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Heroin Addiction in Teens: What Parents Need to Know to Spot the Signs

Heroin Addiction in Teens: What Parents Need to Know to Spot the Signs

Adolescence. We’ve all been there. You know it can be a confusing and challenging time for your teen, which sometimes puts a strain on your relationship with them. We want the best for our children regardless of how old they are, and that means being educated about the dangers they face, especially when it comes to drugs.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 29.7 percent of high school seniors have easy access to heroin, and 12.6 percent of the eighth grade population can easily obtain heroin.

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While heroin addiction may not seem on the radar for your teen, consider these symptoms and behaviors as a point of reference in case you become concerned about your teen being drawn into today’s drug culture.

Physical Signs

Heroin works by altering the brain’s chemistry. Heroin latches on to opioid receptors—parts of the brain associated with pain perception and arousal—and creates a rush of exhilaration. But with that exhilaration comes countless negative side effects. These are just a few of them:

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  • Dry mouth
  • Inability to remain awake or asleep, constantly falling in and out of a sleep stupor
  • Slowed breathing
  • Cold flashes
  • Vomiting
  • Aching muscle pains
  • Restlessness
  • Liver disease
  • Stronger susceptibility to contracting HIV and other life-threatening diseases
  • Malnutrition

If your teen is using heroin, you may be able to spot these signs as well:

  • Bruised and scabbed arms and/or legs
  • Runny nose or nosebleeds
  • Small pupils

Behavioral Symptoms

Of course, physical signs are not always apparent. Sometimes they can easily be attributed to sickness or other environmental factors. If you suspect your teen is using heroin, take a closer look at their behavior. Heroin users often exhibit these behavioral symptoms:

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  • Change in normal routine
  • Decline in personal hygiene
  • Sudden change of interests
  • Drop in academic performance

Teens desperate for drugs will do almost anything to get a fix, including selling off their belongings for drug money. If you notice expensive items disappearing from your house in addition to some of these symptoms, it may be time to talk to your teen.

Self-medicating as a form of stress relief is not uncommon. Your teen may be suffering from mental health issues and has decided to turn to heroin for help, but what teens don’t realize is that drug use often leads to other mental health conditions or exacerbates existing problems. These conditions include but are not limited to the following:

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  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Eating disorders

Evidence from Heroin Use

Heroin paraphernalia can include burnt spoons or foil, needles, and rubber tubing, as well as lighters and cotton balls to help cook and inject heroin. Don’t let adolescence be an excuse for accepting secretive behavior. If expensive items begin to go missing or you start spotting suspicious burnt materials in their bedroom or bathroom trashcan, your teen may be experimenting with heroin.

It’s not easy for users to admit they’re struggling with heroin addiction, especially teens. They may be afraid of withdrawing or being rejected by their peers, or they may not even be aware they have a problem at all. In such cases, you need to be there for your teen to do the right thing and reach out for help.

Spotting addiction is not always easy, but once you recognize there is something wrong, don’t wait for an overdose to occur to address the problem. Teenagers are particularly vulnerable during this stage of their lives. They won’t admit it, but they need your help. If you are concerned your teen may be using heroin or other illicit drugs, contact Pyramid Healthcare to learn more about how we can help you and your teen recover from this life-threatening roadblock.

Featured photo credit: Kamira/Bigstock 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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