Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sue Scheff: Learn More About Teen Medicine Abuse

How can you help?

Our efforts to educate parents about medicine abuse have reached thousands of families in the United States. With your help, more parents than ever are learning about this risky teen substance abuse behavior and are talking with their teens. According to the Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, released by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, 65 percent of parents have talked to their teens about the dangers of abusing OTC cold and cough medicine to get high-an 18 percent increase in the number of parents who talked to their teens in 2007.
My fellow Five Moms and I are excited to share this promising news with you, but there is still much work ahead. Although nearly two-thirds of parents have talked with their teens, 35 percent of parents said that they have not had this important conversation.

We know that when parents talk to their teens about the risks of substance abuse, their teens are up to fifty percent less likely to abuse substances. If you have not already talked with your teens about the dangers of cough medicine abuse, visit our talk page for some helpful ideas on how to have this discussion.

It is also critical that we share this information with our friends and communities as well. Too many parents are still unaware that some teens are abusing OTC cough medicine to get high, and it is important that we talk with them about this behavior. By talking with other parents, we can make sure that every family has the knowledge and tools to help keep teens safe and healthy.

Sharing information about cough medicine abuse is easy. It only takes a moment to start a conversation, and thanks to Stop Medicine Abuse, you can Tell-A-Friend through e-mail or post the Stop Medicine Abuse widget to your blog or web site. The more parents are aware of cough medicine abuse, the better we can prevent this behavior from happening in our communities.
Have you talked with other parents about cough medicine abuse? Share your advice about having this conversation at the Stop Medicine Abuse Fan page

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Teen Help Programs - Don't be a Parent At Risk

Are you a parent and your teen is escalating in negative behavior? Wanting to drop out of school? Using drugs? Running away? Defiant and disrepectful? Struggling with peer pressure and simply not the child you raised? Are you at your wit’s end? Especially if your teen is nearing 17 years old, don’t waste time in finding help.

For many that have read my book - Wit’s End! (Published by Health Communications Inc.) - which give my experiences with WWASPS and my daughters experiences with Carolina Springs Academy, it is a wake up call for all parents that are at their wit’s end and desperately looking for help for their struggling teenager.

Are you worried or concerned about your teens recent behavior? Do you believe it is time for outside help? Local therapy is not working?

Visit my organization, Parents Universal Resource Experts, that I created to help educate you on researching for safe and quality alternatives for your family.

Are you considering these programs or talking to these sales reps?

Academy of Ivy Ridge, NY (CLOSED)
Bell Academy, CA (CLOSED)
Canyon View Park, MT
Camas Ranch, MT
Carolina Springs Academy, SC
Cross Creek Programs, UT (Cross Creek Center and Cross Creek Manor)
Darrington Academy, GA (CLOSED)
Help My Teen, UT (Adolescent Services Adolescent Placement) Promotes and markets these programs.
Gulf Coast Academy, MS (CLOSED)
Horizon Academy, NV
Jane Hawley - Lifelines Family Services
Kathy Allred - Lifeline Sales Representative
Lisa Irvin (Helpmyteen) and Teens in Crisis
Lifelines Family Services, UT (Promotes and markets these programs) Jane Hawley
Mark Peterson - Teen Help Sales Representative
Majestic Ranch, UT
Midwest Academy, IA (Brian Viafanua, formerly the Director of Paradise Cove as shown on Primetime, is the current Director here)
Parent Teen Guide (Promotes and markets these programs)
Pillars of Hope, Costa Rica
Pine View Christian Academy (Borders FL, AL, MS)
Reality Trek, UT
Red River Academy, LA (Borders TX)
Respect Academy, NV
Royal Gorge Academy, CO (CLOSED)
Sherri Schwartzman - Lifelines Sales Representative
Sky View Academy, NV (allegedly closed?)
Spring Creek Lodge, MT (CLOSED) Rumors they have re-opened in another area of MT.
Teen Help, UT (Promotes and markets these programs)
Teens In Crisis (Lisa Irvin)
Tranquility Bay, Jamaica
Oceanside, CA - rumors of short term program there.

There is a rumor a new program in Mexico is open - parents need to be aware of this. It is believed they have re-opened Casa By the Sea with another name - possibly Discovery. Another rumor that was heard is Jade Robinson is running this program - he was formerly at Horizon Academy, Bell Academy (closed) and Casa by the Sea (closed).

Do your homework! Don’t be a parent at risk! Learn from my experiences, my daughter’s abuse and gain from my knowledge through the legal victories I have accomplished.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sue Scheff: The Choking Game?

The Choking Game - a teen thing? What is the Choking Game? It is definitely not a game any parent want to learn about the hard way. Learn more now about this horrific game through G.A.S.P. (Games Adolescents Shouldn’t Play).

I received an email from a mother that almost lost her son to this game. She is now part of an advocacy group to help inform and educate others about this choking game. She understands she almost lost her son, as a matter of fact, she thought she had. Miraculously, her son survived after several days in a coma following this incident. As a parent advocate, I always encourage others to share their stories, mistakes, experiences etc in an effort to help others. This is one of the many parents that is hoping you will learn from her firsthand experiences.

Source: G.A.S.P.

It’s not a game at all—just an act of suffocating on purpose.

Adolescents cut off the flow of blood to the brain, in exchange for a few seconds of feeling lightheaded. Some strangle themselves with a belt, a rope or their bare hands; others push on their chest or hyperventilate.

When they release the pressure, blood that was blocked up floods the brain all at once. This sets off a warm and fuzzy feeling, which is just the brain dying, thousands of cells at a time.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teenage Back Acne and Self Esteem

Back Acne Treatment Helps Teens with Self Esteem Issues

As parents we are all aware at how fragile a teenager’s self esteem can be sometimes. Hormones at the onset of puberty don’t do much to help with that. As hormones rage, often times so does acne. Acne occurs frequently in teenagers to varying degrees and typically occurs on the face and back. For active teenagers, this can be a cause of embarrassment. But back acne treatment can do wonders in alleviating the self esteem issues caused by excessive acne on the back.

Teenage boys are often active in sports and have to deal with their peers in the locker rooms and while competing. Having back acne can be highly embarrassing and make someone feel self conscious. Teenage girls have an equal number of problems pertaining to back acne. Imagine getting ready for a high school dance, picking out a fashionable dress and being appalled by the back acne that is visible. Of course, acne in general is something that all teenagers go through to some extent. But we do want our kids to be confident and healthy so it is important to understand the causes of back acne as well as the cures for back acne.

If a teenager is embarrassed by their back acne, they will have a tendency to avoid situations where it may be visible. This can be really unhealthy for a teenager. Avoiding sporting events, social activities and friends can lead to depression. But there is good news regarding the causes of back acne. We know what causes are real and what are myths. Because of this, we also know ways in which back acne treatment can benefit the self conscious teenager.

Amazingly, many people still buy into the myths associates with the causes of back acne. We know, though that food, clothing, dirt and sweat do not cause acne. In some cases one or all of those issues may exacerbate acne to a small degree but none of them actually cause it. So, in order to effectively find cures for back acne, the root cause of it should be examined and there is basically one main cause of acne in the face, back and body.

The culprit is hormones. Yes, a hormonal imbalance is the reason the skin breaks out and why so many teenagers are afflicted with acne problems. So in order to treat it, two things must occur: The hormonal imbalance must be addressed and a proper skin care regimen must be started. The truth is both of these issues can be controlled with skin care products, diet and vitamins.

With back acne Retin A is often used and touted as a cure. However, many Retin A products are very expensive and often do not cure the back acne completely. High cost advertising programs are what draw consumers to these products and while some may work, they are not addressing the complete picture so they can not stop the back acne from occurring.

Instead, there are a few products that are recommended because of the testing that was conducted and the means to which a complete system of hormonal cures as well as skin care treatments are used. The reason they work is that they address back acne from the inside out and do not leave anything out of the picture.

There are many products on the market today but often the reason they are popular is due to expensive advertising campaigns as opposed to actual positive results. It is important to start off with a topical treatment to clean the skin and protect it. These may include a body wash, body cream and scrubs. Getting into the habit of cleaning the face regularly will instill a sense of responsibility and self respect in a teenager also.

Not only should the topical skin treatment be addressed but the hormonal imbalance should also be treated with natural supplements. The hormonal imbalance is addressed with the use of the supplements and acne issues are washed away with the topical products. The results include fewer blemishes and a restored balance to the hormones. This allows the skin to naturally go back to its intended condition, free from acne.

Choose products that are independently tested and rated for its effectiveness in treating back acne. Also choose all inclusive solutions. They all have one thing in common. They each address all the issues regarding back acne and its root cause. They provide a topical acne wash and cream to help maintain the skin’s appearance but they also include a dietary supplement intended to help restore the proper hormonal balance.

Hormonal imbalances can go well into adulthood but teenagers are especially prone to it. Back acne can be embarrassing and can greatly affect a teenager’s self esteem. However, with proper treatment, the self consciousness from back acne can be eliminated. Your teenager can be confident knowing he or she is acne free.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Depression

Source: USA Today

Experts: Doctors should screen teens for depression.

If you have teens or tweens, government-appointed experts have a message: U.S. adolescents should be routinely screened for major depression by their primary care doctors. The benefits of screening kids 12 to 18 years old outweigh any risks if doctors can assure an accurate diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care, says the independent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
It’s a change from the group’s 2002 report concluding there wasn’t enough evidence to support or oppose screening for teens. The task force, though, says there’s still insufficient proof about the benefits and harms of screening children 7 to 11 years old.

Depression strikes about 1 out of 20 teens, and it’s been linked to lower grades, more physical illness and drug use, as well as early pregnancy.

Questionnaires can accurately identify teens prone to depression, plus there’s new evidence that therapy and/or some antidepressants can benefit them, the expert panel says in a report in today’s Pediatrics . But careful monitoring is vital since there’s “convincing evidence” that antidepressants can increase suicidal behavior in teens, the report says.

Accompanying the task force advisory in Pediatrics is a research review saying there have been few studies on the accuracy of depression screening tests, but the tests “have performed fairly well” among adolescents. Treatment can knock down symptoms of depression, say the reviewers from Kaiser Permanente and the Oregon Evidence-Based Practice Center in Portland, Ore.

In a “show me the money” volley back, pediatricians also weigh in on the topic in today’s issue of their journal. Insurance plans and managed care companies that stiff or under-pay pediatricians for mental health services throw up barriers to mental health care in doctors’ offices, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. Kids’ doctors should be compensated for screenings, as well as consults with mental health specialists and parents, AAP recommends.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Stress

School is winding down, finals are piling up - the stress of getting good grades as well as keeping your GPA up to be able to get into that college or university you dream to go to, can be stressful. Compound that with summer coming and if you are like many teens, looking for a summer job is in the plan but may be more difficult than last summer. The economy is hitting all levels of employment, and parents are not the only ones having stressful times.

Here is a great article I found on TeensHealth. Take the time to learn more about your teen and how stress can effect them.

What Is Stress?

Stress is a feeling that’s created when we react to particular events. It’s the body’s way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation with focus, strength, stamina, and heightened alertness.

The events that provoke stress are called stressors, and they cover a whole range of situations - everything from outright physical danger to making a class presentation or taking a semester’s worth of your toughest subject.

The human body responds to stressors by activating the nervous system and specific hormones. The hypothalamus signals the adrenal glands to produce more of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol and release them into the bloodstream. These hormones speed up heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and metabolism. Blood vessels open wider to let more blood flow to large muscle groups, putting our muscles on alert. Pupils dilate to improve vision. The liver releases some of its stored glucose to increase the body’s energy. And sweat is produced to cool the body. All of these physical changes prepare a person to react quickly and effectively to handle the pressure of the moment.

Read more:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sue Scheff - Teenage Depression

“Just this gloom was like hanging over my head and I knew something wasn’t right but I wasn’t exactly sure what it was.”

– Amy, 16 years old

New research from Columbia University finds that nearly 50 percent of teens suffer from some form of depression, anxiety, or a number of other psychiatric disorders.

“A lot of people I know get depressed all the time about lots of stuff,” says 15-year-old Meagan.

“It’s like everything’s all on your shoulders and you have to take everything at once,” says Meredith, 14.

Sixteen-year-old Amy agrees, “Just this gloom was like hanging over my head and I knew something wasn’t right but I wasn’t exactly sure what it was.”

“My parents went through an awful divorce my ninth grade year and I was devastated, worse than my heart could ever imagine,” says 18-year-old Brittany, “and it hurts a lot, and I still hurt to this day and I’m a senior in H.S.”

The symptoms vary: some kids may be lethargic and withdrawn; others may show agitation and frustration, even aggression. Often, there is a drop in grades.

And sometimes these symptoms can cause parents to punish the child, instead of providing treatment.

“Rather than thinking of children’s misbehaviors as discipline problems or misbehaviors as deliberate,” says psychologist Sunaina Jain, Ph.D., “it’s important to see them as communications from the child.”

Experts say lots of kids experience depression or anxiety, often mild and temporary, but not always. And that’s why parents need to constantly check their child’s emotional pulse.

“You know it doesn’t take hours and hours. Even a few minutes of checking in with each other every day is a great way of saying you know I’m here, I’m interested in you,” says Jain.

Tips for Parents

All teens experience ups and downs. Every day poses a new test of their emotional stability – fighting with a friend, feeling peer pressure to “fit in” with a particular crowd or experiencing anxiety over a failed quiz – all of which can lead to normal feelings of sadness or grief. These feelings are usually brief and subside with time, unlike depression, which is more than feeling blue, sad or down in the dumps once in a while.

According to the Nemours Foundation, depression is a strong mood involving sadness, discouragement, despair or hopelessness that lasts for weeks, months or even longer. It also interferes with a person’s ability to participate in normal activities. Often, depression in teens is overlooked because parents and teachers feel that unhappiness or “moodiness” is typical in young people. They blame hormones or other factors for teens’ feelings of sadness or grief, which leaves many teens undiagnosed and untreated for their illness.

The Mayo Clinic reports that sometimes a stressful life event triggers depression. Other times, it seems to occur spontaneously, with no identifiable specific cause. However, certain risk factors may be associated with developing the disorder. Johns Hopkins University cites the following risk factors for becoming depressed:

Children under stress who have experienced loss or who suffer attention, learning or conduct disorders are more susceptible to depression.
Girls are more likely than boys to develop depression.
Youth, particularly younger children, who develop depression are likely to have a family history of the disorder.

Possible Symptoms:

Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
Significant changes in appetite and sleep patterns
Irritability, anger, worry, agitation or anxiety
Pessimism or indifference
Loss of energy or persistent lethargy
Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
Inability to concentrate and indecisiveness
Inability to take pleasure in former interests or social withdrawal
Unexplained aches and pains
Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

It is important to acknowledge that teens may experiment with drugs or alcohol or become sexually promiscuous to avoid feelings of depression. According to the National Mental Health Association, teens may also express their depression through other hostile, aggressive, risk-taking behaviors. These behaviors will only lead to new problems, deeper levels of depression and destroyed relationships with friends and family, as well as difficulties with law enforcement or school officials.

The development of newer antidepressant medications and mood-stabilizing drugs in the last 20 years has revolutionized the treatment of depression. According to the Mayo Clinic, medication can relieve the symptoms of depression, and it has become the first line of treatment for most types of the disorder. Psychotherapy may also help teens cope with ongoing problems that trigger or contribute to their depression. A combination of medications and a brief course of psychotherapy are usually effective if a teen suffers from mild to moderate depression. For severely depressed teens, initial treatment usually includes medications. Once they improve, psychotherapy can be more effective.

Immediate treatment of your teen’s depression is crucial. Adolescents and children suffering from depression may turn to suicide if they do not receive proper treatment. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for Americans aged 10-24. The National Association of School Psychologists suggests looking for the following warning signs that may indicate your depressed teen if contemplating suicide:

Suicide notes: Notes or journal entries are a very real sign of danger and should be taken seriously.

Threats: Threats may be direct statements (“I want to die.” “I am going to kill myself”) or indirect comments (“The world would be better without me.” “Nobody will miss me anyway”). Among teens, indirect clues could be offered through joking or through comments in school assignments, particularly creative writing or artwork.

Previous attempts: If your child or teen has attempted suicide in the past, a greater likelihood that he or she will try again exists. Be very observant of any friends who have tried suicide before.

Depression (helplessness/hopelessness): When symptoms of depression include strong thoughts of helplessness and hopelessness, your teen is possibly at greater risk for suicide. Watch out for behaviors or comments that indicate your teen is feeling overwhelmed by sadness or pessimistic views of his or her future.

“Masked” depression: Sometimes risk-taking behaviors can include acts of aggression, gunplay and alcohol or substance abuse. While this behavior may not appear to be depression, in fact it may suggest that your teen is not concerned about his or her own safety.

Final arrangements: This behavior may take many forms. In adolescents, it might be giving away prized possessions, such as jewelry, clothing, journals or pictures.

Efforts to hurt himself or herself: Self-injury behaviors are warning signs for young children as well as teens. Common self-destructive behaviors include running into traffic; jumping from heights; and scratching, cutting or marking his or her body.

Changes in physical habits and appearance: Changes include inability to sleep or sleeping all the time, sudden weight gain or loss and lack of interest in appearance or hygiene.

Sudden changes in personality, friends or behaviors: Changes can include withdrawing from friends and family, skipping school or classes, loss of involvement in activities that were once important and avoiding friends.

Plan/method/access: A suicidal child or adolescent may show an increased interest in guns and other weapons, may seem to have increased access to guns, pills, etc., and/or may talk about or hint at a suicide plan. The greater the planning, the greater the potential for suicide.

Death and suicidal themes: These themes might appear in classroom drawings, work samples, journals or homework.

If you suspect suicide, it is important to contact a medical professional immediately. A counselor or psychologist can also help offer additional support.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
American Foundation for Suicidal Prevention
Columbia University
Johns Hopkins University
Mayo Clinic
National Association of School Psychologists
National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association
National Institute of Mental Health
National Mental Health Association
Nemours Foundation