Common Addictions Among Teen Girls

eating disorder

When you think about teenage addictions, you probably think about drugs and alcohol. Those addictions are common, no doubt, but there are other addicting activities for parents to watch out for in their kids. When it comes to mental problems like anxiety, ADHD, and depression, teen girls appear just a little more vulnerable than their male counterparts. That puts them at risk for developing behavioral addictions.

Addiction happens when someone falls into a cycle of tolerance and overuse. This applies to certain stimulating behaviors – gambling, shopping, and even exercising – as well as narcotics and alcohol. Whatever the behavior, it’s a form of self-medication: It helps block, or at least alleviate, the unpleasant emotions.

Social Media Addiction

Only recently have we begun to understand internet addiction. It all comes down to validation: by getting “likes” on Facebook or texts from friends, we get a thrill, and we feel like we belong. When something goes wrong in the real world, we can also look to Facebook or Instagram to cheer us up, or to make us feel normal. The online activity itself can be problematic as well – teenage sexting, for example — but at its base, the issue is obsession: Checking social media all day everyday isn’t healthy or necessary at all.

Sex Addiction

It’s taboo, but it’s true: girls can be sex-addicted. Just like the men, they need help to stop. There are many reasons why a teenage may become sexually promiscuous: self-validation, rebellion, or just plain old hyper-sexuality. There are several types of sex addiction.

Exercise Addiction

For teens with body image issues, exercise addiction is actually quite common. Compulsive exercising is usually a coping strategy for dealing with anxiety. Body size and athletic ability may be big motivators, but deep down, it has more to do with control. Many teen girls who exercise compulsively also suffer anorexia nervosa. Both conditions are a form of purging, so don’t consider the former a healthier, if not optimal, alternative to the latter.

Prescription Drug Addiction

Even the most innocent teen girls can become addicted to prescription drugs, because it doesn’t take a whole lot of nerve to start using them. They’re legal, after all, so shouldn’t they be safe? Not so much. 1 in 5 teens wind up hooked on opiate painkillers or anti-anxiety medications. If the teen doesn’t a prescription, they can easily get the drugs anyway—if not from their own parents’ medicine cabinet, then from a friend or relative.


Sustain caters to teens, adults, and the elderly. Give us a call at 949-637-5499 to get started on your treatment journey, or to help get someone else started on theirs.