Teen Addiction

Teen addiction does not always mean drugs and alcohol, teens may become addicted to food, the Internet, pornography, gambling, stealing, and more. This article discusses the effects of teen addiction and treatment options available for teens struggling with addiction.

One of the most difficult issues that any parent can face is that of teen addiction. However, it is a reality in many cases. Indeed, drugs and alcohol are easy to come by, and that can lead to substance abuse by teenagers. Additionally, other types of addictions, such as those to pornography or to video games and Internet use, can also cause problems in a teenager’s life. It is important to be on the look out for an addiction that may be debilitating your teenager, and could cause problems in the future.

Effects of teen addiction

Addiction in teenagers have some very real effects. These effects range from direct effects to indirect impacts. Some of the things you can expect from an addicted teenager include the following:

  • Lower grades: Decreased school performance can be a direct effect of teen addiction. This can lead to problems down the road with getting into college and finding a good job.
  • Depression: In some cases, teen addiction can lead to teen depression. Many teenagers feel depression even if they are not addicted to substances. A porn addiction can cause feelings of intense shame and depression, as can Internet addictions.
  • Lack of interest in other activities: In order to be a well-rounded person, it is important to participate in other activities. A teen addiction can lead to a loss of interest in activities, leading to social isolation and depression.
  • Mood swings and violence: One of things about addiction is that there is a definite lack of feelings of wellbeing when the object of the addiction is not obtained. Mood swings and teen violence can occur. This is especially true of substance addictions, when teenagers can become violent toward family members when under the influence of alcohol and some drugs.
  • Health problems: Teen addiction can lead to a variety of health problems. Substance abuse health problems are fairly obvious: increased risk of heart attack, stroke and cancer, as well as dramatic weight loss in some cases. Addiction to video games and the Internet, or to pornography, have their own health implications. The increase in a sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity - and its own attendant problems - if unchecked. There have also been cases in Asia where extreme addiction to video games has led to dehydration and starvation as participants are too engrossed to eat and drink.

It is vital that you understand the effects that teen addiction can have. While some of the effects seem mild and short term, it is quite possible that long term effects can stay with teenagers for the rest of their lives, making things difficult down the road, or making it impossible to interact with others in meaningful ways. Not to mention the fact that substance abuse can create health problems that can lead to lifetime conditions and even early death.

Treating teen addiction

If your teenage is afflicted with an addiction, it is vital that you find help for him or her. Treating teen addiction can be a difficult decision to make, and it can be a long road, but if you can help you teen overcome the problem, he or she will be more successful in life.

Some of the options for treating teen addiction include:

  1. Support groups: Most local areas have some sort of addiction support group. Teenagers can go and meet others, receiving help in overcoming the addiction from others who understand them. You can check with social services agencies for such programs - including support groups aimed at specific addictions. Many religious congregations also offer addiction counseling and support.
  2. Psychological counseling: It can be helpful to obtain help from a psychological professional. These professionals can use a combination of therapies, from behavior modification to pharmacological means, to help a teen overcome his or her addiction. Family counseling, so that the entire family can provide support and help, is also usually available.
  3. Treatment centers and programs: Teen addiction can also be treated by special residential treatment facilities and programs. These are centers that provide living quarters for teenagers, as well as programs that help them take their minds off the addiction. Many include counseling. These centers might also provide training and academic services. All of this is carried out in a safe environment away from the influences that might have led to the teen addiction in the first place.

What works for your teen is an individual decision. However, if you carefully consider your options, and your teen’s desires, it is usually possible to find a solution that can help your teenager overcome a dangerous addiction.

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