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Gerardo Castillo Ceballos, School of Education and Psychology of the University of Navarra

Drugs as an escape from oneself

Sat, 08 Feb 2020 10:15:00 +0000 Published in El Confidencial Digital

Identity staff is a set of traits that differentiate a person from others. Children usually discover it through their parents; the close emotional ties and the continuous coexistence between parents and children explain why the main factor in the development of children's identity is their family; on the other hand, adolescents build their new identity more autonomously, in extra-family relationships, especially with their friends group .

The adolescent suffering from confusion or identity crisis wants to get out of this state as soon as possible, to know who he/she really is; only then can he/she feel secure, respected and loved. In order to achieve this, they need good references and to give themselves a period of time known as an identity moratorium. But not everyone is willing to wait.

Some adolescents escape from their reality staff due to an unresolved identity crisis. Not being able to tolerate their frustration, they see drugs as an escape route. Drugs would be a remedy for their existential emptiness.

Many psychologists believe that the adolescent forges his or her identity not in isolation, but with reference letter to other people. Bandura, for example, argues that the adolescent acquires his or her subject behavior and expectations about the behavior of others through modeling.

For Ratzinger, "the person always recognizes himself in the other, through the other. No one can find himself if he only observes his intimacy and tries to understand and build himself from himself. The person, as a relational being, has been created in such a way that he is made in the other, and discovers his meaning, his mission statement, his vital demands and possibilities in encounters with others" (God and the World, 2000).

A research by Holden (1975) found that adolescents who drink do so for the same reason that they use drugs: escape from their negative feelings and avoidance of their personal responsibilities.

More and more adolescents see drugs as the solution to the problems of their age. They see it as an (artificial) paradise where there would be no problems. In addition, the gratification of consuming drugs is immediate.

Very shy teenagers often say that while under the influence of drugs they do things they would not otherwise dare to do. This effect is part of the appeal of drugs, even for confident teenagers. Drugs tend not only to relax their inhibitions, but also to relieve anxiety.

Teen drug addiction is preventable. I suggest the following:

-Informing. Parents do not have to wait for adolescents to receive information about drugs from the outside; we ourselves can inform ourselves well and pass on this information, since the fact that it is someone close and trustworthy who transmits it can also be positive.

- Get them used to saying "no" to drug offers from the beginning. This is part of the Education of the will.

Encourage the development of a positive self-esteem that gives them self-confidence. To this end, it is advisable to emphasize and praise the strengths of each child, without polarizing on their limitations.

 -To develop a critical sense. To judge drugs as they are, without idealizing them, with their damage to physical, psychological and social integrity. Rehabilitated drug addicts can help them by telling their painful experiences.

-Encourage dialogue. Trying to talk to adolescents, showing interest in their concerns, and gaining their trust will help them feel comfortable and tell us about their problems. In this way, it will be much easier for us to help them solve them positively and not have to resort to drugs as an escape route.

The high correlation between adolescent psychology and the role of drugs does not mean that adolescents are necessarily doomed to drug addiction; it does mean that more and more adolescents see drugs as a solution to the typical problems of their age: insecurity, fears, leave self-esteem, transgressive rebelliousness, etc.

For adolescents who have already fallen into drugs, medical treatment is not enough. Psychological rehabilitation treatment is also necessary. It is necessary to help the person to rediscover his or her value and deepest identity. This treatment will not be possible without the participation of the individual, without his or her willingness to change. The support of the family and an adequate spiritual attendance are also fundamental for rehabilitation.