When discussing the topic of substance use disorders (including alcoholism), the aspect of peer pressure often comes up. When younger person is coming of age, they might feel pressure from friends to try recreational drugs and might even be ridiculed if they don’t.

Moreover, this peer pressure can continue into adulthood and may take the form of peer pressure from friends or work colleagues who push a person into taking drugs in order to continue to be part of the group.

Peer pressure is dangerous in terms of how it can influence a person into engaging in behavior that they might not normally be associated with or how it can push a person into continuing with behavior that will continue to cause them harm.

The Different Types Of Peer Pressure That People Face

Direct Peer Pressure.

As mentioned previously, peer pressure can take the form of the encouragement of negative behaviors, such as binge drinking and taking recreational drugs on a continued basis.

Direct peer pressure would then be something like a friend pushing another friend to have a drink while in a bar.

If the friend refuses, the other friend might mock them or tell them something like ‘they need to learn to have a little fun. This is dangerous because by belittling a person for their decision not to engage in a behavior, they are creating the idea that the individual is doing something wrong by refusing to engage in substance use.

This type of peer pressure happens all the time, and not just in instances where substances are being used. In fact, sometimes peer pressure can become normalized in group settings as well. The same sort of scenarios as the one outlined earlier might be felt more intensely if several members of a group are pushing an individual into behaving in a certain way.

Indirect Peer Pressure

If a person has a group of friends who are always drinking alcohol when they see each other, the individual might feel indirect peer pressure to drink. They might feel this way because they might not want to be the only one not drinking or to feel singled out in the situation.

Family and Friends

Another key thing to consider is the environment that a person grows up in. It might be that a person has grown up in a household where some family members have developed a substance use disorder such as drinking, and therefore, their children might feel pressure from their parents to engage in the same behavior.

By contrast, this could also lead a person to actively reject engaging in the same behavior as their parents for fear of experiencing the same dangers and risks presented by an addiction to a substance use disorder.

Elsewhere, peer pressure could be felt in a more subtle way. For instance, if every meal is accompanied by the consumption of alcohol, this could become a normalized behavior in the minds of everyone involved. Therefore, if one person decided not to drink, this might disrupt the scenario since everyone has become accustomed to this behavior.

Friends and family are likely to have much more influence on a person in regard to peer pressure, and this comes down to the relationships and the level of trust a person has in them. We assume that friends and family have our best intentions at heart, but this might not always be the case if it means that the enabling of substance use disorders is occurring.

In addition, it’s also important to consider that peer pressure can sometimes be a positive thing. For instance, family and friends could actively discourage a loved one from using substances that may cause them harm.

Environmental Norms

In addition to environments where the people involved have normalized the use of recreational drugs, there are many different environments that exist in the world that encourage the use of drugs.

For example, bars, restaurants, pubs, and many other types of venues throughout the world will either exclusively promote and sell alcohol, or they will at least offer access to it. This can be overwhelming for some people in terms of the pressure to consume alcohol, especially if they are actively trying to avoid further alcohol use.

Individual Pressure

Another important point to consider is the pressure a person can place upon themselves. If an individual is quite sensitive to peer pressure, does not deal with rejection well, or feels pressure to be accepted by others, they might end up pushing themselves into risky behaviors, and this, of course, can lead to addiction.

Seeking Help With Substance Use Addiction

If an individual finds that peer pressure has led them down the path of addiction and they find themselves caught within the addiction cycle, there are many options available that can help them get out of it and get back to an addiction-free lifestyle once again.

Addiction treatment can offer people access to emotional support, guidance, and care from trained healthcare specialists who are able to provide advice and access to resources that will help a person to better understand their addiction, to know how to overcome it, and move past it and forward with their life.

This can be achieved through programs such as the 12-step program, and through treatment types such as therapy and counseling. In these programs, participants will learn coping mechanisms that they can use to avoid or reject peer pressure, as well as tools that will help them avoid relapse in the future.

Elsewhere, people can gain access to prescription medication and medical detox procedures that will assist them with the body’s dependence on the substance they are addicted to. The detox process is monitored closely by healthcare professionals so that the individual is cared for and supported throughout as they tackle and overcome the withdrawal symptoms.

Addiction treatment can be delivered through inpatient and outpatient programs and may take place at residential treatment centers, NHS clinics, and a variety of other healthcare centers designed to help people with addiction.