Social media, youth and addiction

June 27, 2018
Long term effects of marijuana use on adolescent and young adult brains
August 28, 2018

“Pila de.. pila de..
Pila de pila de
Pila de deewani main hoon jiski
I’m a bad girl, I like Whisky “ from a recent Bollywood movie .

“And I know she’ll be the death of me, at least we’ll both be numb/And she’ll always get the best of me, the worst is yet to come,” The Weeknd sings. And this is glorifying cocaine use

We have all heard of subliminal marketing that companies use through advertisements to subconsciously affect consumers to buy their particular products . A prime e.g. that all of us can identify with is that when we go to buy a toothpaste the first thing we say is give me a Colgate toothpaste – not any toothpaste or xyz but specifically Colgate toothpaste – that is thanks to the excellent subliminal marketing done by the company,  where toothpaste becomes identified with Colgate.
Sounds familiar?

Though direct advertisements of alcohol and substances is banned… indirect marketing and sales is immense. The above songs and more like them are so popular amongst the youth today that they depict using as being cool.  Whiskeys , beers and vodkas are advertised through bottled water- the big brands working through the loopholes in the law to reach consumers who are enamored by them . Weed and cocaine usage is popularized by film songs and pop culture songs. Though a lot of the English songs also are by people in recovery and about the struggles and joys of it, the ones that are attractive are the other songs.

The youth culture today across the world from age 14 to about 30 is into drinking alcohol, using weed and all other illicit drugs like cocaine, LSD, hash, M-kat , DMT, Mushrooms etc. The legalization of weed in several American states and European countries has made it into a justified excuse to use it .

Usage is in short, glorified whether it is in the garb of fun, partying, academic and professional performance , and even spirituality.

Adderall and energy drinks and uppers are popular in US amongst students in order to study. Weed is smoked casually like cigarettes. Weed usage reduces inhibitions and makes one more open to take risks and use other illicit drugs like cocaine or LSD.

The uncontrolled use and abuse of the internet glorifies all forms of usage and people who want to justify using by giving these articles and videos as proof , very conveniently bypassing equal and more number of articles , research and videos highlighting the damage caused by weed, alcohol and other substances on the psyche, and body.

The world is today available in the palm of our hands and young people are even more connected today with each other through Whats app, Instagram, Facebook  etc, they live in a virtual world playing games online, partying, chatting, the personal connect has shifted to a virtual connect . Kids and young adults who use or are addicted , post pictures of guzzling down liquors or smoking joints or using drugs very openly on all these social media sites. Youngsters who do not drink and use drugs in the age group of 18-30 are a rarity . Drinking to get drunk, chugging drinks, mixing drinks and mixing substances with drinks are the fad of the day. Then bragging about it on social media Is a trend.

Young people suffering from addiction or in recovery after treatment actually have no place to socialize in or people to socialize with who do not drink or use drugs. Constant bombardment of the social media and the glorifying of these substances by other users makes it a difficult journey requiring a lot of support, care, love and compassion.

Young kids going abroad are suddenly uprooted from an environment where they have been pampered, loved  and provided for and protected without having to lift a finger to do stuff,  to an environment where they have to fend for themselves ..if they are not strong emotionally then they fall for the easy way out,  being lured into apparent emotional stability through using substances.  Parents of young users also find it very difficult to accept that their children can be addicted to drugs/alcohol.  They need as much help and support  as the youngster who is addicted .

In today’s world it is very essential for parents to educate themselves about the various drugs in the market, the perils of experimentation and drug/alcohol addiction and their effects.. They need to be aware of how to identify if their children are using . This can be done by observing sudden behavioral changes from calmness to aggression to anxiety to restlessness , from the friends kept , the music heard , the timings kept, the academic performance, paraphernalia of drug usage like bongs, joints, filters; etc.  Seek professional help from people who are in the field of treating addictions . Speak and carefront the child in the morning when the person has just woken up.  The person will be more receptive then.

Being aware of the problem and the solution to the problem is more important.

Treatment is in a residential rehabilitation center in a loving , accepting and compassionate environment  where there is freedom with responsibility of self . Counseling , meditation and  introspective writing enables one to deal with one’s emotions realistically. Young people require engaging occupations like trekking, gymming   and physically engaging games which also need to be provided at the facility. Developing other constructive pursuits and one self to the extent of not finding the need to use is the goal of treatment.

Let us be more aware and enable our kids to develop into strong independent individuals who do not need drugs/alcohol as crutches to live life.