The epidemic of ADHD isn’t lost on us at The Family Foundation School. A large majority of our students are diagnosed with ADHD or show symptoms related to it: hyperactivity, inability to concentrate, and impulsiveness. The disorder is a neurologically-based medical problem and no one knows for sure what causes it. But new research suggests that it may have to do with circadian clock disturbances; that is, with too little sunshine and not enough sleep.
We’ve long known that many teens who settle into the FFS routine are much healthier for it. It includes an early and consistent bedtime, considered critical for restorative sleep, and plenty of outdoor activities. Studies have also linked screen time (TV and computers) before bedtime with attention problems. Television is a non-issue at FFS, and computer use is restricted.
Whether or not you can blame the dramatic increases in ADHD diagnoses on the TV and digital age, the truth is that most children and teens today get a lot less sunshine and sleep than their parents and grandparents did as children. If spending more time outdoors and sleeping longer contributes to a properly functioning nervous system, consider it another important benefit of the FFS experience. Read the complete article here.
We have blogged before about how teenage brains can be permanently changed by cocaine and marijuana. The latest research implicates alcohol as well, showing that the brains of first year college students, specifically the regions involved in emotion processing and cognitive control, are changed with increased exposure to alcohol and alcohol-related cues.
The study is significant when you consider the vast population at risk—more than 2.5 million college freshmen—and the current epidemic of drinking on campus. Each year alcohol is responsible for some 1,800 student deaths, 690,000 student assaults, 97,000 student sexual assaults, 599,000 student injuries, 150,000 student health problems and suicide attempts, not to mention 25 percent of all academic problems.
College is fraught with landmines for all students: Suddenly they alone are responsible for getting to class, managing their time and money, dealing with stress, navigating relationships and solving any number of day-to-day problems. Add to that the ready availability of alcohol and it’s no wonder a third of all freshmen never make it through.
Drinking on campus is a major concern of universities and legislatures, and it’s something FFS has been aware of since our first group of graduates headed for college. It’s why our Bridge program exists. Failure isn’t inevitable when teenagers know what to expect and are prepared for it, and that’s what The Bridge is all about.