Have they had their Meningitis B vaccine?
(this is new - not Menactra which is given at 15 yrs.) This is to prevent the bacterial infection which caused the death of the Central Michigan college student who died this summer. Call and schedule your child today.
Do you worry about the influences he or she will come in contact with while "on their own?"
You've come a long way with them- where to go to college, where to live, how to pay for it and which classes to take. Now it is time to make sure they have enough encouragement, and knowledge, to make it a successful time in their lives.
Research suggests teens who have parents that talk to them about alcohol avoidance BEFORE they begin their first year of college are more likely to not use alcohol or to limit its use.
Don't be afraid to sit down with them and explain the consequences of alcohol use. We all want our children to be fully informed. In order to achieve that, here are some points to discuss:
Alcohol (and Marijuana) stimulates the release of dopamine, "the feel-good" chemical in your body. When alcohol is used, the body stops producing normal levels of dopamine by itself, causing the body to feel worse
when there is no alcohol present. POINT- chronic drinkers feel great when they drink but horrible when they don't. Eliminating alcohol is the only way to avoid this pitfall.
use interferes with making new memories
because of its effect on an essential chemical called glutamate in the body. The teenage brain is blossoming, pruning, firing and wiring at all times, which makes it FULL of glutamate. Therefore, the effects of alcohol is MOST pronounced on the teenage brain. POINT- problems with learning and memory occur and they can persist into the early twenties.
While teens are OVERsensitive to the damage
of alcohol on the brain, they are UNDERsensitive to the warning signs
of it. Impairment of coordination, a common side effect of alcohol use, is delayed. Tiredness, sedation, slurred speech and stumbling may not be apparent until it is too late. POINT- a teenage drinker is probably dangerously drunk before these warning signs are evident.
The younger a person starts drinking, the more likely they are to have alcohol problems as an adult. Drinking while the brain is developing encourages the brain to decide that it needs alcohol.
Walking in wet concrete leaves footprints that remain after it is hardened. Walking on dry concrete won't leave footprints. Alcohol acts much the same way on the adolescent brain, leaving more profound damage because it is still "hardening."
Alcohol is not the only drug that poses an extra risk to teens
. They are more likely than adults to get addicted to nicotine because it affects their brain differently than adults:Nicotine increases the number of receptors (docking stations) for itself in areas of the brain. Therefore, each time a person smokes, the brain will extend its desire for more nicotine.
also behaves like alcohol and increases the production of dopamine.
The body then depends on nicotine for that dopamine surge and will feel lousy if it goes awhile without it.
Unfortunately, teens are more likely to use nicotine as a springboard to using other, more powerful drugs.
Here are a few more "talking points" to consider with your child about other drugs:
Now is the time to discuss these topics with your child.
- Marijuana today has 500% more THC (the active ingredient) than ever before. This means today's teens who smoke pot are more likely to become addicted. Yes, addiction to marijuana is real.
- Marijuana impairs working memory, which is the "think pad." This is why people who smoke pot come across as spacy. There are problems with concentration and coordination, as a result. Who needs that in college???
- Marijuana also affects motivation. When smoking it, THC increases the levels of dopamine in the brain. Overall, when not smoking, the levels are lower, especially in the area of the brain involved with enjoyment and motivation.
- Cocaine affects three chemicals in the brain, leading to a state of euphoria, inflated sense of confidence and greater energy- the infamous cocaine high. It is one of the most deadly drugs known to man. Once a person begins taking the drug, it has proven almost impossible to become free of its grip.
- Ecstasy can permanently damage learning and memory, leaving "holes in the brain." Reports have shown teens who use it go on to have problems with depression as adults.
It has been a long road of hard work and dedication to get to college; help them succeed once there.
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any
Directions you choose."
Information for this article was gathered from "Why Do They Act That Way" by David Walsh, Ph.D. as listed below. For more information, contact:www.drugfreeworld.org