It is estimated that 2.7 million Americans are dependent on marijuana.
A Pew Charitable Trust investigation found that marijuana addiction does exist and is growing. While hard numbers are hard to come by, data suggests about 9% of all users become addicted to marijuana (17% among those who start as adolescents). Some treatment centers report increases in those requesting help which may be due to higher concentrations of THC levels. Selective breeding has increased the potency today to 20-30%, up from 2-4% of several decades ago.
PositiveTip: The best policy is to never start, but if you are dependent, get qualified help immediately.
Quitting smoking can improve mood and reduce risk of other addictive behaviours.
New research has found that smokers who quit may have greater success in addressing mental health or addiction issues. Based on surveys from 35,000 people, researchers found that people who quit smoking were 33% less likely to have mood disorders, 36% less likely to have alcohol problems and 69% less likely have drug problems than those who continue smoking.
Positive Tip: Let the "snowball effect" work for you. Quitting smoking may give you greater success in addressing core health issues.
Inability to curb caffeine use is a growing health concern.
People often joke about their daily dependence on coffee, but new research is finding caffeine dependence is no laughing matter. A recent literature review cites population-based studies in which over 50% of regular caffeine users have serious trouble reducing or quitting their consumption, even if they have conditions negatively impacted by caffeine (pregnancy, heart condition, bleeding disorders). Consistent withdrawal symptoms and difficulty functioning also point to problematic use.
PositiveTip: Regular exercise, a wholesome diet and adequate sleep will help you stay alert without caffeine.
Gaming is the most prevalent internet addiction in adults.
Korean researchers, using structural magnetic resonance imaging, found that teenagers addicted to online gaming have structural changes in their brain consistent with those found in other addictions. These changes were observed in a small, but rigorously controlled study of 15 otherwise healthy teens. The ubiquitous exposure of online activities beginning in childhood could interfere with normal adolescent development due to these addictions.
PositiveTips: Parents, if your child is addicted to online gaming, pull the plug and seek professional help for them quickly.
An interesting study recently reported in the British Journal of Psychiatry asks the critical question of whether smoking during pregnancy is linked with smoking behaviors among children born to smoking mothers. There is already an abundance of research highlighting the problems faced by the babies of smoking mothers; this is a new twist.
It is fairly common to hear parents talk about the need to teach their children how to drink responsibly. Apparently, many people assume that responsible use of alcohol at home will be projected to youth as they get older.
This is a dangerous assumption.
Recent research has focused on the connection between the age when a person first uses alcohol and their alcohol problems later in life. Delaying the onset of alcohol use has been proposed as a strategy to prevent alcohol dependence or abuse in adulthood.
Alcohol consumption to relieve stress only prolongs the agony.
People often use alcohol as a way of coping with life's stress. New research indicates this may actually just bring more unpleasantness. Although alcohol reduces the cortisol secretion of the stress response, it also prolongs the negative psychological anxiety of stress and takes away the pleasurable effects of alcohol. So stress and alcohol feed the worst in each other, leading to an increased risk of developing stress-related diseases and alcohol addiction.
PositiveTip: Try positive ways of dealing with stress, such as going for walks, doing deep breathing exercises, or talking to a friend. An often overlooked but powerful tool is prayer.
Teens typically use the internet for education and for amusement. While many teens are normal internet users, for others the internet captures the focus of their mind in an abnormal way. They may not know it, but obsessive internet use can become an addiction.
Internet addiction can be measured using Young's Internet Addiction Scale.
Is the time you spend on the Internet interfering with your marriage?
Have you considered how much you use the Internet and its potential impact on your marriage?
A review of scientific literature suggests that having Internet at home can potentially cause serious marital discord. How much time are you spending online during the time of day when you should be interacting with your family? Are you overusing the Internet at the expense of your relationships?
PositiveTip: Control Internet use and don’t let the it jeopardize your family relationships.