By Sofi Ashraf

Teenage can be a time of making irrational, impulsive decisions. It can be a time of living in the present with consideration for the consequences that may follow.

As a result it is the time in which many teens try drugs and alcohol for the first time. The drug menace starts usually at the age of thirteen and fourteen years old in seventh or eighth grade before one even enters high school. This is a harrowing reality to face. It’s difficult to believe that our youth are developing dangerous, addictive habits at such an early age, especially right under our nose .

We want to believe it just a phase, we want to blame experimentation or the other kids at school for our children’s early drug use. The last thing we want to uncover is that our children are in danger or that this substance use is something our sons and daughters have brought upon themselves.

   Sometimes though it is . As parents and educators it’s crucial that we uncover the root of drug use in teen and young adults as soon as it starts to grow. in order to prevent Deep seated drug habits later on in our children lives we have to take action now. We have to ask questions.

We have to understand the problem at hand. We have to have some insight into if and how badly this problem could progress. If you have just discovered your teen may have a drug problem, the first thing you should do is step back and analyse the situation. Have you found contraband in his or her room. Have you learned that your teen is coming home past curfew, skipping school or ignoring previous priorities.

While these are all apparent signs of drug addiction they don’t reveal the bigger picture of our teens drug problem. We must now ask questions in order to find a solution to our teens drug use, w must grasp the feelings, pressure and dynamics that lay beneath it. There are many reasons that teens and young adults get involved with  drugs and unfortunately there are many instances in which the the root of substance use goes much deeper than experimentation.

There is a misconception that teenagers who experiment drugs and alcohol are inherently bad kids many parents assume that teenagers experiment because they are rebellions and want to to lash out. That maybe the reason a small percentage of teenagers try drugs and alcohol today , but the the dangerous Trend it is not that simple or one-sided . In order to to understand them we have to to put our self In their shoes and imagine what they are really experiencing.

There are some main reasons behind the the menace. Usually the peers who began experimenting drugs and alcohol are simply bored and have no deeper interests. They see drugs and alcohol as a pastime to be explored. Try giving them more responsibilities or extra curricular activities to get involved with so that he or she doesn’t have the time to think about substance use. Many teenagers usually around freshman year in high school are shy and have trouble making friends especially at a new school with older students.

They turn to drugs and alcohol to help them feel more confident or to bond with a social group that’s known for using these substances. This isn’t the same as direct Peer pressure, it stems from the need to bond and make friends. Encouraging our children to join clubs and sports can help them make friends in a healthy way.

   Some teens turn to drugs and alcohol as a form of escapism. When they are sad or depressed they see these substances as a way to forget and feel happier. It’s their attempt to self medicate. We may see a sullen attitude as just being a teenager but there may be a deeper depression within.

Teenagers are not immune to the urge. Many teens begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol simply because they are curious and want to know what it feels like. As teenagers they have the delusion that they are invincible even if they know that drugs are bad. They don’t believe anything bad can actually happen to them. Educating our children on the repercussions of drug and alcohol abuse may extinguish this curiosity. Female teenagers often turn to harder drugs such as cocaine for a quick way to loose weight.

During High school especially  young girls become desperate to slim down and attract the attention of popular boys. These young ladies may also be struggling with a co-occurring eating disorder such as anorexia or blumea. During High school many teenagers are  overly stressed with a package schedule of activities and advanced classes. Lack of coping skills can lead them to to seek out an artificial method of coping with stress. They turn to drugs such as marijuana in order to  relax.

Teenagers especially between the age of 14 and 16 low self esteem due to physical appearance of lack of friends can lead to self destructive behaviour. The media, bullies and often family put pressure on teenagers to act and look a certain way and they lose confidence in themselves if they don’t meet those high standards. Drugs and alcohol seem like an easy way to escape this reality.

Drugs and alcohol or often used to enhance certain experiences cocaine and Adderall are commonly used to enhance energy and focus when they feel like they can’t do something on their own I need a little help. ecstasy can be used for a lack of inhibition and enhanced sexual experience. Marijuana hand alcohol are often used to relax and be more comfortable in social situations. Peer pressure happens most often between the age of 16 and 18 when teenagers begin to think everyone else is doing right.

So they should to. At a party, after prom, with friends or significant others these are all common situations in which they feel like they need to join in to be able to fit in. this peer pressure is more obvious than the pressure to make friends and is sometime is instigated by older friends teenagers open field as social imperative to experiment and experience all that they can while they are still young. They feel like it is now or never situation they have to try drugs now before they become adults and have responsibilities they feel like if they don’t try it now they will be missing out. They feel like it would be a big deal if they try everything once or twice .

   To help the addicts cognitive therapy, behavioural therapy, Family therapy, Identification and treatment of coexisting conditions, medications, Motivational incentives, Rehabilitation, Supervised withdrawal and support groups would definitely pull addicts out of the menace.

(Author is a govt school teacher and can be reached at [email protected] )

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