Youth Substance Use Motivations: Relaxation, Experimentation, Self-Medication

A study found that most adolescents aged 13 to 18 years reported using substances to feel calm, have fun, or relieve anxiety and depression. 50% used substances alone. Motivations for use included feeling relaxed, having fun, improving sleep, and coping with stress. Marijuana was the most frequently used substance, followed by alcohol, prescription medication, and nonprescription drugs. Most participants used substances with friends, but 50% used alone. The study suggests that providing youth with mental health support and treatment could reduce motivations for substance use. However, the study’s limitations include recall and social bias.

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