MPOWRD encourages teens to reflect upon their lives and decide if they are willing to commit to changing a personal habit that is causing them harm. This group stresses that no one is “perfect” and that all of us could benefit from trying to work through those habits that take away our sense of empowerment.
By discussing life issues, without referring to any specific addictive behavior and working as a community within peer support, members are able to process the program without fear of criticism. The following assessment provides indicators for possible change.
Is this you?
Answering “yes” to even one of these questions may indicate a need to re-evaluate a behavior.
The person becomes obsessed with the object, the activity or the behavior.
The person seeks out the behavior even though it is causing harm (physical problems, poor work or academics, problems with friends, family).
The person will compulsively repeat the activity, doing it over and over without attempting to develop any sense of control.
If attempting to control or stop the activity, withdrawal symptoms often begin. These may include: irritability, cravings, restlessness, anxiety, depression, rage.
The person does not appear to have control as to when, how long, or much he or she will continue the behavior (loss of control). For example: he/she can’t refuse a substance, buys 5 pairs of shoes when he/she was looking for a belt, ate the whole box of cookies when just looking for a snack.
The person denies problems resulting from his/her behavior, even though everyone keeps telling him/her that there are obvious negative effects.
The person hides the “evidence” after family or friends point it out. This might include: hiding bottles, food, drugs, cigarettes, bills, etc.
Many individuals experience blackouts during an addictive behavior. Examples might include: not remembering how much they bought, how much was lost gambling, what they did when they drank, etc.
Sometimes, negative habits evolve to compensate for the lack of control in one’s overall life. Depression involves multiple symptoms, and could be a reason to seek professional help.
Individuals with repeated negative behaviors often experience low self-esteem, paranoia or anxiety, and do not have control over their environment with an overwhelming sense of shame and hopelessness.