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Common Teen Behavioral Addictions

Among teens and in popular culture, addiction is a word that is often thrown around in reference to drugs. Many people think that drug addiction is the only true form of addiction, or at least the only dangerous one – but it is not. Not only are there several other types of addiction, many of them are potentially just as dangerous. The biggest problem is, addiction can often be dangerous simply by nature. When someone is addicted, their addiction can take over their life and fuel all kinds of atypical or dangerous activities that they otherwise would not partake in.

One other very common form of addiction is known as behavioral addiction. Behavioral addiction is when a person feels compelled to perform some behavior over and over again. In many cases, the behavior that the person is addicted to is dangerous, especially when done repeatedly or excessively.  Behavioral addictions are common in children of all ages, but especially so in teens. As a result, teens and parents alike should be informed about the dangers of behavioral addictions – and about where they come from.

What are the Most Common Behavioral Problems in Teenagers?

Many parents and teens inquire about the specific behaviors that can lead to addiction. Truth be told, almost any behavior has the potential to become addictive according to experts. But it is still worthwhile to know the most common behavioral addictions that occur among teens. In many cases, the parent or friend of a teen who is developing an addiction can spot the problem as it develops, and gets help before it’s too late.

  • Sex addiction. Teens sometimes begin experimenting with sex at as young as 12 or 13 years old. Over time, some teens become reliant on sexual behaviors in order to relieve stress, be social, or have fun.  Reliance can turn into addiction, at which point dangers become imminent. A person addicted to sex will find themselves needing to engage in sexual behavior all the time – whether or not they want to.

  • Gambling addiction. Many parents are unaware that teens can be gamblers too. Even many teens don’t know it until they have become engaged in the game themselves. When they do, bad things can take place, including addiction. When a teen, or anyone else for that matter, wins a few times in a game of chance, they can be repeatedly drawn in again and again, even when they stop winning. Some teens will go so far as selling their food or using their parents’ money just so they can continue to gamble.

  • Exercise addiction. Sports is important in the lives of most teenagers. However, some teens can sometimes become so engrossed in the athletic life that they overdo it. Some teens find themselves exercising too much or training too much so that they can be quicker, stronger, or better in their sport. This can sometimes transform into exercise addiction – called anorexia athletica – where a teen will need to exercise constantly to feel normal, even if it is hurting them.


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