Teenage Drug Addiction: Causes & Solutions

  • 1

 Being a teenager is a very fascinating and interesting experience at the same time. It is a period where we feel like life is just starting, simply because this is the moment when we get to learn a lot about being an adult.

However, most teens lose their way and find themselves in all wrong directions and places. Mostly, every teen gets to try out “fun” stuff like smoking and drinking, and mostly yes, SEX.

Not that it is a bad thing to try out and experience these things. It is normal. The worst part comes when we lose control over these things and get so addicted to inappropriate experiences and can’t find a way out.


1. Peer pressure

Peer pressure often comes as the devil in sheep’s clothing. The “cool kid” who says, “Hey, it’s just weed” or “it’s my dad’s prescription, so of course it’s safe!” Or the popular girl who’s hosting a party while her parents are out of town, encouraging everyone to “drink up” and just have fun – after all, who’s going to know if no one tells?


2. To look and feel “grown-up”

Adolescents often want to be treated like adults. “I’m not a kid anymore” is a frequent statement, especially when they want privileges that come with age – like using alcohol. It’s no surprise that they’re drawn to things that make them feel like an adult – older, more mature, more sophisticated. Drinking, smoking, and drug use can all boost that feeling; “Hey, look at me, I’m all grown up now.” With those behaviours comes the illusion that one is truly mature – and thus can handle anything. Sadly, one bad incident can quickly shatter it and remind them just how young and vulnerable they still are. But until such an event, they naively believe that “bad things” happen only to “other kids.” They overestimate their maturity and underestimate their vulnerability.


3. Imitating parents’ behaviour

Teens that grow up with parents who abuse alcohol or drugs often follow suit. After all, that’s what they know and what they’ve learned. Not to mention, if one or both parents are actively using they often have easy access as well. Not only does the apple often not fall far from the tree, kids often mimic their parents’ behaviours – both good and bad.

Granted, some kids will do the very opposite and shun all substances, wanting to avoid the very thing that ruined their parents’ lives or led to traumatic childhood experiences, such as abuse or neglect.


4. Curiosity

The desire to find out what it feels like to get drunk or high – “just this once,” of course – can be very strong. Not to mention, “Everybody experiments – don’t they?” can be a very compelling rationale. Unfortunately, far too many kids end up in alcohol or drug rehab treatment down the road due to some ill-fated need to satisfy their curiosity.


5. Boredom

It’s been said that “idle hands are the devil’s tools” – and similarly, that an “idle mind is the devil’s playground.” In other words, boredom can quickly get anyone – and especially a restless teen – into all sorts of trouble. It’s even worse for teens who have bored friends. Passing the time with a few beers or a few hits with friends (or even alone) is often a slippery slope to addiction.


6. Rebellion

Teens like to assert their budding maturity and test the limits with their parents. Those with nagging, overprotective, or strict parents often lash out in a passive-aggressive manner. Rather than talking to mom and dad about their frustrations, such as what they perceive as overly strict rules, religious hypocrisy, or constant nagging, they may rebel by using alcohol or drugs — especially if they know that doing so will make their parents angry or embarrassed.


7. Ignorance

Let’s face it, most teens don’t know what’s good for them and what’s not. Not because they’re not bright, but because they simply don’t have enough information or experience. Experimenting with alcohol or drugs often seems innocent enough– in fact, it’s often regarded as a sort of adolescent “rite of passage.” Many teens feel entitled to experiment at this age, as if they’re expected to do so and therefore should do so. What many don’t realize is that it’s neither innocent nor harmless.


8. To have fun

Getting drunk or high with friends sounds fun — in the moment. What isn’t fun about spending time with friends, sharing an intensely pleasurable drug-induced euphoria or the disinhibiting effects of alcohol? The silliness, the slurred words, the stumbling, the bizarre behaviour – all of those things can be very entertaining and make for great stories the next day or down the road. Of course, it’s all just good old teenage fun – until someone is seriously injured, has to face a judge, or winds up on a cold slab in a morgue.


If you are a teen and passing through drug addiction, there is still hope for you to get passed this and live a normal life again…….


1. Set a goal to quit.

 To beat drug addiction, you need to set a goal to quit. You may not be able to do it all at once, but setting the goal will help you chart your next steps.


2. Make a list of the harmful effects of your addiction.

 Writing down a specific list of the ways in which your addiction is negatively impacting your life can give you a jumpstart toward changing your behaviour. Rather than framing the addictions effect in general terms (“It’s destroying my life” or “I’m not reaching my potential”), write down the ways that your individual life has changed since your addiction began. Seeing it all written down on paper might be jarring, but having the list will help you through the tough steps to come.


3. Write down how you feel physically.

 You know that you are addicted if you experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using. Withdrawal symptoms are the opposite of how the drug makes you feel when you are under the influence. If you feel energized when you are high, then you feel extremely tired and groggy when you are in withdrawal. If you feel relaxed and happy when you are high, then you experience intense anxiety and agitation when you are in withdrawal. You may feel sick when you try to stop using, and you need to keep using to feel normal.


4. Start seeing a counsellor.

As with many treatment programs that focus on chemical addiction, successful treatment includes individual and group counselling. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you identify the thought patterns that keep you stuck in the cycle of drug use.


5. Be open to getting help for different aspects of life.

 In order to beat drug addiction, you will need help in many different parts of your life. This is because drug addiction profoundly affects every aspect of your life. Be ready to seek help for your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.


6. Be honest with yourself.

Another part of breaking old habits is to practice uncompromising honesty with yourself about where you go and who you interact with.


7. Be patient.

 Recognize that, beyond the physical cravings for the drug, you might have emotional connections and ties. You might yearn for the way things used to be. Know that it takes time to adjust, and you can and will adjust if you stick to your plan for recovery.


8. Create a plan for living without drugs.

 This plan will involve how to manage temptations and cravings when they occur, how to deal with boredom and discouragement, and learning how to meet responsibilities that have been neglected. Living without drugs is a lifestyle


9. Avoid places and people associated with drugs or drink.

Don’t visit the places where you used to obtain or use drugs. Don’t associate with the people who were your drinking buddies.


10. Focus on building a new life.

Once the worst has passed, and your body and mind are no longer consumed by withdrawal, spend your time building the life you want to live. Nourish your relationships with the people you love, work hard at your job, and throw yourself into hobbies and past times that are meaningful to you.

Don’t let relapse be the end of the road. It’s very common to slip when you are first overcoming an addiction. If you end up taking drugs after your quit date, address the issue right away before it spirals out of control. If you end up having a full-blown relapse, don’t be hard on yourself. You can still do this. Try to figure out what went wrong and start the process again. No matter how long it takes to finally beat this, it’s completely worth the struggle.