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How does substance abuse affect aggressive behavior in teenagers?

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2022 | Criminal Law |

Finding out your teenager has a substance abuse disorder can feel overwhelming. If he or she faces drug charges or violence allegations, you might wonder how your teen became this person.

Addiction can cause behavioral changes. According to Frontiers in Psychology, there may be a connection between substance abuse and aggression.

Aggression as a survival strategy

Teenagers have a lot of social vulnerability. In adolescence, they learn how to engage with the world and their peers while undergoing various behavioral, psychological and cognitive changes. Often, teens tend to take risks already that adults do not. If your teen receives positive feedback from his or her peers, it can create an environment that encourages drug use and aggression.

The lifestyle of teens engaging in drug-related behaviors may become dangerous for them. Often, they use aggression as a strategy to survive in a volatile environment.

Aggression as a symptom

There is often a connection between mental health disorders and drug abuse. If your teenager has symptoms of depression, personality disorders or a behavioral disorder, he or she may use drugs to cope with the condition. Some of these conditions already manifest with violent or aggressive tendencies. Generally, drugs further lower impulse control and can lead to greater aggression.

Teenagers do not always recognize the consequences of their actions or the impact that drug abuse can have on their lives. Kids with low self-esteem and a low tolerance for frustration tend to have a higher likelihood of experimenting with drugs. These kids may not have the ability to control their urges, including violent or angry ones.