance Abuse & Sex
- Pregnancy and STDs
- Rape & Sexual Abuse
Eating disorders involve serious disturbances in eating behavior, such as extreme and unhealthy reduction of food intake or severe overeating, as well as feelings of distress or extreme concern about body shape or weight. The three main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. Eating disorders frequently develop during adolescence or early adulthood, but can occur during childhood or later in adulthood.
Eating disorders frequently co-occur with depression, substance abuse and anxiety disorders. Also, people who suffer from eating disorders can experience a wide range of physical health complications, including serious heart conditions and kidney failure which may lead to death. Recognition of eating disorders as real and treatable diseases, therefore, is critically important.
Symptoms & Warning Signs:
- Anorexia Nervosa: A teenager with anorexia nervosa is typically a perfectionist and a high achiever in school. At the same time, she suffers from low self-esteem, irrationally believing she is fat regardless of how thin she becomes. Desperately needing a feeling of mastery over her life, the teenager with anorexia nervosa experiences a sense of control only when she says “no” to the normal food demands of her body. In a relentless pursuit to be thin, the girl starves herself. This often reaches the point of serious damage to the body and in a small number of cases may lead to death.
- Bulimia: The patient with Bulimia binges on huge quantities of high-caloric food and/or purges her body of dreaded calories by self-induced vomiting and often by using laxatives. These binges may alternate with severe diets, resulting in dramatic weight fluctuations. Teenagers may try to hide the signs of throwing up by running water while spending long periods of time in the bathroom. The purging of bulimia presents a serious threat to the patient’s physical health, including dehydration, hormonal imbalance, the depletion of important minerals and damage to vital organs.
Teens & Alcohol
You may want to say no to your friends, but it’s tough. You may think that all the negative publicity about teens and alcohol is garbage and you just ignore it but read the following and prove us wrong:
Myth : It’s just beer. It can’t permanently damage you.
Large amounts of alcohol can do major damage to your digestive system. You can hurt your heart, stomach and several critical organs as well as losing years from your life.
Myth : A cold shower or a cup of coffee will sober someone up.
Not on your life. Nothing sobers you up but time. With coffee, you’re simply a wide-awake drunk!
Myth : The worst thing that can happen is a raging hangover. Sorry. If you drink enough alcohol, fast enough, you can get an amount in your body that can kill you in only a few hours.
Myth : Alcohol gives you energy.
Nope. It’s a depressant. It slows down your ability to think, speak, move and all that other stuff you like to do.
Myth : Switching between beer, wine and liquor will make you more drunk than sticking to one type of alcohol. Whatever!!! Your blood alcohol content (BAC – the percent of alcohol in your blood) is what determines how drunk you are, not the flavors you selected. Alcohol is alcohol.
Myth : You’ll get drunk a lot quicker with hard liquor than with beer or wine cooler.
Did we mention that alcohol is alcohol!!!!!
Myth : Everybody reacts the same to alcohol.
Not hardly. There are dozens of factors that affect reactions to alcohol: body weight, time of day, how you feel mentally, body chemistry, your expectations, and the list goes on and on.
Myth : It is none of my business if a friend is drinking too much.
If you are a real friend, it is your business. You can’t make someone change but you can be honest. Maybe they’ll listen. You might even talk them into getting help.
Myth : Drugs are a bigger problem than alcohol.
Alcohol kills 6 ½ times the number of people killed by cocaine, heroin, and every other illegal drug combined. Ten million Americans are addicted to alcohol. Alcohol is the No. 1 drug problem of today’s youth.
Myth : Alcohol makes you sexier.
The more you drink, the less you think. Alcohol may loosen you up and make someone more interested in sex, but it interferes with the body’s ability to perform. And then….there’s pregnancy, AIDS, sexual assault, car crashes, etc.
Myth : People who drink too much only hurt themselves.
Every person who drinks has a mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, sister, aunt, best friend, boyfriend or girlfriend who worries about them. Each of the 12 million problem drinkers in this country affects four other people. Several studies suggest that teen drinking may cause more neurological damage than was previously thought. Recent research suggests that teens that binge drink may do more damage to their memory and learning abilities by severely hampering their brain development by blocking brain receptors that form memories and causing slowed reactions. Contrary to the notion that the brain is fully developed by age 16 or 17, the new studies have found that significant development happens until the age of 21 and heavy drinking by teenagers may inhibit that development. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) teens often accompany heavy drinking with tobacco and drug use, which can facilitate the destruction of brain cells. These studies indicate that teen binge drinking can lead to poor performance in school, difficulty with simple math or the inability to read a map. They also dispel the notion that a person could sustain heavy drinking for several years before causing neurological damage. So now, it’s up to you, you make the choice!!! Say no or be part of the statistics.
Substance Abuse & Sex
Alcohol and other drugs can affect judgment and lead to risk taking in people of all ages, but the consequences are often especially severe for teens. Each year, alcohol use is involved in more than 35 percent of all fatal teen car accidents. But substance abuse also impairs teens ability to make judgments about sexual behavior. As a result, the risk for unplanned pregnancy, sexual assault and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) increases. One-quarter of sexually active high school students report using drugs or alcohol during their most recent sexual experience. Many teens have said that they used alcohol or even got drunk when they had their first sexual experience. And many of these same young people say they were so drunk that they couldn’t properly use birth control, especially condoms. Males are nearly twice as likely to mix alcohol or drugs with sex but young women face greater threats. Not only do young women risk an unplanned pregnancy, they are more likely to be the victim of an alcohol or drug-related sexual assault or an incurable STD. Nearly 40 percent of high school boys said it is acceptable to force sex if a girl is stoned or drunk. There is a strong relationship between drug and alcohol use and multiple sex partners. Multiple sex partners and reduced condom use can be a deadly prescription for HIV/AIDS and cervical cancer. So what is the bottom line??? Risky behaviors like smoking, using drugs, drinking alcohol and early sex lead to unplanned pregnancy, sexual assault, STDs, etc.
Pregnancy and STD’s
When teens are sexually active, the best protection against unplanned pregnancy is using the most effective birth control a method appropriate to one’s personal health and lifestyle. For most teen girls, this is the pill or the shot (Depo Provera). But neither of these methods protects against STDs. Condoms are the best defense against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. That is why every sexually active teen needs to use a condom every time…and that can be difficult to do when you are drunk!!!
Rape & Sexual Abuse
Rohypnol, also know as La Roche, R2, Roofies, Rope, Circles, and Mexican Valium is the most common “date rape” drug. In the past, Rohypnol has been used as a sleep aid, but it is 10 times stronger than Valium and much more dangerous. Rohypnol is also considered one of the club drugs used as an alcohol “extender” to produce a more dramatic high. This effect, combined with its ability to decrease resistance, cause blackouts and erase memory, has led to its use in sexual assaults. A common scenario in the use of Rohypnol as a “date rape” a drug is when an offender slips Rohypnol into the glass of his unsuspecting victim and waits for it to take effect. When the victim becomes disoriented, the perpetrator offers to take her home. Then the sexual assault occurs. When the victim wakes up, she usually won’t remember what happened. Of course, males can also be victims of drugging with Rohypnol. Rohypnol is tasteless and odorless. When it is dissolved in a drink, it is undetectable. Even a small dose will begin to take effect within 30 minutes and may last as long as eight hours, depending on the amount taken. Early signs of the drug include drowsiness, confusion, blurred vision, problems breathing, and dizziness. These effects are worst when it is taken with alcohol. Rohypnol is not manufactured or sold legally in the United States. Hoffman-LaRoche, the original manufacturer of Rohypnol, has changed the formula of the drug to make it easier to identify. New pills take 45 minutes to dissolve, make drinks turn blue when they are added and leave a chalky white film on top of the liquid they are added to. However, old pills are still available and other companies making similar pills are not taking these precautions.
If you have been drugged and sexually assaulted:
- Call a family member, friend, the police or a medical professional
- When you are in a safe place, call the SURE Helpline Rape Crisis Center at 760-352-7273.
- Call the police, do not shower, bathe, douche, change clothes or drink anything.
- Go to the hospital for treatment of injuries, tests for pregnancy, STDs and support services.
- Ask for a urine test, as quickly as possible, to detect the presence of Rohypnol or other sedating substance.
The major risk factors for suicide among young people are Depression, Substance Abuse, Behavioral Problems,
Availability of a Gun, Previous Attempts, Other Factors.
- Depression – Depression is often not recognized. In teens, it may seem that the teen is simply angry or gloomy. The signs of depression are: changes in appetite, activity level, sleep pattern, loss of interest in activities that normally give pleasure, social withdrawal, thoughts of death or punishment. This should be taken seriously and professional help must be sought. Depression can usually be treated effectively and efficiently once it’s recognized.
- Substance Abuse – Sometimes teens try alcohol or other drugs to relieve depression. Unfortunately, the drugs themselves have a depressant effect and lower inhibitions against the self-injurious behavior. Some young people who have never expressed a suicidal thought have taken their own lives when they got drunk to ease the pain of a disappointment or loss. But they only felt worse while drunk and committed a rash, impulsive act which they wouldn’t have done sober.
- Behavioral Problems – Getting in trouble in school or with the law, fighting with parents and other behavioral problems are the third risk factor for suicide. We tend to think of potential suicides as sensitive, shy people who are overwhelmed by life. We don’t see the cocky, obnoxious adolescent as potentially self-destructive, even though his behavior – continually getting in trouble, keeping the world at arm’s length – has exactly that effect.
- Other Factors – Other factors include a family history of depression or substance abuse and a recent traumatic event. Some suicide victims are insecure kids who have a desperate desire to be liked, to fit in, to do well. Their expectations are so high that they demand too much of themselves and are condemned to constant disappointment. A traumatic event, which can seem minor viewed from an adult perspective, is enough to push them over the edge into a severe depression.