Inside the Teenage Brain

Frances Jensen, author of The Teenage Brain.
A Neuroscientist’s survival guide to raising adolescents and young adults.
Issues: How the teenage brain is under construction; the vulnerabilities and strengths of the teenage brain; the importance of sleep and the circadian rhythms; the damage done to the teen brain by risk taking, smoking, alcohol, and drugs,

News from Below the Belt: It’s All about Sperm

Sperm is making headlines again. Some of the news is good, some not so much. On the good side, recent studies have found that drinking coffee and alcohol (within reason, of course) doesn’t hurt a man’s fertility. Also on the good side is that exercise may boost your sperm count, as will a diet that […]

Teen Drinking Experiments: It’s a Lot Worse Than You Think

Back when we were in high school or college, if we wanted to do a little teen drinking and get drunk, we raided our parents’ liquor cabinet, went out and bought some beer (or scotch), or got an older sibling or friend to get it for us. But today, teens looking for a quick high have a lot more choices. In this guest post, Melissa gives us some startling insights into a problem there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of.


There are many crazy things teens and college students are experimenting with to get drunk these days. While many of us simply turn a blind eye or think “my son or daughter would never be that stupid”, these are real issues that our teens or future teens are attempting to either show off or to be cool.

While not all of these teen drinking trends are used by every teen, the popularity of attempting dangerous or outlandish things while drinking and then posting the results on YouTube is growing immensely. So we as parents not only have to educate our teens about alcohol and drugs but also have to educate them on the dangers of social media and publicizing too much on YouTube, Face book, or wherever. Once it’s online, it can’t be erased and too many teens are not thinking about how these videos could damage their future careers or reputations, not to mention their health.

Here are some of the latest teen drinking crazes:

  • eyeball shots - a scary teen drinking trendEyeball Shots. Just do a You Tube search of eyeball shots and you get over 7 pages of results. Eye shots are done by filling 10% of shot glass with alcohol and then pouring it in the eye ball quickly. Some however attempt to pour more or less into their eye. Some describe the feeling as going blind temporarily or extreme burning. The theory behind eye ball shots is that the alcohol will be quickly absorbed by the mucus membranes surrounding the eye. Leading medical experts, however, argue that this is not an effective way to get intoxicated quickly and could cause serious damage to a person’s vision.
  • drinking hand sanitizer - a scary teen drinking trendDrinking hand sanitizer. It only takes a few gulps to apparently feel the effects. Containing over 120 proof, hand sanitizer has significantly more alcohol in it than vodka, which is around 80 to 90 proof. Teens and young adults also find a thrill in drinking this product as a way to sneak around and get drunk in school. The problem is, drinking hand sanitizer is a fairly new trend so it’s harder for the drinker or others around them to gauge overdose or warning signs. The pure speed of intoxication by drinking hand sanitizer is alarming.
  • inhaling alcohol - a scary teen drinking trendInhaling alcohol. A new fad created to get drunk in seemly no time. That is because inhaling or smoking alcohol vapors will bypass the stomach and go right into the blood stream. “Instructional” videos are also popping up all over You Tube as a “fun” “new” way to drink. Unfortunately many teens are mixing several types of alcohol quickly, because inhaling alcohol is nothing like drinking a glass or shot of liquor. This can lead to a high risk of overdose or alcohol poisoning.


There are many other weird teen drinking crazes kids these days are trying, and these are just a few examples. While there is truly no way to prevent your teen from experimenting with alcohol in college or even on a night out, it is best to talk to them about alcohol overdose or poisoning. Teach them warning signs of an overdose, the right actions to take, and the consequences of drinking. As a parent we can only do so much but prevention is the key and it just may save their life in certain situations. Remember the best way to approach your teen is with a calm and understanding tone, anything else may send them running the other way.

Melissa is the Public Relations Coordinator for St. Jude Retreats–-a non-12 step alternative to conventional alcohol and drug rehab.


Military Kids Suffer During a Parent’s Deployment

Dear Mr. Dad: A few weeks ago, you wrote about how PTSD after deployment affects spouses in addition to servicemembers themselves. You talked a little about how it affects kids too. But what about families where PTSD isn’t an issue? My brother is in the Army and he and his wife are both being deployed in a few weeks. Their two children, a boy age 11 and a girl age 13, will be staying with my husband and me. How do kids do during the actual time when dad or mom is deployment?
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Knowing What To Do in Families Affected by Addiction

I’ve been incredibly luck to have never had an addiction (except maybe to exercise, which, if you have to be addicted to something, is pretty tolerable). But I’ve seen how it can tear families apart. In this powerful guest post, Jillian Thompson offers some solid insights and sage advice. Whether there is addiction in your family or you know someone who’s an addict, read this.

Addicts’ relationships with their family can be either their salvation or their damnation when it comes to dealing with their condition. Many addicts consider deep-seeded family issues to be the cause of their affliction in the first place, whether it be from neglect at a young age or chronic abuse while growing up. Others shut themselves off from their family while in the throes of their addiction, possibly either seeking to shelter loved ones from the reality of their situation or keeping those who would get in their way of securing a high from finding out about it at all. Whatever the case may be, a healthy relationship with one’s family could provide a strong foundation in seeking treatment for addiction. However, for those seeking help with their condition, a healthy relationship with the family may not be easy to come by for either side involved, due to the family’s past exposure to the addict’s condition.

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When it Comes to Binge Drinking, Kids Follow Parents’ Lead

The statistics on teenage binge drinking are pretty scary: A recent report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse says that 8% of kids 12-17 and 30% of kids 18-20 have binged within the past 30 days (that means 5 or more drinks in two hours for men, 4 for women). And here’s something even scarier: Only 1% of parents of teens (yep, just 1 in 100) thinks their teen has binged.

What accounts for that incredibly high-level of parental ignorance (or denial or obliviousness)?
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