The years of adolescence are a strange time as there are both physical developments and emotional interest changes. During these years, adolescents usually seek out new experience, crave adventure, and take risks to form their identity. According to statistics, approximately forty-percent of seniors in high school will have taken an illegal drug.
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Although trying drugs may fulfill normal developmental drives, it is unhealthy and comes with serious and negative long-term consequences. Many of these desires are explained through the environmental factors of the teen along with Erikson’s stages of psychological development. By understanding of the identity vs. role confusion stage experienced by these adolescence (ages 12-18), strategies can be developed to prevent drug abuse in the youth.
As mentioned before, these years not only from the lack of a carved-out identity, but also from environmental factors. First and foremost, the family household is an important factor. If the individual lives in a household where violence, physical or emotional abuse, mental illness, or drug use in the house is present, they are more likely to use drugs. In these sorts of instances, drugs are used to handle the home issues or are influenced by the using family members. When not at home, teens must deal with pressure from their friends and outside society. This peer pressure allows them to become vulnerable and copy the behaviors of those around them. If refusing the participate, social status tends to decrease as they are called lame or boring.
This social status boost tends to give confidence to adolescence, especially when referring to a shy individual. Occurring mental disorders increases the possibility of substance abuse as well. Teens that suffer with focusing in their academics, lack impulse control, or suffer from depression and anxiety turn to different substances to cope with their problems. The most common drugs seen in this include unprescribed pharmacy pills, such as Adderall to help focus in class, or marijuana to settle the negative thoughts. Lastly, the development of the adolescent plays a significant factor as well. The use of drugs can begin at any age, but the earlier it begins, the more likely it is to turn into an unbreakable habit. This is more likely to occur in teens because the frontal lobe has not fully developed, decision making and self-control are difficult to keep under control. The tougher the environment, the genetics, and home life for the individual, the more likely they are to become active drug users.
According to Erikson’s stages of psychological development, adolescence between the ages of twelve and eighteen are experiencing the identity vs. role confusion stage. Teens are exploring different roles and ideas, setting goals, and attempting to discover their true selves.
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