Resources & Education

March 10th, 2016

The Difficult Truth: The Real Reasons Why Kids Turn to Drugs and Alcohol

Female student with pillsAs parents, our most basic instincts are to protect our children, but how can we guard them every minute, of every day, from all of the dangers, temptations, and pressures that they will face?

One of the greatest threats that parents fear is the risk that their son or daughter will find themself in a dangerous situation. Drugs and alcohol can mean deadly consequences for teens, leaving parents desperate to shield their children from exposure to the temptations of substance use. In order to help protect your child from the threat of drugs and alcohol, every parent should understand the underlying reasons why teens experiment with these hazardous substances. Consider the seven most common reasons below.

They are trying to fit in.
Adolescent years can be extremely difficult. As children grow-up they try to learn who they are, and where they belong, seeking acceptance from anyone who will give it to them. For kids who feel like outsiders, all they need to do to belong to a crowd (the drug crowd) is to use. Sadly, too many teens are willing to pay the costly price of admission just to feel accepted.

They are the victims of dangerous peer pressure.
If getting accepted into the drug crowd is easy, getting out can be extremely difficult. Some teens report that they are threatened by their peers when they state that they want to quit using, buying, or dealing. When they don’t know how to break free, they find themselves trapped.

They are self-medicating.
Teens suffering from such mental health conditions as anxiety and depression may not be aware that they have a treatable condition. What they do know is that using drugs or alcohol temporarily helps to ease their symptoms or improve their mood. As a result, they will keep using to continue feeling the positive effects, not knowing that safe and effective treatment options are available.

They see drug use as normal.
For teens whose parents use or abuse drugs or alcohol, they become desensitized to the risks that such substances pose. To them, drugs and alcohol are simply a common tool to get through the day. Even if they are not being exposed to drug use from family or friends, movies, television, and music have glorified the use of drugs and alcohol, which further reinforces to influential minds, that using is an acceptable behavior.

They want a challenge.
Some teens feel bored in their day-to-day lives and are looking for excitement. The thrill of a “life of crime” can offer the challenge and drama they are looking for. The excitement of trying not to get caught, the risk of buying and selling, and even the high they feel when they use, all create excitement in an otherwise mundane life. What they don’t realize, however, is that their life of excitement, could turn deadly.

They are trying to stand out.
For teens that have feelings of inferiority compared to siblings or peers, they look for ways to differentiate themselves and be the best at something. Unfortunately, sometimes to stand out, they have to break the rules, leading them to dangerous behavior.

They are addicted.
The ultimate reason why a teen may not be able to stop using drugs or alcohol may be because he is truly struggling with addiction. Regardless of how he first started, he may feel that he is not able to stop. That means your child needs your help more than ever in order to see his way through his addiction to the other side of recovery.

If your child is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, contact the substance abuse recovery specialists at Horizon Health Services today at (716) 831-1800. Our family and adolescent treatment programs can help your child to develop a custom recovery path, and give you both a chance to start again.

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