Euphoria: A Realistic Representation of the Modern Teen


Euphoria is one of the most popular shows for teens right now, for good reason. It shows an honest outlook about the problems in high schools today: depression, drugs, mental health, social media and teen addiction. The show follows a group of high school students who all suffer through their own problems and who are trying to navigate the world and come to terms with their own individual identities.

Many would say that Euphoria is inaccurate and doesn’t show the real high school experience. However, I feel they did a great job showing the reality of high school in today’s society. The American Psychological Association recently did a study that showed that today teens are significantly more stressed about things like gun violence, immigration, sexual assault, climate change and income equality than any other generation, and I can’t help but agree.

And Euphoria writers get this. But not all viewers do.

The way I see it, the show tackles issues many are scared to discuss, issues that I personally face (or know people that do) daily. The show tackles these problems in a mature and responsible manner. Many viewers, however, don’t get the message of the show and glamorize these addictions or problems making them out to be “fun experiences”, or romanticize the characters’ mental illnesses.

What the show gets right is its brutally blunt but delicate illustration of depression, teen drug abuse and the causes of drug addiction. When it comes to media and teens, TV shows and movies often glamorize addiction and drug use. They show the good parts of drug use and addiction portraying it as a way to run from your problems and that the substances can help make you feel better than you’ve ever felt before. However, they fail to show what happens when you crash. What the withdrawal symptoms look like, how those symptoms affect a person, becoming dependent on a substance and what happens when being high becomes the norm. Rue addresses this in season one, episode six, through the line “I’ve been high for so long being sober kinda feels like a new drug”. It shows how you can completely change and forget all about your future. Euphoria really captures what addiction and drug misuse are truly like.

The creator of Euphoria, Sam Levinson wanted to show the realities of substance abuse since he is recovering from a substance use disorder himself. “Though drugs can bring relief and seem like a solution, they also bring destruction. That’s what makes them so dangerous, and that’s what Euphoria gets so refreshingly right: the devastating, life-threatening effect of drug abuse on kids,” he said.

However, the show is still glamorized even though the message of the show is clear. Yet for once, it isn’t the show’s fault. Viewers see how much fun it can be using drugs and doing whatever you want, but don’t get the importance of how much drugs can destroy you. They romanticize Rue’s addiction (the main character’s substance abuse) disregarding how much damage it does to her and those around her.

The show does get a lot of backlash from some parents, however. They feel the show is too mature for their teens when the whole purpose of the show is to give a reality check of how hard it is to be in high school, and how different people cope due to that problem. Even though the show has sensitive topics, it brings all these topics to life, even the ones everyone is too scared to discuss. Nevertheless, it just depends on how the parents are raising their teens and how much they expose them to the real world. Euphoria is not something a lot of parents like, but I think if you’re in high school you should watch it because it displays all the new issues with this generation and what everyone goes through.

Euphoria, to me, is one of the best shows and genuinely represents what today’s high schoolers struggle with. The show does have a few trigger warnings and some disturbing scenes, but the meaning of the show helps teens all over know that they’re not the only ones going through the same issues.