Developmentally teens are focused on establishing their identities and a sense of belonging. As they explore various identities and attain a sense of peer approval; they may often experiment with substances. Some teens that experiment with substances, particularly alcohol may engage in substance misuse. Misuse of alcohol can lead to detrimental consequences.
Simultaneously, teenagers are creative, intelligent, resilient and adaptive. These resources can be beneficial in reducing unhealthy drinking behavior among teens. If these resources are cultivated, teenagers that are misusing alcohol can learn to reduce their drinking and possibly eliminate it entirely. Research suggests that teaching teens how to manage emotions and behavior can assist in overcoming problematic drinking.
Many teens have difficulty dealing with peer pressure and want to belong. They may struggle with having boundaries and being assertive about abstaining from alcohol. During a period when peer approval is important and social anxiety may be high; alcohol can serve as a coping mechanism to deal with social performance. In addition to biological and physical changes; peer, academic, athletic and family pressures can be overwhelming. As a result, alcohol can be perceived to be a helpful coping mechanism to cope with the various transitions and expectations within each of these roles.
Alcohol use is easily accessible. Statistics demonstrate that alcohol misuse among teens is highly prevalent and problematic. Alcohol abuse can lead to a variety of problems in many facets of a teenager’s life including home, peers and academic. For this reason, it is essential that teens are taught to regulate their emotions well to reduce self-medicating through substances.
Teaching teens how to effectively deal with their emotions and effectively cope with stress can benefit teens so they are less likely to turn to alcohol to cope. As teens are able to master emotional management and make healthier decisions; they are likely to make better choices when it comes to substance use.
A.C.T. will provide free resource information for individuals and families to help promote education. For more information, please contact Dr. Drecun at Dr.Drecun@a4ct.com or (858) 792-3541. You may also visit us online at www.a4ct.com. ACT serves the Del Mar 92014 and Rancho Santa Fe 92067 area.