Hi everyone! Hope you are doing well in this terrible time we are all going through, I hope you are all safe. Today I am going to be talking about substance abuse in the youth. Although this is not something I relate to or struggle with, I know people who do relate as well as this being a huge topic in our society!

So what is substance abuse? The official definition of substance abuse is using drugs in a way which is harmful to yourself and/or other people around you. I myself would also define it this way, I believe substance abuse is using drugs which can be harmful to yourself, however, I do not completely believe it should always be seen in a bad light as one of my friends who can relate to the topic defined it as, “using a substance to emotionally or physically dampen your emotions and experiences”. (I am aware they are harmful to oneself and should be avoided at all costs.) I am going to be talking about what causes a person to take drugs, why it is a problem/why it may not be a problem and why it is common in the youth. (1 in 5 teens go through substance abuse which is a huge amount!)

What actually causes a person to start using drugs then? One of the things that can cause a person to start taking drugs at a young age can be peer pressure as well as the area a person grows up in. For example, a young person aged 12 may have older people living around them who use drugs which may add curiosity to the child to use the drugs, or to wonder why the older people use drugs. However, this is not the case for everyone, although peer pressure may be the cause for some people which eventually leads to addiction, it is not the case for many. Once again a friend who can relate to this had said people around him had always done drugs when he was a kid but he did not feel the need to do it because of them, it was his personal choice. So what might cause this personal choice for some young people? One of the things could be using drugs as a coping mechanism. (7% of teenagers use drugs as a coping mechanism.) Young people, especially teenagers go through many mental health problems which they prefer to keep to themselves, things like this can lead to seeing drugs as a way to ease their minds and forget the problems they are going through in the moment, there are many ways in which teens cope with their problems, drugs are one of them.

One of the other things which can  cause a person to take drugs regularly is the bond is allows you to create with others. This is also a reference from a friend who said “sometimes it’s less about the drugs and more about seeing my friends, it brings us together and gives us something to do”. This in NO WAY makes it okay to use drugs, however, I am stating one of the reasons a young person may take drugs. Especially during your teens, friendship is something of value which you never want to lose, therefore, may go to lengths like this to keep you and your friends together. The constant using of drugs because of wanting to be with friends or using it to forget the state of your mental health for a few moments is what leads to addiction eventually.

Addiction is a serious condition and detrimental to health. Here are some of the health problems which can occur due to addiction. Emotional and physical effects. Emotional effects can include depression, violence, mood swings and even hallucinations. These effects can be worrying to the person especially at a young age. Physical effects include things like irregular heartbeat and to an extent, even a heart attack. Obviously these effects are very scary! Of course substance abuse can also have legal consequences which teens do not want to face.

So there are a few things which can be used to avoid/stop taking drugs. One of the main things is parents being involved in their child’s life in the right way! Ask your children if they are okay, DO NOT invade their privacy when they ask for it, respect works both ways! Try looking for alternatives to dealing with problems or wanting to get distracted rom drugs. Pick up a hobby of your choice and put all your focus in to that. If you are trying to forget your thoughts and ease your mind, instead of turning to drugs, cry it out if you need to! Go outside and scream as loud as you want, go to someone you trust and cry it out to them, tell them what you’re going through!

PS: Obviously I am NOT a professional so DO NOT take my word on everything said in this blog, these are all just my opinions and references from friends who can relate to the topic!

I hope you are all staying safe and AT HOME! Thank you for reading and hope you enjoy the rest of your day/night!

Saba x

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