Dangers of Looking for Acceptance through Drug Use

Dangers of Looking for Acceptance through Drug UseDuring our teenage years we begin the arduous social and emotional process of shaping our identities and forming the methods by which we understand and relate to others. Young people in Chicago seem to highly value individuality, but the desire to fit in almost always trumps other motivating factors. This can be a good thing, as teens learn to work successfully in groups and build deeper, more substantial relationships, but the teenage longing for acceptance often leads teens into peer situations where a herd mentality overwhelms their preferences and will. It is in such situations that teenagers, encouraged by friends with whom they desperately want to fit it, may first experiment with drugs and alcohol.

Peer Influence and Drug Use in Chicago

The social landscape that harbors teenage substance abuse has shifted over the past few years in regard to gender and geography. Gang-related drug use, once largely limited to urban areas, has spread into suburban and even rural communities. Once more common among adolescent males, drug use in recent years has spread rapidly among teenage females. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that in 2002 the number of teenage girls to start using marijuana outnumbered the boys, and the same was reported by the NSDUH in regard to the number of girls abusing prescription drugs in 2009.

Among teens in Chicago many popular social gatherings revolve around drug or alcohol use, and the teenage desire to be accepted in any given crowd or group of friends can break the willpower of even the most upstanding, high-principled adolescent. Parents who wish to limit their child’s participation in such activities must provide their teenager with more than moral prohibitions against substance abuse. Teenagers also need acceptance, affirmation and a community of peers with shared commitments to abstain from such behaviors. Ultimately if a teen feels loved, accepted and understood among family and friends who themselves abstain from substance abuse, that teen is at a considerably lower risk of experimenting with drugs or alcohol. Parents should exert extra energy into creating a secure environment at home while assuring that their child’s friends will not encourage him or her to participate in high-risk activities. This does, at times, mean inserting oneself into the child’s business, but this  is not being nosy. It is being a good parent.

Peer Influence in Rehabilitation and Recovery

In the addiction rehab process peer influence can make or break a patient’s recovery. When treating teenagers for drug and alcohol addiction a toxic rehab environment in which other residents are able to negatively influence the patient can entirely disrupt the recovery process and increase the risk of relapse. Similarly if a teenager has a successful recovery experience but returns to the same social environment from which the addiction arose, relapse is likely. A respect and understanding of peer influence is vital to a lasting recovery in Chicago.

Seeking Help with Drug Abuse or Addiction?

If you fear that you or someone you know has a problem with drugs, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free number. We are available 24 hours a day to address your needs and concerns. Don’t suffer from drug addiction any longer. Call today.