Psychotherapy as a Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Psychotherapy as a Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” is regarded as an effective generalized anxiety disorder treatment. Anxiety therapy helps people identify the causes of anxiety and teaches people to mentally “reframe” situations to reduce anxiety symptoms. Relaxation techniques are often taught as part of anxiety psychotherapy, and can be powerful tools for coping with anxiety attacks.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as a Treatment for Anxiety

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a popular choice for anxiety psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, helps people identify thought patterns, behavior and events that trigger anxiety, symptoms and stress. Once such triggers are identified, CBT teaches people techniques to reduce the level of anxiety associated with each trigger.

The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to alter established thought patterns that result in anxiety symptoms. CBT helps people rethink why they respond to certain triggers with anxiety, and offers ways to break established thought patterns that encourage an anxiety response.

Relaxation Techniques and Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Relaxation techniques for anxiety may be taught alone or as part of cognitive behavioral therapy. Relaxation techniques can prevent anxiety attacks and reduce generalized low-grade anxiety – if, that is, such techniques are practiced on a regular basis. Too often, people undergoing anxiety psychotherapy practice relaxation techniques during therapy sessions, then neglect to put the techniques into use between sessions.

Anyone whose anxiety therapy includes relaxation techniques should practice said techniques for at least twenty minutes a day. If you can practice longer, that’s all to the good: the goal is to make anxiety-reducing techniques second nature.

Examples of relaxation techniques taught to reduce anxiety symptoms include progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and slow, deep breathing techniques. Some people also benefit from meditation, self-hypnosis or hypnotherapy.

Biofeedback may be used to help people learner relaxation techniques. Biofeedback provides measurable and observable feedback of a person’s physiological state, which can be an important tool when learning to relax. Helpful though biofeedback is, anxiety-reducing relaxation techniques can be leaned without the use of biofeedback.

Individual or Group Anxiety Therapy?

Group therapy needs to be approached cautiously as a generalized anxiety disorder treatment. The idea of sharing personal experiences with a group of strangers can induce anxiety in people without nervous disorders. People already suffering from GAD may find group anxiety therapy simply too intimidating.

When used, group anxiety therapy tends to be reserved for people who have already undergone individual anxiety therapy and seen positive results from CBT or relaxation techniques. Even under these conditions group therapy can be too unnerving for some people with generalized anxiety disorder.

Anxiety, Depression and Psychotherapy

GAD often occurs in combination with other anxiety disorders or clinical depression. Anxiety therapy must consider the possibility of secondary anxiety / depression disorders before starting treatment, as treatment strategies vary depending on which disorder are present. Phobias, for instance, receive different treatment from generalized anxiety disorder, which in turn is handled differently from combined anxiety and depression.

Antidepressants and Generalized Anxiety Therapy

Severe GAD symptoms can render anxiety psychotherapy useless. Difficulty concentrating, agitation, and excessive anxiety can all interfere with anxiety therapy outcomes.

Often combinations of anti-anxiety medication and therapy offer the best chance for successful GAD treatment. Medication provides temporary relief from GAD symptoms, allowing the individual time to benefit from relaxation techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Self-Help Techniques for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Self-Help Techniques for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

When people constantly feel anxious and stressed, their bodies respond in physical ways such as shutting down, stomach aches, and headaches. Many people who struggle with generalized anxiety disorder feel fatigued from constantly worrying. Self-help techniques can’t replace professional help, but they can reduce feelings of anxiety and add to an overall positive way of coping with this disorder.

Learn About the Disorder

Anyone who suffers from a mental health disorder such as generalized anxiety disorder should arm herself with knowledge about the disorder. Learn about the symptoms of the disorder, treatment options, and self-help techniques. Look through websites, read articles, and pick up some books on the topic. The more a person knows about his disorder, the more empowered he’ll feel.

Accept Lack of Control to Reduce Anxiety

There are things in life that aren’t controllable, and many times people who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder worry about things that are out of their control. When a person stops focusing on things that he can’t change and turns his energy to things under his control, he’ll reduce his anxiety.

For example, a parent who worries that her teen daughter could get pregnant can’t really control whether or not it actually happens. If a teenager wants to have sex, she’ll probably find a way to do it. However, the parent can discuss sex with her teen, teach her about birth control options, and encourage her to wait until she’s in love, older, and ready for that step.

Allow Some Time for Worrying

This might seem counterintuitive, but it’s not. Allowing a period of worry each day will help to limit worry and allow the person to concentrate on other things during the day. If someone with this disorder knows that she can stress and worry for twenty minutes in the evening, she might be able to focus better at work and when she’s with friends. Don’t go overboard with this concept. Limit the worry period to about twenty minutes each day. Use a journal to get the stresses down on paper and then put them away for the rest of the night. Near the end of the twenty minutes look over the list of worries, and put circles around the ones that are controllable. Take steps to deal with those issues.

Exercise, Eating Healthfully, and Getting Regular Sleep Reduces Anxiety Symptoms

People who don’t suffer from an anxiety disorder should try to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and get eight hours of sleep each night, but people who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder need to make these things a top priority. People with this disorder already put physical strain on their bodies, so they need to replenish their energy in order to concentrate at work and not feel irritable.

Fit in at least twenty minutes of exercise each day. Some people complain that they don’t have the time for exercise, and it’s just another thing to worry about, but anyone who’s serious about decreasing stress should fit it in. Some ideas include taking a walk during lunch, stashing a pair of weights under one’s desk and using them in between meetings, and doing yoga in the evening. People can break it down into two ten minute increments if they’re really hurting for time.

Practice and Implement Relaxation Techniques to Cope with Stress

People with anxiety disorders have a lot to gain from adding this to their daily routine. First, make a list of ten things that help to prevent stress. Here are fifteen examples:

  • Taking a bubble bath
  • Making a home-cooked meal
  • Eating brunch with a friend
  • Talking to a sibling on the phone
  • Reading a good book
  • Getting a massage
  • Yoga
  • Running
  • Jumping on a trampoline
  • Getting a manicure
  • Golfing
  • Watching college football
  • Dancing
  • Laughing out loud
  • Taking a vacation

Each person should stick her list somewhere she’ll see it regularly and do at least one of the things from her list every day. Once someone is working on preventing anxiety, she also needs to learn relaxation techniques such as meditation or visualization to implement when feeling stressed.

To practice visualization someone simply closes his eyes and thinks about a place he feels safe and happy. For instance, someone might choose the beach. Visualization uses all the senses, so that person would try to smell the salt in the air, feel the sand beneath his toes, see the beautiful colors of the ocean, and hear the waves crashing.

Self-help techniques such as learning about anxiety, accepting lack of control, practicing healthy habits, and using relaxation techniques are a positive addition to professional treatment.

Risk Factors for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Gender, Genetics, Depression, and Stress Contribute to GAD

Risk Factors for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorders (GAD) can affect anyone at any age, but some people have risk factors that make them more susceptible to GAD than others. The presence of generalized anxiety disorder risk factors does not automatically mean a person will develop GAD. He more risk factors a person has for anxiety disorders, however, the greater the individuals risk of developing generalized anxiety disorder.

Gender and GAD

Being female greatly increases the risk of generalized anxiety disorders. Women are twice as likely as men to receive a GAD diagnosis. The reason for this gender discrepancy is unclear. Hormonal factors and cultural expectations may increase the risk of generalized anxiety disorder for women.

Another theory notes that women are, generally speaking, more likely than men to discuss depression, anxiety and other mental disorders with doctors. If this is a factor, rates of generalized anxiety disorders in men may be underreported.

Age and Generalized Anxiety Disorder

GAD symptoms often develop in childhood. Traumatic childhood events such as abuse may trigger generalized anxiety disorder, or increase the risk of the anxiety disorder developing later in life. Generalized anxiety disorders are also some of the most common mental disorders amongst elderly Americans.

Anxiety, Stress and GAD

Stress and anxiety go hand-in-hand. Events that cause significant stress, such as divorce, chronic illness or violent crime, are risk factors for generalized anxiety disorder. A series of smaller stressors may also trigger GAD. Why stress and anxiety increase the risk of generalized anxiety disorder in some people and not in others is unclear. People who have nervous personalities to start with may be at greater than normal risk of developing GAD or other personality disorders.

Family and GAD

Anxiety disorders are known to run in families. If a person has a first degree relative with GAD he or she has a 25 percent chance of also developing the disorder.

How familial risk factors for GAD work is unclear. Genetics may play a role, as can family attitudes towards anxiety, stress and conflict.

Mental Disorders and GAD Risk Factors

Clinical depression is often seen in combination with generalized anxiety disorder, although it’s sometimes difficult to determine with mental disorder came first. Of the different types of depression, major depression and chronic mild depression (dysthymia) are most commonly diagnosed alongside generalized anxiety disorder.

Physical Conditions and Anxiety

People with serious and chronic disease have higher than normal risk of generalized anxiety disorder. Irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, chronic pain and sleep apnea all increase the risk of GAD.

Substance Abuse and Generalized Anxiety Disorders

People who abuse drugs or alcohol have relatively high rates of generalized anxiety disorder. Alcoholism, cocaine abuse and marijuana abuse all increase the risk of GAD. Nicotine and excessive caffeine use also increase general anxiety symptoms.

Risk Factors and Causes of GAD

It’s important to remember the difference between risk factors and generalized anxiety disorder causes. Risk factors increase the possibility of GAD: they do not, however, cause generalized anxiety disorder. GAD can develop even in the absence of known risk factors.

How To Quit Smoking This Year: Drop the Cigarette Burden

stop smoking

Research shows that there are many ways to quit smoking, but only one way to start quitting; there must be that first admission of addiction. Addictions are not easy to deal with but they are impossible to deal with if they are never acknowledged. A great first step for any smoker who desires to stop is to admit that they are addicted and need to make some major life changes in order to be free from cigarettes.

 

How To Change the Smoking Lifestyle

Once the admission of addiction is made, then steps must be made to alter the living environment. Studies have shown that a reduction in the number of “smoking triggers,” things that are reminders of smoking, will result in a greater likelihood of success in quitting. Following are several steps to follow to help improve the smoker’s environment for quitting:

  1. Rearrange the most common smoking location so that it looks like a new place. Add a piece of furniture or take out an old piece.
  2. Throw away all smoking related paraphernalia in the home or workplace.
  3. Alter morning or afternoon schedules to accommodate for a life without smoke breaks.

Accountability Helps

Another important aspect of quitting smoking involves the people in the lives of the smoker. Some smokers find it advantageous to tell everyone in their lives that they are quitting. They should also state a specific date on which they will be quitting. This accountability makes a big difference when it comes to increasing the quitter’s motivation. When the smoker knows that everyone they told will be expecting them to quit, it makes it more difficult to think of facing their friends and family members having failed.

Don’t Be Too Hard On Your Smoking Self

What’s the worst thing that happens if the smoker falls back? They just have to start again. Maybe the methods that were used the first time around were not effective, but maybe the smoker just needs to go through the mental process of seeing themselves as a non-smoker more than once before it becomes a permanent fixture in their lives.

Tools for Quitting Smoking

There are many physiological aids to help the smoker kick the habit. From gum, to cigarette substitutes, to prescriptions, to patches, the smoker can find an aid that will work for them, but it may take a few tries.

The Quit Smoking Mantra

Keep trying! Don’t give up if the first attempt at being smoke-free fails. Commit to be a non-smoker in 2017 even if it takes until September or October to kick the habit. Decide that this will be the smoke-free year. Commit to be a non-smoker by Thanksgiving. If it takes one try or 15 tries, don’t give up

Ways to Quit Smoking Safely and Effectively: How to Stop Smoking, Handle Withdrawal and Safeguard Health

quit smoking

For many, a New Years resolution to quit smoking can be a path to a much healthier year, and a much longer life. But there are some dangers associated with quitting, including an increased risk of diabetes brought on by rapid weight gain, as found in a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Other potential health pitfalls when someone stops smoking include depression, stress and withdrawal symptoms.

Here are some ways to quit smoking safely and effectively:

Watch Your Weight after Quitting Smoking

Swift weight gain after quitting cigarettes has been linked to increased health risks, including the development of diabetes. Developing a healthy eating and exercise plan before quitting can help blunt the effects of increased appetite caused by stopping smoking. Those interested in stopping smoking should consult a doctor or nutritionist before quitting in order to make a plan for how to handle the potential weight gain.

How to Quit Smoking and Plan Ahead for Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

Nicotine is addictive, and withdrawal symptoms can hinder efforts to quit smoking. Quitters who plan ahead find it easier to deal with withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine replacement products, such as patches or gums, can help mitigate the physical withdrawal symptoms. For psychological difficulties in quitting, many try replacement activities, including exercising, taking a warm bath, chewing on a straw or immersing themselves in a distracting hobby like needlework.

Get Support to Stop Smoking

Support from family and friends can be invaluable when someone is trying to quit smoking, but those aren’t the only places to find support. Many cities and states have telephone programs to help people learn how to quit smoking. These programs use trained counselors to encourage and support the quitter and can give advice or answer questions about anything involved in the process of ending cigarette addiction.

Nicotene anonymous groups, which are modeled after alcoholics anonymous programs, are another place to find support for those trying to stop smoking.

Ways to Quit Smoking Include Nicotine Replacement Products and Other Stop Smoking Treatments

Nicotine replacement products can help reduce the cravings for cigarettes as well as fill some of the psychological need left when people give up smoking. These products come in a variety of forms, including gum, patches, inhalers, nicotine lozenges and nasal sprays.

Prescription medications to reduce nicotine cravings and help prevent mental symptoms include Bupropion, Varenicline and Nortriptyline.

Other methods and treatments people use to try stopping smoking include hypnosis, acupuncture, herbal remedies and electronic cigarettes.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 4% to 7% of people are able to quit smoking successfully without any help. But those who plan ahead and use a combination of physical and mental methods to help them quit have a much higher – and healthier – success rate.

Chantix – Will Verenicline Cure a Smoking Habit? Weigh the Risk Before Investing in Chantix for Smoking Cessation

smoking habit

Chantix is the trade name for the prescription drug varenicline, which stimulates the brain to produce dopamine and also blocks the receptors in the brain which are activated by nicotine. Varenicline a one-two punch providing both a replacement in terms of pleasure that is produced when smokers consume cigarettes and also as a deterrent by reducing the dopamine produced by cigarettes.

 

How Chantix Differs from Nicotine Therapy Replacement Products

Most of the older stop smoking products provided nicotine to the body (chewing gum, patches) and were designed to help smokers reduce cigarette consumption by simply providing an alternate form of nicotine consumption. Chantix, on the other hand, provides a different pleasure stimulation while blocking the “high” produced by nicotine.

How the Chantix Stop Smoking System Works

Smokers are required to visit a physician and get medical counseling and a prescription in order to purchase Chantix. It is not an over-the-counter stop smoking aid like nicotine gums and patches.

The Chantix program is designed to last 12 weeks, with lower doses initially as the smoker cuts back and then higher doses as the smoker weans off and gives up cigarettes. The pills are color coded, marking the shift from the beginning level of the stop smoking program to the maintenance level of the drug when the smoker should be cigarette free.

Chantix includes a behavior modification or support program. This includes automated daily phone calls and/or daily emails set up by the smoker. There are required or suggested activities such as logging all cigarettes smoked before starting the program and reporting any cigarette smoking during a given day. Again, automated messages are provided based on information provided by the smoker.

How Successful is the Chantix Stop Smoking Program?

Pfizer previously claimed a 44% success rate, but that was at the end of the 12 week stop smoking program. Those quit smoking studies were based on closely supervised clinical studies with intense therapy and with the exclusion of “harder to treat” smokers.

After the initial publicity campaign  touting extremely high success rates with Chantix and very little information provided on the negative side effects, Pfizer focused more on the 22% success rate noted at the one-year mark for those having completed the program and living a cigarette-free lifestyle.

Is the Cure Worse Than the Disease?

The side effects of Chantix have been downplayed during the three years the product has been on the market. As with all drugs, there are side effects, with some individuals experiencing few if any problems and others having very serious issues with the use of varenicline.

One of the most serious side effects with Chantix has been depression, which may not sound major to many, but clinical depression can be deadly. The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began investigating in 2014 after 39 suicide deaths were attributed to the use of Chantix. In fact, at least two lawsuits are pending against Pfizer related to these unfortunate deaths.

In addition, mood changes and uncharacteristic behaviors are listed as possible side effects of Chantix as well as vivid, strange, and unsettling dreams or difficulties sleeping. Again, these side effects may often be seen as inconsequential but can be quite serious in some cases. Furthermore, Chantix users have reported aggression, anger, anxiety, nervousness and even “thoughts of hurting other people.”

Other side effects range from gas and increased appetite to tightness in the chest and peeling skin. Some users have even reported allergic reactions including swelling, hoariness, blistering, and seizures.

Chantix users may report these and any other reactions noted while using Chantix to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Still Want to Give Chantix a Try?

Some individuals have successfully stopped smoking using the Chantix program. It is a unique approach and one of only several products/programs aimed at helping smokers quit.

Anyone interested in trying Chantix needs to see a physician and get a prescription and also should research carefully and be aware of the possible side effects.

The average cost of the Chantix top smoking program is around $150 per month with some insurance companies covering all or part of the cost.

Living with an Alcoholic During the Holidays: Surviving Christmas and New Year’s if Loved Ones Drink Too Much

living with an alcoholic

Noticing colorful decorations, playing in fresh white snow, hearing familiar tunes such as Jingle Bells and getting a whiff of gingerbread or other wonderful aromas of the season often trigger warm, nostalgic feelings. Unfortunately for some, though, these same experiences can also bring on subtle, vague memories of abuse, neglect, shame or conflict.

For those who live with an alcoholic on a daily basis, Christmas and New Year’s can be brutal. Sometimes the smallest, most innocuous incident can trigger unhappy memories and bring on dysfunctional coping behaviors such as self-effacement, self-neglect and increased attempts at controlling a situation.

How Unidentified Emotional Triggers Affect a Family Gathering

Painful memories are buried deep inside those who grew up with alcoholism as well as those who have lived with an alcoholic as an adult. Many have no idea what a “happy holiday” would look like for themselves, and try to emulate a Norman Rockwell painting in their households instead. This simply doesn’t work.

For example, at a family gathering, a certain tree ornament or door wreath might bring on a vague feeling of upset for Susan as she enters Mom’s house. But she quickly “stuffs” it without taking the time to identify it, and the festivities continue. But later, Susan starts trying to control everybody, is filled with “good ideas” for everybody else, becomes touchy and defensive when she doesn’t get her way and generally misinterprets the actions of others. If there are four or five Susans in the family group, it becomes a power struggle rather than a holiday celebration even though everybody in the room is behaving “normally” on the outside.

What Happens When the Drinking Starts at a Family Gathering

Inevitably, someone will start drinking. If Susan is an alcoholic, she will join in, but if she’s not a drinker she will likely start making passive-aggressive attempts to control the drinking and/or behavior of others. Al-Anon refers to this behavior as “forcing solutions.” Susan will find herself “irritable and unreasonable without knowing it” (from Al-Anon’s Suggested Welcome). If she can’t control the drinker she will try to control the meal preparation or the gift unwrapping or the selection of music or whatever, because it gives her some temporary sense of power. Others around her will begin to have their own vague feelings of upset and their own triggers just from being in Susan’s presence.

All this is happening on an unseen level, of course. On the surface, to a casual observer, everybody is having a great time and it looks just like that Norman Rockwell scene. There is laughter, singing, joking and joviality. Alcoholics are often the “life of the party” and others are unaware of the effect that alcoholism is having on the group.

Detaching From a Dysfunctional Family Gathering

A roomful of Susans and other dysfunctional family members can soon create havoc in even the most well-meaning group of people. A person who recognizes what is happening and their own part in the insanity can choose to stay in the room, participate in the superficial, friendly exchanges, or they can choose to detach from the craziness whether or not they physically leave the premises.

Setting boundaries or detaching from five Susans can be stressful for those in recovery, but it is well worth the effort. Here are some techniques that have helped Al-Anon members in similar situations:

  • Find an empty room, even a bathroom, and take a few minutes to check in with your body. Breathe deeply, relax, say a prayer and acknowledge whatever emotion it is that is trying to surface.
  • Let go of any preconceived notions about how others “ought to” behave. Allow events to unfold as they will, trusting that a Higher Power is in charge of everything and everybody concerned.
  • If someone tries to control you or “help” you by offering unsolicited advice (another form of control), remember you have the right to say “Thanks, but I’m sure I’ll be able to [whatever] just fine” or simply, “You could be right, I’ll think about that.”
  • Affirm yourself to yourself. Remind yourself that you are entitled to feel your feelings and that you are not required to “obey” another adult who thinks they know how you ought to live.
  • Let go of your own need to control the behavior of others. Detach with love if possible. If you can’t do it with love, do it with anger. But do it. It will save your psyche and your sanity.

As long as alcoholics attend family gatherings, and as long as family members try to reason with or control an alcoholic, families will continue to ride the “Merry-Go-Round Called Denial.” Try Al-Anon for yourself and reconnect with the precious child of God you see when you look in the mirror.

Atlanta Youth And Drugs

youth and drugs

A look at the drug use in Fulton and DeKalb counties

WHO IS USING?

Teenaged boys were arrested for drug possession 24 times more than their female counterparts in DeKalb county, while in Fulton county, the gap degreases to just 10 males arrested per female. The reckless nature of teenage boys may be the reason for their higher drug use, or it could simply be that girls are much better at hiding their use, and are therefore less likely to be arrested. Overall, 181 juveniles in Fulton and 100 in Dekalb were arrested for drug possession, not including those arrested for possession with intent to sell.

WHAT ARE THEY USING?

Based on arrest statistics from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the drug most widely used and sold by youth in Fulton and DeKalb is marijuana. The drug with the next highest use in these two counties is cocaine, however the US Department of Justice lists it as seventh of eleven drugs used by teenagers. According to the National Youth Anti-Drug Campaign, the most common drugs are found within the home. They say that illegal use of prescription medications is on the rise nationwide, but there were only two arrests in both counties for illegal possession of prescription drugs. The juvenile drug use trends in these two Atlanta counties deviate strongly from the national averages with much higher use of cocaine and significantly lower abuse of prescription drugs.

WHAT DOES MONEY HAVE TO DO WITH IT?

These drugs aren’t cheap. At $100 per gram of cocaine or ounce of marijuana, buyers need a decent flow of cash to experiment and even more to support a habit. Simply put, teens whose parents make more money can afford more drugs. According to the 2000 US Census, the median per capita income for DeKalb County was around $24,000, and about $30,000 in neighboring Fulton County. There were 1.8 times more arrests for juvenile drug possession in the more affluent Fulton County than DeKalb during the same three-month period.

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

Certain groups advocate awareness, claiming that adolescents will make the correct decision once they are informed about the dangers of drugs. One approach from England’s The Daily Mail, suggests that parents limit their children’s pocket money to reduce their purchase of drugs. Whatever preferred method parents choose, the first defense is always at home, according to The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. Parents should always be on the lookout for signs that their child is using or abusing drugs.

The Rise of Prescription Pill Abuse

prescription pill

The Basics Behind Non-Medical Use of Pills and Remedies

According to the National Institute survey, prescription drug use is an “area of concern” for teens, and 15.4 percent of high school seniors report using prescription and over the counter drugs for non-medical purposes. In other words, a teen is just as likely to get drugs from the family medicine cabinet than a dealer on the street.

“I started abusing pills when I was just 13,” reports one addict, who is currently living in a sober treatment facility after seeking help for a ten year addiction. “I found so many ways to get high around the house. Diet pills, cough syrup, Oxycontin, Xanax. It was easy to steal the pills and get high.”

Commonly Abused Medications

  • Opiods. Prescribed as painkillers, these include medications with codeine, oxycodone or morphine, such OxyContin, Perocet, Percodan and Vicodan. Abusing these pills brings on a feeling of euphoric pleasure.
  • Sedatives and Tranquillizers. Often prescribed for sleeplessness or anxiety attacks, abusing drugs such as Xanax, Valium, and Nembutal produces a general feeling of peace and well-being.
  • Stimulants. Includes diet pills and ADD/ADHD medications, including Ritalin and Adderall. A user will experience a fast, “speedy” feeling, as well as increased heart rate, from taking these pills.
  • OTC, or Over the Counter medications. Popular choices include medications, such as cough syrup, which contain dextromethorphan, or DXM. Other choices include large doses of diet pills, sleep aids, or motion sickness medication.

Pill Accessibility

Often, teens abuse prescription and OTC medication because they’re easier to buy than street drugs, as well as more socially acceptable. Sources include:

  • Medicine cabinets of family and friends. One quick trip to Grandma’s bathroom can turn up all kinds of items for a resourceful user.
  • The Internet. Type in “Buy Oxycontin” on a Google search and 1.3 million sites will surface, as well ways to isolate DXM in cough syrup.
  • Doctor shopping. Users either lie to doctors to obtain more or different drugs, or visit multiple doctors to insure a steady supply.

Prevention

While teens face pressure from the outside world, parents can make home a safe and inviting environment. Other tips for preventing prescription pill abuse include:

  • Remove old medication from cabinets. If there is no longer a medical need, there is no need for the pills.
  • Keep medications locked up, and monitor the levels of pills/liquids in the bottles.
  • Talk to your kids. Opening lines of communication, even about uncomfortable subjects, will allow the best opportunity to defuse potentially dangerous situations.

If the possibility of prescription pill abuse is already there, seek medical help immediately. The abuse of pills, especially the mixing of different pills or with alcohol, could have deadly consequences.

Salvia Divinorum:The Legal Drug

Salvia Divinorum

There was a time when marijuana, cocaine, even LSD was legal. Thankfully, state and federal laws were enacted to outlaw these dangerous drugs and protect society as a whole. Now, there is another drug that is causing concern across America, Salvia Divinorum, and yes, Salvia is legal.

Salvia Divinorum has received the street name as the “new marijuana”, however its effects are closer to those of LSD. It is a member of the Sage family and when taken, produces psychoactive or psychotropic effects. This is a result of Salvia affecting the central nervous system. Salvia’s effects occur very quickly and the user reports a sense of altered consciousness nearly immediately after taking.

Salvia: Spiritual Journey or Quick High

The Salvia Divinorum plant is not new to humankind. Mazatec shamans have used it for thousands of years. They primarily use Salvia to create a drink that is believed to enhance their healing powers and direct them on a spiritual course; teens use Salvia for a quick mind-altering high. Salvia, unlike many other drugs, does not last long. Depending upon the dose taken, the effects of Salvia may last anywhere from ten minutes to one hour.

Salvia on YouTube

The appearance of Salvia videos on YouTube has sparked an increase in recognition of the herb as well as its use. YouTube hosts a number of videos that show teenagers using Salvia and also documents their experiences while under its influence. The videos reveal that the herb has the ability to completely disorient its users, gives them uncontrollable laughter, and the feeling of greater awareness of spiritual truths. Since Salvia has been used by shaman for its spiritual purposes, most people report that they experience great spiritual visions and imagery when taking Salvia.

Salvia – Legal but is it Safe?

Safety is of the greatest concern regarding Salvia Divinorum. The fact is that there simply haven’t been enough studies or research regarding Salvia to determine its long term effects, or even if it has therapeutic or medical benefits. However, this hasn’t stopped many people from determining that Salvia needs to be controlled.

Salvia is becoming quickly regulated due to the fact that there have been negative and tragic reports attributed to its use. Though there have yet to be any deaths associated with Salvia Divinorum, one family believes that Salvia use may have contributed to the suicide of their son- Brett Chidester.

Salvia Divinorum: Brett’s Law

Though there has been no concrete conclusion that Brett Chidester committed suicide because of Salvia, the herb was found in his system as revealed through toxicology reports. There were other factors that may have contributed to Brett’s suicide but the family could not overlook the fact that Salvia may have played a role. They lobbied and Brett’s Law was signed into law in April of 2006, just several month’s after Brett’s suicide. This began a closer look at Salvia across the states and many other states have followed suit. Additionally, states across the globe are continuing to look at Salvia and are taking measures to control this psychoactive herb.