Everyone can agree that the best way to stop teen addiction is prevention. This is why there is such a huge focus on education and making kids aware of the dangers of substance use and addiction. However, vigilance, on the part of the parents and other persons in the lives of teens are the real key to preventing addiction. But, what behaviors and signs should you look for? To understand this, you must know the personality traits common in addicts, the behaviors that lead to addiction, and the signs that addiction has already occurred.
Addictive Personality Traits
According to an article in the New York Times, there are a number of personality traits common amongst people addicted to all manner of things, from gambling to heroin. Some of these traits are:
- a family history of addiction
- a lack of impulse control and problems with delayed gratification
- an antisocial personality, and a sense of being a social outcast
- mental illness
- willful nonconformity and a tendency toward social deviancy
- a lack of concrete goals
- a sense of heightened stress, and difficulties coping with it
While these personality traits do not guarantee addiction in later life, they are warning signs that a teen is susceptible to the lures of addictive substances or behaviors.
Behaviors That Lead to Addiction
In addition to addictive personality traits, there are behaviors that indicate a trend toward addiction. According to Indiana University, there are a number of behaviors that may lead to addiction, including:
- willful disobedience of parents or other authority figures
- getting into trouble at school or breaking the law
- an inability to stop doing things, even if they want to
- withdrawing from friends and family
- denying that they are having any problems, and attempting to shift blame away from themselves
- moodiness and depression
- low self-esteem
Again, these behaviors do not necessarily mean your teen is becoming addicted to something, just that they are at a higher risk of becoming so.
Signs Teens are Already Addicted
However hard they try, parents are not always able to prevent their children from becoming addicted to a substance or behavior. In many cases, it happens so suddenly that there is no hope for preventive intervention. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a number of signs that someone is addicted to something. Some of these are:
- changes in friends and social patterns
- a decline in academic and physical performance
- borrowing or stealing money with no explanation
- being evasive or combative when facing questions about their behavior
- physical signs of intoxication or withdrawal
- a decline in personal hygiene and general health
If your teen is experiencing these signs, it is important to get help right away. All research suggests that early treatment of addiction greatly increases the chances of recovery. And, if you suspect your teen may be heading toward addiction, talk to them. Often times having an open line of communication can make all of the difference in the world when it comes to teen addiction. For more information on what to look for and where to get treatment, call us at 800-654-0987.