If your teen is spending hours a day scrolling through their various feeds or chatting with friends or strangers online, you may worry about the impact that drugs and alcohol may have had on them. With the way technology and social media are advancing, it’s important to be aware of their effects on young adults. We all want our teens to stay away from the negative influences that social media can bring. But how much is too much when it comes to these influences and your teen’s behavior?
At Luna Recovery Services in Houston, Texas, our luxury rehab center provides treatment services and other helpful resources for people and their families struggling with addiction. Learn more about social media and drugs among teens, and what we’re doing to help.
How Prevalent Are Social Media and Drug Use Among Adolescents?
You probably already know that your teen spends a lot of time on social media. But did you know that the amount of time they’re spending on it could be contributing to their likelihood of using drugs and alcohol?
The truth is, social media and drug use among adolescents are pretty common. A 2022 survey found that from 2014–15, the percentage of youths aged 13–17 who use social media almost continuously increased from 24% to 46%. YouTube is the most popular platform among teens, with 95% using it. Facebook usage among teens has dropped, with only 32% of them using the platform in 2022, down from 71% in 2014–15.
In addition, research has also indicated that adolescents who used social media more frequently were five times more likely to use cigarettes, three times more likely to drink alcohol, and two times more likely to use marijuana.
In addition to drug marketing and advertising, social media can also exacerbate certain mental health problems that may lead to substance abuse. This tells us the need for parents to always stay informed and engaged when it comes to their teens’ online activity, as well as any changes in attitude or behavior regarding drugs and alcohol.
How Does Social Media Contribute to Substance Abuse in Teens?
Today, social media has become an essential component of teenagers’ lives. It causes them to be exposed to more information regarding drug and alcohol usage than ever before. By following certain trends on platforms such as Instagram or Twitter, young adults may be inadvertently influenced by what they see in their news feeds.
Some other various mechanisms as to how social media can contribute to substance abuse in teens include:
Social media platforms may expose teens to images and videos of peers or influencers using drugs or alcohol. This can create a sense of normative behavior and increase their curiosity about trying these substances.
Seeing friends or acquaintances using substances on social media, teens may be pressured to use substances to gain social acceptance.
Influencers with large followings may glamorize substance use, making it more appealing to impressionable teenagers.
Social media platforms can serve as a marketplace for drugs. It makes it easier for teens to access and purchase illegal substances.
Teens facing mental health issues or stress may turn to social media as a coping mechanism. Long-term exposure may intensify feelings of isolation or despair and encourage self-medication with drugs or alcohol.
Teenagers may experience FOMO due to social media. It can make them feel like they are missing out on exciting experiences involving substance use. This pressure may lead them to experiment with drugs or alcohol.
Social media platforms can be a source of misinformation about drugs, including false claims about the safety or benefits of certain substances. It may lead these young adults to experimentation and abuse.
How Does Social Media Glamorize Drugs and Alcohol?
Another question you might have is, “How does social media glamorize drugs and alcohol?” The answer is not straightforward. It’s a complex issue, and it’s not simply celebrities that are to blame. According to a study in the journal Addiction, more than three-quarters of adolescents use social media, and the time they spend on it can harm their health.
The thing is, drug and alcohol use among teenagers tends to be underreported, so it’s hard to get a clear picture of just how many teens are using or abusing substances. But when it comes to glamorizing drug use, there isn’t much ambiguity. Social media content often reinforces positive views of drug and alcohol consumption, leading some teens to think that it’s normal or even desirable behavior.
Any time someone posts about partying or going out drinking on social media—no matter their age—it can encourage others to do the same while normalizing substance abuse, and that’s a big problem. What you see in your newsfeed isn’t always an accurate representation of reality, but adolescents may be unable to tell the difference between real and fake. That can lead to dangerous behavior!
Adolescents need to know the truth about substance abuse so they can make informed decisions about their health today and into the future.
Effects of Social Media and Drugs on Adolescents
It is no secret that the media has a huge impact on our society, particularly when it comes to youth. Unfortunately, the media often glamorizes drug and alcohol use, something that is especially true of social media.
It may not be surprising, then, that there are some negative effects of social media and drugs on teen behavior.
Studies have shown that young adults who spend a lot of time on social media are more likely to engage in substance abuse than those who don’t. Even worse, teens who start using drugs or alcohol at an early age are more likely to become addicted later in life.
Social media also has the potential to normalize drug and alcohol use, making it seem like everyone is doing it. This can lead to peer-pressure situations. It can put your teens in the problematic position of either confirming what their peers are doing or ridiculing them. In either case, it can be hard for a young person to make the right choice and abstain from drugs or alcohol, especially if they see it as the “cool” thing to do.
Studies have also found that social media and drugs can lead to more than just addiction and peer pressure; they can also result in mental health issues. Teens who are exposed to images of drug or alcohol use may start to develop feelings of low self-worth, feeling the need to fit in or measure up to what they see online. This can lead to a spiral of negative thoughts and feelings that can be hard for them to cope with.
In addition, it is also important to consider the long-term effects of this exposure. It has been found that teens who use drugs or alcohol are more likely to engage in risky behaviors as adults, such as drinking and driving, unprotected sex, and even suicide.
It’s important to recognize the impact of social media and drugs on your teen’s behavior. By doing so, you can take steps to protect them from potential harm. Taking the time to talk with them about these issues will be incredibly beneficial in keeping them safe from the negative impacts of social media and drugs on their lives.
Seeking Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Abuse
If you’re concerned that your teen is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, there are plenty of resources available to help. This could include professional treatment centers, counseling, or group therapy.
The first step in seeking treatment for your teen is to obtain a comprehensive assessment from an appropriate medical professional or mental health specialist. Treatment for drug and alcohol abuse typically seeks to help the individual:
- Identify their triggers relevant to substance use.
- Learn how to develop strategies for coping with anxiety and stress in healthy ways.
- Develop a plan for remaining free of addiction.
- Find out effective ways to cope with cravings and triggers when they arise to avoid the chance of relapsing.
Treatment typically includes therapy sessions, medical detoxification, medications, and participation in support groups. Your teen must be open and honest about their feelings and experiences during sessions. This way, the therapist can provide the most tailored and appropriate plan of care.
Tips for Talking to Your Teen About Social Media and Drugs
Having an open, honest dialog with your teen about social media and drug use can go a long way toward helping to keep them safe. Here are some tips on how to start the conversation:
- Establish boundaries between your teen’s online activities and real life. Talk to them about the dangers of portraying themselves or their activities in a positive light on social media, which can make it easier for people to contact them and could even lead to substance abuse further down the road.
- Identify potential triggers for drug use or addiction. Discuss with your teen why they are drawn toward certain substances or behaviors and what signs you can look for that could be signs of addiction or dependence.
- Get help if needed. If you think your teen may have already developed an addiction, seek professional help as soon as possible.
- Establish a relationship of trust with your teen. Be an active listener without judgment, create an open dialog with them, and encourage healthy coping skills.
- Remain vigilant! always know their online activities. Look out for abnormal behavior or changes in their personality, interests, or sleeping habits. All these could be warning signs of addiction or substance abuse problems.
Find Peace of Mind at Luna Recovery Services
Are you concerned that your teen is in danger of becoming addicted to drugs because of their involvement in social media? The good news is that Luna Recovery Services can provide the help you need. Luna Recovery Services is a trusted provider of substance abuse treatment programs.
We approach substance abuse treatment with an evidence-based care plan designed specifically for each individual. You’ll work with experienced professionals who understand addiction and know how to develop a custom treatment plan. We use evidence-based treatment strategies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This can help individuals gain insight into their behaviors and develop healthy coping skills for managing drug cravings.
Most importantly, you can count on us to offer compassionate support during all stages of the recovery process. Our staff is dedicated to helping clients discover hope and encouragement during their stay at our facility. We understand that recovery from addiction isn’t easy! You can trust us to provide guidance every step of the way.
If your teen has been exposed to images on social media that have been glamorizing drugs or alcohol, it’s time to take action. Contact Luna Recovery Services today – we’re here to provide compassionate care around the clock.
Dr. Allaire received his Bachelors of Science in Biology from the University of Houston, as Valedictorian of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and his Medical Doctorate from Baylor College of Medicine, where he served as Chief Resident. He is the medical monitor for the Physician Counseling Committee of the Harris County Medical Society and the Medical Director of Serenity House Detox. Dr. Allaire specializes in medically assisted detox cases, treating patients in recovery from addiction or other mental health disorders, the medical assessment and monitoring of patients with addictive disorders, medical care related to eating disorders and the medical treatment of patients with mental health conditions.