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Many teenagers face some form of addiction at some point in their life. Although addiction to drugs is most commonly reported – alcohol and nicotine in particular – there are a number of other substances and activities that create the same sense of dependency and resistance to withdrawal. These include gaming, gambling, sex, pornography, food, exercise, the Internet and other technology such as mobile phones, work and compulsive buying.

Four facts about Addiction

1.Lack of Control
2. Dependence
3. Tolerance
4. Withdrawal

4 Steps to Change

Support a child or young person through these four stages

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Help them to Accept it
  • Help them to acknowledge that they are overusing and over-reliant on the substance or activity and that you would like to help them change. This means telling you about it or seeking help. Set up an easy environment to facilitate open discussion.
Action it
Help them maintain change
  • This will include keeping regular follow up appointments
  • Regular physical checks
  • Making sure they complete treatment
  • Being available once they are discharged from treatment back to your care
  • Having a clear recovery plan
  • Working with family members as necessary
Help them get back on track when they relapse
    • Some people may relapse, don’t despair it’s normal. This is when your patients stop their good habits for a period of time and for whatever reasons go back to old addiction. Try and encourage them to stay strong to avoid relapse, but if they do you could encourage them as outlined below:
    • Encourage them not to give up – changing behaviour isn’t easy, and it may help them to learn from their mistakes.


    • Keep them motivated to stay on track – they will gradually feel stronger with continued good progress.


  • Encourage them when to seek help and how to access support – not everyone can fight addiction on their own.

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