Lifestyles and Mental Wellness – 2: Peer pressure can affect mental health adversely

Lifestyles and Mental Wellness – 2: Peer pressure can affect mental health adversely

How important is it to fit in and be recognized as a part of a group? How often do youngsters get involved in undesirable activities believing that it would heighten their cool quotient? The answers to these questions remain ambiguous as the nature of social relationships forged between peers is entirely dependent on the level of emotional maturity of those involved.

At times, the relationship with peers tends to get complex as adolescents become increasingly vulnerable and exhibit emotional immaturity. The peer pressure affects all at some point and tend to influence choices, thus, affecting both physical and mental health.

No child immune to peer pressure

Peer pressure, or simply put, the compulsion by friends can encourage the younger generation to try addictive substances like drugs or alcohol or to engage in risky sexual behaviors. The curiosity to experiment with drugs can make them dependent on certain dangerous substances and having unprotected sex can make them susceptible to the dangers of unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.

The side effects can make them emotionally drained and mentally unfit to lead normal lives. Lethal drugs like cocaine, heroin and LSD can cause death of brain cells, incessant drowsiness or permanent memory loss in the long run.

The impact of peer pressure depends on the level of family support, emotional stability or extent of adroitness. As no child is immune to peer pressure, guardians need to be careful about children’s behavioral changes which can possibly affect their mental health. Most parents tend to ignore the change in their children, thinking it to be normal. But this should not be done as the pressure can affect the emotional health of the person.

Learn to say no to peer pressure

Peer pressure can be experienced at school or in a community. It can affect anyone, irrespective of  ethnicity, economic background, gender or age. Peer pressure can affect one in different ways:

  • Directly: Peer pressure can be felt directly when people are asked to do something against their will or conscience. The solution to it is to simply say “No.” Feeling threatened or complying with someone’s unnatural demands can have a negative effect in the long run.
  • Indirectly: Peer pressure is at times not obvious. Some people tend to adopt habits of those whom they hang out with. Others simply feel influenced or curious to try out new habits or ways, thinking them to be contemporary and trendy.
  • Individual self: At times, the pressure emanates from one’s own self. The fear of being ignored or left out or the feeling of not being able to match up to the expectations of peers leaves one feeling restless, thus, necessitating the urgency to behave accordingly. This usually happens when people find themselves in a new environment and are eager to fit in. Feelings of insecurity, the desire to be accepted, lack of family support are likely factors that result in young people succumbing to peer pressure.

Available treatment options

The fact that peer pressure can have a negative impact on mental health makes it more imperative to be dealt with immediately. Parents must ensure a positive environment so that their wards feel free to share the issues they encounter in their social environment. Vigilant attitude about visible manifestations of changes in wards’ behavior helps ward off problems.

If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental problem, contact the Sovereign Mental Health Services and get instant help. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-954-0529 or chat online with one of our experts to know about our various mental health facilities in California or other places in the U.S.


Read the other articles of the series “Lifestyles and Mental Wellness”:

Part 1: Mental illnesses may lead to social media addiction

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