The human mind is always on the lookout for experiencing pleasure or avoiding pain. With the changing family structures, technological advancements, digital connectivity, human migration and competitive way of living, the fabric of the society is guided more by self centeredness than cohesiveness.  As a result, the human to human interaction is  an ever shrinking facet of everyday living both within the family members and with significant others in general. The amount of time the families spend in social engagements like parenting practices, family gatherings, attending social events and outdoor travel is on a decline.

The children during formative years are constantly imbibing values from their parents and their own experiences. This lack of social connect with significant others result in poor self image, lack of trust in relationships, body image issues, impulsivity,  emotional problems and substance use behaviours. Thus in order to overcome these problems, the adolescents are looking for social platforms like facebook, instagram, snapchat etc to make virtual relationships, escape from their day to day sufferings and fulfil their need for affiliations. But these virtual human transactions are largely devoid of empathy and instil insecurity, reinforce imperfection and negative evaluation.

Together with it, the younger generation is inclined more towards experiencing than exercising restraint. There is an ever increasing use of various addictive substances like alcohol, cigarettes, cannabis, opiods etc due to various factors like availability, accessibility, advertising on various forums and lack of accountability from significant others. The adolescents and young adults are constantly indulging in these practices to be part of their peer groups, to overcome their loneliness, combat the stress of everyday living or for immediate gratification.

Thus the younger generation who are seeking solace with the use of these substances for various factors like poor support system, peer group pressure, mental stress, relationship issues and emotional problems shall fail to learn to how to solve their own problems, exercise restraint and exhibit tolerance, have limited coping abilities in testing scenarios and engage excessively  in avoidance behaviours. Eventually, the problems are bound to have a compounding effect resulting in failure to quit the substance use, frustration, poor self confidence, pessimism and even amounting to suicide.

Prevention is better than cure. Though the old adage says prevention as the goal, the reality here is to prevent child from imbibing the wrong values by better family time and greater bonding, prevent the child from wrong coping practices by listening first and prevent the child from wrong influences by being better role models than lecturing. The principle is to help the children develop better personality styles, have proper understanding about substance use and their ill effects and exercise self control along with autonomy in their choices.

It is imperative to understand that the human mind is always inquisitive for experiences. There is a huge amount of orientation towards healthy living now-a-days. It would be recreational and productive for family as a unit to engage in fitness oriented activities, practice digital detox – prioritise interacting among than engaging in mobiles for few hours every day and timely family outings.


(This article has been contributed by  Dr Venkatesh Babu G M  MD (Psychiatry) PDF (Cognitive Neurosciences) Consultant Psychiatrist Department of Mental Health & Behavioral Sciences Fortis Hospital, Bangalore) 

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 26, 2018 06:39 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website