February 26, 2020

How Boredom Drives Teenage Drug Use

Did you know that simple boredom can play a major part in how teenagers use alcohol and drugs?

Recent research  indicates that adolescents and teens who are frequently bored or who have plenty of spending money are at doubled risk for drinking and illicit drug use.

Why is this?

Surprisingly, there may be a biological explanation.

As children become teenagers and further transition to young adulthood, the chemistry in their brains changes dramatically, making them more likely to seek out new experiences and  sensations.  Their increased hormones produce a natural urge that causes them to pursue sensory pleasure and excitement.

This actually a good thing, because it encourages growth. This is a time for exploration, where young people find out more about what they like and who they are going to be.

However, there are a few of caveats:

Not All New Experiences Are Good Ones

FIRST, this sensation-seeking can take nearly any form, good or bad.

  • Music
  • Sex
  • New hobbies
  • Sports
  • Risk-taking behaviors
  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Illicit drug use

SECOND, while the desire for new experiences and sensations is felt in early adolescence, the ability to control those urges does not develop until much later.  And until their brain finishes developing –the mid-twenties -teenagers are largely driven by their urges and impulses.

This is important,

THIRD, once a teenager has started using or drinking, this becomes an even bigger problem. Alcohol and drugs directly and negatively affect the parts of the brain that are responsible for decision-making and impulse control.

The Bad News about Teenage Drug Use

This is an alarm call to parents. You should be aware of what your kids are doing, know your child, and don’t underestimate your power you have over your children.”

~ Joseph Califano Jr., President,

The younger a person is when they start drinking or using drugs, and the more frequently and heavily they use, the greater their level of impairment becomes, and the less control they have over their impulses. Unfortunately, the average age of first use precedes the teenage years:

  • Alcohol: 12
  • Cigarettes: 12 and a half
  • Marijuana: Almost 14
What Does All of This Men to Your Family?

The knowledge that boredom can lead to teenage drug use is a valuable weapon that can be used by you as parents in your fight to keep your children healthy and substance-free. Armed with this weapon, you can take the necessary steps to minimize the chances that your teenager ever needs such dangerous outside stimulation.

Staying closely involved as parents and keeping your children busy is positive activities is crucial to both the prevention of teenage substance abuse and recovery from it.

If your family is in crisis because of underage drinking or drug abuse, Teensavers Treatment Centers can help. Since 1978, Teensavers has provided mental health and addiction recovery services in Southern California and has transformed thousands of lives.

As one of the top youth drug rehab programs in Orange County, Teensavers uses a unique evidence-based approach that focuses on the specific needs of troubled teenagers.

For more information, contact Teensavers TODAY.

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