Social media has shaped the way we see addiction. While certain celebrities have used social media platforms to come out about their addictions and raise awareness of the problems in positive ways, others have intentionally or inadvertently used these platforms to normalise addictive behaviours. The bombardment of images on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter of various known and unknown – but now all public-figures posing with drink and in various states of inebriation have desensitised the viewing public – and those people themselves- to the signs and symptoms of genuine addiction. Read on to find out more about this dangerous phenomenon, gain a new understanding of normal, and know what to look for as signs of alcohol addiction among young people.
Like my Addiction
The problem of alcohol addiction among young people recently gained international media attention via a clever campaign released by the media agency BETC on behalf of Addicte Aide drug and alcohol treatment centre in France. This campaign called Like my addiction, was centred around a fake Instagram account of a young French woman, @louise.delage. Every photo posted to this account pictured Louise living it up posing in posh cafes with a glass of wine, clubs with a sloshing cocktail, or poolside with spritzers.
This account, based on seemingly little more than fashion and alcohol, gained 66,000 followers in just over a month and her pics received up to 50 likes per day on average. Although followers of @louise.delage unknowingly supported her overtly lush lifestyle and in turn, ignored what could be serious signs of binge drinking and alcohol addiction.
The campaign motive and falsehood of the @louise.delage account were revealed via her last post made on September 22, 2016 – a video montage of all her photos, honing in on the alcohol displayed in each, with the caption Like my addiction and information leading to the Addicte Aide website. Although her followers were essentially played for fools, the campaign was well-received and supported. In fact, traffic to the Addicte Aide website increase five-fold, the story became top tweet and the video had 500,000 views.
So What is Normal Alcohol Use?
There is essentially no single answer to the question of what is normal alcohol use. What is normal will vary from person to person based on physical and genetic traits as well as familiar patterns of addiction, emotional experiences, memories, role models, peer and work groups, etc.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA) provides some standard guidelines for drinking levels including: low-risk drinking, moderate drinking, heavy drinking, and binge drinking. It is most important to note here that there is no definition for normal or acceptable drinking – only low-risk – meaning that while a low-level of drinking is less likely to result in addiction or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), the risk still remains.
Four Key Signs of Alcohol Addiction Among Young People
1. Wrecked aboutlastnight party alldayeveryday
More and more, people really put themselves out there on their social media. The viewing public is quick to click like, doubletap, or just scroll past without noticing patterns of negative behaviour or tendencies towards unhealthy addictions. Notice what you, your friends, and your family have been posting – not just today, but take a look at the history. If images of alcohol dominate, don’t be afraid to talk about it, calls for help can come via social media.
2. Drinking is the main event
Pay attention to when drinking becomes a necessary prerequisite to having fun or going out. If you can’t remember the last time your saw your loved one – or yourself for that matter – out and about without a drinking in hand, you need to give it a second look. If you overhear your kids talking about Friday plans on Monday, ask them about what those plans actually entail.
3. Making excuses
Teens and high-functioning addicts may chalk up their drug and alcohol use as standard behaviour among their peers or in their profession. They may justify it as a reward for their hard work in school or work. They may also see it as a necessary activity in order to get in with certain social or peer groups. All of these are excuses for their habits and the fact that they are making excuses is already a partial recognition of a problem.
4. Constant hangover or appearing ill in the mornings
Hangovers are not cool. Not remembering an entire night because you drank too much is not something to brag about. Through social media this type of behaviour is normalised to the point that it is presented as humorous or as a badge of accomplishment. If you notice friends bragging about alcohol related conquests or with constant headaches or lethargy don’t let it go unacknowledged. These hangovers might actually be withdrawal symptoms from prolonged alcohol use.
Stop clicking like and click here for a free consultation. Affordable, quality care and free consultations are available today and The Dawn offers a wide range of treatment options for alcohol addiction among young people.