There are so many different ways that your son’s social life can impact his use of drugs and alcohol. Lots of friends, too few friends, the wrong friends, the right friends—your son’s peer group and/or his ability to find one can significantly factor into his choices in relation to substance abuse. In fact, in some cases, certain changes in your son’s social life can be a tipoff that substance abuse has become an issue. What can you learn about your son’s substance use from his social activity?
Kids who have a hard time fitting in due to social awkwardness or social anxiety issues may be more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than kids who have an easier time making friends. Loneliness, low self-esteem, and the isolation that comes from his problems fitting in can all be driving forces.
Additionally, if there’s a specific issue that is creating an obstacle for him socially (e.g., learning disability, behavioral disorder, mental health disorder), this can increase the likelihood that he will seek solace in substance abuse.
Conversely, your son may have no problem fitting in, easily finding a group of buddies to share his time. When it comes to his attitudes toward substance abuse, studies show that your son is likely deeply influenced by the opinions of his peers at a certain age. If your son’s friends are drinking and smoking marijuana, it likely won’t take long for him to experiment with these substances as well. If they are staunchly against drug abuse, he may be more likely to abstain.
Additionally, some teens abuse drugs and alcohol in an attempt to impress their friends, to be the prankster in the group or the daredevil, or to impress a certain girl. Extreme changes in attitude and behavior plus signs of substance abuse but no changes in friends can still add up to drug and alcohol abuse.
Couple these factors with extreme changes in your son’s peer group, and it can indicate that he and his friends have parted ways due to one or the other’s desire to get high or drink. If your son’s new friends seem like they are interested in drug and alcohol use and abuse, then it can be a sign that your son is too.
If you believe that your son is abusing drugs and alcohol for any reason—whether it’s social issues, problems at school, or an underlying disorder—you can get him help today. Contact us at Muir Wood and learn more about our unique rehabilitation program for teen boys and find out how we can help your son turn his life around.