Teenagers that struggle with severe emotional problems tend to turn to drug or alcohol use to be able to manage the difficult or painful feelings. They’re not too different from adults in this manner, but because their adolescent brains are still in their developmental stages, “self-medicating” like this can be a lot more problematic.
Substance abuse might help alleviate mental health issues like anxiety, irritability, negative thoughts, and hopelessness in the short term, but it can exacerbate them in the long term, which often results in dependence or abuse. Substance abuse can escalate from simple experimentation to a serious disorder a lot faster in teens as compared to adults.
According to a life coach, here are some reasons that might contribute to teenage substance abuse:
Bullying or cyberbullying
Bullying can have a serious impact on a teen’s mental health. The feelings of rejection combined with abusive language can shatter their self-esteem and make them fear social interactions. The constant onslaught of hurtful words and actions can make it difficult for teens to go about their everyday lives, resulting in drug use to feel better.
Low grades can be worrying for a student, especially if they have strict parents. If your teen is too afraid to be open about their struggles in school or believes they’re incapable of trying harder or doing better, they might become depressed and hopeless and start doing drugs to combat those feelings.
Teens with low self-esteem will do almost anything to feel better about themselves, and drugs give a short-term boost of confidence that eases social anxiety for a little while. Your teen might believe that they’re more likable when they’re under the influence of drugs and continue to use them to improve their confidence, or they might start doing drugs to impress other teens around them and try to fit in.
Hire a family interventionist for drug addiction
Teenage drug abuse is a serious issue that needs to be handled delicately promptly. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, it’s important to approach them with empathy and understanding instead of anger and judgment. Kathy McKnight is a compassionate certified life coach who can help you stage an intervention and help your teen understand the implications of their actions.
Kathy also provides business coaching and family accountability coaching services in Tampa, Florida.