ADDICTION PROBLEM AMONG CHILDREN AND YOUTH
We live in a time when the problem of addiction among children and young people is one of the biggest threats.
Addiction is defined as the pressure felt by an individual to take specific measures that can have health or life-threatening effects. This is a very strongly felt need to take some substance.
Reasons for reaching for psychoactive substances by young people are different and can be largely related to age. Adolescence is a difficult time, a moment of rebellion and disregard for everything that parents warned about. Reaching for alcohol or other intoxicants can be an attempt to escape, as well as a youthful desire to experience new sensations, searching for one’s own self. In addition, the temptation to try such readily available, but banned substances, is very high, and the desire to be an adult impresses the use of psychoactive substances. Very often the reason for reaching for alcohol, cigarettes or drugs is for young people to experience personal problems.
Also peer group pressure is a motive for reaching for this type of measure, because taking a given substance is often a pass that gives the opportunity to participate in a given group, ensuring fun. Another reason is curiosity and thinking that it will let them release from stress. There are three types of addiction: physiological, psychic, social. Physiological (also called physical) dependence is an acquired, strong need to take some substance, felt as a number of physical ailments (e.g. muscle twitching, insomnia, diarrhea).
Cessation of its intake leads to a set of symptoms called withdrawal syndrome (somatic and mental disorders caused by withdrawal of the substance being taken). Mental addiction (also called psychological) is an acquired, strong need to perform an activity or to take a given substance. This type of addiction is characterized by:
- reduction of pleasure associated with taking a substance or performing some kind of activity,
- obsession and obsessions,
- self-deception, justification of one’s behavior,
- physical destruction, lack of interest in the environment that is not related to the substance (social dependence). which involves taking certain substances, influenced by fashion or other people.
The essence of this addiction is the strong impact of the group on the individual, absolute respect for its rules and customs. The addict gives up his previous activities, abandons his previous social roles – addiction recovery in South Africa
Many substances can become addictive, the most popular are: nicotine, alcohol, drugs.
It is the most common psychoactive substance used by young people. Drinking and getting drunk on young people is a big problem, very often addiction is caused by tasting alcohol too early.1 According to CSO data from 2009 in the group of young people aged 15-19, as many as 42% of respondents consumed alcohol in the 12 months preceding the study , including 48.4% of boys and 35.3% of girls. Analyzing the frequency of drinking alcohol, occasional drinking predominates among young people. Drinking alcohol before and during adolescence can significantly affect its mental and physical development, impede learning, and disrupt proper interpersonal relationships: Recovery Direct in South Africa.
Cigarettes are the only product legally sold with proven carcinogenicity. Millions of adult Poles are addicted to nicotine because the first cigarettes were lit at a very young age. It can be argued that if this situation were to be avoided, they would probably not start smoking2. Studies show that up to 20% of teenage smokers are addicted to nicotine.
The young man’s brain is much more susceptible to nicotine addiction compared to older people, and the duration of smoking and the number of smoked cigarettes required for addiction in adolescents is much lower than in adults. Studies show that a young man loses control of smoking just a few weeks after lighting his first cigarette3. According to CSO data, in 2009 -11.8% of youth aged 15-19 admitted to smoking cigarettes. Of these, the vast majority (7.3%) smoked daily, while 4.5% smoked occasionally, and men were more likely to smoke than women. The percentage of teenage men smoking more than 20 cigarettes per day is 19%, and girls of the same age -7.4%