Children at Risk for Addictive Behavior

There are many factors that may contribute to someone becoming an addict or falling into substance abuse. Because of this, there is no way to exactly pinpoint the cause of addiction. Preventative methods are some of the best ways of combatting drug abuse, and starting early with children and adolescents is key in raising them to be strong, sober adults. There are many warning signs that children who are more susceptible to addictive behavior may display. It is important to be mindful of these red flags when raising children to help prevent future substance abuse.


Having some anxiety is normal and natural in response to certain situations. However, if your child’s anxiety is extreme or excessive, it can lead to more serious issues if not handled properly. This should be particularly noted in children who constantly seek for approval and acceptance, as many addicts were this way as children. If overwhelmed by anxiety, the child may seek out relief in drugs and other destructive behaviors. Help take the pressure off of your child by showing them unconditional love and acceptance.

Social Alienation

Children who isolate themselves from their peers or who feel left out or ostracized by others may be more susceptible to addiction. Drugs can become a way for an isolated child to either fit in with others or deal with their loneliness. Many factors can cause a child to feel or become isolated, such as bullying, having learning or physical disabilities or limitations, and looking or feeling “different.” A great way to help combat loneliness and isolation in your child’s life is maintaining open communication and a loving environment.


Symptoms of depression in your child are not something to be ignored. Not only can this lead to drug use, but it is also a sign of a deeper underlying issue. Untreated depression and other psychological disorders can lead to destructive addictive behaviors. If your child exhibits signs of depression, remain open and nonjudgmental with them. If something seems wrong, ask about it. It is important to stay vigilant and aware of your child’s mental and emotional stability.

There is no exact indicator of what causes addiction, and there isn’t a playbook on how to keep your child from becoming an addict. However, there are many steps and life practices that can help you and your child avoid a destructive path, and the first step is awareness. Become more aware about substance abuse and addiction with South Coast Counseling.