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Drugs and Domestic Violence

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Drug abuse has haunted society for years. From dealing with alcohol to cocaine, from marijuana to LSD, the war on drugs continues. A drug that is becoming more and more popular is methamphetamine. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2013) methamphetamine use cost @23.4 billion dollars in 2005. Family, friends, love ones, and society has been impacted by use of meth. There is a high correlation between domestic abuse and substance use. No one is sheltered from the substance. Celebrities are not sheltered either as recently child star Orlando Brown from ‘That’s So Raven” was arrested for many charges including possession of meth along with domestic violence.

In the news…

On January 17, 2016 police received a phone call from an eye witness who observed Orlando Brown hitting a female. The female is his fiancée. The police arrived on the screen. Orlando Brown refuses to get out the car, charged with obstruction of justice. After police gets him out the car, takes him to be booked, they found meth on, charged with two felonies. Felony #1 – possession with intent to sell and Felony #2 – possession of contraband while in jail (Pruitt, 2016).

What is Meth?

Meth is short for methamphetamine. It is an man-made drug (nothing in it is natural) that also goes by the street names Crank, Chalk, Crystal, Fire, Glass, Go Fast, Ice, Meth, and Speed (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2016).  Methamphetamine is an illegal stimulant or upper that is in the same category as amphetamine. Amphetamines are legal stimulants or uppers that are used for medical purposes. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has categorized Amphetamine/Methamphetamine as a Schedule II Drug.  Schedule II drugs have some medical properties in which refills are not given. Amphetamines that are used medically are Adderall or Ritalin that are used to treat Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder (ADHD) or just Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). At this time there is no medical use Methamphetamines.

How is Meth Used?

The route of admission or method of a drug entering into the body varies based on individual’s preference regarding the intensity of the high. Methamphetamines can be smoked, snorted, injected use, or orally ingested (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2013).  The most intense “high” comes from a person smoking on injecting the substance because it quickly enters the bloodstream which goes straight into the brain. It is in the brain that methamphetamine triggers the brain to produce more of the neurotransmitter dopamine. It is this neurotransmitter that gives a person the “high” or ”flash.” A person may start off occasionally using, to using more, to the point of receiving negative consequences behind their use, to continue use despite negative consequence. At that point, it is called an addiction.

Short & Long Term Effects of Meth Use

When a person begins using any kind of substance there are short and long term effects on that person’s health and methamphetamine is no different. The short term effects of methamphetamine use consists of “increased attention, decrease fatigue, increased activity, increased wakefulness, decreased appetite, euphoria or rush, increase respiration, rapid or irregular heartbeat, and hyperthermia (NIDA, 2013, p2.)” These short term effects can quickly be resolve by the individual reframing from methamphetamine use. If an individual choses to continue use, these short term effects will increase to more complex long term effects.

Long term effects of methamphetamine use was “addiction, psychosis which may include paranoia, hallucinations, repetitive motor activity, changes in the brain structure and function, deficits in thinking and motor skills, increase distractibility, memory loss, aggressive or violet behavior, mood disturbances, sever dental problems, and weight loss (NIDA, 2013, p2.)” At this point, the body has been negatively impacted by the use of methamphetamine and long term care is needed to reverse some of these long term effects.

Meth & Domestic Violence

Domestic violence within itself is a grave entity that negatively affects society as a whole and not just the family. When the addition of substance use is involved it makes the grave matter even work. When it comes to methamphetamine use, a person using is likely to experience impulsiveness, derangement, and rage (Meth Project, 2016). The ability to control inhibitions (impulsiveness) is slim next to none because methamphetamine alters brain function which normally a person would react, now they would. Derangement is when the “flight/fight” mode kicks in and a meth user perceives everyone as a potential threat. Rage is very common due to derangement and high impulsivity, that a meth user because physically aggressive.  Add all of this up together, the severity of domestic violence is heavily increased.

Summary

Methamphetamine use is a destructive pattern of behavior that destroys individuals, families, and communities. Substance use increases the likely hood of domestic violence based on the negative effects of the drug. Methamphetamine use high jacks the brain ability to regulate impulsiveness and increase the likely hood unmanageable anger and aggression. The national hotline for domestic abuse is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) and national hotline for addiction is 1 -800-662-HELP (4357).


References

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Commonly Abuse Drugs.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2013). Methamphetamine. NIDA Research Report Series.

The Method Project. Meth. Retrieved from 
http://www.methproject.org/answers/does-meth-make-you-violent.html#Inside-the-Ads-Mother

Pruitt, S.L. (2016) ‘That’s So Raven’ Star’ Orlando Brown Arrested for Meth Possession, Beating his Girlfriend. Retrieved from http://www.oxygen.com/very-real/thats-so-raven-star-orlando-brown-arrested-for-meth-possession-beating-his-girlfriendon February 28, 2016

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New Gene Findings Unravel the Mystery of Schizophrenia

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Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe neurological brain
disorder which can gravely affect a person’s functioning at many
different levels. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about
2.6 million Americans are affected by the illness whose debilitating challenges
are often extended to their families.  

What makes the disease so complex is its underlying etiology confounded by both genetic and environmental factors. Although the
illness is understood to be highly hereditary, many aspects of its pathophysiology
remains largely unknown or poorly understood despite extensive research being
conducted ongoing.

It
has long been established that the pathogenesis of schizophrenia is linked to the
dysfunction of the dopaminergic neurotransmitter system which leads to a
reduced dopamine concentration in cortical regions responsible for executive
functioning.

Pruning

The dopamine hypothesis, however, does not provide the neurobiological basis
for the illness in terms of how specific genes or gene variations might lead to
certain brain abnormalities seen in schizophrenia.

A new
groundbreaking study conducted by researchers at the Broad
Institute of MIT and Harvard may very well have some answers to this dilemma, shedding
further light on how pruning of synapses in the brain can affect the
development of schizophrenia at a molecular level (Healy, 2016).

Scientists
are claiming that pruning is a necessary and requisite process for the infant/child/adolescent
brain to properly transition into adulthood. If overactive, however, the
process can remove synapses at random, indiscriminately eliminating
critical neural connections.

Based on extensive genetic tests on nearly 65,000 people, the research team
has finally identified genes responsible for this overactive pruning process
resulting in genetic variations linked to schizophrenia (ibid.).

C4 Genes

Based on the data collected, it was concluded that people with certain variants
of C4 genes located in the region called Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) had a significantly
higher risk of developing schizophrenia, independent of other genetic
predispositions.

Notably, C4 genes have been found to be particularly active around late
adolescence, editing necessary neural connections initiated during infancy and
childhood.

The deficiency in C4 genes, however, can overactivate this pruning process, drastically
removing certain synapses critical to normal, healthy brain development.

MHC is a genetic region which has been formerly known to play a key role in
the immune system but is now found to be closely linked to schizophrenia.

It was also found that MHC contains
DNA variants associated with genome variations which could increase the risk of
developing the disease.  

Implication

These
findings have opened a new doorway into what has long been regarded as a
“black box” by many researchers, scientists, and medical professionals.

By
no means is this the panacea for much of what still remains as a big mystery; however, the
study has certainly transformed the way schizophrenia is viewed and understood.

At minimum, the new findings could revolutionize the way the disease is treated.
According to NIMH, an estimated 40 percent of individuals with
the condition are untreated in any given year. With
the new information learned, it might now be possible to develop a more novel and
innovative approach to treating schizophrenia beyond the mere symptom reduction with much less severe side effects.

More
importantly, the study could eventually help de-mystify the disease as a
treatable and even a preventable condition and no longer as a permanently incapacitating
illness.

And
this possibility alone is a major breakthrough offering new hope for those currently
living with the disease and their families.

References

Healy,
M. January 27, 2016. Geneticists uncover a key clue to schizophrenia. Los
Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-genetic-clue-schizophrenia-20160127-story.html

 

 

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When Dreams Fail to Come True: Panthers Lose to Broncos 24-10

Every athlete hates losing especially on the largest stage
in sports, the NFL Super Bowl. Cam Newton, quarterback for the Carolina
Panthers, set the record straight and he defends behaving like a ‘sore loser’
following the Panthers 24-10 loss to the Denver Broncos.

During his post-game press conference Newton gave brief one
to two word answers. He kept his hoodie over his head and appeared to be put
out by the questions coming from the media. He then abruptly left the podium
creating a storm of criticism about this conduct.

Expectations on Self
and from Others Building Pressure

Newton took home the league’s Most Valuable Player of the
year award the night before the big game. Pressure from nearly all sides fell
on Newton. He entered the game with the momentum, Vegas odds on his side, only
one loss, the city of Charlotte highly hopeful, and anticipation from Panther’s
owner and team who had been to the big show before and lost.

His short and pouty responses after the game did not fit the
expectations of a leader and an MVP award winning professional. Nonetheless, the
26-year-old Newton continues to uphold his actions and believes the situation
was blown out of proportion. He indicates he would not have changed a thing about
his responses revealing his feelings were obviously raw and he did not want to
talk to the media. “When you invest so much time and sacrifice so much and
things don’t go as planned, I think emotions take over,” Newton said. “I think
that is what happens” CITATION Ass16 l 1033  (Associated Press, 2016).

Head Coach Ron Rivera who took home the NFL Coach of Year
award backs Newton’s choices. “He hates to lose, that’s the bottom line. That
is what you love in him,” Rivera said. “I would much rather have a guy who
hates to lose than a guy who accepts it. The guy who accepts it, you might as
well just push him out of your locker room because you don’t want him around” CITATION Ass16 l 1033  (Associated Press, 2016).

Perhaps, Newton takes losing more personal than most as a
result of the expectations of himself and the expectations from others to
perform.

In the past, the first round draft pick took hits from the
media early on in his career for sulking off to the side by himself during
games. In previous defeats, reports indicate the QB sat with his uniform still
on troubled and upset for more than 30 minutes after the conclusion of a game.
At times, Newton also let the media wait more than an hour before showing up
for his job required duty to address the media
CITATION Ass16 l 1033  (Associated Press, 2016)
.

Failure Reveals Character

Perhaps Newton can take a few pointers from his counterpart.
Just a year ago, 27-year-old Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle
Seahawks threw an interception at the goal line in the last few seconds of the
game. A costly mistake he took the blame for in his post Super Bowl interview.
“I put the blame on me, I’m the one who threw it. It’s something you learn from
and grow from,” he said  CITATION Rus15 l 1033 (Wilson, 2015).

Unlike Newton, Wilson engaged the media after losing,
answered their questions in complete sentences, and did not appear to be
distraught nor a ‘sore loser’.  The
young leader displayed a professional attitude and what sportsmanship looks at
every level.

Just two days after losing Super Bowl 49, Wilson, in fact,
was back in the hospital visiting sick kids. He said his recent big stage
debacle did not matter to those fighting for their life. “I think that to be
able to try to find a way to change people’s lives and to be there for them and
give them a boost is really important to me. They don’t realize how much
they’ve affected me”  CITATION Dic15 l 1033 (Dicker, 2015).

Taking the focus off self and putting it on the opportunity
to give back to others is a hard sell after losing such an important game. The
contrast between failure with opportunity jerks common sense and
traditional thinking out the window. But that is exactly the difference between
an athlete of character and a sore loser.

Character Takes Ownership of Mistakes

Wilson exhibited this paramount rule in team sports as the leader
of his team. The 12th pick in the 3rd round of the 2012
NFL draft, Wilson owned the mistake that cost the team a Super Bowl victory. He
gave credit to his teammates for what they did right and the effort and
determination they gave.

Contrary, when the defeat is excused or blamed on others,
then it is much harder to improve and change. By acknowledging what went wrong,
it actually clears the mind, calms the negative emotions, and produces a more
coachable attitude towards advancement.

Olympic gold medalist swimmer, Summer Sanders failed to make
the 1988 Olympic team by .027 of a second. During an interview with the
Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), a non-profit organization dedicated to using
the vehicle of sports to teach life lessons, Sanders recalled being in the lead
and then ‘freaking out’ and losing her mental focus to the finish.

She told PCA she spent the next four years using her failure
and learning from it. She testified the education from her breakdown was the
most important thing she did in swimming and in her career not winning the gold
medal, “If you can’t take an experience on the field, on the court, or in the
pool and learn from it and be better next time, then you are missing a huge
gift that sport’s gives you. I use that in my daily life every single day.” CITATION Sum11 l 1033  (Sanders, 2011).

In their recent book, Whatever
the Cost
, former Major League Baseball players David and Jason Benham note success
is not a destination – it’s the journey. Throughout the book, the brothers
describe multiple failures, injuries, and difficulties as athletes. They boiled
down their disappointments as lessons in identity. “We learned that if you are
defined by what you do, then your success or failure at what you do will
dictate your self-worth. If you fail, then in your mind you’re a failure. Yet
nothing could be further from the truth. It’s impossible to die to a dream when
it defines you”  CITATION Ben15 l 1033 (Benham & Lamb, 2015)

No One is Immune to Failure

Sometimes the darker the situation, the brighter the
opportunity. Author and speaker Steven Furtick in his book Sun Stand Still writes extensively about dreams that do not come
true. He suggests reputation is demonstrated by working through adversity rarely
in the removal of the challenge, “we must see past the danger and embrace the
opportunity in our crisis.  CITATION Fur10 l 1033 (Furtick, 2010).

The fact remains, everyone, including athletes, experiences
failure. Adversity of loss is inevitable. The challenge to comeback from
failure presents a common experience by all humans. Cam Newton has been handed
a tremendous gift in this loss. As the NFL’s MVP, time will tell of what he
makes of this valuable opportunity.


References

Associated Press. (2016, February 9). Cam Newton Defends Postgame Behavior at the Super Bowl. Retrieved from New YorkTimes: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/10/sports/football/cam-newton-defends-postgame-behavior-at-super-bowl.html?_r=0
 
Benham, D. &., & Lamb, S. (2015). Whatever the Cost. Nashville: W Publishing Group.
 
Dicker, R. (2015, February 6). Russell Wilson went right back to visiting sick kids after Super Bowl loss. Retrieved from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/05/russell-wilson-childrens-hospital_n_6621804.html
 
Furtick, S. (2010). Sun Stand Still. Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books.
 
Sanders, S. (2011). Learning from Mistakes. (P. C. Alliance, Interviewer)
 
Wilson, R. (2015, February 1). Russell Wilson takes the blame for Super Bowl 49 loss to the Patriots. (T. P. Game, Interviewer)

 
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Dad Found Not Guilty for Taking Daughter’s Cell Phone: When Co-Parenting Doesn’t Work

In January of 2016, Ronald Jackson was found “not guilty”
for confiscating his daughter’s cell phone (Bever, 2016). The court ordered the
not guilty verdict, ruling that the state failed to provide sufficient
evidence. At the time that the phone was taken in 2013, his daughter was 12 and
sent a text message regarding her father’s girlfriend and children that
included the use of the word “ratchet”. Mr. Jackson found the word to be
offensive and inappropriate. As a result, he took his daughter’s cell phone.

After the phone was taken, police came to the home to convince
him to return the property. Mr. Jackson refused. He reported that “he was being
a parent” (Paul, 2016). Eventually, Mr. Jackson was arrested for property
theft, a Class B misdemeanor for not returning the phone. According to Bever
(2016) Ms. Steppe, the mother of the daughter, was in agreement with the cell
phone being taken but didn’t agree with Mr. Jackson not giving her (Ms. Steppe)
the phone when the visit was over. She asserts that while the phone was on Mr.
Jackson’s cellular plan, the actual phone was purchased by Ms. Steppe and her fiancé’;
therefore, the phone didn’t belong to Mr. Jackson.

Some argue that the mother, Ms. Steppe, was to blame for not
supporting the decision made by the father. While others argue that Mr. Jackson
overreacted and was at fault. While both parents appear to have valid arguments
regarding the situation, was it necessary to include the law? As it pertains to
this particular incident, what’s the message that we are sending to our youth
about parenting?’

Co-Parenting

One of the key elements of effective co-parenting is
communication (Arizona Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation
Courts, 2011). However, effective communication can be stressful and difficult
after two parents divorce or separate. Ineffective communication may burden the
child by sending mixed messages and result in inconsistent discipline. Children
will often test boundaries and rules. A united front in co-parenting is recommended
(Serani, 2012). While both Ms. Steppe and Mr. Jackson have valid points regarding
the cellphone situation, it may have been more beneficial for them to have
communicated and come to a mutual agreement on a punishment for their daughter.
 

Research suggests that children’s well-being is damaged when
separated and/or divorced parents can’t agree on parenting and there is high
conflict. Placing the needs of the child first can make the co-parenting experience
positive and successful. When the child’s needs are the priority, decisions are
not made to punish the other parent but instead to benefit the child. In this
case, it appears that some of the focus was on the cellphone and who it belonged
to and the use of the word “ratchet” in reference to Mr. Jackson’s girlfriend
instead of the child’s needs.

High conflict may be inevitable in separated and divorced
families. Placing the focus on reducing conflict may improve parenting and the well-being
of the child. Family therapy can be useful in assisting the parents to establish
a united front. The main therapeutic task in high conflict families is to help
the parents separate their previous relationship problems from their current
ongoing parental responsibilities (Kruk 2012). Often times, individual therapy
for one or both parents may be needed to address the pain and difficulties experienced
during the previous relationship to ensure that those issues remain separated
from the co-parenting partnership.

In this case, it can be argued that this is an example of
the law usurping parental authority and this type of situation results in our
children demonstrating little respect for parents. Many parents argue that the social,
educational, professional, and economical contexts of childrearing make effective
parenting unachievable (Taffel, 2012). Child clinicians, educators, and law
officials often tend to blame the parents for what’s happening with the child. As
a result, many children are able to shirk the responsibility of their behavior.
With the types of abuse that many youth endure across the world, it’s extremely
necessary for them to be protected by the law and judicial system. However, in
this case, it may have been more appropriate for the parents to have mutually problem
solved on remediating the situation instead of having the law interfere.

This ordeal could have been avoided with the use of
effective co-parenting techniques. The relationship between Mr. Jackson and his
daughter has severed. Since the incident, Mr. Jackson reported that he has not
spoken to his daughter. He reported that
he can’t ever have a relationship with them again (Bever, 2016).


References

Arizona Chapter of the Association of Family Conciliation
Courts (2011) Communication Co-parenting Guide

Bever, L (2016; Jan 31) I was being a parent: Father found
not guilty after taking daughter’s Iphone. Retrieved February 14, 2016

Kruk, E (2012; May 15) Co-parenting and High Conflict.
Retrieved February 14, 2106

Paul, J (2016; Jan 26) Father Arrested For Theft After
Taking Daughter’s Phone Vindicated. Retrieved February 14, 2016.

Serani, D (2012; Mar 28) The Do’s and Don’ts of Co-parenting
Well. Retrieved February 14, 2016

Taffel, R (2012; Feb 22) The Decline and Fall of Parental
Authority. Retrieved February 14, 2016.

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