Teenagers have various reasons for trying drugs. But they cannot know that trying drugs once could lead to substance abuse in the future. Knowing the top reasons why teens try drugs the first time can help you to prevent teen drug abuse and get help for those who suffer from substance use disorders. If a teen in your life is battling addiction, please contact Fort Behavioral Health today at 844.332.1807 to learn more about our female-only adolescent treatment program.

To Escape from Mental or Physical Pain

Self-medicating with drugs happens in both teens and adults, especially those who have existing mental illnesses. While addiction and mental health problems frequently coexist, teenagers without these problems could also succumb to drug use. Drugs may help teens to handle emotional distress or stress of growing up and managing their responsibilities.

Some teenagers even turn to drugs if they feel that they need help with academic or sports performance. Taking drugs to stay awake and study or to enhance sports performance are both reasons that some teens turn to drug use.

To Fit in With Peers

Fitting in is always a topic in teens’ minds. In social situations with drug use, teens may feel tempted to try the drugs to fit in with others, relax, or ease social anxiety. Their friends may even pressure them to try drugs. Plus, media often normalizes drug use, further increasing the chances of a teen taking drugs to fit in with their peers.

To Feel Euphoria

Certain drugs can produce euphoria or “high” when using them. Teens may feel that few other things in their life can deliver such an intense, though short-lived happiness. Unfortunately, certain drugs, such as opioids, require increasing amounts to feel the same high, resulting in addiction. Drugs that cause such an intense level of physical dependency may require drug and alcohol detox treatment as the first step in a recovery program.

To Experiment

Often teens don’t trust the advice of others and want to experience things for themselves. Instead of listening to adults who tell them about the adverse effects of drugs on the body and mind, teens want to try drugs themselves to see if the adults were telling the truth. Trying drugs serves as a way to experiment. The chances of experimentation increase if teens experience frequent boredom and have access to drugs. Experimenting with drugs serves to both alleviate boredom and to help them learn about the effects of the drugs.

Signs of Teen Drug Abuse

Teens who use drugs may develop an addiction to substances. While the specific physical effects of addiction may depend on the drug, watch out for significant changes that you cannot explain from regular changes in your teen. For example, using barbiturates or heroin may cause pinpoint pupils, while cocaine can cause dilated pupils. Other signs of teen drug abuse include the following:

  • Changes in behavior or mood
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Deteriorating school performance
  • Lack of motivation
  • Physical changes such as bloodshot eyes, pinpoint pupils, or dilated pupils
  • Owning drug paraphernalia such as needles

These signs could indicate that your teen needs professional help from a drug addiction recovery program. Getting help for your teenager could save their life.

Find Treatment at Fort Behavioral Health

Unfortunately, teen drug use doesn’t always stop at trying a drug once. Regularly using drugs causes chemical changes to the brain. Addiction happens when these changes lead to reliance on the drugs to function. Though the reasons for using drugs may differ, a common thread among all teen drug abuse cases is that the teen tried drugs once, and things spiraled out of control.

If your teen’s experimentation has led to abuse, contact us at Fort Behavioral Health at 844.332.1807 for more information about treatment. Our programs include adolescent addiction recovery that is specifically designed for young women. By seeking out recovery, you can help your teen to live her life in freedom from teen drug abuse.


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You don’t have to face the journey of recovery by yourself. There are people out there ready to help with what you’re going through. Reach out to someone for support today.

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