Addiction afflicts even the most self-confident adults, so it is no surprise the developing brains of teenagers are far more vulnerable to the allure of addictive pastimes and substances. It is not always easy for parents to identify a child’s problem with addiction, but they are in the best position to help a teenager who is struggling.
The different addictions teens can suffer from
Drug abuse is by far the most dangerous addiction that teenagers struggle with. Young minds are very pliable and the highs on offer by using recreational drugs can be very hard for teenagers to resist. Illegal drugs are often introduced in a seemingly innocent way and peer pressure can easily override any normal instincts to say no. Still legal, cigarette smoking is far more common as an addiction amongst teenagers and is very detrimental to health.
Teenagers struggle not only with substance abuse, but can also become addicted to day-to-day activities. It is easy for teenagers to become abnormally attached to social media or Internet gaming, and to then find it difficult to relate to their families and peers. Young adults can also struggle with behavioral addictions such as eating disorders, and gambling – neither related to a particular substance, but instead triggered by psychological and emotional responses.
How to help teenagers struggling with addiction
The first step in helping your child with their addiction issues is trying to build an understanding of the cause. Approaching the situation with an angry, accusatory attitude will make it very difficult to make any sort of progress. Instead talk to your teenager and identify that a problem exists, and make it clear you are there to help get them overcome whatever the challenge might be.
Re-affirming your love, care and concern for him or her as a person, despite the difficulty they are facing, is key. Some addictions can be managed by simple changes in habit, but a more serious addiction that involves substance abuse could require treatment from a professional. Serious psychological addictions involving sex or weight concerns might need supportive counseling.
Preventing addictions from recurring
Some addictions can be very tough to treat, with drug abuse often particularly tricky to overcome permanently – relapsing is common. A dedicated, residential rehab program such as those offered by the Newport Academy offers individual treatment with weekly psychotherapy sessions in a residential environment that clearly separates your teenager from temptations for a significant period. The structured approach offered by these programs is expertly put together to break the patterns of thinking that lead to relapse.
Whether your child has spent time in rehab or recovered from addiction at home, they will essentially be reliant on you as their parent to provide the love and support that prevents them from getting entangled with an addictive substance or pattern of behavior again. Teenagers have a low built-in resistance to addictions, so instead of judging and threatening take a compassionate and understanding but firm approach.