Alternative Peer Group Model for Adolescent Recovery
by Sarah Jones
If you spend any time around teenagers, you have probably noticed some of the following trends: moodiness, impulsivity, risk taking, and of course, a tendency to spend time with friends above all else. With technology, teens have access to what their peers are doing, thinking, and feeling, 24 hours a day. This hyper-focus on peers should not come as a surprise. During adolescence, the mere presence of peers activates the same response in the brain implicated in reward processing. Not only is spending time with friends enjoyable, it also doubles the likelihood of risk-taking. It stands to reason that the degree to which a teen engages in drug and alcohol use is strongly influenced by the use of his or her friends.