8 risky teen trends that Parents and Counselors should be aware of

Teens are often on the lookout for the latest and most adventurous ways to get “high.” They thrive on being independent from adults and adult rules and fitting in with their peers. Some teens will do whatever it takes to demonstrate that they are free and fearless. Parents and Counselors need to be aware of teens’ latest, risk-taking, “get high” trends.

While it’s a plus that studies have showed a continuing decline in teens’ use of illicit substances — marijuana, alcohol and tobacco — there is a growing tendency in teens to find new ways to alter their mental states and some are equally as unsafe as drugs.

Here are eight things that Parents and Counselors should be on the lookout for:

— Marijuana use. Despite its newly legal status, marijuana used routinely can have an extremely detrimental impact on young brain development and increase addiction rates in those who use it frequently.

— E-cigarette use. E-cigarettes are the new “it” substance amongst teens, as they deliver a rush to the brain rapidly and therefore risk teaching teens that drugs are fun and rewarding, while also increasing concerns about potential addiction of nicotine and other substances.

— I-dosing. This is a method of altering consciousness via loud music, which is supposed to make a person feel high. Those who come up with the “doses” claim different music tracks mimic the feeling one gets after taking Ecstasy or smoking marijuana. Questions are whether the trend could lead to future use of other narcotics, although researchers say that I-dosing itself is harmless.

— Purple drank. This is a slang term for a drink mixture that includes a prescription-strength cough syrup, or even Robitussin DM, which contains dextromethorphan, and soda. This cocktail can cause a high and even hallucinations.

— Planking. The aim is to lie on the ground, face-down, in a risky place, and then upload the image on social media to attract attention. Teenagers have posted planking photos on rooftops, escalators and even on moving vehicles.

— Vodka eyeballing. Teens trying to get high without getting caught smelling like booze are pouring vodka into the eye socket. Consequences can be scarring, burning of the cornea and even blindness.

— The choking game. This dangerous “game” involves the use of restraints or the assistance of a friend to choke the player in order to cut off the flow of blood to the brain. The goal is to get high from the effect of the blood rushing into the brain when the restraint is released. Some 250 to 1,000 teens die from this “game” annually and most are ruled suicides.

— Bath salts. The new drug sold legally as “bath salts” in some shops have been found to contain mephedrone and MDPV, two drugs that cause severe hallucinations and psychosis in users who smoke, snort or inject the substances. A single use causes intense cravings that results in three- to four-day binges and can end in suicide. These man-made cathinone products should not be confused with Epsom salts, which are made of a mineral mixture of magnesium and sulfate. Teens may believe they are taking MDMA (Molly or Ecstasy) and instead they may be getting “bath salts.”

— Overdosing on supplements. Studies indicate that as many as 40 percent of all young athletes take protein enhancements, which are available in forms ranging from bars to shakes to powders. Creatine, which is found in many products, can actually interfere with a growing adolescent’s own natural production of creatine, making the body reliant on supplements, which creates addiction.

Dr. Kate Roberts is a licensed child and school psychologist and family therapist on the North Shore. Ask a question or make a comment at kate@drkateroberts.com. She wrote this column for the Salem News which is linked here: http://www.salemnews.com/news/lifestyles/risky-teen-trends-that-parents-should-know-about/article_16128a12-ccb6-5700-8971-26b750136c98.html