Drug abuse at any age is never healthy, but it is especially unhealthy for adolescent children. Not only is it illegal, but drug abuse in teens can cause permanent damage to their developing minds and bodies. Substance abuse can ruin a person’s life before it has hardly begun, and influence them to make poor decisions.
With so many risks, why do teenagers abuse drugs anyway? Why do some knowingly take the risks or refuse to seek help that is readily available?
There are various reasons for different individuals, but many are similar. For some, drugs are a gateway to maintain relationships to a community. For others, it is a coping mechanism the same way as it is for adults. But for some teenagers, there is a thrill to breaking the rules and living life on the edge.
To Fit In
Adolescence has proven to be one of the most difficult phases of growing up, with emotional instability and developing hormones. Some teenagers may lose friends or feel left out of social activities. Group activities and a sense of belonging are particularly important to teenagers as they reach adulthood.
This is because humans are animals that thrive and live off of social interaction. Very few can live healthy, solitary lives and teenagers are among the best examples of this type of behavior. They feel the need to fit in with a common interest, be it a hobby, sport, class, or group activity.
Unfortunately, sometimes these interests tend to be drugs. Many teenagers may find themselves in the wrong crowd and only associate through the common abuse of drugs and alcohol. They may even be fully aware that what they are doing is wrong but continue for the need of belonging.
To Feel and Do Better
There are many common reasons that people abuse drugs, and teenagers are no different. With the many hurdles of growing up as a teenager, many often feel depressed, lost, or confused. Just like adults, teenagers may turn to drugs for answers or a means of escape from real life.
In some cases, drugs may make a person feel superior or better about themselves. They may inspire the confidence they lack or instill a feeling of instant gratification. During such a complicated time period, substance abuse may seem like the easiest solution.
As adults, we may look back at our life as a teenager with shame. Perhaps we made choices we regret, or were “stupid” and did not know better. In some cases, as teenagers, we were simply bored. For teenagers today, this is still the case.
In adolescence, the brain undergoes a crucial and intense development period. Young teens learn and develop strong emotional feelings and how to handle them, and encounter many unfamiliar experiences. To cope with these feelings, they may knowingly make irrational or wild choices to entertain or out of sheer boredom. Others find thrill in rebellion and breaking the rules, or are curious about what is considered forbidden.
While it is important to discipline teenagers, it is also important to educate them about the dangers and risks of drugs. Giving support in such an intricate time of life is critical in ensuring healthy growth. Finally, it is imperative to let your child know they have your support and love as they grow up.
If you or a loved one know a teenager struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, contact a local Treatment & Rehab alternative in Tennessee. You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment center alternatives, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Alternative Recovery Program or our Long Term Alternative Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.