It’s easy to assume that people use drugs for the sole purpose of getting ‘high’ and running from their feelings. However, this assumption is the root cause of harmful stigmas that surround addiction. For example, drug addicts choose their lifestyle and they deserve every negative experience that comes their way as the result of drug use. There are many different reasons why people may begin to use drugs. So, if you’re wondering, ‘why do people use drugs?’, there are a few reasons to consider. In many cases, understanding why you or a loved one uses drugs can help you come to terms with and accept the presence of addiction. Therefore, making it more obvious that getting help is the next step.
Some of the reasons why people may use addictive drugs may include:
They Started Off Using Prescription Medications
When people get prescribed medication from a doctor, they may assume that it’s completely safe. While many doctors certainly keep the health and safety of their patients a priority, the medications used to keep patients free of pain are not without hazard. If a certain medication is taken too long, for example, pain-relieving medication, individuals can eventually form a physical dependence. In many scenarios of addiction, people were once patients who received a prescription medication from a doctor. And, continued use of this medication until they developed a dependence. So, once the prescription runs out, people in this situation often turn to use street substances as an alternative. Or, even find counterfeit medications on the street to feed their dependence and continue the cycle of addiction.
Genetic Predisposition to Drug Use and Abuse
Genetics and family history of drug abuse is a major underlying cause of the development of addiction. According to studies, between 40-60% of a person’s risk of developing an addiction is due to their genetics. So, if a person has parents, siblings, or even distant relatives who have struggled with addiction, they are at a higher risk of struggling with addiction themselves. While genetics may not be the reason why someone may initially pick up and use an addictive substance, it can be an identifying factor in why some individuals may not be able to stop using addictive substances as easily as others.
They’re Pressured by Their Peers and Environment
This cause of why people use drugs is especially relevant for younger individuals who are more likely to be manipulatable by their peers and their surroundings. Peer pressure is when peers, or people of the same age group, attempt to influence the behaviors of others in their friend group. People who are susceptible to peer pressure are individuals who want to be included and accepted by others of their own age. So, these young people may be more willing and likely to participate in risky behaviors like drug use as the result of peer pressure. However, without the influence of peer pressure, these individuals may not have partaken in drug use at all.
Concurring Mental Health Disorders
People with underlying and even undiagnosed mental health disorders are at a higher risk for developing substance abuse issues. These mental health disorders can include PTSD, OCD, depression, eating disorders, and anxiety disorders. For many, using drugs is a way to not have to cope with debilitating emotional and mental health symptoms that come about as the result of a mental health issue. And, is an escape from struggling with the effects of mental health issues. So, individuals living with these issues should be aware that they are more susceptible to developing addictive behaviors.
Help for People Who Use Drugs
Now that you know some of the answers to the question, “why do people use drugs”, you can better figure out why you or a loved one may be struggling with addiction. And, move forward by finding the professional assistance that is necessary for creating a life of recovery. Willow Place for Women helps women struggling with addiction and other mental health issues. Find out more about our outpatient mental health services from our website.