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Can Meditation Help Stop my Teenager Taking Drugs?

7 July 2023

There are many reasons why a teenager might start using drugs. Adolescence is a particularly stressful time and young people are starting to gain more independence and explore their identity. It’s a common time to dabble in drugs, but the potential negative consequences of experimenting with illicit substances are well known. You may be wondering whether meditation could play a role in helping your teenager avoid taking drugs - or stop, if they have already started.

Reasons for taking drugs

If your teenager is already using drugs, it’s important that you find out why. Sit down with them when you’re both calm and be prepared to listen without judging or interrupting. They may be more likely to open up to another adult, such as an older sibling, aunt, uncle or family friend, and this is fine too. If they have a diagnosed mental health condition, or there are signs they may have one, you should consult a doctor or mental health professional before deciding what to do next. It may be that your teenager would benefit from talking therapy sessions, however it may be possible to use meditation alongside these. If they seem to be addicted to drugs already, it would be best to consult a specialist addiction service. However, if a young person is using drugs to cope with stress, they could benefit from learning better coping mechanisms, such as meditation.

What is meditation?

Learning to meditate means practising a range of techniques to help yourself enter a state of calm. These techniques include breathing exercises, where you focus on your breathing to slow and calm your mind. Some forms of meditation involve using a mantra, visual image or sound to focus the mind, while others use mindfulness - awareness of your surroundings. The idea is to be at peace with your mind and aware of your body, while clearing your head of anxious thoughts. Learning to meditate takes time and requires regular practice - it may take weeks or months to feel the full benefits. 

How can meditation help?

Meditating has been found to improve focus, reduce stress and help with sleep. If your teen struggles in any of these areas, meditation may help them. Learning meditation as a child or in their early teens may also help them avoid taking drugs as they’ll already have tools to help them relax and sleep. They can use the techniques in difficult situations, like exams or when having relationship problems, to help them remain calm and provide some perspective. Meditation can help young people make sense of their emotions and react less strongly to them, meaning they may make better decisions in difficult situations. 

Are there any drawbacks?

Meditation is generally considered safe; however, if your teenager has been through particularly traumatic experiences, they may find that sitting with their thoughts brings back difficult memories. If this happens, seek advice from a doctor or mental health professional. The main problem is getting your teen to practise meditation often enough. It may help if you and other family members learn and practise alongside them. An interactive class may help them stay engaged better than watching videos, but this will depend on your budget. 

Learning meditation certainly has potential to help teenagers avoid or stop taking drugs. The relaxation skills can be used any time, any place, and being calmer and more aware of their emotions should help them make better choices. However, it’s important not to delay seeking professional help if you have concerns about a young person’s mental health or drug use.

Photo by Kindel Media

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