Adolescence and teen hood are extremely stressful developmental stages and stages where peer influence and peer pressure take precedence over parental advice. Teen hood is a development stage focused on “egocentricity” where a child is struggling to gain autonomy from adults although at times teens may fall backwards, appear very childlike, seeking parental approval. It is extremely important as a parent you first understand this developmental stage, do not personalize your child’s behavior and remain open and vigilant about making certain your child stays on the right path. Being informed about the risk factors predisposing adolescent or teen addiction is extremely important.
Most parents wish they had a crystal ball to predict whether or not their child is prone to an addiction but that is not a reality. So, we have compiled a list of risk factors to help educate you about what puts your adolescent or teen most at risk for addictions:
- Knowing 90% of addictions begin in the adolescent and teen years;
- Understanding a family history of addiction predisposes your child;
- Educating yourself on codependency, how it plays into addictions and being aware a family history of co-dependency also puts your child at risk;
- Mental Health issues such as depression, anxiety and Bipolar Disorder put your child at risk. A child with ADHD is predisposed to addiction;
- If your child has suffered a severe trauma it can be a predeterminer;
- Behavioral issues and Impulse Control issues may also be pre-indicators.
Other External factors also contribute to addiction:
- Other people
- Popular culture and media encouraging medicating constantly;
- Needing to “escape” pressures of the outside world by self-medicating;
- Boredom, rebellion, instant gratification as “quick fixes” for overwhelming problems;
- A lack of self-confidence, not being able to stand up to peers, say no and not feeling guilty for making healthy choices.
Misinformation is the primary cause of addictions, however. Peers often feel they are “experts” regarding substance abuse and thereby assure it’s okay to use as they know the risk factors.
The best way to help your adolescent or teen, however, is to be aware of risk factors, be attuned to any changes in their life, act early on your instincts, reach out not only to your adolescent or teen but to agencies that can assist you with early detection and prevention.
Let the O’Connor Professional Group take the guesswork out of putting a treatment plan together. Our combined personal and professional experience empowers us to empower you with a private consultation and customized plan of action for getting the help you need. Call us today for information: 617 910-3940