2 weeks ago

Look Inside Young Adult Road Map

4 Guiding Star Point

4 Guiding Star Point four: Manage Information Editorial Board Notes Contributed by: Sebastian Serrano-Johnson Understanding Our Paths Transgenerational trauma is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder that carries over from one generation to the next. It can continue down multiple lines. When my mother was 10, it was her job to take care of her alcoholic mother and her younger sibling. To cope with the stress of being the head of the family at such a young age, my mother turned to alcohol to numb her feelings about her situation. As a result, my mother grew to be an alcoholic. When I was 10 years old, my mother, by then a drug addict, couldn’t take care of herself or her children. As the eldest child, I took on the responsibility of caring for both her and my younger brother and sister. I was exhausted all the time and trying to succeed in school. To make it easier in this difficult environment, I started taking Adderall, to which I quickly became addicted. Family Medical History Health providers often ask about illnesses in close family members. This is because genetic traits (physical and mental qualities you are born with) can lead to certain illnesses that run-in families. Knowing that an illness has occurred in a close, blood relative may help a doctor determine what’s happening to you. In some cases, a medication that is used to treat an illness in one family member may have a better chance to be successful with another family member. Remember that the genetic traits you have inherited are nobody’s fault and out of your control. However, they are very important pieces of information that help fill in the picture for you. If you have concerns about who will be able to see your personal information, discuss this with the provider(s) who evaluates and treats you. Substance Abuse and Other Behaviors It is very important that providers who work with you know about anything that can affect your health, behavior, and emotions. That means knowing about family alcohol and drug abuse, sexual abuse, and any unusual family behaviors or traumas (very negative or bad events, such as a death, injury, sexual abuse, or divorce) that you have experienced. In most cases, the provider is required to keep this information confidential (not telling the police, your employer, or others not involved in your treatment) unless the situation could cause a major risk to the safety of you or others. There are exceptions to this rule. If you have any questions, talk to the provider about how the information will be used. If you aren’t comfortable listing the information on the forms in this Guide, write it down in a safe place, and don’t forget to share it with the provider. Part Two: Maintain For people with special health needs, one of the first steps toward independence is learning to take medications on time, every day, and without prompts from others. Like any skill, this takes practice, and many people need support to keep them safe from mistakes until they develop a regular life routine. If you don’t take medications independently yet, you and your family or guardians may want to start a conversation with your provider about how you can begin to gain skills. If you are in middle or high school, learning to take medications independently can be written into your transition goals. (See more about school transition planning in the final chapter of this Guide, “The Bridge to Everywhere,” page 63.) 46

80 Avoiding Medication Mix-ups A good routine is the key to giving medications safely. Here are some “provider approved” strategies for making sure medications stay organized. l If you take regular doses of more than one drug, keep these medications sorted in a seven-day pill organizer. Buy this small, inexpensive plastic box at any pharmacy. These boxes are not just for the “mature” crowd. You can see at a glance if a dose has been missed. The organizer makes it much easier to take meds accurately on a busy morning when you are rushing out the door. You can also use app prompts or phone alarms to remind you to take your pills at certain times of the day. l Put vitamins and other over-the-counter medicines (non-prescription medicines) in the same pill organizer as your prescription pills. l Refill the pill organizer on the same day each week. This is a good time to check the front of the bottle for the number of refills left. l Don’t split pills, unless your doctor/nurse practitioner says this is okay. Some pills cannot be split safely. If you must split pills, buy an inexpensive pill-cutter from the pharmacy. You can also talk with the pharmacist about options for purchasing a different dosage. l Share information about your medication only with providers, trusted friends, and family. l In some cases, you may be legally required to leave pills (such as ADHD medications) in the original container. If you are involved with a child welfare agency or the court system, be sure to check with a person in charge of your case about the rules for handling your medications. l Some pharmacies offer pills already sorted into daily “blister packs.” They may charge a fee if your insurance does not cover this service. See page 80 for a list of common medication abbreviations * you may find on prescription forms or in your medical files. Medication Abbreviations Here are some abbreviations you might find on prescription forms, on orders for lab tests, and in your medical files: bid. CBC ECG EEG g his. kg L mg NSAID O2 OTC P.O. P.R. give medication twice a day complete blood count electrocardiogram (looks for heart problems) electro-encephalogram (looks for brain problems) gram (unit of measurement) at bedtime kilogram liter milligram Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (such as aspirin) oxygen over-the-counter (non-prescription) by mouth rectally (in your bottom) What to Know about Drug Warnings New information about medications is always appearing. Sometimes a drug will be given a black-box warning by the FDA, which tells doctors to be careful about prescribing the drug under certain conditions. A black-box warning doesn’t necessarily mean the drug is dangerous under all conditions. Sometimes warnings are about not using certain drugs for certain disorders. Sometimes they warn about drug interactions, which means possible problems when one drug is used at the same time as another drug. Other warnings are for dangerous side effects that may (but don’t always) occur. The website http://, a service of the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, covers hundreds of medications and health topics. p.m. as needed q every day quid. four times a day RBC red blood-cell count S.L. sublingual (under the tongue) third. three times a day WBC white blood-cell count Source: Linda Zweigelt, Former Director of Programs, NAMI Montgomery County, Texas. Used with author’s permission. 47