We all know that teenagers and even younger adolescents face a lot of peer pressure–to look the “right” way, dress the “right” way, and act the “right” way if you want to fit in. Some of the most serious forms of peer pressure include sexual pressuring and the pressure to drink and do drugs. Peer pressure and teenage drug use go hand in hand.
Doing the things peers deem cool can be incredibly hard to resist, even if you really don’t want to do the things your friends are doing or you know they are risky. And it’s worse for teens because research has shown that in comparison to adults, they are much more likely to make risky decisions in an attempt to impress their friends.
The Reasons Teenagers Make Risky Decisions
There happens to be a scientific reason that teens often make more risky decisions; our brains don’t finish developing until our mid-20’s and as a result, younger brains are far more influenced by reward than by risk. To put it more simply, teenagers are significantly more likely to do something potentially dangerous without thinking about the consequences. And with drugs, those consequences can be incredibly severe—even life-threatening.Read more: Teen and Adolescent Rehab
Different kinds of peer pressure for teenagers using drugs
Most of the time when we think about peer pressure for teenagers using drugs, the scenario is pretty much the same — they are teased or otherwise harassed by the group if they aren’t interested in the activity taking place like drinking, smoking, or using hard drugs.
Below are some of the types of pressures that teens might face.
If a teen is around a group of peers who are all doing drugs, there is automatically pressure for them to join in the activity if they want to feel like they fit in. Otherwise, they face real or imagined exclusion by refusing to go along with the flow. The above scenario is an example of this.
Because the teens in the above example tease the person who refuses, it is not only group pressure but verbal pressure. When peers try to talk their friends into doing drugs, there are a number of angles they can take—shaming, isolation, threatening, and even giving them reasons why they should partake and downplay the risks.
This kind of pressure has always existed. If a teen is around people who are all acting a certain way or doing the same thing, it’s natural to feel like an outcast if they don’t join in. Today, this kind of pressure has been made even worse by social media, because teens aren’t shy about posting pictures and status updates describing and sometimes even showing their exploits with drugs and alcohol. For teens trying to avoid this kind of behavior, now you don’t even have to be in the same physical space to feel pressured to join in.
If you think a teenager you know is using drugs, peer pressure could be the cause. Call us for information about how to help your loved one seek treatment and avoid life-long dangers.
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