Thursday, November 29, 2012

Recognizing Addiction

Acknowledging you or someone you know has an addiction is hard. You may deny an addictions existence, give excuses, or even think the problem will fix itself. Truth is, recognizing the craving is the first step in helping you or someone else seek help and get over addiction.

This talented young Wentzville, Mo. artist shared his depiction of the polarized world of addiction and recovery
What are some ways to detect addiction problems?

An obvious one is a change in behavior. The people who notice changes in behaviors the most are the ones closest to someone. Is someone you know irritable or acting distant? A change is behavior can come from addiction by changing the way a person may act, react, and think. Drugs can even cause mood changes, depression, aggression, and paranoia in people.

One less obvious one involves money. Is someone constantly borrowing money from friends and family? Addictions can be expensive, and cause users to spend large amounts of money forcing them to borrow money from friends and family. Borrowing can also lead to stealing money and other items.

Be above the influence!
A change of friends. Have you noticed someone has changed a group of friends? Someone you know may be shying away from their old steady friends and may spend their time around risky characters. A person may share their addictions with other people, and choose to spend their time around those similar people.

Is someone not performing as well as they used to at work or school? A change in performance relating to addiction can be caused by a change in sleeping pattern, changes in attitude, and the times when they need to get their "fix". You may also notice someone moving away from their goals, instead of making progress in their life they may become depressed and not try to succeed.

Recovery vs. Addiction
Besides emotional and psychological changes, people can also see physical changes.

You may notice someone has red, glassy, or dilated eyes. People may show signs of physical drug use on their bodies including scratch marks, needle marks, or burns. Drugs can cause changes in speech as well, including speaking in rapid incoherent phrases and also slurred speech. You might even notice someone acting different including constantly scratching their body, showing quick movements including looking around, and even appearing lethargic while moving or walking.

At Preferred Family healthcare we understand how hard it can be when a family member needs help. We also understand how much care professionals take when making a referral. That's why, for over 30 years, both families and professionals throughout the Midwest have trusted us.

Learn more about our services on our Website, or more about our prevention services.

-Maxwell Law

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It Takes A Village to Keep Teens Substance Free

While long suspected to be the case, researchers have conducted a study where results show higher levels of parental knowledge and disciplinary consistency leading to a lower likelihood of substance use, whereas lower levels lead to a higher likelihood of substance use. 

"I think that it empowers parents to know that not only can they have an influence on their own children, but they can also have a positive influence on their children's friends as well," said Michael J. Cleveland, research assistant professor at the Prevention Research Center and the Methodology Center, Penn State. "And that by acting together -- the notion of 'it takes a village' -- can actually result in better outcomes for adolescents."

Read the full story and research details here.

“Acceptance of others, their looks, their behaviors, their beliefs, bring you an inner peace and tranquility ~ instead of anger and resentment”  ~ Author Unknown

-Tina Stevens 

About the Author: Tina Stevens is a Prevention Secretary with Preferred Family Healthcare. The prevention team works with coalitions throughout the Northern 27 counties in Missouri. She attend fairs and events to distribute information about ATOD (Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs) to bring awareness to our communities. In July 2012 she joined the Healthcare Home team as their secretary/care coordinator. Healthcare Home is a fairly new program in the State of Missouri that is combining Mental Health and Physical Health of our consumers to treat the whole person.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hope Can Grow

Throughout our time, gardens have been seen as a thing of beauty, sustenance and a place for growth.  There are all types of gardens from vegetable, flowers, to zoological where we go to enjoy nature and take away memories.

The idea of a garden brings a calming and peaceful setting into mind as many of our clients would say. In particular, the call it “a place to get away from it all.”

Kansas City Adolescent’s A.R.T.C. program just recently completed the installation of our consumer named “Sobriety Garden” to show that “hope can grow.” For the last 18 months, Kansas City’s A.R.T.C. program has been on a journey to make this vision a reality. Each group of consumers over this time has contributed to the success of the project. The first stage of the process was envisioning what the ideal garden would look like. 

They continued to pour their thoughts of a place to “chill and rest their mind” into their ideas and discussions. One young person involved stressed that “the main point of this garden is to make someone feel welcome and have a place to get encouragement when they are not feeling their best.” 

As we researched the installation of the “Sobriety Garden” we found a long standing example to draw from called the Bellvue Sobriety Garden in New York.  In line with the sentiments of our  Kansas City adolescents, the organization had this to say about their garden:

“Since 1989, the garden has been a sanctuary for patients, and increasingly for staff and visitors, who come to garden, meditate, and relax amidst the flowers, greenery and unique folk sculptures and mosaics. Built by recovering addicts, funded strictly by donations of time, supplies and money, it is a showcase therapeutic site.” via RunningInterface.

Through participation in Lee’s Summit Downtown Days this past summer, displaying crafts for sale and face painting, money was raised to begin the purchase of materials. Within the month of September 2012, all of the consumers’ hard work and positive thoughts came to fruition by partnering with Get Growing Kansas City’s Sheri Harvel who is an organic gardener herself. Ms Harvel educated our young consumers on the late season planting and harvesting phase. She shared what plants would be best to garden for the season and described the symbolism of plants and how to utilize them for aroma therapy. They were also given information on how to maintain the garden and put their motivation and positive energy to work in growing the garden. In addition a very important nutrition component was conveyed, teaching these young people how to grow food and how to harvest food and eat well. The group then constructed 2 raised beds, added organic soil, and planted late season flowers as well as vegetables. 

These talented young people are continually shaping and creating art to plant in the garden as well. The art ranges from abstract concepts such as actual doors that represent types of people that may enter the garden, billboard murals, ceramic tiles, stair steps to recovery and even a light switch. Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Missouri Organic and our wonderful staff from the Kansas City site made it possible to move the project forward.

The impact on the group has been very positive. The group has experienced a more supportive environment, and has been displaying incorporation of transferable learning from the process of building a garden such as “it takes time to grow”, “I have a place to sit and think”, “I can’t wait to do this again”, and “ it’s cool to be able to help someone…I wish someone did this for me.”

Harvesting the late season vegetables will begin November first to show the fruits of their labor and the benefits of growing your own food.   

While the Kansas City site is in its first stage of the garden, there are plans for a 2nd stage in the spring. Currently, we are looking for grant opportunities to continue the work and instill hope and change in the young people we serve. 

 Get Growing Kansas City has awesome opportunities for small scale growers in our region. You can see their work at

-Tamiko French

About the Author: Tamiko French is the passionate and dedicated A.R.T.C. Regional Coordinator from Preferred Family Healthcare’s Western Region.