Addiction In Youth – A Trend Or Destruction?
Addicted Youth in modern time is one such topic that is demanding immediate attention. Youth is the future of each family, society, and nation. Addiction of addictive substances like alcohol, drugs, and smoke are working like termites. It is not just adversely affecting the body; but, is also causing equal harm psychologically, and socially.
More than 23 million youths throughout the world are suffering in their lives because of addiction. There were times, when addiction was a problem of matured adults who were in the struggling stages of their life and were not mentally strong enough to deal with difficult situations of life; but now, addiction is badly targeting the youth between 12 – 24 years age group.
Once a teen becomes addicted, he is addicted for his entire life. Now the question arises why is youth more susceptible to addiction? From where do they get drugs, alcohol, and smoking substances? And also money to buy these? In the modern age of knowledge, youth knows the harms of addiction, then why they don’t stop them, and become addicted? In this article, I have tried to answer all these questions.
What is Addiction?
Addiction is a state of dependency on a substance. It is a disease of weak mind that lacks control. It is an uncontrollable craving, which, if not satisfied timely, can cause mental disturbance to a great extent. This mental disturbance further results in many kinds of unwanted and harmful situations.
Stages of Addiction
1- Try Stage: Addiction begins with a try. Usually people try drinking alcohol, smoking, or using drugs because of any of the three reasons:
- Experimental – “Everyone is doing it, I shall also try.”
- Recreational – “I am tired. I need peace of mind. I want to forget everything. It energies me.”
- Occasional – “It is ok to have occasionally with friends and colleagues.”
- Peer Pressure – “If I refuse, people will make fun of me, or what will they think about me?”
2- Enjoyment Stage – After try stage, comes the enjoyment stage. It is human nature that we want to experience a pleasurable feeling repeatedly. Every time we repeat, its pleasure gets registered into our subconscious mind and slowly starts converting into a habit. At this point, we don’t need to make any conscious efforts to drink a glass of alcohol everyday; rather, our subconscious mind starts recalling us.
We are not even aware of when a simple enjoyment became our habit and a habit is changed into a craving. With period of time, if it is not controlled, this craving becomes uncontrollable. From here, begins the third stage of dependency.
3- Dependency Stage – Once we become dependent upon the addictive substances, we feel like we have lost the ability to function without drugs. In their absence, we experience body aches, strokes, anxiety, nausea feelings, frustrations, and much more disturbances. We also want to increase their consumption, which starts manifesting into various psychical, psychological, social, and behavioral diseases.
Adverse Effects of Addiction
1- Physical – Addictive substances like drugs, smoke, and alcohol badly affect our vital body organs like – kidney, lungs, lever, heart, and brain. Malfunctioning of our vital organs result into various other body diseases. It is an old saying “Health is wealth”. We cannot enjoy a happy and successful life with defected body parts.
Kidney filters the blood from toxins, lungs filters the oxygen, heart supplies the blood to each cell to perform different body functions, lever helps in food digestion and maintains the body temperature, and brain is the boss of all that not only takes care of the internal organ’s activities; but also, controls external activities.
If any of these stops working, or starts malfunctioning, would we be able to live a happy life? The question is, “For momentary pleasure, what is at stake?
2- Psychological – Addiction also disturbs us psychologically. Addictive people are always restless waiting for their next dose. Due to their anxiety, they loose their focus in work. They are often surrounded with the guilt and shameful feelings because of their addiction. These feelings make them depressive as well. They feel as if everyone is out to get them.
They become very aggressive and out of control when then are deprived of their dose. Because of this psychological disturbance, they are not able to perform well in their studies and also in their professions. It is the time to lay a strong foundation for their future dreams; but, what they are doing is – they are laying termites of drugs, smoke, and alcohol in their roots, which are slowly making them psychologically handicapped!
3- Social – Addicted youth is not easily accepted by the society. Neither he is in his full senses where he could differentiate between right and wrong. Often he exhibits a behavior, which is unappreciated in the society and causes harm to his reputation and character.
An addicted person very often starts speaking lies to arrange money for his next dose; and when lies don’t work, he also starts stealing money. He is not a criminal, he is just unable to control his addictive craving; yet, he is tagged a ”Bad person” in the society.
What Happens When An Addicted Person Wants to Come Out of It?
As simple it is to get into it, that difficult it is to come out of it. In the beginning, all seems good, but later on, when it starts showing its adverse effects, it appears like a trap – Neither you want to stay there, and nor it is easy to come out of it. You really need lot of self-control and will power; which, again is a challenge for an addicted person.
His mind has already become dependent upon the addictive substances. It refuses to work, if it is deprived of its regular dose. Then how will an addicted person gather the self-control? And when it comes to a youth, whose brain is still not fully developed, coming out of addiction becomes even more challenging.
Why are Youth more Susceptible to Addiction?
A human brain is fully developed approximately by the age of 25 years. Youth are more susceptible to addiction because their mind is underdeveloped and it is incapable of making healthy choices. Their mind easily gets distracted and gets influenced by the trends, and opinions of people.
From developed countries to undeveloped, from rich to poor, educated to illiterate…the virus of addiction has badly infected the youth. Peer pressure, trend, adolescent immaturity, unchecked freedom, family atmosphere, and irresponsible parenting are a few factors luring the youth towards addiction and a life of sufferings, guilt, irresponsibility, and regret.
1- Peer Pressure: Youth are dealing with peer pressure problem in every minute of their life. Many times, even they are not aware of the fact that their choices are controlled by their friends, and colleagues. Most of their decisions are based upon the questions like:
- What my friends will think, if I refuse to try?
- They might refuse to be my friends and I would be left alone. What will I do then?
- I love my friend, I shall not hurt him by saying “No”.
- I am not the only one, all are trying. What’s the big deal in it?
2- Trend: Modern generation is living by trends, so are the youths. They want to try all that is trendy. This also includes pubbing, smoking, and having drugs. Holding a cigarette between fingers and blowing out smoke rings fascinates to many youths. In the name of trend, they want to try all without thinking, where this trend will lead them?
3- Unchecked Freedom: Where a few parents keep too much check on their kids that the kids just want to run away from their custody; there are other parents, who are so busy in their personal and professional lives that they don’t even bother to know what their child is doing in their absence? What kind of friend circle she/he has? His areas of interests and attractions? Where do he spends his pocket money? And if a child is staying away from home, is he using his freedom properly or not?
In the absence of a friendly relationship with parents, often kids hide their personal matters and get influenced by the external environment.
4- Family Atmosphere: Kids of the broken families, or the families where fighting, abuses, and criticism is a routine activity – gets easily attracted towards addiction. Home bar is a modern trend in many homes. In such kinds of atmosphere, alcohol is easily accessible to the child. He doesn’t find anything wrong with alcohol, when he observes his own parents enjoying it.
Who Supply Addictive Substances to Youth?
- Family – In most of the cases, these things are easily available at home only where any of child’s parents is into a habit of smoking, or drinking, or even drugging.
- Schools/Colleges: There are people who in particular target the students. They first hunt for one or two students who are already fascinated towards these things, and then, through those students, they start hitting others as well.
Whether we accept or not, our Youth is at a high risk of being addictive. Addiction is spreading like a virus, and it is equally working upon all the youth irrespective of their social, financial, educational, and family background.
- Become your kid’ best friend and develop a relationship where they freely share their thoughts, feelings, and desires with you.
- Educate the youth through live examples of people who are unsuccessful, and are suffering in life because of their addiction.
- Don’t judge your kids for their desires; rather, try to understand them and help them in making healthy choices. Understand that his mind is not fully developed. It is very natural for a teen to get attracted towards such temptations. Don’t punish an addicted youth; instead accept him and help him to come out of it.
Help The Addicted Youth!