Effects of Drug Abuse on Mental Health- How Muslim Youth can Resist Peer Pressure and Make Healthy Choices

International Youth Day is commemorated annually to amplify the voices and aspirations of remarkable young minds- accentuating the challenges they resiliently encounter in their everyday lives, the diverse avenues they can venture towards, and the impactful contributions they can make for our shared world.


As we celebrate International Youth Day, ImamConnect would like to take a proactive stand against a pressing concern that marks the lives of hundreds of young Muslims across the globe: the rising surge of drug and substance abuse. As per the World Drug Report 2022 findings, over 284 million people engaged in drug usage worldwide in the year 2020 alone. Furthermore, almost 11.2 million resorted to injecting drugs, and half of this number grapples with deadly diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV.


While several studies underline the rampant usage of drugs and substance abuse among youth in the Muslim world, including PakistanEgypt, and Saudi Arabia- religious scholars and imams continue to grapple with harnessing the power of the pulpit to avert this looming threat.


At ImamConnect, we believe that engaging in open dialogues and offering personalized guidance grounded on Islamic ideals can empower Muslim youth to quit the menace of drugs- breaking free from its profound physical, mental, and emotional repercussions. Our team of highly qualified and experienced Mental Health Counsellors, Imams, and Addiction Support Coaches cannot only help you regain the reigns of your life, but will also walk alongside you every step of the way to the path of recovery.


Effects of drug abuse on mental, physical, and emotional well-being


Frequent use of cannabis is linked with anxiety, mood swings, and chronic depression- and in worse cases, can even trigger schizophrenia, psychosis, and cognitive impairment


Youngsters take drugs for various reasons. Some start out of curiosity or mounting peer pressure, while others use it to cope with familial issues or symptoms of self-induced mental illnesses. Drugs are just a short-term prop to get through difficult times, feelings, and emotions- and in the longer run, can expose you to life-threatening health hazards.


According to a research study, cannabis abuse among youngsters has witnessed a significant surge - by about 245 percent- since 2000 in the US alone. Frequent use of cannabis is linked with anxiety, mood swings, and chronic depression- and in worse cases, can even trigger schizophrenia, psychosis, and cognitive impairment. Despite these adverse effects, several states in the US and countries like Canada and Uruguay have legalized the use of cannabis for recreational purposes- resulting in increased access to and acceptance of this drug among youngsters.


Besides, the global demand and supply of cocaine is surging worldwide after the pandemic, with the trafficking network expanding, covering continents from Asia to Africa, and from North America to Europe. Cocaine poses detrimental effects on both mental and physical health, causing memory issues, heightened mood disorders, decreased appetite, insomnia, risk of stroke and seizures, paranoia, intense anxiety, and panic attacks.


Other popular drugs include heroin, LSD, ecstasy, benzodiazepines, new psychoactive substances, and alcohol. Some common drug risks associated with these substances include addictive behavior, anxiety and depression, cognitive impairment, mood disorders, reckless behavior, sleep disturbance, social withdrawal, impulsivity, and suicidal thoughts.


Overcoming drug addiction and building resilience to peer pressure


The power lies within; only you know your worth, inner strength, and potential. Don’t let these external pressures sway you.


Young people always find themselves at the crossroads of making the right choices and getting influenced by the opinions of those around them. Peer pressure holds the power to change hearts and minds, subtly directing your life decisions and shaping your personality. At times a gentle nudge or a desire to act along the wishes of your friends can blur the boundaries of right and wrong – pulling you to acts that are difficult to resist, such as drugs and substance abuse.


Research shows that people of all ages are susceptible to peer pressure, especially during teens and adolescence, as this phase is marked by the desire to become independent, gain social acceptance, and shape a distinct personality. Furthermore, peer pressure can come in many forms, such as environmental triggers (hanging out with people who smoke or drink, adhering to normal practices), Direct triggers (peers urging you or threatening you to try a new drug), and indirect triggers (a peer indirectly influencing you to share a drink or smoke with them).


Overcoming drug addiction and building resilience against peer pressure requires unwavering perseverance, commitment, and inner strength. Remember, recovery is not a linear journey, and it’s natural to encounter “ups and downs.” Along this transformative journey, there will be tough times when doubt and temporal relief will creep in. Yet never lose sight of the goals you have set for yourself and the milestones you have accomplished. The power lies within; only you know your worth, inner strength, and potential. Don’t let these external pressures sway you.


Also, surround yourself with a supportive network free from negative influences. Reach out to your friends, family, and support groups to engage in healthy activities such as meditation, new hobbies, etc. Don’t shy away from sharing your emotions, concerns, and struggles to diffuse the unwarranted pressure, and learn the art of no longer succumbing to harmful influences.


Seeking Professional Support is Vital for Healing and Recovery


A considerable number of Muslim youngsters feel reluctant to seek professional help, as they fail to resonate with a Coach or Counsellor who lacks a shared understanding of their cultural values, morals, and religious beliefs. ImamConnect has a team of compassionate Imams, Mental Health Coaches, and Addiction Support Counsellors who are well-equipped with the nuances of faith, cultural sensitivities, and traditions that bind Muslim communities. They integrate faith into the healing and recovery process, offering a safe space where you can openly discuss the influences that led to your addiction, with the fear of being judged for your wrong choices.


ImamConnect recognizes that past actions and decisions like drug abuse do not define the entirety of your being and must not hinder your chances of starting anew. We believe that the right guidance can help you rediscover your true self, learn from your past experiences and embrace the path of healing and recovery.


Our Coaches and Counsellors involve your family in the therapeutic process and help you bridge the generational conflicts, cultural gaps, and misunderstandings that often lead youngsters astray. Through their personalized coping strategies, you can nurture a meaningful sense of self, heal and recover from your past traumas, sustain your progress to prevent relapse, and triumph over the mental, physical, and emotional repercussions, ultimately reclaiming ownership of your life.

Ready to take the first step toward the road to self-discovery and growth? Book a session now and let our Coaches/Counsellors guide you on this empowering expedition. 


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