Addiction is a compulsion to use a certain substance or participate in particular behaviour in order to feel good, or avoid feeling bad.
Behavioural addiction can be divided into two categories:
Addiction is actually quite logical. If something gives you positive re-enforcement, or brings you pleasure it’s only natural to want to do it/take it again.
It becomes an issue when the pattern is repeated to block out negative feelings. This is especially the case, if life begins to revolve round the hit or emotional high. Everyone has the potential to become an addict.
Some people overindulge in substances when they’re not feeling content. Often there are underlying difficulties that can spark off addiction.
These aren’t definite indicators, only something to look out for if you’re concerned.
Set firm rules and expectations around behaviour. Your son/daughter should be clear about your stance on alcohol, drugs, gambling etc. Your son/daughter may have questions about the use of alcohol or drugs. Make sure they feel comfortable talking to you about these issues.
Parents need to be mindful of examples they set. Young people are likely to play closer attention to what their parents do, than what they say. Try to model the behaviour you would like to see in your son or daughter.
Don’t ignore underlying issues. As parents, it can be tempting to overlook or dismiss young people’s complaints about stress, worries or concerns. It’s important to have open communication and really listen without judging.
If you suspect your son/daughter is dependent on a substance or behaviour there is help available.
Make sure you look after yourself. Drawing on support from friends and family if you need it. You’ll only be able to help your child if you’re minding yourself.