It’s official, teen girls now have more problems with drug and alcohol abuse than do teen boys; and they more than likely are using drugs or alcohol for completely different reasons. Additionally, because they don’t often show the same type of behavioral disturbances as do teen boy substance abusers, girls often continue to use for longer at unsafe levels before parents ever know the real extent o the problem.
Firstly, teen girls don’t use drugs and alcohol for the same reason that teen boys do. Teenage boys tend to use drugs and alcohol recreationally, and use for the excitement, fun and experimentation that drugs promise. Girls are far more likely to take drugs or alcohol as a way to combat low self esteem, to gain self confidence in a group, to attract the attention of older teen boys who also use, and to use drugs as a way to combat feelings of depression and anxiety.
Girls suffer more from drug abuse
Unfortunately, teen girls also seem to be uniquely affected by their drug use, and teen girls (already at a higher risk for depression than teen boys) if using and abusing drugs or alcohol are two and a half times more likely to experience clinical depression. They are also far more likely to experience an unwanted pregnancy, contract an STD and also to use drugs for properties such as weight loss.
The problem with pills
Teen girls are especially attracted to prescription pills, attracted by the ease of access, the perception of safety, and the perception of positive side effects (decreased anxiety and weight loss). With some prescription pain killers every bit as addictive as heroin, this is problematic.
Additionally, teen girls tend to abuse for longer on average before receiving intervention and professional help. Teen boys using drugs and alcohol are more likely to get in trouble at school, more likely to get into fights or problems with the law, or more likely to have a DUI; while teen girl users tend to avoid most of these problems. The problem is that without some of these obvious signs of use, parents and teachers remain unaware of the level of use, and are unable to intervene in a timely manner.