I’ve also known many — both children and adults — who unfortunately fell into problematic patterns of substance use, many of whom were attracted to the substances as a means of escape. When I looked carefully beyond both the symptoms they presented and the various diagnoses that could rightfully be conferred upon these folks, one thing appeared disturbingly common: an intolerance of feelings or circumstances that distressed them in some way, and an excessive readiness to alter their mood swiftly and surely.
I’ve come to believe that one of the most important aspects of developing a sound character is learning to endure the unpleasant and deal with it in an adaptive manner. Unfortunately, I’ve known far too many individuals who failed to acquire the skills to do so during their formative years. Some were diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder because of their apparent inability to sustain their attention, most especially on tasks they didn’t find sufficiently stimulating. Others were diagnosed with various disorders of impulse control, largely because they couldn’t tolerate a moment of boredom.