It is a grave thought to think that something as innocent as adolescence can be tainted by the gripping affects and reality of addiction. However, this has become all too real for children and teens today, and detection has become more and more difficult. As technology becomes more and more advanced, it is easier for children and teens to access and hide substances and materials that are not appropriate. Here are some of the addictions that are common amongst children and adolescents.
Being that alcohol is the most frequently used drug in the US, it is not a surprise that it is also a common problem in children. Studies suggest that the younger a person is when they begin drinking alcohol, the more likely they are to develop a dependency. Even more, developing a dependency especially with alcohol at a young age can lead to other substance use and abuse, the most notable being marijuana.
There are many dangerous effects of alcohol use and abuse in teens and children, including attention and concentration difficulty, memory loss, emotional instability, thrill-seeking behaviors and impulsivity. Teenage girls who drink have a higher rate of suicide attempts than girls of the same age who do not. Along with this, teen boys who drink have a tendency to not seek higher education.
Internet use amongst teens and children is becoming more and more common and also more dangerous. Many adolescents are developing Internet addictions to gaming, social media and other materials. As Broadband Search reports, the average person will spend 3,462,390 minutes over their lifetime using social media – that’s nearly an incredible 6 years and 8 months. An addiction to the Internet is defined by one’s excessive use of the Internet, so much so that it interferes with daily life and decision making abilities. As much as 17.9 percent of adolescents are addicted to the Internet, studies suggest.
Children with depression, anger issues and social anxiety are more likely to use the Internet for consolation and acceptance. Research suggests a major link between Internet addiction and depression in adolescents. Internet addiction manifests itself and has many of the same effects as other substance addictions. Because of this, it is important to be aware of Internet use, abuse and addiction in children and teens, especially those around you.
When to Intervene
If a child is suffering from an addiction or substance abuse, there are certain signs that will become apparent in the child’s appearance, behavior and life. Some signs may include memory loss, lying, losing sleep, a drop in school performance, disinterest and irritability, and mood swings. Parents should be attentive in their children’s lives and respond accordingly to any of these red flags if they occur. Visit South Coast Counseling to learn more about substance abuse and treatment.