Addictions in Adolescents


13th October 2017

Event type Day Conference

Xara Lodge, Malta

Addiction is characterised by the compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences. It can involve a person ingesting a substance (e.g. alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engaging in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but becomes compulsive and interferes with normal functioning, such as work, relationships, or health. People who have developed an addiction may not be aware that their behaviour is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.

Addiction is a complex brain condition that, in most cases, originates in adolescence. Adolescent substance use is a public health problem and other addictive behaviours are also of concern for future mental health functioning. The risk factors for adolescent substance use and addiction include genetics, family history, psychological factors and environmental factors. The media’s glamorisation of smoking, drinking and other drug use—normalises adolescent substance use and ultimately undermines the health and future of adolescents.

Key takeaways

  • Trends in alcohol and drug use in young people
  • Exploring the harms and benefits of alcohol to young people
  • Exploring the evidence base for alcohol screening and brief interventions
  • Discussing responses in setting up young people addictions services
  • Conceptualising problematic internet use
  • What are the key trends in alcohol and drug use in young people?
  • Discussing the use and effects of synthetic cannabis
  • Showcasing innovative approaches in engaging young people in carrying out research

About the Speakers

Professor Eilish Gilvarry

Consultant Psychiatrist in Addictions at Newcastle Addictions Service, and Professor of Addiction Psychiatry at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Professor Dorothy Newbury-Birch

Professor of Alcohol and Public Health Research at the Health and Social Care Institute at Teesside University, UK

Dr Paul McArdle

Lead Consultant for CAMHS in Northumberland, and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Newcastle University

Professor Marilyn Clark

Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology, Faculty for Social Wellbeing, University of Malta, and Co-ordinator for the Master of psychology in Forensic Psychology

Professor Andrew Azzopardi

Dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing, University of Malta, and Head of the Department for Youth & Community Studies