How Teen Challenges Create Addiction

This week we are talking about addiction and how it relates to teen challenges. Let’s start with a definition of addiction.

Addiction examples

What is addiction?

According to an online dictionary, addiction is a biopsychosocial disorder characterized by repeated use of drugs, or repetitive engagement in a behavior such as gambling, despite harm to self and others.

What are they addicted to?

It isn’t just drugs and alcohol. There are many other substances and actions that teens become addicted to. A popular one right now is vaping or smoking an e-cig.

Addiction - Vaping
Group of young friends smoking electronic cigarettes.

Even though vaping is safer than smoking a cigarette, it is still not safe to do. According to, you’re exposing yourself to all kinds of chemicals that we don’t yet understand the long term effects of and that are probably not safe. There are many teens who have been hospitalized and have even died from the effects of vaping.

How can challenges they face lead to it?

Teens are inexperienced at the options available to help them face challenges. Here are a few examples of how teens may handle the following challenges.

  • Peer Pressure – Teens influenced by peers may experiment with substances or risky behaviors, increasing the risk of addiction.
  • Stress & Coping – Adolescents facing stress may turn to substances as coping mechanisms, impacting their well-being.
  • Curiosity & Experimentation – Natural teen curiosity can lead to habitual patterns, potentially fostering addictive behaviors.

Once they find these substances or behaviors that make them feel good, they keep doing them. Then they become dependent on the substance or the behavior to help them escape the pain the challenge they are facing. Thus an addiction is created.

What can we do to help?

Sometimes teens are afraid to ask and sometimes they don’t know where to get help on their own. That is where us as parents and caring adults can be there to help them face the challenge they are facing and avoid becoming addicted. Here are some tips for you as you navigate this with your teen.

Know what resources are out there

  • Advocate for your teen when seeking help. Find the best place for them to get help. You can get them to the door, but…
  • Remember it is their problem. They are the ones who have to do the steps to recover from the addiction. You can’t do that for them. But you can be supportive of what they are doing to get help.
  • If they don’t want to do anything? You can’t enable them in their addiction. Talk to them about the problem that created the addiction and try to get them help. In some cases, you may have to set your boundaries for them to get help before coming back home. They have to understand continuing on the current path isn’t getting them anywhere and can’t continue around you. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to them about it, find a resource they can talk to.

Check out our Resources page for resources to check out and gather more information about your situation. Be sure to create an open and safe environment for your teen to share their feelings and concerns with you. This may keep them from seeking these other methods to deal with teen challenges.

Novels focusing on teen challenges – The Way Series

Are you looking for a couple of coming-of-age reads for you or your teen about challenges they face? One great series which fits the bill in The Way Series. It is the series I have written under my pen name, Selma P. Verde.

The Way Series

Book #1The Hard Way – is the story of Paul Jones and his starting his freshman year of high school and how he must navigate dealing with pressure from his peers to do things to fit in.

Book #2Shawn’s Way – although it is a continuation of Paul’s journey from The Hard Way, we meet freshman, Shawn Townson. He becomes the target of a bully when an upperclassman decides to take out his frustration on him.

Book #3The Street’s Way – is a continuation of The Way Series which introduces Mikala Kalani to the storyline as a runaway and homeless teen. Coming your way in 2024.

So, click on link below to my books page to learn more about the series! And, pick up your copies before the release of The Street’s Way.

Selma’s Books

Have a good week!

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