Teenagers can be especially susceptible to peer pressure. They are at a point in life when they want independence from their parents, but don’t necessarily have enough life experience to understand the consequences of their actions. Additionally, many adolescents want the approval of their peers. Social acceptance is incredibly important to teenagers, and the pressure to fit in can lead some of them to drink alcohol or use drugs against their better judgment. Although peer pressure and addiction can go hand-in-hand, there is help for adolescents who are struggling with substance abuse.
The Link Between Peer Pressure and Addiction
Some peer pressure can be positive. For example, teens can motivate each other to do better in school or to join a new sports team. Social pressure can even influence teens to decide not to drink or do drugs. However, when adolescents know that their friends are watching, they might engage in riskier behavior than normal. They also might see peers that they look up to drinking or using drugs and want to emulate them. In order to gain respect from their friends, they might make dangerous choices.
While no one intends to develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol, these substances can quickly alter the chemistry of the brain and create dependence. For teens whose brains are still developing, drug use can be especially dangerous. The earlier they begin smoking, drinking, or using drugs, the higher their chance of developing an addiction.
Though teen addiction is dangerous, there is hope for adolescents who are struggling with substance abuse. Many addiction treatment centers offer therapy and counseling specifically for adolescents. At WeRecover, we can connect you with a treatment center in your area that is equipped to treat teen addiction.
Adolescent Substance Abuse
Is teen addiction common? According to the CDC, by 12th grade, about two-thirds of teens have tried alcohol and many have also experimented with drugs. However, not all drug or alcohol use leads to addiction. How can you know if your teenager is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol? Look for the following signs:
- Behavioral changes, like spending time alone or hiding their activities
- Frequent mood swings
- Becoming angry when confronted about their behavior
- Losing interest in their regular activities, like sports
- Physical changes like sudden changes in weight or appearance
- Changes in sleep patterns, such as insomnia or sleeping at odd hours
- New friends and social groups
- Worsening performance in school
If you notice these changes in your teen, first let them know that you care about them and their future. Then, reach out to an addiction treatment center for help. Adolescent substance abuse can be concerning, but the structure and support of a professional treatment program can help your teen to turn their life around.
Find a Treatment Center
If your teenager is struggling with substance abuse, there are adolescent-specific addiction treatment programs that can help them find the road to recovery and begin to heal. WeRecover partners with addiction treatment centers around the country that can help your teen live a happy, healthy life. Some common treatment methods these centers use include:
- Group therapy – Teens can develop a network of support with other recovery-focused peers
- Individual therapy – A licensed therapist can help your teen work through the underlying causes of addiction
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy – This evidence-based treatment encourages teens to develop healthy coping skills
- Holistic treatment methods – Your teen can discover healthy outlets for stress like exercise or meditation
Early intervention is crucial for long-term recovery. Don’t hesitate to get your child the help they need. WeRecover exists to help parents find the right treatment program for their child—learn more and explore your options today.