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Could you skip your morning coffee?

"Family can be a word that includes everything and anything," said Danny Taylor. "It can be nuclear, extended, single parent or even blended and mixed.

"Family can be a word that includes everything and anything," said Danny Taylor. "It can be nuclear, extended, single parent or even blended and mixed.

"Ever see the latest Fast & Furious? It's about family; they're not related, but they're still family!" Danny Taylor and Jaclyn Chang gave a presentation last month at Minoru Seniors Centre about family, addiction and mental illness, called A Family Check Up, hosted by Richmond Addiction Services Society (RASS).

The event was a small workshop, teaching parents, teachers and others about the signs and symptoms of addiction, as well as the impact it can have on a family.

The workshop also explored subjects such as the teen brain, different types of addictions, as well as boundaries.

"Boundaries need to be clear and helpful for us and others," said Taylor.

"Families with boundary issues are more prone to addiction."

The workshop stressed the importance of balance in boundaries - they shouldn't be too weak or too rigid, but they do need to be clear for our lives to function.

"If you have a family with clear boundaries, you reduce the chance of problems," said Chang.

The teenage brain was another topic of discussion at the seminar. It followed a short video of mostly teenage boys throwing themselves off high structures into pools or attempting to jump over a moving car.

"Teens get more of a rush from drugs and drug use. They're also less sensitive to the after-effects of drugs, such as hangovers," said Chang. "They also develop connections through activities they participate in, such as video games, music and art or even drugs, which is why we encourage them to take healthy risks... such as trying out for a play or doing something that may result in rejection."

Addiction is defined by RASS as having a compulsion, need or irrational desire that overrides consequences of their actions.

How can one be sure they do not have an addiction? Just practice self control. Wake up one morning and don't have coffee or don't have a beer with the game, said Taylor.

"Ask yourself these questions: Do I have control? Can I stop?; Or, ask those questions of someone who may have an addiction," said Taylor.

Addictions don't have to be mind altering, either. Watching sports, keeping fit and eating can all be addictive, as can surfing the net, texting or consuming pornography.

But why do people engage in his behaviour? Peer pressure or belonging is a major factor, especially among teenagers, said Taylor..

Many people also choose to self medicate or use substances to forget their problems, even using drugs to socialize or "have fun" says Chang.

"It's important to note kids are like sponges: what they see is what they respond to."

The vast majority of children who fall into an addiction do so because of what they see their parents or guardians doing, she added.

"If you tell a child to be off the computer at ten o'clock, but then you're on the computer till two or three in the morning, they notice that stuff."