Addiction Studies

Understanding Addiction

This content shows Simple View

June 2019

Top Reasons Why Teenagers Experiment With Alcohol And Drugs

The adolescent years are known to be the experimentation and self-exploration phase. Because of this, parents find themselves confused about how they can fulfill their role properly.  Parenting at this stage might be a little tricky since this is the part where teens pick up vices, such as taking drugs and drinking. Therapists say that the first step into protecting your child is to understand why they involve themselves with these things. According to Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. ,Many parents don’t talk to their kids about alcohol because they are unaware of how serious the problem is.”

Written here are some of the top reasons why teenagers experiment with alcohol and drugs. It is essential for the family, especially parents, to understand all of these reasons to remedy the dangers of these vices. 

Effect Of Popular Media

The digital age has contributed various advancements in the modern world today. However, we cannot remove the fact that it has also its disadvantages. For one, popular media has opened the eyes of the teenagers regarding the presence of such vices. There are also instances that these situations are presented to the audience as if it is a healthy and acceptable thing to do. 



According to a study by therapists in 2012, 45 percent of teenagers agree with the statement, “TV shows and movies send a message that doing drugs and alcohol is an ok thing to do.” This experiment clearly shows the power of popular media. 

Peer Pressure

According to University of Maryland developmental psychologist Dr. Melanie Killen, “Peer group pressure begins in elementary schools, as early as age nine. It’s what kids actually encounter there on any given day.”

Some peers influence their friends to drink alcohol and take drugs because they want companionship. Most teenagers cave into this pressure because the emotional high from doing activities which are forbidden and thrilling can be at its peak. This level of excitement and happiness can increase even further if they are in a group of people. 



Lastly, some teenagers want to feel accepted. It is hard for them to say no to these kinds of things because of the fear of being outcasted. The best way to deal and counter this problem is to establish to the kids the importance of having friends who are good influences and who will keep them on the right track. 


Yes, you read it right. Some teenagers involve themselves with these vices because they are bored. Those who are having trouble keeping themselves occupied or who cannot tolerate being alone are usually the primary candidates for substance abuse. They feel that marijuana, drugs, and alcohol can serve as their companion, will keep their mind occupied, or help fill the void and sadness that they are feeling. 

Curiosity And Ignorance

The National Council Against Drug Abuse’s Perception Survey found out that one-third of the youth do not fully understand the dangers of taking drugs and alcohol. This statistics is a red flag for parents. Do not assume that children in their adolescent years are aware of the health hazards that these substances carry. It is the role of both the parents and the school to serve as informants and layout these precautionary measures. 


Studies revealed that rebellious teens use substances based on their personalities and emotions. 

  • Alcohol – Alcohol is the choice of teenagers who are angry with the world. These drinks enable him or her to behave aggressively and release all of their inner emotions. 
  • Meth – Meth is for those who want to pour their disgust over something. This substance can also bring out their violent behavior, which is far worse than the dangers of alcohol. 
  • Marijuana – Marijuana is something that people try to be playful and show that they don’t care about the world. 
  • LSD and Hallucinogens – These are for people who feel misunderstood, out of place, and those who are longing to escape this cruel world. 
  • Smoking – Smoking is for teenagers who want to flaunt their independence to their parents.

Trying To Be An “Adult”

Some teenagers correlate drugs and alcohol to adulthood. They feel that once these substances are tried out, they will look cool and feel grown up. Perhaps these individuals see this kind of acceptability from his favorite movie stars and close friends. At the same time, they might also be just copying their parents if they frequently see them smoke or drink. 

Lack Of Confidence


Many teenagers believe that alcohol and drugs are the shortcuts for building up confidence. For example, if you are tasked to dance but you’re a terrible dancer, or you have to sing a solo on a play, but you have stage fright, these substances can loosen your inhibitions.

There is no single reason why teenagers engage themselves with these substances. It can be a combination of two or more of the statements above. If you are a parent reading this, however, you have to study and specify which core issues are your child exhibiting. Pinpointing the correct one will enable you to craft the perfect strategies to steer your teenager away from these harmful things. Ultimately, only you can walk the path of recovery, but the support groups and people you have around you are a wonderful and incredibly essential tool in helping you help yourself,” said Cindy Nichols, an intervention specialist and treatment advisor.