There is no single reason why teenagers use drugs or alcohol. The teenage years are often a time to explore and learn more about themselves as they approach adulthood. Often, this involves experimenting and testing their boundaries. The desire to do something new or risky is a normal part of teenage development.
It’s important that you, as a parent, understand these reasons and talk to your children about the dangers of drinking and doing drugs. But here are some of the core issues and influences behind the behaviour of teenage drug and alcohol use.
- Relieve boredom
Teenagers who can’t tolerate being alone, have trouble keeping themselves occupied or crave excitement are prime candidates for substance use. Not only do alcohol and drugs give them something to do, but those substances help fill the internal void they feel.
- Feel good
Drugs and alcohol work quickly. The initial effects feel really good. Teenagers turn to drug use because they see it as a short-term shortcut to happiness.
- Forget their troubles and relax
Different rebellious teenagers choose different substances to use, based on their personalities. Alcohol is the drug of choice for the angry teenager because it frees him to behave aggressively. Some teenagers abuse prescription medicine to party and get high. The reasons for teenage drug-use are as complex as teenagers themselves.
- Ease their pain
When teenagers are unhappy and can’t find a healthy outlet for their frustration or a trusted confidant, they may turn to chemicals for solace. The often rough teenage years can take an emotional toll on children, sometimes even causing depression, so when teenagers are given a chance to take something to make them feel better, many can’t resist.
- Show their independence
Many shy teenagers who lack confidence report that they’ll do things under the influence of alcohol or drugs that they might not otherwise. This is part of the appeal of drugs and alcohol even for relatively self-confident teenagers.
- Belong to a specific group
Sometimes friends urge one another to have a drink or smoke dagga, but it’s just as common for teenagers to start trying a substance because it’s readily available and they see all their friends enjoying it. In their minds, they see drug use as a part of the normal teenage experience.
Perhaps the most avoidable cause of substance use is inaccurate information about drugs and alcohol. Nearly every teenager has friends who claim to be experts on various recreational substances, and they’re happy to assure them that the risks are minimal. Educate your teenagers about drug use, so they get the real facts about the dangers of drug use.
Free State Care in Action is there to assist both the teenagers and their parents. Social workers can assist teenagers through information sessions on substance abuse that is held in each community. The teenager already involved in substance abuse can be assisted through therapy and other methods of intervention assisting the teenager in leading a sober life. Severe cases can be referred to rehabilitation centres countrywide. Free State Care in Action provide information and guidance to parents of teenagers. Parents are also supported in the process of addressing their child’s substance abuse. Call Free State Care in Action at 051-4446143 to obtain more information on help available.