Study: More Pregnant Teens Drink and Use Drugs

Posted on February 19, 2015 By

 Study: More Pregnant Teens Drink and Use Drugs

There was a time in recent history when everyone smoked and no one really knew about the consequences. This goes for doctors smoking in hospitals, people smoking on airplanes, and even pregnant women smoked and even drank alcohol – completely unaware of the impact these drugs could have on their unborn children.

Nowadays, though, we are well-aware of the effects of smoking, and even second-hand smoke, and drinking – especially when it comes to the unborn fetus.

A new study, however, finds that many pregnant teenagers don’t seem to be getting the message about just how damaging alcohol and other drugs are on their unborn babies – or at least, they’re not acting like they know this important information.

Study: More Pregnant Teens Drink and Use Drugs

A study was conducted in which researchers examined the use of a wide range of illegal substances among pregnant and non-pregnant youth over the previous 30 days, 12 months, and each trimester for the pregnant teens.

Led by Assistant Professor Christopher Salas-Wright at the University of Texas-Austin’s School of Social Work, the team analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 97,850 adolescent girls between the ages of 12 and 17. 810 of the participants were pregnant at the time. The team’s findings were then published in the current issue of Addictive Behaviors.

Almost 60% of the pregnant teens admitted to using at least one illicit substance in the last 12 months, whereas just 35% of the non-pregnant teens did so. And, although substance use decreased drastically from the first trimester to 34% in the second and third trimesters, some of the teenagers admitted that they continued to use throughout their entire pregnancy. At 16%, alcohol was the most commonly used substance, followed by marijuana at 14%.

Mothers’ substance use during pregnancy can have important consequences for the health and development of newborn babies. Despite efforts to prevent substance use among pregnant teens, our findings suggest that we still have a lot of work to do,” wrote Salas-Wright.

The good news is that there is something that can be done to improve these numbers. In his findings, Salas-Wright also noted that pregnant teens who received consistent parental support and encouragement regarding going to school were 50% less likely to use dangerous substances.

Similarly, a recent study of American Indians found that having extra support reduced the rates of overall drug use. A study by the Journal of American Psychiatry last October focused on American Indian communities in the southwest looked at the impact of providing home visits. It found that home visits for pregnant teenagers significantly decreased their overall drug use.

The study’s participants who received these home visits were given 63 in-home education sessions known as Family Spirit. This occurred on a weekly basis through till the last trimester of pregnancy. The home visits then gradually tapered off until the child turned three. In these households, the participants were less likely to use drugs than those who were not in the Family Spirit program.

Furthermore, their children had higher rates of meeting emotional and behavioral milestones than those in the control group – that didn’t receive home visits; as well as having healthier eating and sleeping patterns.

If you are pregnant and using drugs, help is available for women in your situation. The Orchid Recovery Center is an all-women treatment center that focuses on the specific issues and needs of women, from family issues to legal issues to health issues. Recovery is possible and it’s not too late to get the support you need. Call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.


New Series “The Skinny” Tries to Make Bulimia Funny

Posted on February 18, 2015 By

New Series “The Skinny” Tries to Make Bulimia Funny

Television networks in the past have challenged themselves over and over to bridge the gap and create new and compelling content from some of societies more controversial or sub-cultural subjects. Even our biggest network shows have tackled taboos like drug abuse with shows like Breaking Bad. Things like abortion, sexual identity, racism and all types of other dark comedy and inclusive drama have hit the small screen in ways never before experienced.

Now with the internet being a modern means of viewing and sharing content, online series have developed through pod-casts and streaming videos that allow actors, artists and film-makers to step even further into uncharted touchy-topic-territories, and a groundbreaking new comedy is looking to breach another barrier by having eating disorders serve as the main attraction for its plot.

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, only 1 out of 10 people with an eating disorder receives treatment for it, and it seems it is by stepping out of the shadows and into the public eye that some hope to accomplish a change.

The Woman Behind “The Skinny”

In Los Angeles 30 year old filmmaker Jessie Kahnweiler has created a revolutionary new series called The Skinny. Kahnweiler herself plays the role of a “feisty, free-spirited Jewish girl named Jessie” who struggles with bulimia. The show seems to be written as an extension of Kahnweiler’s own life experience, as she previously battled the eating disorder in real life, and is now taking her talents in cinematics and using them to spread her personal message, while being a bit of a parody of herself.

Currently Kahnweiler has a Kickstarter video to raise funds for the project, which features a few humorous clips from the show. In this video she provides some commentary about the project and her vision for the show, in which she states,

“I didn’t feel like I had a problem because I wasn’t thin enough. Nobody did. It’s such a secret, personal thing; it was a mental thing…as someone who’s had bulimia, nobody ever talks about it. And that’s exactly why The Skinny needs to exist.”

Kahnweiler said she sought help for her eating disorder two years ago, shortly after telling a friend she had overcome her battle with bulimia and purging once she got home. Although in recovery, she admits to still struggling with food, but believes her own food issues make releasing The Skinny all the more essential.

Kahnweiler insisted that The Skinny isn’t all dark and gloomy, and that it’s also very much about the search for love and the quest for self-acceptance that is universal. In this writers opinion those elements are increasingly important in this day and age when there is so much emphasis, especially online on body image. We are living in the selfie-society. Kahnweiler says she has yet to meet one girl who doesn’t have some sort of relationship with food and body image, so even those who don’t openly struggle with an eating disorder can still find some value in the message of The Skinny.

Support for “The Skinny”

What probably wouldn’t come as a surprise, Kahnweiler has mentioned that network executives were “repelled” by the idea of a show where eating disorders took center stage, at least that’s the kind of response she received.

But Kahnweiler was not about to let being turned down by everyone she spoke with stop her from chasing this goal. She decided that in order to succeed she would have to persevere, and she started her Kickstarter project in an attempt to raise $10,000 to cover the cost of post-production on the pilot.

During the clip for her Kickstarter, Kahnweiler says that many of the episodes have already been shot, and that the pilot will be released online this spring, but that there is still some need for financing to complete the editing process among other final touches to the show. The Skinny was even able to cast a number of well-known actors for the series, including veteran TV actor Illeana Douglas.

“I’m not going to wait until I’m Gwyneth fucking Paltrow to talk about it. I look at people like Lena Dunham and Jill Soloway, and they’re artists in that they’re putting it out there, and they’re not waiting until they have it all figured out to make films. Being bulimic, I would’ve loved to see a show of the reality of it on television. I would have loved to see it handled in a way with humor and reality and vulnerability. I would’ve loved to see the show when I was suffering alone.”

This series is attempting to break-out during a time when we are increasingly exposed to these true-to-life characters like those portrayed by various characters in Transparent, which is an Amazon show that was actually created by Kahnweiler’s friend and mentor, Jill Soloway. The characters on this show experience drug use, gender changes, and exploring sexuality.

There are other female-centric programs like HBO’s Girls with a main character who struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder throughout the series that show us more and more people trying to use creativity and passion for their own stories, or the stories of those closest to them, to spread messages of experience, strength and hope in the media.

Some may argue that this kind of humor is in bad taste, or that it is insensitive. But when you consider the fact that this woman has faced down her own obstacles with an eating disorder, and still strives to live better and to raise awareness, it makes a little more sense that at least someone with that experience is trying to share it, not exploit the suffering of others or poke fun at a disorder she doesn’t understand. Jessie Kahnweiler has first-hand fought this issue, and now she is asking for help to empower other women just like her.

When asked, Kahnweiler said her only regret is that there was not a show about bulimia sooner.

While this new series may bring some humor to the characters, the story of eating disorders and bulimia is no joke. Too many young people, especially women, suffer from serious disordered eating, which can be life shattering and even life threatening. But there is still a way for this kind of story to have a happier ending. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, addiction or disordered eating, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help, you are not alone.

 


5 Strange Ways Women in History Used Weed

Posted on February 17, 2015 By

5 Strange Ways Women in History Used Weed

What was the cure for the common aches and pains for the ladies once upon a time? Apparently a lot of it was a mixture of lambs fat and cannabis. Where does it hurt? Slather on some marijuana and other natural ingredients, it’ll be fine. This was a very familiar tactic for European women for a while, and there is actually a secret history of weed and the many ways women used it in medicines.

While the United States is only just now openly exploring the medical uses for marijuana and finding a place for it in modern medicine, many women around the world have harnessed the healing power of cannabis herbs.

While there isn’t much evidence on how safe and effective these old-school weed remedies for women were, it may be possible to take a more in-depth look at the old remedies to inspire new research into cannabis’ medical potential today. So let’s take a look at 5 ways women in history used weed.

  1. Women rubbed cannabis on swollen breasts.

Women have used marijuana as a topical treatment for centuries. Back in the 11th century, women used a mixture containing marijuana to treat swollen breasts. The Old English Herbarium described the process as rubbing the herb with fat to the effected area to disperse the swelling. Historical records also show that this same method was used in 19th century Germany and Austria, where cannabis would be applied to the breasts of women who suffered from painful swelling after giving birth.

  1. Tantric sex and marijuana milkshakes

Starting back with the 7th century, Indian tantric sex practices quite typically included the use of cannabis. Called Bhang, women mixed the weed with milk, water, and other spices into a kind of “marijuana milkshake,” which practitioners drank to enhance sexual pleasure. Today many people still claim that weed is an aphrodisiac. In all honesty though, getting high will usually strip any inhibitions, that don’t mean it’s a good thing.

  1. Doctors prescribed pot for STDs.

A German physician back in the 17th century claimed that cannabis was a remedy for gonorrhea. The physician made a recipe that called for cooking the marijuana plant in water with nutmeg, then consuming it.

Then 1860, an Ohio State Commission seconded this claim stating that cannabis was a cure for gonorrhea when mixed with milk and sugar, taken every three to four hours for a week.

As if that was not crazy enough, 19th century Persian women used cannabis to help manage an STD prevalent among sex workers at the time urethritis, which is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the urethra.

  1. Women relied on pot during childbirth.

Smoking a joint during childbirth is definitely frowned upon nowadays, since long-term side effects of marijuana exposure for infants are still unknown, even though its probably safe to assume smoke is bad for a baby.

But back in the day of ancient Egypt, marijuana was frequently used during labor. Ancient Egyptians would grind cannabis into honey and actually apply the mixture to induce contractions.

Centuries and nations later in 1851 the Monthly Journal of Medical Science of Edinburgh claimed cannabis had what it called

“remarkable power of increasing the force of uterine contraction during labor.”

Then a few years later in 1854 the Dispensatory of the United States mentioned the medical use of marijuana during childbirth, especially to aid with contractions.

  1. Women consumed pot to treat migraines.

When you think of marijuana as a head-ache cure, you probably assume that smoking pot is of course meant to make you light-headed, but in Persia during the 9th century the juice from cannabis seeds was mixed with other herbs and used to treat migraines and other pain-related ailments.

Even in 1942, editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association Morris Fishbein recommended cannabis drops for migraines, and especially suggested it for women about to get their period, and marijuana was also expected to make periods more bearable.

This theory was so serious that Queen Victoria actually used to receive monthly doses of cannabis from her personal physician, Sir John Russell Reynolds, to relieve menstrual pain.

Meanwhile, in America women used Dysmenine. Guess what the not-so-secret ingredient was!  This medical syrup contained cannabis, and was commonly used to treat cramps. So some lucky ladies caught a contact high as part of their cycle.

So while some of these applications may not seem the safest or the most effective in terms of modern medicine, what many do take from this strange hidden history between women and weed from a medicinal stand point is that there is probably some good that can come from cannabis. However, many of the ways that weed has been used in the past is not as positive or effective as we would like to think, and some of it can become dangerous.

Marijuana may have some potential to be helpful medically, but it also has some serious potential to contribute to addiction and substance abuse issues that can destroy lives. Like any other medication, it can be abused. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588


Supreme Court Judge ‘Not Sober’ at President’s Speech

Posted on February 13, 2015 By

 

Supreme Court Judge ‘Not Sober’ at President’s Speech

Image: www.commons.wikimedia.org

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was seen dozing off during the Presidential State of the Union address.

Back in January, President Obama delivered his State of the Union address, an annual speech presented by the President of the United States to a joint session of the United States Congress. The address not only reports on the condition of the nation but also allows presidents to outline their legislative agenda, for which they need the cooperation of Congress, and their national priorities.

Ginsburg was caught snoozing during the hour-long speech by President Barack Obama and, despite the sober demeanor of the Supreme Court Justices looking on, Ginsburg said she was anything but. She admitted Thursday that she had a little wine at dinner before the speech, causing the napping incident.

Thursday night, during a speech at George Washington University, Justice Ginsburg was asked about her little snooze. The 81-year-old judge chuckled that she does it often.

“We sit there, stone-faced, sober judges. But we’re not. At least I was not 100% sober, because before we went to the State of the Union, we had dinner together,” said Ginsburg, who recounted that another Supreme Court justice, Anthony Kennedy, brought a bottle of “very fine California wine.” And she simply couldn’t resist.

“I vowed this year, just sparkling water, stay away from the wine, but in the end, the dinner was so delicious, it needed wine,” Ginsburg said.

Justice Antonin Scalia accompanied Ginsburg Thursday night and laughed at her recounting of the evening.

“Serves you right, I say,” joked Scalia.

Ginsburg also revealed that a former colleague used to keep her alert during the president’s address.

“David Souter, when he was on the court, he was on one side and he had an acute sense of when I was about to [nod off],” Ginsburg said. ”Now I have Justice Kennedy on one side, Justice Breyer, and they’re sort of timid about it.”

Has your drinking or drugging begun to affect your life in negative ways? Do you experience embarrassing situations or blackouts due to being intoxicated? These are signs that you may have a drinking problem. It’s important to address this situation early as it could lead to physical dependence and even full-blown addiction. Please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today.


FDA Approves ADHD Drug to Treat Eating Disorder

Posted on February 12, 2015 By

FDA Approves ADHD Drug to Treat Eating Disorder

Eating disorders have already been recognized by medical professionals for some time, specifically the mental health professionals. These afflictions have been identified as a wide range of irregular eating behaviors that include:

  • Anorexia nervosa – a form of self-starvation
  • Bulimia nervosa – binging and purging
  • Binge eating disorder
  • Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)

There is also something called “disordered eating”, which can include behaviors which reflect many of the symptoms of other eating disorders such as anorexia, but not all of them.

But now one drug may bring us to wonder if we can actually become able to fix an eating disorder, or if the mistake of our society is to think we can just throw pills at our problems. Last month the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the ADHD drug Vyvanse to be used for treating binge-eating disorder, so some believe it could be very possible either way.

Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder in the United States. BED affects 1% to 5% of Americans, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. It can lead to or contribute to obesity, and when they say an ‘episode of binge-eating’, it has been described in the DSM-V as:

“eating, in a discrete period of time (usually two hours), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances.”

Changing the Menu for Medication

This is a big shift in the strategy for eating disorder treatment, because now for the first time the FDA has actually approved a medication to treat those suffering from an eating disorder.

Vyvanse is a central nervous system stimulant. It was approved in 2007 to treat ADHD in people 6 and older. Back in 2007 the drug Vyvanse itself was first approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But now, according to the FDA, it is considered an effective opportunity to aid in curbing episodes of binge-eating.

In clinical studies involving 724 people, those on Vyvanse binged fewer days each week than those taking placebos. Yet there are still some who are not convinced that a drug can treat binge-eating disorder.

The FDA stated Vyvanse was approved to treat BED after being tested in 2 clinical trials. Those studies were sponsored by Shire, the drug’s maker, using 724 people with moderate to severe versions of the disorder. But even though they claim this is a promising answer to the BED problem, they admitted they have no clue why? Sandy Walsh from the FDA office of media affairs wrote in an email,

“We have no direct evidence about how Vyvanse works in BED. The exact mechanism of action of the drug in reducing the symptoms of BED is … unknown.”

But what is known is that Vyvanse does come with side-effects, one of them being the possibility for abuse, along with several other health risks including:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Psychotic symptoms
  • Sudden death for those with heart problems

This brings one to wonder how much help this drug can really be to those already dealing with a compulsive health issue.

Experts against this Idea

Not everyone is as confident in Vyvanse as the drug company making it.  Melissa Gerson, who is the clinical director of Columbus Park Collaborate, an outpatient treatment center in New York for people with eating disorders, spoke up about her concerns with trying to sell a stimulant as a one-stop-shop for fixing eating disorders. Gerson said,

“I just don’t want there to be the message that there’s a simple pill you can take. There are longstanding behavior patterns that need to be explored and shifted.”

Melissa Hopper, a psychologist who is an expert in treating binge-eating disorder said,

“Binge-eating disorder is a complex”

She also insists that the most effective method of treatment is done through therapy, not by taking pills. Another expert to speak out against the idea of feeding Vyvanse to BED sufferers is a New York psychotherapist who specializes in treating eating disorders named Emily Rosenthal, who added to the argument that patients with eating disorders often struggle with other issues, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trauma

Without addressing these issues and problematic behaviors that cause binge-eating disorder, most experts believe that it is very unlikely to achieve any sort of real long-term recovery from these eating disorders. Like most addictions or compulsive disorders, it is not as simple as popping a pill and calling it a day. A drug like Vyvanse stimulates the dopamine center of the brain which regulates pleasure sensors. This causes a feeling of euphoria and a loss of appetite, making it a sought after solution for those who seek a quick-fix to their dieting struggles. But this does not at all make it a healthy solution.

Of course medications that are stimulant based are going to curb an appetite. Some would say if we want to sell dangerous stimulant drugs as cures for eating disorders we might as well throw cocaine and meth in the mix too. All these drugs have a nasty habit of tearing up your body, and helping you starve yourself. The most effective ways of dealing with binge-eating disorder are the combined efforts of therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), along with intensive outpatient programs (IOP) or nutrition counseling.

Eating disorders are more than a one dimensional issue. These kinds of disorders require more than a pill that makes you less hungry, there has to be more done to improve on the individuals self-image, coping skills, and other aspects of their recovery. Handing someone a pill who already has issues with compulsion can be like handing a gun to someone who plays too much with knives, someone is going to get hurt. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588