Being a young adult or teen is rough! In fact, it can often be considered the most difficult period in a person’s life. Not only does this time create vulnerabilities but it is also a time of self-discovery and experimentation. Many teens and young adults will find themselves trying drugs and alcohol; here are the top 7 reasons why.
1. Peer Pressure
This force is incredibly powerful no matter what part of life you are in. During adolescence, it seems to be worse.
Teens are trying to see where they fit in and the desire to be accepted is paramount in their lives. Saying no to peers can have consequences that bring a good deal of pain. Some teens will be teased or laughed at. Others will deal with bullying and complete rejection.
Many teens and young adults will find themselves making choices they wouldn’t have otherwise done all because of peer pressure. Having an open dialogue of communication with your teen is crucial for this time period. Your teen needs to know that they can talk to you about anything, no matter the severity.
2. Following in the Parent’s Footsteps
If teens are growing up with a parent who abuses drugs and alcohol, they are more likely to join in as well. When both parents are in active addiction, the teenager often has easy access to the alcohol and drugs.
Kids mimic their parents’ behavior; good and bad. There are of course the kids who decide to the do the opposite and walk away from all substances, but this is rare. Often, it comes on the heels of traumatic childhood experiences that propel them to make a better life for themselves.
To counteract this temptation, the best thing that parents can do is be a good example. If you are battling an addiction, get help right away. Show your children that drugs and alcohol are not worth ruining your life over.
Boredom can get the best of anyone, not just young adults. The problem is compounded because today’s teens are constantly being entertained and engaged. Between the amount of electronics and constant stimulation, having moments of boredom can be more than they can bear.
A restless young person often attracts bored friends. When these groups get together, it can seem wise to pass the time with a few hits or a few beers. This starts the road to addiction.
The best way to help a teen avoid boredom is to encourage extra-curricular activities. After-school sports and music lessons are a great way to keep teens busy and doing things they love. In addition, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities that will help your child think about others and avoid addiction.
Teens love to push the limits with parents. It is part of their ever-changing maturity. When parents are nagging, strict or overprotective, it can seem like the child’s response is to be passive-aggressive.
Instead of discussing issues with parents, teens will often rebel against what is required of them. Often, this comes in the form of using drugs and alcohol. They know that this will cause anger or embarrassment in their parents and that is exactly what they hope for. In return, they end up leading themselves to a road of addiction.
As earlier, the best cure for this is to build a solid relationship with your children so they don’t feel the need to rebel. If they know that you love them and only want what is best, they will be more inclined to follow your suggestions. They need to feel like they have a voice in your relationship.
It’s true! Kids don’t have a clue what is best for them. It isn’t a lack of intelligence that stops them, but they just don’t have enough life experience.
To many young adults, experimenting with drugs and alcohol seems innocent. Many of them assume that it is just part of growing up. To them, everyone appears to be enjoying these substances and they are missing out.
What they aren’t aware of yet is the vomiting that comes from drinking or the hangovers in the morning. They don’t understand the guilt and shame that follow or the fear of using a dirty needle after the fact. They can’t look ahead to see how sitting in a jail cell after a drunken driving crash is going to feel. Very quickly, their ignorance can be destroyed.
Spend time discussing the consequences of choosing drugs and alcohol. Counteract that with the rewards that come from doing what is right instead like getting good grades and excelling at sports. Allow them to discuss with you what their perceptions are about these substances so you can get a better grasp on their ignorance.
6. Having a Good Time
For teens and college students, getting drunk or high seems like a pretty good time. The euphoria and lack of control can seem quite desirable when others are doing it. Laughing at friends who slur their speech or stumble around the house can often be a good way to spend time with friends.
Again, this one-track mind of having fun is the same mind that ignores the potential consequences. Standing in front of a judge or visiting a friend’s gravesite isn’t as much fun, but can often be the consequence of these “parties”. Have a conversation with your children about ways to have a good time that won’t hinder their life in the future.
If your teenager, or college-aged child suffers from a large amount of emotional pain, they will be more susceptible to alcohol and drug use. This serves a way for them to self-medicate and avoid the negative feelings.
Getting drunk or high will temporarily ease the pain they are feeling. It provides a way to escape, even for a short time. While this seems to fix the problem at the time, it can lead to more consequences and emotional pain.
It begins a vicious cycle of using to escape and then feeling shame and guilt afterward. To deal with the shame and guilt, the young person will once again use to avoid the feelings. This cycle goes on and on until the teen decides to break it.
Spend time talking with your teen, and continue those conversations well past their 18th birthday. Express the dangers of drugs and alcohol to them, but don’t lecture. Talk openly and honestly in a way that allows them to feel like a peer with you. Allow them the chance to share their vulnerabilities with you while you listen openly.
It is important that you keep these lines of communication open at all times. That way, if they are in trouble and need to talk with you, they will feel comfortable. This honest relationship will allow them to avoid dangerous steps in life that tend to destroy many young people.
Contact Clearbrook If You Are Addicted To Drugs And Alcohol
If you or your loved one is currently struggling with substance abuse, help is available.
For 45 years, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been providing quality and effective care to the chemically dependent person, while offering support services to affected family members.
Getting the help you need is crucial, now more than ever. Please contact our Admissions Specialists today and see how we can help you.