Tag: addiction and teenagers

How to cope with everyday stresses that cause cravings for drugs.  

Stress – Relapses happen.

Often. It’s not uncommon in the first few days or weeks of addiction recovery.

It’s not uncommon within the first few hours, either.

Why? Well, it’s called ‘Life on Life’s Terms’ by the addiction recovery fellowships. What that translates to is: stress.

stress happens JDs BlogHigh levels of stress are probably the most dangerous experience for a recovering addict to go through.

Sure, some people relapse when they’ve had a really great day. They want to celebrate, and their old friend, Damian Drug, is out there… waiting to pick them up.

Or they’re going through a sad time. Losing a loved one. A relationship breakup. Missing an episode of Game of Thrones, and then seeing a spoiler on Facebook.

(I hate it when people post spoilers about GoT – makes me want to invite them to a Red Wedding.)

But stress… man… that is hard for an addict to cope with.

It can be anything. Going under the microscope of that government agency named after an influenza. Thinking your partner is cheating on you, and you’re waiting to hear from the private eye – imagining writhing ecstasy in telephoto-lensed photos…

Or you have evil co-workers conspiring to make life a misery. And that’s a big thing, workplace bullying and office politics. I went through it once, and, in response, I guzzled alcohol like an SUV guzzles petrol.

So how does one cope with stress? Here’s what happens to me, maybe you can relate:

Something happens which makes my future feel precarious. Let’s say it’s my starting the new job. The job doesn’t only involve writing copy – which I’m pretty darn comfortable with. It also involves content management systems. These are the backend of social media. When you see an ad in your Facebook newsfeed? It seems bang on target for you, right?

That’s because the content management system (CMS) for Facebook business users allows them to hone in on specific audiences. You are a demography. A market. If you post pictures of you cycling the streets on the weekend then: ads for bicycles start showing up in your newsfeed. Or maybe you see diamond engagement rings being advertised? But you said nothing about getting married on FB, you were only just beginning to discuss it with your partner, so what gives? Well, you updated your singleton status to In a relationship with Jon Doe about 20 months ago. They have some algorithm that works out the average dating time before a guy gets down on his knee – as if you’re about to whip out a sword and knight him Sir Stayshomealot. You have been psychographed as being in the prime window period when a proposal is likely to happen, and you can be sure your hubby-to-be is seeing the same ads.

Essentially, CMSs manage content. It allows you to post content onto your business’s page, to do analytics on visitors, all kinds of stuff to bring in the bacon.

Anyway, back to our example: these CMSs are a bit complicated, and I stress that it’ll take me too long to work it all out. I’m now projecting future stress into the present moment like a nervous, sweaty time machine.

What if I don’t perform my job properly? What if doing my best isn’t good enough? What if the amount of work required overwhelms me, and no matter how much time I put in, I end up dropping big hairy balls?

The sheer length of the work list causes me to hyperventilate; panic, pace around the house smoking enough smoke signals to hail a Cherokee; and consider smoking a blunt, popping a tranquiliser, or drinking alcohol at an Olde English Pub with bugged-out eyes – at 10am in the morning.

Because the thoughts of what could happen obsess me. I don’t let go of them. They swirl around my brain like ravenous sharks. I get more and more anxious. It feels like the end of the world is coming… it’s around the corner, man, and my life – as I know it – is over.

It’s not even a case of: maybe I should go use drugs. It’s a case of: drugs, drugs, gimme drugs, drugs, drugs, anything to make me stop feeling this way!

Better options than flushing my life down the drug addiction toilet are:

Talk to somebody. Which I do. Reaching out like they’re a red lifesaver bobbing in the ocean.

Meditation. Going zen, man, as I click on youTUBE videos of trippy patterns playing to Indian sitars.

Not enough? I do research into CMSs, learning that maaaaybe they’re not so difficult to learn, and start trying them out. This is tackling the source of your stress head on, instead of ignoring it. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

Because stress isn’t a biological feature that mysteriously appeared just to make life more difficult.

Stress can be your friend. Some situations are appropriately scary. If I didn’t stress about learning how to manage CMSs, then I really would be in danger of losing my job. Stress helps you take threats seriously – so you can do something about them.

I see stress as divided into Good Stress and Bad Stress. The former is stress you can face, if you change your mindset, and use it to power through obstacles. The latter is stress where you’re powerless to do anything. And here is where Houghton House helped me a lot.

We were taught, in situations we had no power to alter, we need to accept we’re powerless over the outcome. Simply by telling ourselves, “Hey, man, might as well shrug, nothing you can do, except plan for the possible fallout,” we let go of the stress.

So a Bad Stress situation would be a nasty co-worker in a meeting with your boss. About you. They’re bad-mouthing you, trying to push you out the door. Either you’ll get a chance to speak up or you won’t, but there’s no control over that. What to do? Shrug, and send out your CV.

Best you can do. And knowing you’ve done your best, well, helps ease off the stress.

Making it easier to avoid the temptation for drugs or alcohol.

What’s your favourite healthy methods of easing off stress? Tell us in the comments section of this blog’s Facebook post. Maybe you’ll help a recovering addict manage their stress better.








Teens & Stereotypes: The Social Experiment

Teens & Stereotypes: The Social Experiment with Addiction

Teens & Stereotypes: The Social Experiment

Who were you in High School? I ask this loaded question because it is incredibly naive to ignore the stereotypes that exist within schools. You have the jocks, the Goths (I think they call them emo’s now), the burn outs, the artists and the book worms. I found myself morphing between the Goth and the artist, and with my ‘image’ came behaviour, or expected behaviour. I grouped myself in as the rebel. With rebellion came drinking, drugs and a host of other ‘out there’ actions. Why? Because this was what was expected of me.

Remember the 80’s film ‘The Breakfast Club?’ It followed the story of a group of teens from different social groups – stuck in weekend detention together. They soon realise just how much they had misjudged each other and they all experience a heightened sense of self once this is discovered. The brain, the athlete, the princess, the basket case and the criminal ‘connect.’ Stereotypes fade and friendships unfold in this scenario – if only it was as easy as a 80’s Hughes film.

Widely held stereotypes are dramatic misconceptions, but according to a new study, many teenagers make inaccurate assumptions about one another and what their peers actually get up to. Hence, they may believe they should act one way or another because others’ expect that from them.

Research recently published in Developmental Psychology suggests that teens actually overestimate the amount of alcohol and mind altering substances used by their peers. This in turn leads to risky behaviour when fitting into a high school social group. For example: A teen is grouped in as the ‘jock,’ he believes all jocks use steroids, in turn he believes there is nothing wrong with taking steroids himself. He ends up engaging in risky behaviour to fit into what he believes to be a social norm.

The First Social Experiment

In the study researches assessed the perceptions and behaviours of 235 teenagers (10th graders to be specific). All students were attending a middle-class suburban school. Each participant was placed in a social group. They were split up into the following stereotypes:

• The popular crowd
• The Jocks
• The Burnouts/ Stoners
• The Nerds/ Brains
• Students who Affiliated with all Peers

Shocking Misinterpretations

Each participant confidentially discussed their specific behaviours and actions – from alcohol abuse to sexual behaviour through to time spent on studying. Then they shared what they believed their peers behaviours to be. The actual behaviour and the perceived behaviour were compared. The researchers discovered just how grossly informed the students were about one another – even about members of their very own social group.

I.E.: The ‘brainy’ crowd studied half the time that their peers believed them to. Students also believed the burn outs to smoke half a pack to a pack of cigarettes a day when in reality they smoked 1 – 2 cigarettes a day (if any.) The jocks, which were perceived to drink alcohol and have experience in deviant sexual behaviour, had the same experience as the other students. No more, no less.

“Results indicated that peer crowd stereotypes are caricatures,” the researchers stated.

The problem with this is that such wild misconceptions lead teens down risky paths because they are trying to fit in with a specific crowd.

The Second Social Experiment

The second part of the experiment followed the path of a group of 9th graders at a low income rural school – this experiment lasted 2.5 years. The researchers examined the relationship between their perceptions of ‘high status’ peers and their own drug usage. What was observed was the increase in adolescent cigarette smoking, marijuana use and alcohol use. This was reflected in their beliefs/perceptions of ‘high status’ students own substance abuse. Essentially, the students believed that the popular crowd engaged in mind altering substances thus they began to dabble in this risky behaviour. 9th graders who believed the popular crowd to be using drugs became of higher risk to use drugs in the 11th grade themselves.

The Real Implications of Teenage Misconceptions

Teens that had higher perceptions of their peers drug and alcohol use has a much higher chance to engage in this very behaviour. This suggested that these misconceptions and stereotypes could steeply increase the chances of risky behaviour – leading to addiction.

“This quest for identity can sometimes lead adolescents in the wrong direction,” says co-author Prof. Geoffrey Cohen.

“The implications… are troubling. Results suggest that adolescents have a caricatured perception of their peers’ behaviour (perhaps especially so for high-status peers) and are influenced by those gross misconceptions.”

More intense research may need to be completed to see how these misconceptions can be dealt with effectively.

Maybe the cult film ‘The Breakfast Club’ had it right? Should we imprison a group of teens from different social groups in a weekend of detention? Will they be able to figure out how wildly wrong their beliefs are of one another? Or does this only work in an 80’s teen comedy/drama?

Drugs and Teenagers pils

Drugs and Teenagers

Drugs and Teenagers

How do you know your teenager is experimenting with drugs?

What do you do when you discover your teenager is experimenting with drugs? What happens to the teenager who first started experimenting with drugs and then becomes addicted? What are the risks of drugs and teenagers? Where can you get help for your teenager?

Teenagers Experimenting with Drugs and Addictive Substances

Teenagers like to experiment with new and unfamiliar things. Some will go to drugs and addictive substances just to experiment. As a parent, you decide how to educate your teenager about drug use. To completely ignore it, won’t make it go away. Kids become exposed to drugs at a young age, and it’s your job to make sure that you talk to your child about the risks and dangers of drugs, before their friends do.

Peer pressure plays a very big role in teenagers and drug abuse. Drug use in teens usually starts out as experimentation and can quickly turn into an addiction.

If you need help with drugs and your teenager, phone us for a consultation. Houghton House has many treatment options available to you and your teenager.

Houghton House teen drug treatment centre is located in JHB, South Africa. The treatment services that form the group are specialized in alcohol and drug addiction problems and have been assisting teens to overcome their addiction problems for over fifteen years.

The high success rates and world class treatment centre has not only helped teens but attracted patients from everywhere.

Direct Helpline : +27 11 787 9142