Psychological Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents

Archive for the Substance Use and Addiction Category

Published on: April 16, 2014  

The Importance of Keeping Kids Active

These days, it seems that every time you turn around there’s something about obesity in the news. We’re hearing about how obesity is continually on the rise amongst adults across the country, and even more alarming, approximately one third of children in the United States are overweight or obese.

This puts our children at risk for a number of adverse physical and emotional health outcomes including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, social stigma, low self esteem and depression. To combat this issue, we’ve been given recommendations on how to clean up kids’ diets and increase their physical activity, and the integral role parents play in that process. But when parents hear that kids should be getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, it can seem like a rather daunting task. It can seem even more difficult considering the pull of technology keeping us glued to our seats. Check out these suggestions for incorporating physical activity a part of your daily routine.

Walk whenever possible. Walk with your kids to school at least once a week. If you live too far away to walk, you can park a couple of blocks away and walk from there. If you live closer, walk to school more often. Start having a regular family walk after dinner or take the family dog for a walk. Try to walk to regular activities, like sports, etc., whenever possible.

Limit sedentary behavior. Limit time watching T.V., playing video games and working on the computer for two hours or less per day. Take activity breaks when watching T.V. or working on the computer. Encourage your kids to get up and walk around or do some sit-ups or jumping jacks to re-energize. Get moving in and around the house: go outside to garden, clean up the yard, rake the leaves or wash the car. Keep your kids involved in active household chores.

Keep activities fun and creative. Allow your kids to choose an after-school sports activity they like or may be interested in. Encourage your kids to engage in physical activity with their friends they can play basketball, jump rope or go for bike rides. Be sure to check out local park & recreation locations (LaceyOlympia & Tumwater) and activities.

Above all, remember to be a good model for your children. They won’t take physical activity and their health seriously if you don’t either. Join an exercise group or find one that parents and kids can participate in together. Engaging in physical activity as a family not only keeps you and your kids healthy, but it can keep family relationships strong as well.  Check out similar articles on Child Obesity and Physical Activity in Kids & Teens in our Blog Archives as well as tips on Parenting Teens in the Resources section of our website.

Please give us a call should you need some additional help in developing strategies to keep your child or teen active, 360.236.0206.  We’re here to help!

Warmest Regards,

Gyro Psychology Services



Published on: April 5, 2013  

Friends and Addiction

The teenage years are a well known time for experimentation with alcohol and other drugs. Many teenagers experiment only a little and stop or only use substances occasionally, but some do not come away so lucky. Some teenagers do go on to abuse drugs which can develop into a dependency. Drug addiction can be a scary thing and it becomes even scarier when it happens to someone you care about. If you suspect a friend might have a drug problem this blog well help you identify signs of drug addiction and give you tips on how to help.

First I’m going to cover a little vocabulary. Substance abuse is using an illegal drug or using a legal drug in way it was not intended to be used for. Abuse of a drug does not mean someone is addicted but it can lead to addiction. Addiction is when someone no longer has control over whether they use the drugs. When someone becomes dependent their body has become so accustomed to the drug that if they stop they will go through withdrawal which can be unpleasant at best and horrendous at worst.

How do I tell if a friend has a drug problem?

Here is a list of common signs that someone might be abusing or addicted to drugs:

  • The drug is being used to relax or forget about problems in their life
  • They start to lose interest in activities that they used to enjoy or find important
  • They start to have problems with school such as bad grades or increased absences
  • Problems with family or friends caused by using the drug
  • Keeping secrets from family and friends about use
  • Stealing or selling belonging to afford the drug
  • Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from the effects of the drug
  • Unsuccessful attempts to stop using the drug
  • Mood swings
  • Anger, anxiety, or depression
  • Changes in eating habits (weight gain or loss)
  • Needing to increase use to greater amounts to get the same effect
  • Using the substance in risky situations

What can I do?

If you suspect your friend has a drug problem it is important you get help! Quitting substance use can be extremely difficult and your friend is probably going to need assistance to do so. First it is important to talk to your friend and let them know that you are worried about their behavior and the negative path it could lead them. Make sure you chose a good time to talk such as when they are sober and in a place you can speak privately. Next you’re going to want to seek out resources to help! Talk to someone you know and trust (school counselor, teachers, parents, coach, a health center, etc.) to find out what resources are available for your friend and how you can help motivate your friend to use them. Remember you do not have to take on your friend’s problems alone. Use the people close to you and the resources available to help you help your friend.

If your friend denies they have a problem and are unwilling to seek help you may have to accept that you cannot change them and set some limits. Long term recovery from a drug problem takes the willingness and desire from the person with the problem.

The Counseling Department at Marquette University published a short handout for teens who have a friend who they suspect might have a problem with addition. Kids health also wrote an article for teens on Dealing With Addiction”.


Warmest Regards,

Gyro Psychology Services

Olympia, Washington


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