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Self Help Leaflets - Addiction in Adolescents


What you do or tell Teenagers and Adolescents will affect him or her for next 50-70 years of their life.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic, progressive, and relapse-prone illness. It can be fatal if it is not treated on time. The addiction can be widely divided into following two types:

  1. Substance addiction – Drugs, Alcohol, inhalants, etc.
  2. Behavioral addiction – Video games, gambling, sex, cheating, etc.

There are certain characteristics by which once can identify the possible addiction in someone. These characteristics are laid below:

  1. Negative consequences do not deter the person involved from following the addiction.
  2. The person cannot reduce or cut down the addiction in question on his/her own. They need help.
  3. They just increase the frequency of the addiction activity to get more frequent desired effects. Getting high with drugs more frequently, for example.
  4. There are withdrawal symptoms if the addiction activity is reduced or stopped in these people. The symptoms can be psychological or physiological.

Addiction in Teenagers

The heightened curiosity and intense impulsivity puts the teenagers or adolescents at very high risk for substance or behavioral addiction. There are many pressures to handle at their age – peer pressure, parents pressure, media pressure, etc. They think, if they do not do this, they will be left far behind as compared to others.

Adolescent addiction is more dangerous than adult addiction since they are more vulnerable to consequences of addiction. They also cannot see the affects of addiction on their future. Apart from that there are different causes which make them addicted to something at the first instance.

Parents Checklist for Abuse affected kids

Check list for parents to see if their child is addicted to something:

  1. Poor grooming by child
  2. Reduced appetite
  3. Remarkable change in personal habits
  4. Significant change in school progress.
  5. Changes in behaviour and mood every now and then.
  6. Lost interest in positive socializing activities like playing football, etc.

If the answer to the symptoms above is predominantly yes for your child, it’s time to take him/her to your general practitioner.

How can you help as a Parent or Caregiver?

The near and dear ones of the addicted teenagers can help in the following manner.

  1. Do not accuse or condemn the adolescent for misbehavior.
  2. Keep yourself involved in what the child is doing. Stay informed about his/her activities, likings, habits, hobbies, etc.
  3. Create an open and communicative environment and relationship at home/school.
  4. Always be supportive and encourage the teens in the house.
  5. Seek professional help on time, before it’s too late.
  6. Identify the warning signs and know where to get help from.

Common Myths about addiction and their Facts

  1. Addiction is Voluntary.
    Fact: The long exposure to substance or behavior addiction leads to brain alteration. This creates powerful urges which is difficult for the teenagers to overcome. Hence they cannot quit on their own.
  2. Addiction is only found in low income families or old age people.
    Fact: Addiction can affect anyone at any age from teenagers to old age people.
  3. The child is experimenting and not addicted.
    Fact: The stage of experimentation leads to addiction itself at the end.
  4. Relapse of the addiction do not occur if the treatment is proper.
    Fact: Relapse is part of the recovery process and it is bound to happen, however effective the treatment is.
  5. The sufferer will himself or herself seek for help.
    Fact: The sooner the person gets treatment, the better are the chances of recovery. Act before it’s too late for the kid.
Teens who have untreated addiction issues, keep on saying that there is nothing wrong with them. They falsely believe that they can control the addiction behavior.