Although peer pressure has affected most of us at some point in our lives, it plays an especially significant role in the lives of young adults who are trying to find their way in the world. Peer pressure knows no limits. Celebrities even grapple with it. Young adults who are prone to peer pressure may feel compelled to drink and take drugs; lack a sense of self; not know their true likes and dislikes; lose themselves in relationships (codependency); and feel pressured to be in relationships. Young adults may pressure their peers to use in order to justify their own behavior. Here are three ways young adults are impacted by peer pressure in the area of substance abuse.
- Peers: Many of the young adults we treat struggle with peer pressure because they crave a sense of belonging. Almost all of us want to fit in. Many of our clients really want to get sober, but peer pressure persuades them to remain committed to drugs and alcohol – and not to recovery. Although they may initially want to stop their self-destructive behavior and shrug off peer pressure, they may ultimately lose the ability to choose and find themselves in the grips of addiction. We’ve even seen cases where peer pressure persuaded young adults to stage diet competitions to see who can reach the lowest weight. Essentially, young adults want to be accepted. This can, of course, be the case for people of any age. As we unpack the layers, we often find that wanting to be part of the “cool” crowd may even play a major role in introducing drugs and alcohol to young adults. Aside from a way to fit in, drinking is also used to self-medicate and to seek intensity. Many young adults also use drugs and alcohol as a way to pass the time with friends when there’s nothing else going on. Peer pressure carries a lot of weight. These unhealthy relationships are given a great deal of power, and we’re here to help young adults break free and empower themselves.
- Siblings: We’re seeing a lot more peer pressure from older siblings. Oftentimes, younger siblings might want to get “clean,” however, using drugs or alcohol may be the only way they truly know how to connect with an older sibling. Younger siblings want to be accepted, so they’re often willing to go to almost any lengths for this approval.
- Technology: Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. Everyone has something to say online these days and many young adults want to be a trendsetter. There is no shortage of comments. Besides, no one wants to be invisible online. Many of today’s young adults want their actions to stand out because they want to feel like they’re the life of the online party. If their friends can do it, they can, too. So, they post photos of themselves engaging in rowdy behavior in the hopes it will give them an online edge.
At the Claudia Black Young Adult Center, we help young adults combat peer pressure by enhancing their self-identity and by helping them find their authentic voice. By aiding them in creating healthy boundaries, they’re able to say no to negative peer pressure. We want young adults to embrace who they are and live life to the fullest.
Managing college life can be a big challenge for young adults. Unfortunately, a combination of peer pressure, feelings of worthlessness, depression, addiction, and trauma flashbacks can create huge barriers to the college experience. There may also be untreated ADHD, making concentration a tall order. Young adults in crisis may swing from being the life of the party to becoming depressed and isolated. In extreme cases, they may become so crippled they’re unable to function or even get out of bed. Having to interact without substances may feel intolerable and unbearable, so they continue to self-medicate. College can pose a lot of stressors.
What brings some young adults to the Claudia Black Young Adult Center are circumstances such as failing out of college; parents finding out they aren’t attending classes; or getting caught using drugs or alcohol. In many cases, college roommates are the ones who tell the parents of their roommates about maladaptive behaviors.
As a result, parents may stage an intervention that may, ultimately, transform their child’s life.
Treatment offers space and time to look at the issues – and to pay attention and honor them. Young adults are able to connect with their peers in a sober environment on a truly authentic level without any walls or defenses. The experience allows them – for the first time in their lives – to connect deeply and honestly with their peers.
A lot of young adults have yet to experience healthy romantic relationships. Unfortunately, this is an especially difficult feat if you don’t have healthy role models. There are so many relational issues that can sabotage relationships - codependency, not realizing one’s worth and value; being in abusive relationships whether physical or emotional; love addiction; love avoidance; and confusing love with sex. It can be a struggle.
At the Claudia Black Young Adult Center, we encourage young adults to seek support from their own gender, so we offer gender specific meetings to facilitate this bonding. We sometimes encounter young adults who swear they only relate to the opposite sex. This all changes once they get a chance to be around people of their own gender under healthy circumstances. We also have groups open to both sexes in order to help opposite sex partners learn how to relate to each other in non-sexual ways. It’s important for both parties in any relationship to learn that their value and self-worth doesn’t come from another person - it comes from within.
About The Claudia Black Young Adult Center
The Claudia Black Young Adult Center in Wickenburg, Arizona, provides an intensive, experientially based 45-day treatment program for young adults ages 18 – 26 who are struggling with unresolved emotional trauma, addiction, have a dual diagnosis or who have failed past addiction treatments. Dr. Claudia Black - renowned author, speaker, and trainer who has been working with family systems and addictive disorders since the 1970s - is the clinical architect of the Claudia Black Young Adult Center. In a safe and nurturing community composed of their peers, young adults are guided on their journey of recovery by examining the underlying causes of addiction and co-occurring disorders. The goal is for these individuals to gain the courage to face difficult issues, including grief and loss; heal from emotional trauma; and become accountable for their own feelings, behaviors, and recovery. To learn more or to speak with an Admissions representative please call 855-333-6075 or visit.