Helping Teens Cope with Stress

Teenaged boy in blue jacket uid 1181059 Stress is a common problem among teens, and as a parent, you have a role in helping the teen in your life cope with it. So what exactly is stress? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stress is the body’s physical and psychological response to anything perceived as overwhelming. This may be viewed as a result of life’s demands—pleasant or unpleasant—and the body’s lack of resources to meet them.

While stress is a natural part of life, it often creates imbalance in the body, especially a teen’s body, which is already experiencing so many changes. Girls also report feeling "frequently stressed" more than boys. Visit Teens Today: An Inside Look to learn more about how teen girls and boys change from early to middle to late adolescence.

A certain amount of stress can be helpful as a way of keeping your teen motivated. But too much or too little may render them ineffective and interfere with their relationships at home and socially, as well as their physical well-being. According to a recent survey, 43 percent of 13- to 14-year-olds say they feel stressed every single day; by ages 15 to 17, the number rises to 59 percent. The day-to-day pressures teens experience, such as the pressure to fit in and to be successful, can lead to stress. Jobs and family economics can also prove stressful for teens, as nearly two-thirds of them say they are "somewhat" or "very concerned" about their personal finances.³

If stress becomes unmanageable and teens are left to their own devices without guidance from a parent or caregiver, they may find their own ways of coping. Sometimes these coping mechanisms involve unhealthy behaviors such as drinking, smoking marijuana, and engaging in other risky behaviors.⁴ Here’s how you can help the teen in your life with healthy, productive coping strategies.

  1. Recognize when your teen is stressed-out. Is your teen getting adequate rest? Are they eating well-balanced meals? Do they ever get to take breaks to restore their energy? If these needs are unmet, your teen will show it through chronic moodiness, irritability, anxiety and/or long bouts of sadness. If you have a teen daughter, be particularly aware if she is obsessing about looks or weight.
  2. Introduce positive coping strategies to your teen. Let’s face it, stress will be a part of your teen’s life. Help them identify ways in which they can relieve their stress in a healthy way. It can be as simple as having your teen talk to you about their problems or pressures. Other ideas include: exercising, getting enough sleep, listening to music, writing in a journal, keeping a healthy diet, seeing a counselor and reminding them of their accomplishments.
  3. Be a good example. Young people often pick up their coping strategies by watching their parents. If a child sees a parent drink an alcoholic beverage or smoke a cigarette every time they are overwhelmed, they are more likely to imitate the same behavior. So, be mindful of your own reactions to stress and set a good example for your children.

If signs of stress persist, ask for help. Some sources you can consult include: a health care provider, mental health center, social worker, counselor, nurse, therapist or clergy.

Full story at Managing Teen Stress

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Alcohol Addiction

Woman drinking glass of red wine in bar alcoholic? Where does one draw the line between being a social drinker and having an alcohol addiction?

For many people, the lines aren’t always so clear, especially when everyone around them seems to be binge drinking, drinking on a daily basis or glamorizing alcohol use.

Social drinking can easily progress into a psychological, or even physical, dependence over time, as it becomes habitually ingrained in our behavioral patterns.

Suddenly, we drink to be more interesting, drink to make others more interesting, drink for courage in social settings, drink to give ourselves a boost of energy, or drink to cover up negative feelings like pain, depression or anxiety.

Prior to an addiction to alcohol, there is generally a prolonged time period when the social drinker finds that he or she is drinking more frequently, experiencing more adverse effects and is slightly losing control.

Alcohol abusers start showing signs like drinking and driving, participating in dangerous activities while under the influence, continuing to drink even when problems with friends or family happen as a result of alcohol consumption and getting into physical fights. Drinking alcohol begins to interfere with not only social relations, but also obligations at work and school, and in some cases, drinking may even land an individual in legal trouble. These are early warning signs that alcohol use is crossing over into alcohol abuse.

The next stage is alcohol addiction, or as it is sometimes called, alcoholism or alcohol dependency.

Now the drinker loses all control and the physiological/psychological effects of alcohol surface. Drinkers find that they’re consuming more than they originally intended to, find that they can’t stop or cut back drinking, and find that they need to drink more to get drunk. They may have trouble sleeping, have shaky hands, sweating, nauseousness, nervousness or the feeling of bugs crawling all over them. They likely drink or take medication to avoid hangovers and continue drinking alcohol to cover up sadness, anger or anxiety. The binge drinking bouts become progressively longer and the individual often loses interest in all other hobbies in favor of drinking.

Full story at Cool Kids Stuff

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The Late Stage of Alcoholism

Grapes and Wine 122 The Disease of Alcoholism

There are, and have been, many theories about alcoholism. The most prevailing theory, and now most commonly accepted, is called the Disease Model.

Its basic tenets are that alcoholism is a disease with recognizable symptoms, causes, and methods of treatment. In addition, there are several stages of the disease which are often described as early, middle, late, treatment and relapse.

While it is not essential to fully define these stages, it is useful to understand them in terms of how the disease presents itself.

This series of articles describes the signs and symptoms of each stage as well as exploring treatment options.

  1. Early or Adaptive Stage
  2. Middle Stage
  3. Late Stage
  4. Treating Alcoholism
  5. Relapse to drinking

3 – The Late Stage of Alcoholism

The late, or deteriorative stage, is best identified as the point at which the damage to the body from the toxic effects of alcohol is evident, and the alcoholic is suffering from a host of ailments.

An alcoholic in the final stages may be destitute, extremely ill, mentally confused, and drinking almost constantly. The alcoholic in this stage is suffering from many physical and psychological problems due to the damage to vital organs. His or her immunity to infections is lowered, and the employee’s mental condition is very unstable.

Some of the very serious medical conditions the alcoholic faces at this point include heart failure, fatty liver, hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, malnutrition, pancreatitis, respiratory infections, and brain damage, some of which is reversible.

Why does an alcoholic continue to drink despite the known facts about the disease and the obvious adverse consequences of continued drinking? The answer to this question is quite simple. In the early stage, the alcoholic does not consider himself or herself sick because his or her tolerance is increasing. In the middle stage, the alcoholic is unknowingly physically dependent on alcohol. He or she simply finds that continuing to use alcohol will prevent the problems of withdrawal. By the time an alcoholic is in the late stage, he or she is often irrational, deluded, and unable to understand what has happened.

In addition to the effects of these changes, the alcoholic is faced with one of the most powerful facets of addiction: denial. An alcoholic will deny that he or she has a problem. This denial is a very strong force. If an alcoholic did not deny the existence of a problem, he or she would most likely seek help when faced with the overwhelming problems caused by drinking. While denial is not a diagnosable physical symptom or psychiatric disorder, it is an accurate description of the state of the alcoholic’s behavior and thinking and is very real.

See also;

  1. Early or Adaptive Stage of Alcoholism
  2. Middle Stage of Alcoholism
  3. Late Stage
  4. Treating Alcoholism
  5. Relapse to drinking

What can Alcohol do for You?

Glasses of beer uid 1180097 Alcohol Related Harm

Hangovers are the most obvious result of a heavy drinking episode.

They are a much talked about subject due to the self inflicted feelings of sickness and nausea they cause a person.

But a hangover is not the only reminder of a heavy drinking session.

In 1986 the British Royal College of General Practitioners highlighted the potential harm related to alcohol arising from either regular heavy drinking or intoxication.

They categorised the resulting problems as social, psychological or physical, and listed these problems in two lists – Problems as a result of heavy drinking and problems as a result of intoxication, drunkenness. These are;

 

 

Problems related to regular heavy drinking

Social

  • Family problems
  • Divorce
  • Homelessness
  • Work difficulties
  • Unemployment
  • Financial difficulties
  • Fraud
  • Debt
  • Vagrancy
  • Habitual convictions for drunkenness

Psychological

  • Insomnia (problems getting to sleep, waking up early or unable to get back to sleep)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Attempted suicide
  • Suicide
  • Changes in personality
  • Amnesia (partial or total loss of memory or blackouts)
  • Delirium tremens (DT’s)
  • Withdrawal fits
  • Hallucinations
  • Dementia (Mental deterioration and loss of memory for recent events although long term memory is intact)
  • Gambling (compulsive)
  • Misuse of other drugs

Physical

  • Fatty liver disease
  • Hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Liver cancer
  • Gastritis (Inflammation of the lining of the stomach)
  • Pancreatitis (Inflammation of the pancreas; usually marked by abdominal pain)
  • Cancer of the mouth, voice box and throat
  • Cancer of breast
  • Cancer of the bowels
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiomyopathy ( a disorder of the heart)
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Strokes (loss of blood supply to the brain)
  • Brain damage
  • Neuropathy (damage to the nerves in legs or arms)
  • Myopathy (damage to the muscles)
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Infertility
  • Foetal damage in the womb
  • Haemopoietic toxicity (blood poisoning)
  • Reactions with other drugs


Problems relating to intoxication

Social

  • Family arguments
  • Domestic violence
  • Child neglect/abuse
  • Domestic accidents
  • Absenteeism
  • Accidents at work
  • Inefficiency at work
  • Public drunkenness
  • Public aggression
  • Sports hooliganism
  • Theft
  • Burglary
  • Assault
  • Homicide
  • Drinking and driving
  • Road traffic accidents
  • Sexually deviant acts
  • Unwanted pregnancy

Psychological

  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Attempted suicide
  • Suicide
  • Amnesia

Physical

  • Hepatitis
  • Gastritis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Gout (pain in the big toe and foot)
  • Cardiac arrhythmia (heart beat irregular)
  • Accidents
  • Trauma
  • Strokes
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Failure to take prescribed medicines
  • Foetal damage in the womb
  • Impotence

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