Our cover story of the current April-May double issue of World Mission illustrates two hands breaking free from the chains of several addictions with the headline “Freedom from addictions.”
Addictions, dependencies are like shackles binding the individual to an addiction. The addicted individual does not enjoy inner freedom any more to take an autonomous decision. Thus, he or she will need outside support in the form of counselling and group therapy to regain liberty from the fetters of dependence.
The causes of addictive behaviors are manifold but all boil down to the attempt to fill an inner void derived from experiences or/and perceptions of abandonment, rejection and lack of love. An effective healing approach must trace the problem of dependencies to its root cause.
Statistics show the worrying trend of numerous adults and young people falling prey to several forms of addiction, ranging from pornography, work and gambling, to smoking and drinking.
A widespread addiction nowadays amongst the youth is the overuse of smartphones and social media. A recent study has revealed that the excessive use of cellphones and social media affects the mental health of young people triggering mental distress, self-injurious behavior and suicide. Amongst the youth, girls are the most affected.
Social media can affect the adolescents’ self-esteem and interpersonal relationships. Moreover, in some instances social media contents often convey the idea of normalization and even promotion of self-harm and suicide among the youth.
Another problem with heavy smartphone use and media multitasking by the youth is chronic sleep deprivation and negative effects on academic performance and social interactions.
The study suggests collaboration between therapists and youth and their families. Open and nonjudgmental approaches are recommended in order to reduce potential harms from social media and smartphone use.
Besides, there is a need for public awareness campaigns and social initiatives that promote nurturing homes and school environments that foster resilience in young people, the study defends.
Easter is an auspicious occasion to reawaken faith in the possibility of every person to be healed and recover their lost dignity. The paschal mystery of Jesus – his passion, death and resurrection – is intended for the salvation of all. Jesus yearns to continue extending his healing love to everybody, especially the poor, the sick and the addicted.