Peer Pressure and Drug Use

While it may seem as if drug use is under control, each day someone tries drugs for the first time and becomes addicted. If we know that drugs are bad for us, then why do we continue to insist on getting involved in them? It cannot be stressed enough how important it is for parents to talk to their children. The problem with today’s children and teens lies in the fact that many parents work full time jobs. We no longer live in a world where only one parent leaves for work in the morning. Rather, now we have to contend with both parents working (sometimes two full-time jobs). So, then if this is the case- who is watching the kids? Exactly.

It starts off innocently enough. A child or teenager is hanging out with their friends at someone’s house or after school hours when suddenly someone produces a pack of cigarettes. Before long, the cigarettes are passed out and everyone is taking a drag. But the question still remains: “Why do kids feel the need to try drugs or alcohol?” Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that often times, children witness their parents doing things that they shouldn’t be doing such as drinking alcohol or smoking in front of them.

A different type of situation that many teens find themselves in where they are faced with the decision to do drugs and/or alcohol are at parties. It is really the parent’s responsibility (not the school’s) to sit down with their child and talk to them face-to-face about the inherent dangers of doing drugs and drinking alcohol. There is a reason why there are age restrictions on when you are legally allowed to purchase cigarettes and alcohol. However, despite this fact, kids still find loopholes and ways of getting around it. For some, this temporary rebellion against their parents can have catastrophic setbacks. Year after year, kids become embroiled in drugs. Some join drug gangs and still others learn an even harder lesson when accidental overdoses lead to premature death.

Schools have tried to take the initiative to offset drug use among the youth by providing mandatory classes on the dangers of drug use but still the problem remains. Ultimately, the only thing that seems to curtail drug use and alcoholism is early intervention by parents who are not only there for their kids but who care enough to talk to them about the dangers behind drug and alcohol abuse. There will eventually come a point in a child’s life when what their parents say to them won’t carry nearly as much weight. If we can even help just one child know not only the difference between right and wrong but also help them to have the confidence and strength of character to refuse drugs and alcohol when offered, then we will truly be making headway. Until then, all we can do is continue to be shining examples of how mature adults should behave and hope for the best.

9 Reasons Why People Abuse Drugs and Alcohol

1. People suffering from anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression or other mental illnesses use drugs and alcohol to ease their suffering.

Mental illness is such a burden for some people they will try just about anything to relieve the pain. Drugs or alcohol can temporarily make that person feel ‘normal’ again, like they remember feeling in the past. Mental illness is scary for the individual experiencing it, so they are afraid to go to a doctor or family member for help and instead turn to drugs or alcohol to try and solve the problem on their own.

2. People see family members, friends, role models or entertainers using drugs and rationalize that they can too.

As teenagers and young adults, it’s very easy to think that drug and alcohol use can be handled and controlled, especially if they see others they know doing the same thing. It can become easy to rationalize like: ‘hey my friend’s been doing this for a couple years and he seems fine to me.’ Entertainment and music is full of drug references and that can add to the rationalization that drug use is OK sometimes. Individuals with a family history of drug or alcohol abuse are far more likely to develop an addiction than an individual with no family background of addiction.

3. People become bored and think drugs will help.

Boredom is a big factor in drug abuse in teens and young adults. People in this age bracket generally don’t have bills, jobs and all the stresses that go along with adulthood. So it’s easier to become bored and want to try something new and exciting. Drug use is often thought of as a way to escape the mundane world and enter an altered reality.

4. People think drugs will help relieve stress.

Our modern world is full of new strains and stresses that humans have never experienced in the past. Although many things in life are now easier than ever, the burdens are also very high. Simply having a family, maintaining a household, and holding a job are huge stress factors. Some drugs are viewed as a means of relaxation – a way to calm the storm in your mind. Although drugs can be very effective at doing that, there can be serious side effects.

5. People figure if a drug is prescribed by a doctor, it must be ok.

It is easy for an individual to rationalize using a drug because it came from a doctor. The thinking goes like this ‘it was prescribed to someone I know for the same problem I am having, so it makes sense it should work for me too.’ The dangerous part about this rationalization is that this can lead to mixing of drugs, overdose, unintended side effects and/or dependency.

6. People get physically injured and unintentionally get hooked on prescribed drugs.

The people at risk for this are physical laborers, elderly, and anyone with pre-existing injuries. Some people are born with chronic pain due to deformities – others get injured. Doctors then prescribe drugs for what they are intended for and a person can quickly build a dependency. Especially if that drug is making them feel all better, they rationalize that it must be OK to keep taking the drug, which can result in dependency.

7. People use drugs to cover painful memories in their past.

Many people go through extremely traumatic events in their life, many times as children, and turn to drugs to cover the horrible memories. Children are extremely susceptible to trauma, whether physically or emotionally, and those feelings can haunt them into their adulthood. These people could benefit from working with psychologists to help repair their damaged mind. Drugs usually only deepen the issue.

8. People think drugs will help them fit in.

When hanging out with friends, it’s easy for people to want to fit in and seem like one of the crew. If others are drinking or doing drugs, it’s very likely for someone to fall into that trap. Peer pressure can be a tremendous force causing someone to try things they would normally not try on their own.

9. People chase the high they once experienced.

Ask anyone who has tried drugs and they will tell you that it is one of the best feelings of their life. The highs from drugs are so much more extreme than regular everyday joys because most drugs overload the pleasure sensors in your brain. Once a person feels this extreme pleasure, it’s common for that person to become hooked on a drug simply chasing the initial high they once felt. As we all know, this is a vicious cycle that is extremely difficult to break. The highs are equally as powerful as the lows felt when coming off of the drugs.

How Drug Detox Can Help Improve Relationships

Alcohol and drug abuse is the root cause of many problems in an individual’s life. From developing severe mental health issues and physical troubles to encountering serious challenges in one’s relationships, abuse of illegal substances is linked with innumerable adverse effects.

It is a widely known fact that long-term, committed relationships and substance abuse do not go together. Having a partner who is engaged in drinking or abusing drugs can be an insurmountable challenge, with the negative effects rippling and influencing all the near and dear ones. In worst cases, substance abuse problem can take a heavy toll by causing an emotional distance between the partners, which eventually results in frequent fights and violence at home.

Sadly, a person fighting substance abuse is deprived of the emotional connect with his or her partner resulting in the loss of trust and affection. Overall, such couples have a tough time dealing with this downward spiral, wherein a person drinks or uses drugs to reduce tension arising out of frequent conflicts, and vice versa.

Substance abuse and impact on relationships

A person abusing drugs is very likely to have a poor sex drive and may fail to maintain a healthy sexual relationship. This is because when someone is addicted to any substance, there is no room left for anything else. Some of the telltale signs that the substance abuse problem is negatively affecting one’s relationships are:

  • Not taking care of responsibilities or staying out late.
  • Rising instances of domestic violence.
  • Isolating from friends and relatives to hide the drug or alcohol problem.
  • Experiencing financial problems.

When it comes to intimate relationships, believing that one can prevent problems by avoiding sexual relationships post sobriety is incorrect. A complete recovery is possible only when a person gets enough love and care from his or her partner. Since intimate relationships are considered one of the most rewarding parts of human existence, a lack of it can leave people feeling unwanted and incomplete.

For a person recovering from an addiction, lack of sexual relationships might lead him or her to revisit the places that had triggered drug or alcohol abuse.

How detox can be helpful in restoring relationships

When a person fighting substance abuse enters a detox program, he or she needs to work harder to recover from the addiction and regain his or her ability to enjoy fruitful relationships with the loved ones. While undergoing treatment, it is important for a person to not just focus on maintaining sobriety but also reshape his or her habits and old attitudes that could act as a barrier to his or her interpersonal or intimate relationships.

While detoxification might pave the way for a person’s recover from an addiction, it is important to ensure that it also brings back his or her sexual drive. With low self-esteem and confidence, it becomes difficult for the recovering individual to even think about any personal relationship. Undergoing a detox program can be a great help in gaining enough confidence to deal with relationship problems.

Keeping a Family Drug-Free

The drug problem today is a very different problem than it was twenty years ago. Every day, in the US alone, more than 7000 people try drugs for the very first time. Most of those new users are young people. Only one in five persons in this country who need drug addiction treatment ever receive it, and typical drug rehab programs do not have very good success rates.

According to the American Cancer Society there are about 450,000 tobacco smokers In the US alone.

We hear these kinds of alarming statistics often, but the time comes when facing the drug dealer is something with which every young person must deal. It’s at that point we hope and pray that his or her teachings on the topics of drugs and their dangerous effects will be sufficient to keep on the straight and narrow. Those teachings begin at home. And for many years, the most important lessons will also, be from the home. Good habits and bad habits can be learned right in the family. Sometimes, the parents are really the kid’s worst enemy when it comes to the area of drug abuse.

But for most, lessons learned at home will help guide them in a pro-survival direction.

Teaching our sons and daughters about drugs before the drug dealers and the drug culture gets to them is imperative.

Here are some points to watch to help keep the family drug-free:

Ensure the kids know that drug abuse is not acceptable in any way.

You would be amazed at how often the use of illegal drugs is actually promoted by parents. I’m not necessarily talking about smoking weed in front of the toddlers, although that happens alarmingly often. But your kids have to know that you completely disapprove of drug abuse among adults or among children. It is very important to be completely clear on this. It makes a difference.

But Dad relating “Fond Memories” of when he used to get high and all the fun and funny things he did while stoned are almost as bad as offering the drug directly to the child. Children naturally try to emulate their fathers and mothers. That’s how they learn most of what they know about the world and what is expected of them.

Point out the times and places where various media attempt to normalize drug abuse.

Movies and television shows are notorious these days for showing marijuana use or heavy drinking as a normal aspect of being a young person in the 21st century. Whether it’s a comedy or drama or action film, it’s often played up as expected that the cooler youngsters brought the alcohol to the party. It is made to look like the adults were the clueless ones and the kids, getting high, know the world much more clearly.

While these influences are everywhere and they get more exposure to the kid that do parents, they don’t carry nearly the weight you do. When these things come up on the TV, don’t just laugh with everyone else, pause it or mute it and say, “There, did you see the way they’re making drug use and under-age drinking look cool?”

They don’t see it. They can’t be expected to recognize it. The alcohol and tobacco companies rely on their ignorance and on their naiveté.

Don’t leave your kids open to these influences. If these attempts to sway children and young adults into the direction of drug and alcohol abuse are noticed and recognized by all, they lose their effectiveness and do more to wise the kid up than to persuade.