TITLE: Surviving the Teenage Addict
By Jean Gebhard
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Addiction lurks within the shadows, like a killer stalking its prey. It silently and patiently, waits until then without warning, it strikes. Then slowly and mercilessly it begins to devour its victim from the inside out, destroying them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Unfortunately, our children are not immune from falling prey, to this depraved killer. If you think, it can’t and or won’t ever happen to your child? Think again!
Addiction is an unpredictable and undiscriminating killer. It cares little or nothing about race, age, gender, social class or religion. It does not matter, if your child is a football player or class president, a good student or bad, all can become victims.
Addiction’s primary goal is to kill and destroy, victimizing not only its primary target but also everyone around them. It is relentless and must be handled aggressively and consistently. To do anything less, can cost someone his or her life.
It is because of its unpredictable, undiscriminating and relentless nature that parents need to be prepared. Parents, who are well informed and have a clearly defined plan, cannot only detect a problem sooner, but are better equipped to deal with the problem when and if one should arise.
Before you can develop and implement a plan of action, you must first have a general understanding of addiction and an overall view of the problem. A good place to start is to first look at the definition of addiction.
Microsoft’s digital encyclopedia Encarta, defines addiction as the following.
Habitual repetition of excessive behavior that a person is unable or unwilling to stop, despite its harmful consequences. People can be physically addicted to a drug, meaning they may suffer ill physical effects if they stop taking the drug. They also can be psychologically addicted to drugs, gambling, or other behaviors, meaning they feel overwhelmingly deprived if they attempt to stop.
I choose this definition specifically because of it broader explanation. Addiction is not only physical but also psychological. It is also not limited to chemical substances. Certain activities and behaviors can, over time develop into an addiction.
While anyone can become addicted, there are certain risk factors that can increase the likelihood in some people. None of the following are symptoms or absolute determining factors of someone becoming an addict.
Personality: Those who suffer from or have a history of psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit disorder, oppositional defiance disorder.
Social and Family Environment: Peer pressure is a significant factor especially among teens for the use of drugs and alcohol. Family issues such as lack of parental supervision, family conflict, violence or abuse.
Genetics: Addiction is more prevalent in some families then others. This has lead researchers to investigate the possibility of a genetic link, which makes some people more susceptible to addiction.
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