Written by Nicholas Salvemini, Journey Home Mentor
The month of December is approaching and the holidays aren’t around the corner, they are here. December is considered the deadliest month of the year in terms of high stress, anxiousness, depression, drug abuse, nicotine addiction, and suicidal thoughts. All of these issues increase dramatically across the board for young adolescents as the year comes to a close. Around this time of year, addiction development tends to begin, resume, or trigger the cycle of relapse in those who have fallen victim to substance abuse before. It can also enhance the illusion of drugs being a necessity. Whether (in their minds) it is to celebrate the “big” holidays arriving and the year coming to a close, or to ease or tame any and all internal suffering with depression and lack of self-respect (as it has spiked immensely for teens within the last decade). 1 in 5 teens struggles with depression on a day to day basis. Luckily, from Beverly Hills to Newport Beach, Journey Home has any and all families covered that are in need of help with their teen(s) and the overall aura of
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the home. For those families who may be overwhelmed by the financial side of things, visit our website and seek a potential plan that accommodates you. Whether that’s to wean them off drug use or have a role model for motivation to get them inspired to be better. It’s an option for any family in need of intervention and solutions that will promote and incorporate healthy habitual patterns that will bring a new type of energy to the home. Our purpose is to implement intelligent decision making for the individuals we work with. In time the domino effect is inevitable, as it allows them to see their true potential.
The acceptability, availability, and peer reinforcement of drug and nicotine use and alcoholism has an obvious/traceable uptick over the last decade. Statistically, the increase was less gradual looking back at years 2000 to 2010 in comparison to the skyrocketing numbers of those same studies in the last decade; bleeding into 2020-2021. The addiction to technology doesn’t help with that, as it is the leading cause of these actions. Teens are addicted to the ding of their phones as notifications trigger a release of dopamine into their brains. That’s where the issue of unity, acceptance, and normality begins to get dicey, especially when it comes to knowing what to do and how to monitor usage as a parent. The numbers are absolutely baffling as 50% of teens (only the ones surveyed) admitted to having this addiction to their cellular device. That’s half of our children, which is a radical underestimate because truthfully that number is staggeringly larger and only going to go up. As for parents, what a task it is to tackle this monster of a problem! It just wasn’t prevalent when we were kids. Those in their 30s to 50s were much more adventurous and spontaneous as children, as they had to practically yell down the street to see if their friends were home. There is a colossal epidemic of technological, prescription, opioid, THC, and nicotine addiction causing ungodly amounts of depression and death. It’s happening right under our noses and the threat is real, I cannot stress this enough. The idea, “it won’t happen to my kid” isn’t the case. The rate of suicide has been closely observed and documented by the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. The foundation stated that nearly eight percent of teens attempted suicide at least once in grades nine through twelve. In 2020 alone, there has been a twenty percent increase in teens dying by overdosing or taking something laced with fentanyl. These numbers are real and it's evident that the value of acknowledging it early and getting help sooner than later cannot be understated.
Today, teen's phones are buzzing (on average) 45 times per hour. Think about that for a second... Those born in 2000 onward, are the next wave of a vast ocean of possibility... And what direction are they headed? The potential damage is truly unimaginable. Looking back at when AOL was introduced in the mid-’90s, prehistoric now, and nowhere near what we use today, no one could have possibly predicted the technological possibility that we are capable of today. The phone has become a part of us and is training individuals to think and dictating how they feel. There is an alarming quote written by Marshall McLuhan in his book Understanding Media stating, “We are the sex organs of the machine world.” Makes you pause, doesn’t it? McLuhan wrote that in1964 and it’s disturbingly relative to today’s standards. The up and coming generation is quickly becoming dependent on this artificial connection and making them believe they need to mirror these incomparable algorithmic systems of expectation and standards. This is swallowing teens and programming them to believe there is always someone better out there all while conditioning them to believe that they are not enough.
In addition, teens who spend five hours or more on their cellular devices are 71% more likely to exhibit suicide risk factors. Some side effects are immediate, but others take time and you and I cannot gauge nor predict accurately what those consequences will be. What ripples outwards from phone addiction compounds and becomes collateral as it incentivizes drug and nicotine use and alcoholism at a young age, diminishing their brain's growth. This is brought up not only in clinical data but also in the recently released Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma, which if you haven’t seen, I highly recommend you do so with your teen. It will give your teen a deeper insight into how tragic this matter is.
Young men (and some young women too) from the ages 12-20 lack a mentor which can pivot their sense of direction, self-respect, and purpose. Of course, it's normal for them to stumble and fumble over repetitive mistakes as they learn, that’s to be expected. Therefore, discovering people they envy or look up to also takes time and evolves as they develop as individuals. There are many reasons younger men feel pressured and overwhelmed. Helicopter parenting, for example, creates a sense of entitlement and an urge to lash out and do what they know to be wrong; seeking negative attention. In their eyes, they sense a lack of freedom and adventure, making them feel controlled and smothered. Then lies the restless question of, “who/what are you going to be when you get older?” which parents have to factor in, too. The decision of choosing what pathway to take at each fork in the road, the pressure of furthering their college education, and pinpointing a fulfilling career path, is a heavy burden for a young adult to manage. Not only to pursue but narrowing down which direction or destination that is. Or, perhaps there’s an absence of a parent or a struggling structure in the home. So many underlying factors impact the impulse of addiction and expose them to the realm of depression. That sense of purpose is difficult to define and articulate independently. This ignites a craving to rebel or seek out a substance to numb or distract from the approaching responsibilities of adulthood. This also leads them to procrastinate, which also leads to behavioral outbursts and poor decision making later on.
Journey Home is here to be there for the unavoidable “zigs and zags.” Knowing some, if not all the old habits, addictions, and behaviors are usually revivified and will reoccur, as teens tend to go backward from time to time. Each of those zigs and zags is ruinous at first. That being said, the data our non-profit has collected over time reveals a noticeable progression of change (given time), despite moments of painful lapse for the individual and the family. Jordan Peterson has an excellent example that displays what I am saying perfectly. It goes as such, “let’s say you've traveled 20 miles, only making it 3 miles forward, at least you’re moving forward.” They will inevitably spiral upward, as “...there is no shortage of backtracking but it doesn’t matter because as you stumble forward, you illuminate and inform yourself and perhaps that’s because the world is made of information, and if you encounter and entangle with it, then it informs you and then you become informed and then you are in formation, then you are ready.” (J.B.P.)
Our elite team is available to set standards and expectations for them to earn their chance to be trusted with experimenting as a young adult. At Journey Home & Higher Grounds Mgmt, we have a formula that ensures change in teens and prepares them for the transition into adulthood. If you keep saying “I have tried everything” or if you or fellow parents feel defeated or helpless in how else to approach the matter or where to start, give us a call. We will implement real change for these real problems that are attached to your teens. Journey Home is an extra pair of eyes, clarity, a healthy, and reliable input and presence that is there to deviate addiction, inferior behavior, and eliminate substance abuse while creating concrete, permanent change with strategies of “preventive maintenance” to assist their future.
“Perhaps love is the process of leading you gently back to yourself. Not whom I want you to be, but who you are.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry