Have our nation’s youth developed a learned helplessness that is leading them to lazy decisions that are negatively affecting their lives, and the lives of those who care about them?
Alcohol and drug abuse is a growing problem among young people in the United States Is learned helplessness a factor in the initial use of substances? And does learned helplessness keep young people using into adulthood?
Recent reports show that 90% percent of all adults with chemical dependency issues or addiction started using before turning 18 and 50% started using before turning 15. Was helplessness learned as a child, and when things did not change, the adult continued a life without making changes?
Learned helplessness is obvious among children of famous and/or wealthy people. Take Paris Hilton for example; she has been partying for years without having to ever grow up, it seems. Does Paris take responsibility to her own actions? Does she have a job? Does she have
Cognitive therapists, like Martin Seligman, explore the concept of learned helplessness in an effort to treat it like other mental illnesses because in a lot of cases, learned helplessness leads to debilitating depression.
Socialites, like Paris Hilton, may be less known to the world, but experience the same lack of purpose and drive. When everything has been done for you, and everything that you need is given to you without any work on your part, why would you exert yourself? Eventually, you may feel that you do not have any worth or value, because you have never learned how to do anything for yourself. It’s no wonder that learned helplessness can lead to depression then, right?
In our current society, with the availability of everything almost immediately, short-term gratification reigns supreme, and causes majorly construed ideas of what is needed versus what is wanted.
When treating those identified as a product of learned helplessness, Seligman has found that cognitive techniques aimed at changing the way a person views himself or herself, are effective. More specifically, therapists determine the client’s current self-beliefs, and then work to challenge those beliefs.
Learned helplessness individuals benefit from adopting an optimistic view of themselves and of the world. It can take lots of personal work, but the progress will be seen over time.
Learning to help oneself and growing self-worth can lower depression, and any subsequent substance abuse that was being used to self-medicate.
Breaking the patterns of learned helplessness, depression, and drug or alcohol addiction can be done! Find out how you can help yourself, or a loved one start a life of recovery from both!