Young person experiencing peer pressure and substance abuse simultaneously

Peer Pressure and Substance Abuse

Peer pressure is a normal part of growing up. Young people are constantly surrounded by their peers and exposed to the values and beliefs of others. People tend to be influenced by others similar in age, social status, gender, race, education level, and appearance. While peer pressure can be positive or negative, some types of peer pressure can lead people in their teens and twenties down a dangerous path toward addiction. Keep reading to learn how peer pressure and substance abuse are related.

If you need help teaching a young person how to deal with peer pressure and alcohol abuse, you can turn to My 5 Palms. Our addiction treatment programs provide the tools to identify and reduce vulnerability to triggers like peer pressure, stress, and mental health issues. To learn more about our treatment options, contact us at 1.844.675.1022 or complete our online form.

What Is Peer Pressure?

Peer pressure is when a person feels pressured to do something they do not want to do but does it anyway because they think it is what their friends want them to do. Peer pressure can be positive or negative, although the term usually has a negative connotation.

An example of positive peer pressure is going to the library to study for an exam instead of going out to a party because you see your roommate hitting the books. Because of their positive influence, you feel rested and prepared for your exam the following day instead of tired, hungover, and unprepared as you would have if you went to the party.

When you think of negative peer pressure, plenty of examples come to mind, and you may have experienced it yourself. One of the most common examples of negative peer pressure is drinking alcohol or using drugs because your friends are.

About Peer Pressure and Substance Abuse

If a person does not want to drink or take drugs, why would it matter if people in their social circle use these substances? Some young people have no problem saying no when they do not want to engage in a particular behavior. But most often, people in their teens and twenties want to be accepted by their peers and will do things they usually would not do just to fit in. Here are a few examples of situations in which peer pressure and alcohol or substance abuse are linked:

  • Everyone at a party is drinking, so you have a drink so that you do not stand out.
  • A person you are interested in smokes marijuana, so you do it to make them like you.
  • Your roommate takes amphetamines to stay up late and study, so you also start using them to pull all-nighters.
  • You want to join a fraternity or sorority and drink heavily to gain acceptance.

Peer pressure is not limited to college life. However, colleges are a typical environment in which people are susceptible.

About Peer Pressure and Alcohol Abuse

Peer pressure is a powerful force that can lead to alcohol abuse and other risky behaviors. Teens who feel pressured by their peers are more likely to drink than those who do not feel the same pressure. Those who spend time with friends who do not drink are less likely to try alcohol.

But, if your social circle engages in drinking, the chances that you will consume alcohol are significantly higher. If you experience peer pressure, you are more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors like binge drinking or driving under the influence.

Learn How to Manage Peer Pressure and Substance Abuse in Florida at My 5 Palms

While peer pressure can be positive in some cases, the worst instances of it can lead to severe problems like addiction. If you are worried about someone in your life, contact My 5 Palms today at 1.844.675.1022 for support.

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