As a teenager who has tried drugs, you may not think you have a problem or you may be starting to worry that you have an addiction. Whatever the case may be, if you’re wondering why youth peer pressure was enough to spur your drug use, then you need to understand how peer pressure can influence you. Then, reach out for the substance use disorder treatment you need to move past this youth peer pressure and begin living a healthy, happy life.
The Risk Versus the Reward of Youth Peer Pressure
According to NIDA for Teens, many teens consider risk versus reward before participating in any activity due to youth peer pressure. What that means is that in each situation there is a risk, like taking a drug and becoming ill, and the potential for reward, like being fine after taking the drug and being better friends with a group of people you’re interested in knowing.
Adults are in a position where they may find that the risk of becoming ill is enough to make the reward unimportant; however, teens are more likely to ignore the risk. That could be due to wanting to impress friends or wanting to look cool, but that’s what does put you in danger. Once substance abuse begins, there might be a need for teen treatment programs to help get them back on track.
The Experimental Years
The teenage years are also years of experimentation. During this time, many teens try different activities, whether they be drug use, a new sport, or a new hobby, to see what they want to do and where they want their lives to go.
According to Project Know, during this time, you may also feel a need to exert your independence. Drug use is one way some people choose to do so. There are several reasons peer pressure can be dangerous during this time:
- When your friends do drugs with no visible harm coming to them, it can make you feel like it’s safe. Drugs affect each person differently, so what does little damage to someone else could result in immense pain and suffering for you.
- Your friends provide you with easy access to drugs you otherwise may not be able to get, so turning it down may seem offensive or could make you seem uncool. Unfortunately, even one try of a drug could be enough to start an addiction.
- Your peers may look like they’re having fun or that the drugs give them pleasure. Seeing this, you could feel that you’ll have the same outcome. Again, not all people react the same to drugs; some people may feel good, while others may have negative side effects.
A Craving for Approval
Probably one of the main reasons youth peer pressure is so dangerous is that young people tend to crave approval from various sources including their friends.
They may take a drug they do not want because of fearing rejection from their peers or not wanting to get made fun of. According to Project Know, teens may also do drugs to:
- Avoid being the odd person out
- Appear like an adult
- Appear in control
- Keep a friend or impress a friend
- Avoid having to get out of an awkward situation
All these reasons point to why peer pressure is so dangerous to teenagers. Once an addiction takes hold, it needs to be treated. Teens or parents who know there is a problem can contact us at any time. Destinations To Recovery can help you learn about your options, so you can get out of a bad situation before serious consequences occur.
- NIDA for Teens, Why Does Peer Pressure Influence Teens To Try Drugs?, Sara Bellum, May 08, 2012, http://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/why-does-peer-pressure-influence-teens-try-drugs
- (2)Project Know, Drugs and Alcohol, ProjectKnow, http://www.projectknow.com/research/drugs-and-alcohol/