During the early stage of use of drugs in the adolescent period, focusing in peer pressure is the developmental task that is being looked upon with regard to the use of drugs. To prevent and treat the abuse of use of drugs among adolescents, there are different developmental issues needed to be taken into consideration. One of these issues is social issue. If individuals are placed into a social group who are users of drugs, they are likely to develop a negative characteristic. Instead of maturing and growing as a person, they may become immature and self-centered individuals and encounter problems with developing their personality.
They may also acquire the same characteristics of other substance abusing teens. Forming normal social development tasks like dating and learning empathy for other people will not be completed and learned. They will just mingle with the rest of the substance abusing kids and will be different from the rest of the normal growing adolescents. Another issue in the adolescent stage is the process of developing an identity of a person. Moral development, self-confidence, self-control, and other behaviors that an adolescent should learn are affected and damaged due to being hooked into the use of substance.
Engaging in the use of substance will greatly prevent an adolescent from learning and acquiring new behavior, new activities, and ideas that are related to their identity. They will not be able to explore and experiment anymore due to the influence and effects of drugs into their body and mind. For instance, an adolescent individual is addicted to substance abuse, he or she will be too focused on taking drugs and will forget to do other things or tasks like in school or at home. Hence, they may end up having failing grades in school or dropping out of school because of failing to perform in the said areas.
They may also have the tendency to be confused later with their role and identity in their life since they have no path or directions to take anymore. The third issue is learning. Since learning has an impact on the consequences of development and coping skills, it is said that substances affects the ability of a person to learn, concentrate, and remember things. One of the major responsibilities of adolescents is to enhance and increase their cognitive abilities like problem solving, setting, and achieving goals in life. On the other hand, the use of substance negatively affects the growth and enhancement of these abilities.
It hinders an adolescent to learn new things in school, life, and the environment since its aim is to be focused and addicted to the pleasures, effects, and use of substance. For example, an adolescent may smoke marijuana to forget and cope with his or her problem, since marijuana is said to be a downer. The next time that he or she has a problem, then he or she may have the tendency to use it again until it will becomes a habit. Instead of learning other possibilities to cope with problems, the person will then be stuck with the use of substance every time that he or she has a problem or whenever he or she feels like it.
Lastly, there are a lot of stressors that are linked with the developmental tasks of adolescents. There are different factors that can affect mood swings of an adolescent such as physical changes, social, and family factors. Furthermore, it is said that the brain of adolescents is working in a different way. Therefore, if a person uses drugs, there is a greater chance that his or her emotional state will be affected. He or she may also have a greater chance to become self-destructive, develop extreme mood swings, and increase his or her impulsivity, depending on what kind of substance he or she is taking (Chapman & Rokutani, 2008).