They said they weren’t taking drugs and they didn’t see any problem, This is one of the main pitfalls that must be overcome at the beginning of treatment.
Realizing that you are not having healthy behavior is very hard, even for adults Meanwhile, other things can be worked on ”, agrees Devi Uranga, director of the addiction service of the Community of Madrid, a pioneering public service in Spain that also treats adolescents who have been detected an abusive use of the new technologies.
“It is important that they become aware of the problem they have because that brings many changes, but it requires patience and tuning into the adolescent’s rhythm.” When they find out, they begin to commit to the process and take responsibility for what is happening to them.
“After seeing how nervous he got before and after playing, we tried to keep the child from using the game console much,” explains Nayibe. As a first solution, it occurred to them to limit the time spent playing. But when it was time to turn it off, she would get aggressive, saying that only a few minutes had passed and accusing her parents of wanting to deceive her.
“We put a timer on him so he was aware of how much he was playing. But at two hours, he continued to assure that only 15 minutes had passed”.
Added to this was his obsession with watching YouTube videos of gamers . Suddenly, Nayibe and her husband found themselves arguing loudly with their son on a daily basis.
“It was frustrating because I had put many rules, I had done everything possible so that this situation did not happen.” Nayibe assures over the phone that her hair stands on end when she remembers it.
In this case, the inflexible limits were backfiring, “In the first session, the children were given a paper with the new rules. My son asked me if I was willing to comply with them: they were less restrictive than the ones I put at home ”.
“Establishing rules of use from the beginning depends on each case. In some situations, but almost never, it is recommended to completely remove it for several days. Only if the abuse is affecting their development to a high degree ”, explains Devi Uranga, director of the addiction service of the Community of Madrid.
“We began to provide rules and limits, encouraging responsible use, with a schedule, in specific spaces, respecting the time they are with the family or in the educational center,” adds Tocón.
“It is important to understand that nothing is ever 100% the responsibility of those who have the addiction,” explains Uranga. “It is not just theirs or the generation they were born into or the parents.
It is necessary to see how all these factors are related to have given rise to this dysfunctional attitude the important thing is to learn to take responsibility for the part that corresponds to each one Precisely for this reason, therapies with adolescents who have problems with technology usually involve the whole family.
Problematic behaviors that occur before going to treatment make the family very emotionally conditioned. “They come home with difficulties, everyone is angry and they no longer trust each other, most likely, because there have been deceptions and even robberies,” explains Tocón. “As part of the treatment, an attempt is made to reestablish the damage that has been done in family relationships.”
Distrust is generated because the family does not know very well what is happening and why their children have changed their behavior. “The family is very sensitive to people addicted to substances.
They are very alert because it is something obvious However addiction to technology or video games goes unnoticed more easily because they do not know exactly what their children are doing with their mobile phones.
This way they got better grades. Her dependency ended up affecting her self-esteem and self-image She told me that she hated her legs, that she looked fat She either ate it all or suddenly stopped eating Instagram sapped his morale.
This need to receive likes and compliments was what kept her daughter hooked, not realizing that it was hurting her self-esteem. “I have had cases of people who come for consultation with problems with likes
They want to have more than the rest, to be more important, more loved. This generates discomfort, dissatisfaction, very low self-esteem and even depression ”, explains García.
Therefore, another part of the treatment consists of working with adolescents in their emotional area. “They probably have complexes and feel inferior.
They can be very smart and aggressive, but behind them there is low self-esteem, a very deteriorated image of themselves, ”explains Tocón.
“They feel incapable of solving problems they have outside and they stay playing, which is what they do well.” The key is to find out what they are covering with the excessive use of social networks and that need to like others to feel good. “There is a part of the reward for little effort or flight, the need to fill a void that can be distressing and that you do not know how to manage in any other way,” adds Uranga.
Behaviors such as compulsive shopping or substances become the pleasant trigger that generates dopamine. When the brain needs it again, the addict will use or play again to get it.
But unlike other addictions in which it is sought that the addict does not come into contact with the substance again, in the case of technology it is sought that he learns to use it.