Teenagers with addictions have a low appreciation for others

Posted on April 4, 2016 by Addiction Editor

adolescent-mental-healthEmerging research discovers adolescents with severe alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems have a very low regard for other individuals. Their lack of sensitivity exceeds normal adolescent ego-centric behavior and can compromise proven rehabilitation methods.

In the study, developmental psychologist Maria Pagano Ph.D., found adolescents with severe alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems often express their low regard for others by higher rates of driving under the influence and having unprotected sex with a history of sexually transmitted disease.

The findings also showed that they are less likely to volunteer their time helping others, an activity that she has been shown to help adult alcoholics stay sober.

The study was published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse.

Pagano, an associate professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, admits that the study was difficult to design as most adolescents are self-centered. But she was convinced that she would find addiction tied to a deficit in awareness of others above and beyond the ego-centric stage of adolescence. And she did.

She recruited 585 adolescents from Cuyahoga County high schools and the largest residential treatment facility in Northeastern Ohio, and matched them by age, gender, race, and residence zip code.

Researchers discovered there were two adolescents who described little or no drug or alcohol use (n=390) for every one young addict (n=195).

The study was designed to consider the relationship between the severity of the addiction and regard for others. She identified several behaviors to measure other-oriented awareness: driving under the influence, engaging in unprotected sex (even when they knew they had a sexually transmitted disease), and volunteerism. To read more click here.

Behavioural addictions will be discussed at the Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference 2016, themed Alcohol – Other Drugs – Behavioural Addictions, Prevention, Treatment and Recovery will be held on the Gold Coast from the 19 – 20 May 2016. To view the high quality Conference Program of speakers and presentations CLICK HERE.

To register your attendance at the conference CLICK HERE.  Early bird registrations close Friday 8th April so be quick to receive a discounted rate.

Hosted by The Australia and New Zealand Mental Health Association promotes and encourages participation from all parts of the sector towards a shared appreciation of what medical, psycho-social and peer-based approaches can offer, through the experiences of service users, clinicians, and researchers alike.

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