The Influence Of Social Media On Teen Drug Use
Jena Hilliard ❘
Teens are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of what they see on social media, including pics and ads for binge drinking and drug use.
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You’re upset; you feel lost; everything seems to be going wrong. But… if you could just try out this spectacular drug everyone talks about, you know everything will be better.
This is not how addiction starts. A typical first-time user does not need drugs to feel good and cope with their past, simply because they don’t know what the drug feels like. How can they expect such results?
First time use happens without a detailed plan. Generally, a party is a big trigger for spontaneously abusing drugs. Picture this. You might have shown up to a party expecting alcohol as the main event, when in the corner of your eye you see someone pull out a baggie of white powder.
Cocaine. You’ve never seen Cocaine before, but everyone here is trying it; your best friend is trying it, so clearly you have to try it too, right?
They’re laying out lines of the thin white substance on the counter. Someone picks up a rolled-up dollar bill, and the white lines start to disappear. Your friend picks another line, and then hands the bill to you.
Heart pounding, hands sweating, you begin to question everything about to happen. What will this feel like? Should I do it?
You begin to snort a line; how does it feel?
Peculiar and empowering. Your body suddenly gets a burst of energy. Jitters come about. Hands are shaking, feet are tapping, you’re dancing to the music like you never have before. Everyone is talking to you and laughing with you; you’re having the time of your life!
Until, the effects wear off.
You feel sort of sluggish, like everything is slowing down, like the party just stopped, but it really hasn’t. The music hasn’t changed, the atmosphere still rings of party people. Your head feels heavy, you take a minute and sit down on the couch, unsure of the feelings manifesting inside of you. Your friend comes to sit next to you and asks you what’s wrong. Unsure of what to say, you feel funny inside. Your friend assures you everything is great, and you just need another line of coke.
You have options. Talk about them with a treatment provider today.
Anxiety sets in at the mention of Cocaine. Is that what you really need? You don’t want to do it.
Another friend comes over and encourages you to take some more. They help you up and bring you to the counter covered in traces of Cocaine and rolled up dollar bills. You snort another thin white line. Your eyes close as your heartbeat begins to match the beat of the music.
There is a possibility you won’t get addicted by the actions in this story, but there is also a possibility you will. Pressure plays a heavy role in the beginning of an addiction. The pressure to fit in, the pressure to look cool, the pressure to experience something everyone else has already tried.
You think to yourself, “it’s just one time,” or “I only do it when I go out; it’s no big deal.
No matter what the drug is, addiction is always a possibility, especially if you find yourself in the same situation and surrounded by the same people as you were when you used. Some people have the ability to stop themselves or function normally while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but you have to understand that drugs are physically addicting. Your body gets used to the effects the substance creates, and it will chemically alter your brain in order to adjust to your use.
Drugs work by increasing the amount of dopamine in your brain. Dopamine allows pleasurable feelings. You can feel it naturally by kissing a significant other or eating your favorite food. This produces a small natural amount that makes you feel good.
When drugs enter your system, they produce an overabundance of dopamine within the brain. The overabundance causes intense feelings of pleasure, many times much more than the natural healthy amounts your brain is used to. Because there is an overabundance of dopamine that the drugs are instilling, your brain will compensate and naturally produce less.
What happens when the drug loses its effects? You have a lack of dopamine produced within your brain, leading to a physical and mental crash. You often feel depressed and lethargic as if the whole world was crashing down on you.
What do you do?
You try to wait it out and get over the after-effect, but it just seems so hard. The strength to fight this seems to be dwindling. A hopeless outlook takes over, and you start to cave in. Once again, the drug is abused, but this time it’s different.
After prolonged use, you don’t take drugs to feel the extended pleasure of the initial use, you take drugs to feel physically stable and normal again. This, is addiction.
Why put yourself through such agony? Why take the physical, psychological, emotional, and even financial risks? If you don’t start drug use, you don’t have to try and stop. No one wants to be addicted to drugs, and I guarantee those who are addicted wish they could take it all back.
Don’t put yourself in a position to harm your body and your future just to feel a one-time experience. It could lead you into a lifetime of pain and regret.
Jasmine is the Digital and Social Content Specialist for Recovery Worldwide. She has a deep passion for writing, especially on topics that educate the audience and encourage action towards a healthy life. She hopes her words inspire those in need of help to take that first step in finding the best treatment for their addiction so they can live the life they deserve.