Addiction among children and youth is a grave issue of the time. Not only does addiction divert humans from spiritual activities, it also affects the functioning of a person in all aspects of life.
RAMEEZ RAJA, KASHMIR
JULY 27, 2020
Addiction is a condition in which a person becomes obsessively dependent upon a particular substance or behaviour regardless of its consequences. Addiction can damage, jeopardize and destroy one’s life.
The youth of today is addicted to many dangerous substances and habits. Although parents are guardians, they are usually ill-prepared to notice the awkward behaviour of their children. The purpose of this article is to create awareness about various types of addiction common among children and adolescents.
Addiction to porn
The porn industry is a business venture which is undertaken by adult stars who are lured into it for handsome money. Today, easy access to pornographic sites has engaged a large number of people around the globe to watch porn.
The study of some medical experts who state that watching porn is beneficial provides an inducement to youngsters to watch porn videos. In contrast, some other experts say that watching porn is dangerous as it disturbs the mind of the person and motivates him to force his partner for unwilling sexual activities and sometimes even to commit sexual violence.
Watching porn can be addictive too. A 2002 survey by Kinsey Institute found that 9 per cent of people who watch porn have unsuccessfully tried to stop it. Moreover, pornography diverts humans from their moral and spiritual activities.
When asked about the Islamic view on people who perform acts on themselves like masturbation for pleasure, which is connected with pornography, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, the worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community said:
Generally, information on medical websites today often states that to perform this act may increase a man’s ability or strength or that it makes no difference. However, physicians of previous times would say otherwise and that it causes weakness, and this in fact is the reality. People who perform this act suffer because when they then try to perform naturally, they are unable to do so as they lack any desire or they have premature ejaculation.
Secondly, ask anyone who does this act and they will tell you they will be imagining someone else whilst carrying out masturbation. They have to fantasize about another person during this act to incite their desire. This is why the Promised Messiahas has spoken of the ‘adultery of the mind’. This is when a person fantasizes about someone else who they can never have access to and therefore, the only way to further that desire is to fantasize even more. This is ‘adultery of the mind’ and this is why Islam has forbidden us from indulging in such immoralities and indecent acts.
Islam directs Muslims to remain steadfast and save themselves from these evil practices. Addiction to porn can be solved by proper Islamic methods such as teaching morality and practicing chastity. Parents should make sure that their children receive proper education regarding these issues.
Moreover, in this materialistic world, where late marriages are causing depression and frustration among youngsters, Muslim parents should acknowledge the importance of marriage of their children at the right time.
Smoking, Alcohol and drugs
Smoking is considered as injurious to health by medical experts. But, in our society, it is commonly regarded that smoking releases tension. Yet, the majority is prone to smoking due to addiction and not due to tensions or worries.
Cigarette smoking or alcohol consumption is harmful not only to the person indulged in it but for others too. Avoiding such acts in public is not enough; however, it is obligatory that smokers or alcoholic persons at least use private places so that bad habits are not openly practiced and shared.
Drug addiction is a menace to society. Drug dealers ruin many lives and destroy the future of our country. So, it is the social responsibility of drug addicts to disclose the names of the drug dealers so that no more lives are ruined.
In many countries, governments have permitted certain drugs for medical purposes and research, which if used in excess become fatal for a person. In the United States alone, around 130 people die each day due to addiction to opioids or painkillers.
Thus, proper awareness regarding the consequences of excessive usage of drugs or consuming alcohol is utmost necessary. But, these cannot be laid upon the governmental bodies alone; rather as a society, we have a collective responsibility in this regard.
PUBG and the pandemic
As many are staying at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, playing games such as PUBG has become part of the routine so as to consume time. PUBG is highly addictive and has caused the death of many youngsters who had failed to comprehend the harmful effects of this game. It distances youth from their families and is quite harmful to physical health too.
The primary responsibility to save children and youth from this addiction to computer games lies on the shoulders of parents. Yet, it has become reasonable for parents not to force their children from halting certain awful and unhealthy activities.
Parents themselves use mobile phones during leisure times and also give it to infants so as to avoid their disturbances. Thus addiction of children to mobile phones has a direct link with the negligence of parents. Moreover, the impact of the environment cannot be underestimated.
Treatment for addictions
To find the treatment for this grave issue of addiction, I contacted my cousin sister Ishrat Mohi-ud-din, who is a rehabilitation psychologist. She replied that different types of addiction can be cured by proper counselling which includes both individual and family counselling. Though difficult, she said that it is not impossible to cure the addiction of drugs by proper medical help.
In the case of severely addicted persons, medication is used. Moreover, therapies like ‘cognitive behavioural therapy’ (CBT) and behaviour modification techniques like ‘shaping’ and ‘token economy’ have been proved to be effective.
In addition, the self-esteem of drug users is nourished through ‘motivational interviewing’ (MI) and ‘self-help groups’. Further, vocational training is also provided so as to help them improve their quality of life. Besides, relaxation methods like yoga, breathing exercises and Salat help reduce the frustration and stress caused by addiction.
However it should be remembered while stopping the intake of addictive substances, an addict might face several symptoms. Proper medical help is required during this stage so as to relieve the person from symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, tremors and shaking, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and loss of appetite.
Nowadays, special arrangements with different types of medical services and support are provided in hospitals to treat addicted persons through rehabilitation programmes.
However, Ishrat Mohi-ud-Din is of the view that these methods are helpful only if an addict and their family cooperate properly. She had personally faced many addicts who were in a struggle due to the aggressive behaviour of their family members. Some patients fail to recover even after the treatment due to the lack of support from their families. Thus, training needs to be provided for their families too.
In the end, it is mainly up to the parents to help and guide their children throughout their developmental stages. It is important to find the root cause of the problem because of which youngsters get distracted and resort to various types of addiction. Unfortunately, many parents ignore the problems of their children that eventually lead to bigger ones causing pain and frustration.
Thus, it is the need of the time that parents educate their children about true pleasure and true happiness. Deriving pleasure from harmful substances can only provide temporary happiness which is short-lived. Being humans, we should find such activities that are beneficial, healthy and long-lived.
The author holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Among his various works is his latest article “The Principles of the Flourishing Community: A Case Study of the Persecuted Ahmadiyya Muslim Community” published in the International Journal on Minority and Group Rights. He can be reached at [email protected]
 Weir, K. (n.d.). Is pornography addictive? Retrieved from American Psychological Association: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/04/pornography
 ‘True Love’ and the ‘Perfect’ Life Partner…? The Review of Religions April 2020
 America’s Drug Overdose Epidemic: Data to Action. (n.d.). Retrieved from Centers for Disease Contol and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/index.html
 Ishrat Mohi-ud-Din holds a master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Kashmir. She has completed her post-graduate diploma in Rehabilitation Psychology from Composite Regional Centre (CRC), Bemina, Srinagar, Kashmir.