Written by Aria Saxena, a grade 9 student.
Have you ever experienced mood swings? Or have you ever heard the word “depression”? Well, I’m sure you have, because these are words we usually associate with sadness. But, have you ever wondered what depression actually means? Let me make the task slightly simpler for you. It means “a feeling of severe despondency and dejection”. You might have heard or read about stories of people who are survivors of depression and anxiety attacks in newspapers, magazines, or even on vlogs. What is the age of these people? 20, 25 or even 17? You’ll be shocked to know, that the average age of people who are witnessing depression lies in your age bracket: the age of the ‘teens’.
What’s the major cause of this? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 6 in 10 substance abusers also have a mental disorder. For both teens and adults, drug addiction and depression are a common and dangerous combination. Depression can arise from a blend of biological, genetic, psychological and environmental factors. Addiction has similar roots, so it’s unsurprising that the two frequently co-occur. Especially for adolescents, this can prove to be a deadly combination: causing delayed puberty and/or negative effects on the reproductive system, lower bone mineral density, growth stunting, HIV, hepatitis, cancer etc. Depression, as I mentioned earlier, is also a form of a psychological disorder in children.
But, even after knowing the effects of such terrible substance abuses, why then, do teens still partake such activities? Well, unfortunately, schools have become a predominant playing ground for those indulging in such activities. A survey from the Centre of Addiction found that 60% or more of teens attend “drug infected” high schools, meaning a place where drugs are used, kept, or sold right on school grounds. Even scarier, is that almost all high school students report that they know of classmates who drink, smoke or use drugs even during school hours.
Any way out of this? Well, luckily there are quite a few! Drug abuse prevention in the household starts from the parents! Parents are the strongest influence that children have. There is no guarantee that your child won’t use drugs, but drug use is much less likely to happen if you:
Provide guidance and clear rules about not using drugs.
Spend time with your child.
Do not use tobacco, alcohol or other drugs yourself.
Educating teens on the effects of drug abuse is important as it attempts to control possible drug use before the age of maturity. There are presently various educational programs in place for this very reason, including Universal, selective and indicative.
Most importantly, consult a doctor! If you are feeling uncomfortable, or are constantly waiting for a drug to be on your side, please do not hesitate to visit a therapist or a doctor for further guidance. Believe me, help is always around. You just have to look for it J. Also start campaigns or blog channels to spread awareness on such issues, even if you aren’t a victim. Establish helplines for children in need, and always be on the look-out for those undergoing mental health issues.
I would like to rest my case on the back of a quote, by an anonymous author, “ It’s not the drugs that make a drug addict. It’s the need to escape reality.
Written by Aria Saxena
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