When parents think of teen addictions, you most likely identify illegal drugs and alcohol as the primary battle grounds. However, there are other things that teen girls can become addicted to that are often just as difficult to overcome. Even if you are vigilant about drug and alcohol use, you may be overlooking some very real signs and symptoms of a different kind of addiction in your teenage daughter.
Troubled teenage girls have a range of issues to deal with, often like depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, low self esteem, and more. How do mental health disorders relate to addiction? Addictions are formed when the brain’s pleasure center is stimulated, which makes it easier for the person to block out any physical or emotional pain they are feeling. In fact, addictions and the brain and totally interrelated. Furthermore, addictions can come in all different forms, so staying on top of different triggers can help you with your troubled teenage girl.
Social media addiction
Believe it or not, social media can create an addiction in teen girls that is only just now beginning to be understood. When teens are validated on social media, by getting “likes” or “friends” on Facebook, for example, they get a thrill and a boost to their self esteem. When something doesn’t go quite right, they feel depressed and seek out that thrill again. Other examples include texting and getting responses back from friends, following their favorite celebrities on Twitter, and sexting with peers. Checking social media multiple times an hour and experiencing wide mood swings as a result is a warning sign that your teen daughter could be setting herself up for an internet addiction.
As uncomfortable as the topic is for some parents, it is possible for teen girls to become addicted to sex. Because sex does feel good and boosts their self esteem, even if only for a minute, it’s not uncommon for teen girls to become sexually promiscuous. When teen girls equate popularity, desirability and their self-worth through their sexual actions, they stimulate those pleasure centers in the brain which makes them crave the attention and physical feelings even more. In addition to the diagnosed types of sex addiction, unhealthy sex-related behaviors like sexting can be included in this category as well.
For teen girls who have body image issues, it’s possible to be addicted to exercise. Compulsive exercising is when a troubled teen girl feels compelled to exercise and feels guilt or anxiety when she doesn’t. Teen girls may turn to compulsive exercising in order to feel some control in their lives, and define their self-esteem and worth through their appearance, body size or athletic ability. It’s not uncommon for compulsive exercise to be accompanied by some kind of eating disorder like anorexia nervosa.
Prescription drug addiction
Many teens who wouldn’t touch illegal drugs can become addicted to prescription drugs because they don’t believe they can get addicted to them. They are also easier to come by, often right in mom or dad’s medicine cupboard. A whopping one in five U.S. teens suffer from prescription drug abuse, so this problem is affecting teen girls at all socioeconomic and cultural levels.
Other teen girl addictions?
Now that you are aware of the different kinds of addictions out there that are common for troubled teenage girls, make sure you stay on top of your daughter’s activities so that you can spot when she is in need of professional help to get her back on track.
What are some other addictions that teenage girls may face?