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How to deal with peer pressure, a key risk factor for drug abuse in teens

Who doesn’t wish to be accepted and admired by others? But the desire to be admired by all is particularly strong in teenagers. As social beings, the psychological need to connect and control is quite prevalent among human beings. Though such a feeling plays a pivotal role in building familial bonds, it also renders people susceptible to both good and bad peer pressure.

Compared to other situations in real life, peer pressure is an extremely concerning matter in the context of drug abuse. In many situations, it becomes difficult to stand up for one’s beliefs, especially when a group of friends compels him or her to indulge in uncomfortable and unhealthy things, like smoking marijuana, stealing prescription pills from medicine cabinets, abusing illicit drugs, etc.

Different faces of peer pressure among teenagers

Usually, peer pressure manifests in the forms of all shapes and sizes. While people of all age groups experience it in their daily lives, the challenges of peer pressure are felt the most during the adolescence phase. A person is coerced through peer pressure to make certain choices that have the potential to disrupt life in a massive way.

In fact, many times, people give in to peer pressure even though they have the right to resist by saying no and walking away. Among all, one of the toughest challenge is to resist peer pressure to use drugs due to the following factors:

  • Fear of getting rejected by others.
  • Wish to be liked and not made fun of.
  • Avoid losing a friend or hurting someone’s feelings.
  • Uncertain about the way to get away from such situations.

Some teenagers, who have experienced neglect or abuse during childhood, often display the need to be a part of the popular friend circles and seek their approval. Individuals who display such behaviors are more prone to be influenced by peer pressure to use drugs and other substances.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) had conducted a study that peeked into the brains of both adolescents and adults. The study entailed monitoring the participant’s brains and examining the risk-taking behavior of a group of adults vs. a group of teenagers who were driving a motor vehicle.

The group of teenagers displayed a tendency to take risks, e.g., speeding through yellow lights especially when observed by their peers. On the contrary, adults did not display risk-taking behaviors like the teenagers in the same scenario. The study shows that when it comes to risks and rewards of particular actions and behaviors, the brains of teenagers are more likely to take a riskier decision with very little regard for the associated risks. Unlike the teenagers, adults tend to weigh both risks and rewards while making a decision.

Given the repercussions of drugs on the young brains still in the process of becoming matured, it is important for adolescents to resist any kind of pressure to indulge in drug abuse. It is not in their best interest and they may not be able to weigh the long-term consequences of their actions. Here are some of the effective ways to say no and take control of one’s choices:

  • Maintain a firm and straight posture.
  • Maintain eye contact and convey the feelings.
  • Do not make excuses and stand up for oneself.

Lead a drug-free life

For some individuals, the need to impress others can be too powerful than the fear of indulging in risky activities, such as abusing illicit drugs and substances. However, if an individual surrenders to the urge of abusing drugs, it is very likely that his or her ability to resist drugs in the future will collapselike a pack of cards.

During the critical phase of adolescence, parents can play a key role in ameliorating teenagers by spreading awareness on the repercussions of drugs. A regular candid talk with growing children can keep all kinds of fears related to drugs and other risky behaviors at bay.

If you or your loved one has developed drug addiction, it is advisable to seek professional help. The Florida Drug Addiction Helpline assists in accessing the finest addiction treatment centers in Florida that specialize in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-982-2401 to know more about the drug rehabilitation centers in Florida.