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Correlations between adolescence and addiction, and how Transcendental Meditation can help young people
by Global Good News staff writer
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4 December 2012
Why do addictions usually develop in adolescence and young adulthood? Dr William Stixrud posed this question to the audience at a conference on Stress, Meditation, Addictions, and Self-Recovery.
The conference was hosted by the Washington, DC Association of Health Professionals Practicing the Transcendental Meditation Program. Presenters described how Transcendental Meditation can help combat stress and reduce addictive tendencies.
Dr Stixrud is a clinical neuropsychologist and author of the book Plain Talk About Early Education and Development. He has also authored book chapters and/or articles on children with epilepsy, adolescent brain development, self-esteem, homework, and the effects of Transcendental Meditation on students with ADHD.
From his background working with children and teenagers, Dr Stixrud is uniquely qualified to speak about the correlation between adolescence and addiction.
In his presentation at the conference he went into this topic in some depth, also describing beneficial effects he has seen with Transcendental Meditation, especially in helping young people gain relief from the stress that fuels addictions.
He showed several charts linking adolescence with increased risk of dependence. One graph showed the prevalence of past-year DSM-IV alcohol dependence (a system of diagnostic criteria), with the most affected ages being adolescents between 15 and 24.
'At my age, 60-plus,' Dr Stixrud said, 'it is not very likely I am going to become addicted any time soon. [Risk of addiction] is dramatic in these adolescent years, and some of it has to do with normal adolescence.'
He explained that risky behaviour is common in adolescents of all types. 'They are ''wired'' to seek things that are intensely pleasurable, they are wired to spend more time with peers, and they tend to have more negative affect' (observable expression of emotion).
As further evidence, he added that girls become at much higher risk for anxiety and depression early in their adolescent years.
Dr Stixrud related anecdotes from his experience conducting family therapy, illustrating that adolescence is a difficult time for most.
He went on to describe other aspects of this topic, as a prelude to exploring more about how Transcendental Meditation can help adolescents in many ways, including those related to addiction.
See previous articles in this series:
∙ Using Transcendental Meditation to combat ADHD and addiction in young people: Dr William Stixrud
∙ Preventing addiction in vulnerable adolescents: Conference explores role of Transcendental Meditation
∙ What causes addictive behaviours? Neuropsychologist gives insights on stress, and an antidote
∙ Chronic stress strongly linked with addictive tendencies, quality of life
∙ Transcendental Meditation mitigates adolescent stress contributing to addiction: Neuropsychologist
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