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Important Facts About Teen Drug Abuse and Mental Illness

Important Facts About Teen Drug Abuse and Mental Illness

When the pain of depression or any mental illness becomes borderline unbearable, teens look for any way out, including the use of drugs and/or alcohol. They want relief now – not later. They’re tired of doctors, teachers, and parents telling them what they can and can’t do. This often leads to comorbidity.

What is Comorbidity?

Comorbidity is a condition in which a person suffers from two or more mental illnesses simultaneously. Most of the time, these illnesses need to be addressed and treated individually. One of the most common forms of comorbidity is the suffering from depression and substance abuse, especially in teens. Either disorder can develop first. A mood or anxiety disorder can lead a teen to drugs as a form of self-medication, while substance abuse can affect the brain and behavior, leading to an addiction.

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Substance abuse (alcohol dependency or habitual drug use) is considered a mental illness.

Risk Factors for Teen Drug Abuse and Mental Health Issues

Drug abuse and other mental illnesses have much in common, including a number of causes. These are just a handful of risk factors that can easily lead to drug abuse and mental instability in teens:

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Brain Development

No one can escape this risk. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, the human brain isn’t fully developed until approximately 25 years of age. Specifically, the prefrontal cortex, responsible for decision making and emotional control, is still under development. Up until that point, teens and young adults are searching for acceptance, for ways to impress one another without considering the consequences. They are still likely to make decisions based on emotions rather than rational thought, making them particularly susceptible to developing multiple mental health issues.

Verbal Abuse or Physical Abuse

Being exposed to or falling victim to any verbal or physical abuse (including domestic violence and sexual abuse) can leave both physical and emotional scars that children would do almost anything to suppress. Physical and verbal abuse stick with a person even long after the events have taken place. Abuse can lead to low self-worth, hopelessness, paranoia, and even thoughts of suicide. It’s not something you can easily forget, so many victims turn to drug abuse or alcoholism to temporarily numb the pain.

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Early Exposure

When children are exposed to drugs and/or alcohol at a young age, statistics have shown that they are more likely to develop addiction problems themselves. Continual drug or alcohol use can be a contributing factor to mental instability, especially at a young age, because drugs can alter the development of young neurological systems and how we respond to stress.

Pressure

Pressure is constantly pushed on teens by their friends, parents, and even the media, to do certain things or act specific ways. Teens are pounded with pressure everywhere they turn – the pressure to be the perfect person. All this pressure is certainly a contributing factor to anxiety, low self-esteem, self-doubt, the constant battle of unnecessary self-defense, addiction, depression, and suicidal thoughts or tendencies. As adults, we know it’s impossible to please everyone; however, teens are still learning.

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One Treatment Won’t Cure All

Even though they have common risk factors, drug addiction and other mental illnesses cannot receive the same medical treatment. Curing one condition won’t cure them all. Just because your teen completes a rehab program doesn’t mean they are no longer depressed. In fact, the depression may worsen due to lack of previous methods of escape.

For more information on how to help your teen battle an addiction and/or mental illness, contact Pyramid Healthcare, Inc. today. Our experienced staff can help you choose the right programs your child needs for a less stressful recovery.

Featured photo credit: Teenager Girl Worried And Sad Outdoors/AntonioGuillem via bigstockphoto.com

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Published on November 7, 2018

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

Figure Out the Laws

Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

Decide on an Approach

Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

Supplies/Resources

Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

Find a Community

Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

7 Different Homeschooling Methods

1. School-At-Home

Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

  • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
  • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
  • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

2. Classical

One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

3. Unit Studies

Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

  • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
  • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
  • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

4. Charlotte Mason

This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

5. Montessori

Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

6. Unschooling

Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

7. Eclectic/Relaxed

As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

Email

Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

Google Drive/Calendar

Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

Ebooks

Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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E-Courses

When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

Some recommendations:

Youtube

Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

Some recommendations:

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

Reference

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