Does Your Child Identify with These 4 Character Traits? They Might Be at Higher Risk for Addiction

4 Behavioral Signs of Substance Abuse

What if you knew back then what you know now? Had someone told you that your child’s tendency toward anxiety, feelings of gloom and doom, or impulsive behaviors due to their diagnosis of ADHD could put them at risk for addiction, might you have done something differently? Preventure, a new initiative being tested around the world for early intervention, is finding that acting to equip adolescents with cognitive behavioral tools before addiction takes hold is effective. Through a series of identification exams and workshops, 90% of high risk children are targeted and taught the skills they need to effectively cope.

For NPR, Maia Szalavitz explains that impulsiveness, hopelessness, and anxiety sensitivity are three of the four factors identified through the Preventure program. Each of these personality traits is a distinct characteristic of a specific mental health issue. Adolescents with a mental health disorder are at greater risk of developing an addiction problem. Impulsivity and ADHD are precursors to addiction as are hopelessness and depression, as well as anxiety and panic, paranoia, or other anxiety disorders. The last primary character trait of addiction Prevention works to identify is sensation-seeking. “While sensation-seeking is not connected to other diagnoses, it raises addiction risk for the obvious reason that people drawn to intense experience will probably like drugs,” Szalavitz writes.

Early identification and prevention helps parents and school systems to support these children emotionally, which most education systems don’t do. For the Preventure program, children are not labeled with their “traits” but pulled into workshops to learn new skills. Cognitive behavioral therapy skills, emotional coping skills, and more help the adolescents learn to manage their emotional symptoms. When addiction develops in adolescence and continues into adulthood, these are often the same skills given during treatment after a diagnosis has been made identifying a co-occurring mental health disorder which is typically one of the three correlations.

“For kids with personality traits that put them at risk, learning how to manage traits that make us different and often difficult could change a trajectory that can lead to tragedy.”

If your adolescent has developed an addiction, there is still hope for intervening and giving them a foundation upon which they can build a new life in faith and recovery. Stonewater Recovery Center provides residential treatment to adolescents with primary addiction issues and secondary mental health issues. For information on how we are building life back into adolescents, call tel:+1-662-598-4214.