Category: Mind & Spirit

Is Porn Addiction a Thing?

There’s no question that pornography consumption is up among teens. Research shows that pornography is increasingly seen as harmless and acceptable among younger consumers. That is certainly the common line in popular culture. But is it true? Is porn a harmless pastime, or is your southern Baptist Great Aunt on to something?

Most people associate addiction with substances such as alcohol and drugs. Surprisingly, porn affects the brain in many of the same ways as substances, making it a detriment on affected individual’s daily functioning. There may be more to the pornography story than Hollywood is letting on.

What Exactly is Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic disease in which sufferers are unable to maintain comfortable brain function without getting their fix from a substance. A common misconception about addiction is that it requires consumption of substances that have “chemical hooks” that create a dependency in the addict’s biochemistry. While these hooks do exist, addiction is far more concerned with the addict’s neurochemistry – especially the presence of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens region of the brain.

Because addiction is linked with this neurochemical activity, and because that activity can be caused by any number of stimuli, addiction can also be found in food, exercise, and yes – even porn. All of these things have one thing in common. They get the brain hooked on them by releasing that dopamine, which is responsible for pleasure. Addiction affects the brain by flooding it with dopamine and over time, the user must look at more pornographic images to get the rush. Because of that, addicts become trapped in a repetitive cycle of shame, compulsion, and betrayal.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

Since porn doesn’t necessarily produce noticeable changes in your appearance like substances do, it can be difficult to tell if someone may be struggling with it. Once common sign is withdrawal from friends and family. Many porn addicts prefer to be alone and may avoid social outings that they once enjoyed. Sleep related issues such as insomnia or excessive over sleeping can also be a sign of a serious addiction.

These complications can result from feelings of depression, shame and even anxiety. Financial problems may also arise as a result of over spending on pornographic websites or forms of media. Another common characteristic of this addiction is irritability. This occurs when the feelings of pleasure dissipate in the brain, resulting in a low state of mind. Irritability can also trigger aggression and even mood swings which can hurt your relationship with loved ones.

Can I Quit?

Because of the serious consequences of pornography addiction, many young men are calling it quits. But like any addiction, quitting isn’t easy to do. LifeStar Therapy recommends anyone attempting to beat an addiction should gather a strong network of support. “If you’re hesitant to talk to someone about your addiction, remember addiction thrives in shame. By finding a group you can open up to, and where you can listen to others share their stories, the shame of the addiction decreases because you’ll be around people who understand and relate to your struggles. Support groups have people at various stages on the path of recovery, and those further along can offer insights and tips to help you. The benefits of groups are not only about the positive feedback and energy to succeed, but providing support to others as well.”

If you or someone you care about is struggling with an addiction to porn, professional treatment is widely available. Programs offer a variety of services that target different aspects of addiction. Things like therapy, one on one counseling and exploring new hobbies and interests may be used to tackle the problem at hand.

Porn may seem like an entertaining way to pass the time for many teens, but can quickly get out of hand for some people. If you feel like you or someone you loved may be addicted to porn, seek help immediately.

Does Bullying Cause Suicidality in Teens?

While there may never be a singular answer to why teens – or anyone else for that matter – commits suicide, there are certainly some common factors. Keep in mind, however, that two teens can face nearly identical circumstances and one will make it through while the other will not. Having said that, here are some common risk factors for teen suicide.

Lack of Parental Involvement and Support

Parental involvement is always a tricky issue, because not all parents are absentee parents and yet there is a difference between being present in a child’s life and being engaged in a child’s life. Just because a parent may not work and may be home all day does not mean they are necessarily actively engaged in their child’s life.

Conversely, a single parent may work long hours and still be actively engaged in their child’s life. The question is not whether the parent feels engaged, but whether the teen feels they are supported. And unfortunately, a teenager’s perception of care and support may not have much to do with the reality of the situation.

Bullying

While bullying is in and of itself rarely the singular cause of suicide, there is ample evidence suggesting strong correlation, if not causation. It is not clear whether bullying is causing teens to feel suicidal, whether bullies are targeting more vulnerable victims who already suffer from causal factors, or some combination of both. But there is no question that bullying and teen suicidality go hand in hand.

Nonconforming Gender Identity

According to Freedom Counseling, “Issues of sexual identity are hugely relevant to teen suicide. Trans teens in particular are vulnerable to mental illness and suicidality, independent of whether or not their peers and family identify them with the gender identity they express.” Again, however, struggling with LGBT issues is not in and of itself a lone indicator of suicidality. What it all comes back to is whether or not the teen feels loved, accepted and supported by someone or some group of people. They may not feel accepted or supported by their parents or peers, but if they find a supportive LGBT community to be a part of, that can help them safely weather the storms.

Depression or Other Mental Health Issues

As science discovers more about the power of neurotransmitters, it seems that in some cases the real cause of suicide might actually be the teen’s own brain chemistry. This is particularly exacerbated by extreme hormonal changes that take place during the pubescent years.

Ultimately, there are no sure-fire answers as to why individuals commit suicide and particularly not when it comes to teens. Signs of depression and suicide are difficult to see, and intervention does not have a perfect success rate. Still, the onus is on all of us to try and make a difference where we can in reaching out to vulnerable teens who are on the margins of society. Because one is too many.

Ways to talk about sexual abuse and assault

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 93% of children that have been sexually assaulted know their perpetrator and the recent scandal involving Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor, has reiterated how even “trusted” adults can manipulate a situation and do things that are not appropriate with a child. It’s important to know what sexual assault is and what to do if someone is making you feel uncomfortable.

Below are some tips from Krav Maga Worldwide, a global leader in defense training, on how to approach this difficult and sometimes uncomfortable subject.

Start the conversation early. This may seem very early but children under 12 are most at risk at 4 years old. Even if they can’t speak well, children at this age are busy figuring out the world. And they certainly understand and remember a lot more than adults usually realize. Its never to early to talk about this subject with your parents and caregivers.

Understand the only instances when private parts can be seen and touched. Nobody – including a parent or caregiver – should see or touch your private parts (what a swimming suit covers up) – unless they’re keeping them clean, safe, or healthy.

Talk openly about sexuality and sexual abuse. Abusers will sometimes say that the abuse should be kept a secret. Know that if someone is touching or talking in ways that makes you uncomfortable or scared, that it should not stay a secret.

Babysitters, coaches and teachers can all be perpetrators. Don’t assume all adults can be trusted. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 93% of children that have been sexually assaulted know their perpetrator. It’s important to understand that just because the person is considered a “trusted” adult they can still manipulate a situation and do things that are not appropriate.

Inform yourself about the tricks used by sexual predators. Such as continued accidental touching, or where the predator tricks you into thinking there is an emergency and you must go with the predator.

Trust your inner voice. Especially that feeling we all have inside that tells us what feels right and what feels wrong or uncomfortable. Many who have been sexually abused describe a feeling of discomfort as having a “yucky” feeling inside. You must trust or honor your inner voice or that “yucky” feeling.

You have the right to say NO! As the majority of abuse is based on coercion rather than force, learning to say NO strongly and forcefully really can make a big difference in many situations.

 About Krav Maga Worldwide

Founded in 1997 to promote Krav Maga throughout the United States and around the world, Krav Maga Worldwide trains and certifies instructors and licenses over 150 authorized Krav Maga Worldwide training centers in the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, South America, and Europe, as well as over 800 law enforcement agencies and military units. Krav Maga offers the highest caliber of instruction to thousands of people, supporting the company’s core commitment to improving and saving lives. Krav Maga Worldwide continues to develop, promote and implement self-defense and fitness programs. For additional information, visit: www.kravmaga.com.

 

What to Do if a Friend or Family Member Has a Drug or Alcohol Problem

In 2014, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration concluded that approximately 22 million people suffered from a substance abuse disorder. In 2016, that number dropped by only 1 million. The same study found that 8.2 million of those people also suffer from a mental health disorder for both years. While living with addiction is hard, knowing someone with that addiction can be even harder. You want to help them, but feel that your voice will fall on deaf ears; especially, if they are your peers or family members. The right strategy will not only give you the confidence you need to speak up but will also save their life.

Be Well Informed

Before taking the plunge into a deep conversation, you should thoroughly know your topic. Many websites will give you in-depth information on the causes and effects of addiction. For example, the SAMHSA.gov website offers yearly data reports on substance abuse. The site also provides material on how to get help for someone who suffers from substance abuse and mental health disorders. In most cases, the addiction is used to hide depression, self-esteem disorders, and other mental health issues that are being suppressed by your friend or family member. You can also call a rehab facility and discuss your concerns with a professional without having to commit to anything. After you have studied on the subject, approach your loved one when they are not under the influence of their addiction. Explain to them how you feel and reassure them that they are not alone in the journey.

Be a Positive Support System

While the urge to take your friend or family member straight to a rehab center or AA/NA meeting is strong, sometimes the best therapy is knowing that you are there for them in their darkest hour. The most frustrating part of addiction for both you and your loved one is understanding the addiction recovery process. Recovering from addiction is different for each person. There will be times of anger, resentment, and withdrawal from your loved one. There will be times where they will mess up. Be patient with them and remember each day is a new day. Of course, if you do have to take them to a rehab center, be sure and maintain that same positivity. Their quality of life in the rehab center is just as important to their treatment as the therapy. Remember, addiction is just a disease, and you are just visiting a sick friend or family member.

When someone has an addiction, that person is not the only person who is affected by the habit. You have suffered the emotional rollercoaster of their addiction. While they are in a rehab center or meeting, take that time to go to Al-Anon meetings. These meetings are structured to help you understand their sufferings and help you learn how to deal with the recovery. Furthermore, plan events to distract your friend or family member during these hard times you know they are weak. The road to recovery might be a long journey, but in the end, their life is worth the trip.

Resources:

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/addiction-statistics/

https://www.samhsa.gov/

http://www.midwestinstituteforaddiction.org/

Why legal marijuana isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

Hi, I’m Kevin Bryce and this is a story about my journey with weed. I’ve had many highs, but many more lows, when it comes to smoking pot. Back in 2011, I fell in with a bad crowd that ultimately led to becoming a huge weed addict. It got to the point where I couldn’t even sleep at night due to my addiction – it was a total dependency. It had completely taken over my life. At the time I had a very low hour job in Walmart, a very high maintenance girlfriend, and rent to pay for.

My addiction to weed became so bad that at this time that I must have had my mother pay rent for about 6 months of every year for 4 years due to my lack of finances. I had brainwashed myself to believe that the weed wasn’t my problem and that all of the problems in my life were to do with me being ‘unlucky’ and that my time to shine would eventually come.

It didn’t.

Looking 5 years on – I’m in the exact same position this time but with a different girlfriend (with a relationship that’s falling apart) and I’m smoking about double the amount I was years ago. At this point, I must have been smoking about 6-8 blunts during the day and hit a bong for hours in the evening. The worse my life got, the bigger the hole I dug myself became. I started to become totally reliant on this drug that was ruining my ability to achieve my dreams of being a web designer / internet marketer.

In early 2016 I took a trip to a conference in Orlando, FL which was a congregation of Internet Marketers. I only went because one of my close buddies pretty much forced me to go. One of the speakers on stage spoke about a man who was trying to ‘fly’ (essentially referring to his start to success) and had to climb to the top of a mountain to do so. Very often he’d climb all the way to the top, jump off to try to glide, and fail. But this man was special because no matter how many times he jumped off the mountain and hurt himself, he always pushed himself back to the top. He never stopped.

The speaker made us see that the man who keeps climbing sorts out his problems from the falls. The man who pushes back up the hill when he’s very sure that he’ll not even glide this time, and keeps trying, is the man who achieves great things.

It hit me hard. What had I been doing for the last 6 years of my life? I was sitting at the bottom of this mountain blaming everyone else for my problems.

When I got home, I knew what I had to do. If I wanted to achieve my dream of being a successful web designer / internet marketer – I had to get rid of the one thing stopping me from doing that – marijuana.

I began researching online and I found this course which I commonly talk about on my website, How to Stop Smoking Pot. The course took me through a full and painful detox process which allowed me to eventually stop. The process of getting rid of a weed addiction that I had for a number of years is one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do. But its worth it. We have a teen pot resource as well.

My advice to anyone reading this is not to bother with it recreational cannabis, legal or otherwise. Unless you’re an aspiring weed flavor tester – leave it alone. It’s expensive, addictive and it doesn’t allow you to work at your optimal performance. Everyone has dreams and I missed out on years of my life where I wasn’t able to achieve my dreams due to a drug that only flushed those away with every puff.

Proudly, I’m now at a stage where I’m working on my ambitions to be an internet marketer / web designer with my how to stop smoking pot resource. If you are struggling with a weed addiction yourself, or you know someone else who is, get them to check out my website as I have a huge amount of information on the experiences that I went through when quitting.

Getting high didn’t solve any of my problems, I was just deluding myself. Get help if you are on marijuana – or better yet never start.


The previous was a guest post by Kevin Bryce. To submit your own guest post, contact info@teenswannaknow.com

Not Everybody’s Doing It: Why Teen Drug Use is Declining

If you were to base what you know on popular movies and television shows, it would be easy to think that most teens are doing drugs and drinking. It’s become very normalized in the entertainment world, but this hasn’t been reflecting the cultural change among teens when it comes to illicit substances. In recent years, teenagers have been turning away from drugs in large numbers.

Drug Use Declining

Surveys show that younger and older teenagers are both choosing to abstain from drugs and alcohol at higher rates. The Monitoring the Future study looks at the habits of thousands of young people, and their results have shown that except marijuana, drug use is down from recent peaks in young people. Explanations for this trend vary. One explanation is that today’s teens are structuring their leisure time more than they used to. According to 449recovery.org, boredom and stress are significant factors in drug abuse and drug relapse. Entertainment technologies and extracurricular activities such as team sports, dance, or martial arts relieve stress and prevent boredom, allowing less time and temptation for drug use. Another theory put forth by TIME is that prescription drugs have essentially replaced illicit drugs as emotional outlet for teens suffering from mental illness.

Less Smoking

Another possible reason drug use could be down is that cigarette smoking has also gone down, and these two behaviors tend to be connected. Public awareness about the dangers of smoking cigarettes only tends to go up as the years go by. There are fewer people smoking, and this trend also applies to teenagers. They are likely more aware of the health concerns and have seen more of the public health campaigns that highlight the dangers of cigarette use. Studies show that nicotine leads to other drug use in many people. It primes the brain to be more interested in other drugs and to make them seem more appealing. Because teens are smoking fewer cigarettes, their brains aren’t as primed for other drug use like previous generations might have been. Hopefully, this change will bring about fewer teens going to rehab.

Increase in Marijuana

Another possible reason for the general trend of less drug use is the increased availability and normalization of marijuana use. While the Monitoring the Future survey did show a decrease in the use of most drugs, marijuana use was reported at higher rates among older teens. There is a broader social trend of marijuana acceptance, and teens are likely not immune to this. There is also an increased ease of access to the drug, due to its legalization in many states. Teens are likely to choose it over other drugs because they think it is safer and easier to get.

 

Teen drug use is still a problem, but it is on the decline. Parents can rest easier knowing most young people are choosing to abstain. This is a healthy choice to leads to better futures.

5 Reasons Why Fighting the Bully Isn’t Worth It

Nobody should endure physical and emotional abuse from another person. Although it’s tempting to respond negatively to people that wrong you, fighting a bully might have negative consequences. While you have a right to defend yourself if attacked physically, it’s better to handle the situation in a nonviolent manner whenever possible. Learn more about the consequences of fighting a bully to discover how it can affect your life in a negative way.

It’s Dangerous

Fighting a bully can have very dangerous consequences. It’s difficult to anticipate the fighting skill of another person. Someone trained in martial arts or boxing could inflict a great deal of harm on someone else. The negative consequences of fighting a bully include bruises, broken bones, and public embarrassment. It’s also impossible to determine if a bully has a weapon that could potentially kill you.

It’s Illegal

Illegal fighting has consequences. It’s against the law to physically harm someone else unless its a clear case of self-defense, and mere name-calling doesn’t qualify. In many states, if you have the ability to walk away, you can get in trouble if you choose to engage instead. It’s possible for you to be charged with assault if the incident is reported to law enforcement, and the prevalence of cell phones with video capabilities make this very easy. Assault is usually a misdemeanor charge, but you might have to serve jail time. It’s possible to receive a felony charge of aggravated assault if you harm someone severely. Fighting a bully just isn’t worth the criminal and legal consequences that come with it.

You Could Be Sued

In addition to criminal charges, fighting a bully could cost you a large sum of money. A bully might file a civil lawsuit against you. Many people seek financial compensation for medical expenses that result from a physical confrontation. It’s also possible for a bully to seek financial compensation for emotional stress from their injuries — even if they were the ones bothering you in the first place!

Fighting Stays on Your Academic Record

Fighting a bully on school property could stay on your academic record. The minimum punishment for fighting is detention. Many students are sentenced to in-school suspension or expelled. Colleges will look at your academic record during the admissions process. Negative marks regarding your behavior record could make it difficult to attend a prestigious university.

It Might Not Change Anything

Responding to a bully in a violent manner will not always make the situation better. The bully might continue to disrespect you. The purpose of a bully is to get a negative reaction out of you, and a bully loves to see you upset. It’s important to control your emotions around a bully. Many bullies will stop their hostile behavior when you stop responding to it.

The negative consequences of fighting could include include personal injury, criminal charges, and legal trouble. Fighting on school property will stay on your permanent record and might make the situation worse. It’s important to deal with a bully in a non-violent way when possible, such as verbally standing up for yourself, simply walking away, or getting the help of an adult.

However, if you DO need to respond physically, here are some tips from a Krav Maga expert:

 

Want to Make a Difference? Best Organizations for Teens to Make an Impact in the Community

Many teens today want to make a positive impact in their community. There are a variety of causes to choose from for people who want to make a difference. Here are some of the best charitable organizations to help you make an impact in your community.

American Red Cross

With all of the weather issues that the United States has had recently, working with the American Red Cross is a great option. This is a charity that truly cares about the lives of other people. Not only will this charity get supplies to your community, but they will work diligently on your behalf as well.

The American Red Cross has a strong online presence. You can learn all about the charity online and can even donate money online. If you are interested in helping others, the American Red Cross is a great solution for you.

Big Brothers Big Sisters

One of the biggest issues in many communities is that children do not have great role models to look up to. This is a major issue that results in children acting out in order to get attention. There are various charities that work with children in order to help them in the future.

One of the best options for many people is youth mentoring with Big Brother Big Sister. This is a company that has made a positive impact on thousands of communities around the country. When you are a youth mentor, you will spend time with children every week and work on their goals for the future. Making an impact in your community has never been easier.

Many of the children are from poor families. Many of these families only have one parent in the home who has to work to provide for the children. You can make a positive impact simply by spending time with these children and talking to them about their issues.

United Way

The United Way is another charity that is doing a lot of great work in the local area. This is a charity that focuses on helping children in a local community through sports activities. For many children and teens, sports are a great way to release their frustration about situations they have in life.

Many studies show that children who have access to community help will perform better in school and in life. Spending your time with these charities is a great investment to help others.

5 Reasons To Get Sober and Stay Sober (at least for now)

There are many reasons why someone might begin using drugs or alcohol. It could be peer pressure, curiosity, or a severe case of depression. However, there are just as many good reasons to take charge of your life and learn to embrace sobriety. Here are 5 reasons to get sober and stay that way.

Better Health

Alcohol is well-known for the terrible effects it can have on a person’s liver. Liver damage can also result from abusing inhalants, prescription drugs, ecstasy and heroin. Cocaine and other stimulants can increase a person’s blood pressure and heart rate to dangerous levels. While these effects aren’t always reversible, the sooner a person gets into rehab, the easier it is to minimize damage that might have already occurred.

Fewer Legal Troubles

Sobriety eliminates the possibility of getting caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It can help keep you from losing your driver’s license or ending up behind bars for intoxicated manslaughter. When you give up drugs, you no longer have to worry about getting arrested for possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia. You won’t have to rebuild your life again after serving time for a felony.

Improved School or Work Performance

Prolonged drug and alcohol abuse often makes people lazy and disinterested in school or work. Students who frequently get high are less likely to graduate on time or get higher grades. Users are less ambitious than their peers who don’t abuse drugs and unlikely to pursue more demanding careers. Employees who use on the job are more likely to have accidents than those whose minds are focused on what they are doing.

Improved Relationships

Individuals with chemical dependence problems are more likely to have rocky relationships with friends and family. This often stems from the fact that their loved ones lose trust in them. Children of drug abusers are also more likely to suffer from some form of abuse. This can cause problems that are not easily forgotten by those most affected. This widespread emotional pain is one of the biggest reasons people commit themselves to a rehab program.

Better Self-Esteem

A person with a drug or alcohol problem isn’t likely to have a high self-esteem. Intoxication may offer a way to deal with self-esteem issues a person already has. In other cases, the user may begin feeling worthless because they’re unable to control the bad habits that are now ruining their lives. They may conclude that their lives aren’t even worth saving. It’s tempting to want to dull this inner pain by remaining drunk or high.

If you’re even considering sobriety, chances are that at least one of the reasons listed above has resonated with you. You might have some others, as well. Write your reasons down and make a commitment to get yourself into rehab as soon as possible. The sooner you act, the sooner you can begin to create the kind of life everyone deserves.

References

http://casanuevovida.com/

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cocaine

http://fortune.com/2011/02/03/drug-use-at-work-higher-than-we-thought/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/heartache-hope/201306/low-self-esteema-disposition-can-lead-addiction

How to Talk to Modern Teens About Drug Safety

Drug use is an important topic, and all teenagers need to know about dangerous substances and how to avoid them. Drugs have just been named the number one killer of people under 50 in the US. It is a horrible situation, and not helped by images of rappers constantly blowing marijuana smoke or Coachella-bound hippie girls popping Molly on Instagram.

Any teenager can give in to peer pressure and even well-behaved teens may encounter drugs when they are around their peers. Parents know that drugs have several harmful side effects. But before starting the conversation, parents need to know how to talk to their teens about drugs. Here are some modern things you may need to know before monologuing about drugs alone.

Discuss the Negative Side Effects

Teenagers see drugs at parties, but they may not be aware of the negative consequences that come with taking them. Teens need to know that even legal  drugs are dangerous. Some of the health side effects may be irreversible, let alone the mental effects. At school, your teen might only hear good things about drugs from their peers. Show your teenager pictures of people who have been addicted for some time and talk about the ways in which lives can be uprooted by addiction. Your teenager also needs to know that drugs will impair their ability to make good decisions.

Do Not Underestimate Peer Pressure

Parents should not underestimate peer pressure. Strong-willed teenagers can be easily influenced by their friends. Most teenagers have a desire to fit in with their peers. Instead of giving into peer pressure, your teen should make new friends. Point out your teen’s accomplishments. Let him know that they have a bright future. Don’t drive them away from friends, but instead point out alternative options that could be a better use of their time.

If possible, monitor your child’s phone messages to discover negative influences.

Give Your Child Solutions

Despite your best efforts, your child might give into peer pressure. They need to know how to get home safely if under the influence of drugs. Let your kids know that they can call you in an emergency. They should not drive when they are mentally impaired and your teen should understand that their safety is paramount in a bad situation. Be open about having them call, no matter what bad decisions might have been made.

Have More Than One Conversation

The initial conversation about drugs should not be the only one you have on the topic. According to Recovery In Tune, a Florida Treatment Program, addicts usually aren’t well-educated, and if they were, weren’t aware of all the potential dangers before becoming addicted. You should encourage your kids to talk to you about their day. You can ask questions about your child’s friends and activities while you are eating dinner. Your kids are likely to open up to you when they know you are available to them.

In addition to talking with your teens about drugs, you can spend more quality time with them. Family outings are a great way to keep your teen safe. If your teen wants to have a wild party, you should consider hosting the party. When you are the host, you can make sure your teenager is safe while he is having a good time with their friends.