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The Role of Peer Pressure in Substance Abuse Among Teens

Peer pressure and the teenage years go hand in hand. The teen years of full of drastic changes and awkwardness. For teens to feel a sense of belonging, they may follow what their peers do and say—including using substances. While teens may use substances as just an experiment or as a way to fit into the cool crowd, the impacts of substance use in the teenage years can be felt well into adulthood.

This article will dive deeper into peer pressure in substance abuse. If your son or daughter is feeling the burden of teen peer pressure and experimenting with drugs, now is the time to act. The Berman Center is a premier outpatient mental health center in Atlanta. We offer evidence-based programs and services specifically designed for the unique needs of teenagers. Help your teen find health and happiness and call the Berman Center toll-free right now.

Understanding Peer Pressure Impact

As a parent, you are fully aware of peer pressure in substance abuse. You may have felt that pressure firsthand and may have dabbled with drugs and alcohol “to see what it is like”. Peer pressure in substance abuse is more common than you think. It is estimated that 21 percent of teens who used an illicit drug at least once did so because of peer pressure.

Peer pressure can be obvious and it can also be subtle. In some cases, your teen may feel the pressure to use substances because their peers will view them as “weak” or “lame”. In more subtle ways, peer pressure in substance abuse may just involve having drugs and alcohol out in the open at a friend’s house or social gathering. With the advent of social media, teens can “get the word out” on others who aren’t “cool” with lightning speed.

What Are The Symptoms of Peer Pressure in Substance Abuse?

Do you suspect that your teen may be experimenting with drugs or is already addicted to drugs? Obvious signs include smelling drug odors on their body, breath, or clothes, sudden changes in friends, and the presence of drug paraphernalia in their room. Other signs include the following:

  • Onset of depression or anxiety
  • Changes in attitude and mannerisms
  • Constant feelings of “not belonging”
  • Sudden drop in grades and school performance
  • Loss of interest in hobbies they once enjoyed
  • Becoming more isolated and withdrawn
  • Receiving calls or texts at odd hours

How To Help Your Teen Combat Peer Pressure in Substance Abuse

If your teen seems to be struggling with peer pressure and fear they may be using substances, you must be proactive in helping them veer away from that path. You must have the “tough talk” with your teen about substance use. You don’t have to have one long talk; you can have regular talks that center on the following:

  • Show you care about their health and well-being
  • Express your disapproval of the use of drinking and drugs for those who are underage
  • Set clear expectations about substance use to discourage risky behaviors
  • Empower them with the skills and strategies they need to avoid substance use
  • If you used drugs and alcohol as a teenager, tell your teenager your experiences and the negative impacts it had on your life. You can also prep your teen to handle peer pressure by doing the following:
  • Tell your teen to trust their gut. If they feel something is wrong it is wrong—no matter if their friends are doing it
  • Help them rehearse for pressure situations. If there are situations such as a party where substances might be present, help your teen rehearse responses if they are offered drugs and alcohol
  • If there is a situation where they feel threatened or in danger, tell your teen is completely acceptable to immediately call them and ask for a ride home
  • Tell your teen to focus on the friends who are positive role models and feel the same way they do regarding substance use

Help Your Teen Overcome Addiction With Help From The Berman Center

Having a teen struggle with substance abuse brings feelings of helplessness. If your son or daughter needs help with drug abuse and addiction, the dedicated professionals at The Berman Center are a phone call away. Our evidence-based outpatient treatment programs are designed specifically for the unique needs of teenagers. Our Atlanta drug addiction treatment programs allow close family interaction and allow your teen and family to heal, grow, and create a strong support network that fosters empowerment and growth.Call The Berman Center today and speak to our admissions team to learn how teen therapy in Atlanta can help your teen rise above substance abuse.

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