Teen addiction is becoming more and more prevalent in our society today. Young people face pressures in all areas of their lives. Their parents pressure them to get good grades. They pressure themselves to do well enough to get into their college or university of choice. Friends pressure them to do things they might not have done otherwise.
They feel all of this pressure while balancing school and work, along with extra-curricular activities like basketball, competitive dance, music, skating, swimming or other thing they enjoy.
Escaping the pressure
Sometimes all of this pressure breaks a young person down and they turn to drugs, alcohol, or video games – anything that can help them escape the turmoil. Teens are often unsure who can they can talk to about these feelings so they try to ignore or suppress the feelings in hopes they will go away on their own.
In reality, these feelings do not go away on their own. Left untreated, the escape behaviour may get worse and the young person may use harsher drugs, abuse alcohol, or stay up all night playing video games, all of which have a negative impact on all other areas of their lives.
Once these behaviours start taking over the teen’s life, the harsh reality of addiction comes to light. Once their addictive behaviour becomes the focus of their life, it becomes all-consuming. This inevitably leaves the young person feeling like they have even less control over their own life and the cycle continues.
They may realize that the addiction is affecting their life in a negative way, but it has become such a part of them and their daily life that they do not see how they can stop. All the while, their pressures continue to increase.
Getting help for teen addiction
The first step in treating addictions is recognizing that there is a problem. Parents must be aware that their child has a problem and get them help immediately. A young person cannot tackle this on his or her own. As a parent, you are your child’s biggest support and advocate.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that drug/alcohol use or playing video games all night is a natural progression in your teen’s life, or that they are simply experimenting. Watch for sudden changes of behaviour such as skipping school or disinterest in previously-enjoyed activities. These are all signs that something is happening in a child’s life and you must address this before the problem gets bigger.
There is no shame in asking for help, and young people as well as parents need to know this. Some things cannot be dealt with on your own. There is help available for addiction, and with the right support system, success is possible.