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Addiction

Snapchat Addiction: The Darkside of a Popular Worldwide App

Snapchat Addiction: The Darkside of a Popular Worldwide App 1280 853 Solstice RTC

Snapchat is just about on every teenager’s smartphone. It’s one of the most used apps in the world, competing with other major companies like Instagram and Facebook. A downside has begun to become apparent, though, as this app continues to increase in popularity: Snapchat addiction.

This may be the moment that you chuckle, but I guarantee this is real. Technology addictions are getting more serious attention lately–and Snapchat addiction needs to be included in that enhanced awareness.

Why a Snapchat addiction should be taken seriously

To understand why Snapchat addiction should be taken seriously, you have to understand why technology addictions are very real. Addictions aren’t just reserved for substances–really you can become addicted to most things that light up the reward system in the brain.

Take gambling addictions for example; people become addicted to the feeling, the rush, of winning money. With technology, it’s similar. For video game addictions, it’s usually being used as a sort of escape from reality. For a Snapchat addiction, it’s more about views and “snap streaks.”

If you’re like me, you have no clue what a snap streak is. Snapchat is usually reserved for individuals under the age of 30, which means parents often have no clue as to how it works.

snapchat addictionSnap streaks are the way to measure “success” on Snapchat. On Instagram it’s about likes, on Snapchat it’s about the streak. A snap streak is when you’ve been sending snaps directly to a person for a prolonged amount of time. To get the streak, you have to do it each day, though–so if you miss a day, you lose the streak.

This all sounds pretty trivial to parents, but for some teens it’s everything.

For some teens, it’s a measure of how much you care about someone or how much they care for you. If you’re good friends, they’re more motivated to keep the streak going; if you’re not, they’ll let it die without mourning.

It can get so obsessive that the streaks continue for over a year–and if you lose one, it can be devastating, it can even ruin a friendship. So, it’s easy to see how this obsession to grow into something problematic.

It can begin as something harmless, but if behavior increasingly becomes erratic and obsessive based around Snapchat, there may be a real issue. When a teen begins to place their self worth on the number of likes, followers, or snaps they receive, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Snapchat ranked among worst social media for mental health

In a study conducted by Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Young Health Movement (YHM), researchers found that Instagram and Snapchat are the worst for mental health in teens.

The data came from 1,500 youth, ages 14-24, in order to understand social media’s impact on the age group that uses it the most.

The researchers believe this is because the two platforms are largely based on image rather than anything else. It all focuses on followers and shallow status factors. Having your self esteem based on something so volatile and superficial can lead to serious mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, extreme feelings of loneliness, and more.

Solstice is a teen depression treatment center

Solstice is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls often grapple with depression, Snapchat addiction, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us. Dealing with these issues can get confusing and overwhelming fast–but we’re here to help guide you.

Through a unique combination of therapeutic programs based upon both traditional and holistic mental health treatment, we treat our clients with age and gender specific techniques. We strive to empower teenage women with the ability to believe in themselves and provide the tools and motivation required to instill these beliefs for life.

For more information about how we help with Snapchat addiction at Solstice, please contact us at (866) 278-3345.

Could Teen Technology Use Be the Next Big Drug?

Could Teen Technology Use Be the Next Big Drug? 150 150 Solstice RTC

The world we live in today involves massive amounts of technology. Few will argue that technology is the future. It’s how we communicate while on different continents. It’s how we tell our children we love them when we’re on a business trip. It’s how we record important moments in our lives through photos. It’s how we have access to more information than any physical library can ever offer. It’s also how out of control teen technology use came to be.

teen technology useIt’s essential for our children to know how to operate correctly, but that’s not how many use it. Many use the power of technology to engage in inappropriate behavior and even endanger themselves–this is when it becomes an issue.  

When teen technology use turns harmful

For starters, let’s celebrate something. The rate that teens, aged from 12 to 17, are smoking and drinking has been nearly cut in half in less than 15 years. That’s amazing and extremely good news.

Something not to celebrate is the rate of teen technology use. As substance abuse rates for teens have been going down, the use of technology has been exponentially going up. You may not think that’s an issue at first, but give me some time to explain.

Regular use of technology can absolutely be safe, useful, and life-enriching. Overuse can be the opposite. Just like anything else, too much of a good thing can be harmful. Think about it.

If your teen is so obsessed with their device that they’re willing to risk their life–and the life of others–just to check who liked their photo on Instagram, there’s a problem. It can cause more than just risky driving, though. It’s becoming more apparent that technology has the power to increase isolating tendencies and addictive behavior towards technology.

The only way to describe what some teens are going through is “addictive.” Some studies have shown that when teens get notifications on their devices–such as a “like” on Facebook–it triggers dopamine to be released, producing a similar effect to being high. This is how teen technology use can get out of hand.

When a teenager is already prone to rash decisions and no self-control, social media and devices can just exhaust this type of behavior. Many teens even sleep with their devices right next to them.

Inappropriate or excessive teen technology use can seriously get in the way of daily life, from making it difficult to discuss important issues with your teen to your teen getting panic attacks when separated from their devices. This is why teen technology use needs to be taken more critically than it currently is.

Solstice RTC is here for your daughter

Solstice RTC is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls often grapple with depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, inappropriate teen technology use, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us.

Through a unique combination of therapeutic programs based upon both traditional and holistic mental health treatment, we treat our clients with age and gender specific techniques. We strive to empower teenage women with the ability to believe in themselves and provide the tools and motivation required to instill these beliefs for life.

For more information about how we treat inappropriate teen technology use at Solstice RTC, please contact us at (866) 278-3345.

World Wide Addiction: Internet Addiction Disorder in teens

World Wide Addiction: Internet Addiction Disorder in teens 850 567 Solstice RTC

Although “Internet Addiction Disorder” might sound like a fake illness invented by a pampered generation, the truth is far more dangerous. Research shows that Internet Addiction Disorder carries with it all the same gravity as any other addiction – down to the way in which dopamine functions in the brain. In other words, Internet Addiction Disorder affects the mind in a manner similar to controlled substances.

Culture vs. Addiction

Since Internet Addiction Disorder is such a new concept, it is easy to misinterpret. Simply going online multiple times a day does not necessarily constitute Internet Addiction Disorder, just like a teen suffering the disorder might not be online 24 hours a day (although, chances are, they will make every effort be). The difference is in the impact. 

To qualify as Internet Addiction Disorder, internet use must turn into a compulsion with withdrawal effects if it is forcefully limited. Lying about being on the internet, the inability to control online behavior, and compulsive use are symptoms of the issue. Typically, when a teen has Internet Addiction Disorder, they will only be happy when “using” – as such, their non-digital life (including social interactions, school performance, and relationships) will take a heavy toll. Moreover, like with many other drugs, the teen might lose track of time while on the computer.

Back to Reality

As a parent, there are several steps that can be taken to bring your child back to our world. While making your teen quit cold turkey looks good on paper, in reality, it is likely to cause them to lash back. Instead, try gradually decreasing your teen’s smartphone and computer use and implementing a healthy routine. By encouraging your teen to be active and social, you will organically take away the time they could be spending on the computer.

Internet Addiction Disorder is sometimes a result of outside difficulties – for instance, stress, family problems, and school troubles; remember to communicate with your teen about what might be causing the underlying problem.

If your teen’s Internet Addiction Disorder gets out of hand, it might be time to consider professional help.

S0lstice can help

If your daughter is constantly hooked to her phone and is struggling with addictive behavioral issues, consider Solstice as an option. Solstice, a residential treatment center for teen girls ages 14-18, helps struggling teens find success.

For more information about Solstice, please call (866) 278-3345!

Attached at the hip to their cell phone? Cell phone addiction.

Attached at the hip to their cell phone? Cell phone addiction. 850 567 Solstice RTC

More and more teens are becoming addicted to their cellphones at the expense of real relationships. Many parents are asking how to deal with their teens cellphone addiction. Too often today’s adolescents are using technology and the internet to avoid dealing with life’s issues. While the definition of cell phone addiction can be debated, a simple red flag that your child may be experiencing addiction to his or her cellphone are some of the following:

  • Inability to succeed in school because of a lack of concentration
  • Harmed or lost relationships as a result of miscommunication via cellphone
  • Personal hygiene, and physical habits become secondary to attention given to technology

Preventing cell phone addiction in your teen

According to a recent study, 60% of teens would feel anxious if they didn’t have their phone and would rather live without Facebook, chocolate, and TV than without their phone. To ensure that your child does not become addicted to their cell phone here are some tips for parents to help prevent cell phone addiction.

cell phone addiction

Image source- Flickr user: goodncrazy

Respect Conversations With Others: Texting smart phone use shouldn’t come between real human contact, thus being distracted by a cell phone can harm relationships.

Never use the phone in the car, especially while driving whether texting or talking: This is a given, but distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents and deaths on the roadway. If your teen learns not to use the phone in the car, a lot of tragedy can be avoided.

Learn To Recognize Bad Habits: One reason teens turn to cell phones is boredom, causing this behavior to become a habit. Teens must learn other ways of dealing with boredom beyond turning to technology. Realizing this can help your teen resist checking their phone out of habit.

Set Alerts to Monitor Phone Usage: These days, most phone carriers will allow you to monitor text, phone time, and data usage for all the phones attached to your account via mobile apps and text / email alerts. You should take advantage of all this data and keep an eye on your teen’s usage. Use this as a baseline to establish ground rules, and talk to them if their usage seems excessive.

Consider Pre-Paid Phones instead of complete loss of phone privileges: For chronic offenders of this, you could consider using a pre-paid plan instead of instituting outright phone prohibition. That way your teen still gets the opportunity to exercise discipline and learn to ration their phone usage. And if they fail to do this, the phone will become a useless brick until you choose to add more time and data. Thus, a logical set of consequences will result from their overusing the phone.    

Solstice can help your daughter work through her difficulties. As a residential treatment center for teen girls ages 14-18, Solstice helps young girls struggling with emotional and behavioral issues. For more information about Solstice, please call (866) 278-3345.

The rise of e-cigarettes: Preventing teen smoking

The rise of e-cigarettes: Preventing teen smoking 150 150 Solstice RTC

Do you remember the days when smoking seemed to be absolutely everywhere? Those days are long gone. However,  teen smoking is still very prevalent in high schools across the US. With the popularity of e-cigarettes making smoking “cool” again, changing attitudes towards smoking are making teen smoking problematic once again.

The danger of E-cigarettes

While teens are smoking less traditional cigarettes every year, the rate of e-cigarette use is steadily increasing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage  of traditional cigarette smoking in teens dropped from 15.8 percent in 2011 to 9.2 percent in 2014. However, teen smoking in terms of e-cigarettes has increased from 1.5 percent of teens in 2011 to 13.5 percent in 2014.

Right now, e-cigarettes are a growing threat to teens everywhere. Loads of misinformation combined with the attractive flavors and design of e-cigarettes has contributed to the rise in smokers. Teens may be told that e-cigarettes have less nicotine or are not as bad for you as traditional cigarettes. One tobacco researcher, Stanton Gantz, describes these devices as “cigarettes on training wheels”.

Nicotine’s negative effect on teenage brains is a serious cause for concern. Researchers say that when a teen’s brain is exposed to nicotine, it alters the the development of the prefrontal cortex. This eventually affects decision making. Because of this, teen smoking may cause attention problems and a greater risk of cognitive impairments and psychiatric disorders.

Prevention

Preventing  your teen from smoking traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or hookah may seem like a difficult task. If you’re worried your teen might start smoking or is already smoking, consider the following preventative measures:

real young woman smokes on the street, selective focus

  • Set a good example: If you smoke, your teen is more likely to smoke. If you do smoke, you should quit. Explain to your teen how miserable you are smoking and how difficult it is for you to quit smoking.
  • Appeal to your teen’s desire to look good: Talk to your teen about the effects smoking has on physical appearance. Show them pictures of people who have smoked for years with yellowing teeth and terrible skin. Tell them about the acrid smell that stays on clothes and hair.  
  • Understand peer pressure: If your teen starts smoking, it’s most likely because their friends smoke too. Talk to your teen about what to say if they are offered a cigarette or a puff on a hookah. Help them practice a response to an offer to smoke.
  • Inform them of the expense: Smoking is super expensive. Your teen needs to know that before they start taking up the habit. Sit them down and go through what a year’s worth of cigarettes would cost. Talk to them about what else they could buy with that money (clothes, electronics, makeup, etc.)

Solstice can help

Many times, teens begin smoking because they’re struggling with anxiety and depression. Solstice helps teen girls ages 14-18 struggling with emotional and behavioral difficulties.

For more information about Solstice, call today at (866) 278-3345.

Has Your Child’s Social Media Addiction Gone Too Far? 3 Tips to Help

Has Your Child’s Social Media Addiction Gone Too Far? 3 Tips to Help 150 150 Solstice RTC
social media addiction

Photo Source: Flickr User – mkhmarketing

The intense craving to constantly tweet, text, post, pin and like; social media addiction is a plague that has swept not just across the United States, but around the world from England to China.

Social media addiction is a real threat

Though social media addiction has not been confirmed as an actual addiction, many research projects are being conducted in order to prove that it is. According to the Pew Research Center, about 24 percent of teens reported being on social media “almost constantly.” Among those teens, the majority of them are girls, while boys tend to lean toward using video games.

We know that a large amount of teens use social media nearly all time, but are there negative effects? According to a study by the University of Albany, the answer is yes. Julia Hormes, the leader of the research study, found that about 10 percent of users struggled with social media addiction. The effects of the addiction included a higher risk of alcohol abuse, anxiety symptoms and issues with emotional regulation.

3 tips to help your daughter

  • Make sure she knows you care: Reassuring your daughter that you’re there to talk and support her is important for building trust. Trust is imperative to being able to make a difference in your daughter’s life and making her understand why a social media addiction is unhealthy.
  • Create technology free zones: Making zones where you have to focus on the family is important. It makes a space where you, as the parent, also put away your technology and get involved.
  • Encourage creativity, extracurricular activities: Encouraging, not pushing, your daughter to get involved in something she has interest in could be a good way to break her social media addiction. It gives her something else to focus on.

Additional treatment

If your daughter is struggling with her social media addiction and traditional therapy isn’t working, a residential treatment center could be the next step. Solstice RTC is a treatment center for older teen girls struggling with issues, such as depression, anxiety, trauma, substance abuse or social media addiction. We use comprehensive, evidence-based therapy to help families reconnect and heal.

For more information on how Solstice RTC can help your daughter break her social media addiction, contact us today at (866) 278-3345.

Marijuana Use in Teens Can Cause Memory Loss

Marijuana Use in Teens Can Cause Memory Loss Solstice RTC

For the past decade, the belief that marijuana is a harmful drug for younger individuals has begun to decline within the United States. In a government survey from 2014, it was found that 11.7 percent of 8th graders, 27.3 percent of 10th graders and 35.1 percent of 12th graders had tried marijuana in the past year. Marijuana use in teens continues to be a large issue that can cause long-term problems in brain development.

Marijuana use in teens and memory loss

In a recent study, by Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, researchers found that adults that had smoked marijuana daily as a teenager for three years or more had difficulty in performing long-term memory assessments.

Also, the researchers found that the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with long-term memory, was altered in form. The longer the person had used marijuana daily, the more misshapen the hippocampus was. The greater the hippocampus was deformed, the worse the person did on long-term memory exams.

How to catch signs of marijuana use in teens

Because of the possible long-term damaging effects of marijuana use in teens, it’s extremely important to recognize the signs as soon as possible.

According to the AACAP, a few common signs to look for to identify if your teen is possibly abusing marijuana include:

  • Red eyes/use of eye drops often
  • Memory issues
  • Reduced interest in usual activities
  • Eating more than usual/hungry all the time
  • Acting silly for no reason
  • Dizziness

Treatment for marijuana addiction

Adolescents are more susceptible to becoming addicted to substances such as marijuana. This makes it imperative to catch and treat the addiction as soon as possible. If a larger intervention is needed than parents can provide, programs exist that specialize in dealing with treatment for marijuana use in teens.

Solstice RTC is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. At Solstice, we treat many types of issues, such as addiction, trauma, learning disabilities and many others. Our safe, nurturing environment paired with comprehensive, proven therapeutic techniques allows struggling girls to deal with and overcome their problems.

For more information, please call us today, at (866) 278-3345.