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The Top 7 Reasons Why People Start Doing Drugs

Knowing why people start doing drugs is the best way to prevent substance abuse from growing out of control.

Why do people start doing drugs in the first place? Everyone knows that drugs are dangerous and a difficult habit to kick. But that doesn’t always stop people from experimenting with them in the first place. People turn to drugs and alcohol for a multitude of reasons. Understanding these motives may be what it takes to help someone overcome addiction.

Drugs affect people of all ages, genders, races, and socioeconomic statuses. Let’s examine the top reasons for substance abuse:

1) Social Glorification

We live in a society that glorifies alcohol use for nearly every occasion. People drink without worry at parties, small gatherings, and other social events. Television and movies portray alcohol and drug use with little to no consequences. As a whole, society minimizes the risk of “acceptable” substances, like marijuana.

As a result of this glorification, people turn to drugs and alcohol as a form of social gratification. They believe others won’t accept them unless they have a drink in their hand or take a hit from a joint. The more people become accustomed to social use, the more likely they are to develop a full-blown addiction.

2) Peer Pressure

Peer pressure affects pretty much everyone at some point, but it’s most likely to leave a lasting impression on young people. Teenagers, especially, are vulnerable to peer pressure. Youngsters want to blend in with those around them. Teens see the “cool crowd” smoking weed or drinking openly, and they feel the need to copy their peers’ actions to feel valued.

The desire to “fit in” is human nature. People will do almost anything to impress others. Unfortunately, fitting in sometimes involves dangerous and illicit substances. What started as one drink may turn into a dangerous habit. That’s why it’s critical to educate people about self-love and acceptance.

Do you suspect your teen is experiencing with drugs? Click here to learn more about teen substance abuse and what you can do about it.

3) Self-Medication

Mental health issues are widespread. Over 50% of the population will receive a mental illness diagnosis, according to the CDC. But this number only reflects those who seek professional help. Too many people suffer in silence. Depression, anxiety, trauma, and other mental health issues may go undiagnosed for years. And many people end up turning to drugs or alcohol as a way to dull the pain.

Self-medicating with drugs is a dangerous path to take. While getting high may reduce negative thoughts temporarily, it’s not a healthy solution. Over time, users need larger, more frequent doses to obtain the same result. Substance abuse can harm a person physically. Depending on their drug of choice, the user may experience liver, heart, or lung issues. Further, overdose is a leading cause of death. Those struggling with mental health issues should seek out medical help to find a safe treatment plan.

4) Grieving After Loss

Loss is a natural part of life and something everyone will experience at some point. That fact doesn’t make coping any easier. The sudden death of a loved one or ending a long-term relationship may affect a person emotionally and physically. Grief may cause sudden bouts of depression. It can also manifest as physical pain. And some people experiment with drugs as a way to find relief.

Everyone grieves differently. Some go through the process relatively quickly, while others struggle to find peace for several years. The longer it takes to process grief, the more likely a person is to turn to drugs or alcohol. Seeking professional counseling is the best way to handle grief. A therapist can give you the tools needed to deal with any negative emotions in a healthy way.

5) Reducing Stress

Stress is one of the common emotions. In January 2021, the American Psychological Association reported that 8 in 10 Americans felt stressed during a set two-week period. But just because stress is widespread doesn’t mean people know healthy ways to handle it.

Stress physically affects the body. It creates a fight-or-flight response. Stress can increase a person’s heart rate or cause their blood pressure to spike. Some people even struggle to sleep or focus on daily tasks. Many times, they try drugs or alcohol to reduce stress. But this habit becomes a dangerous one. It’s better to seek out natural ways to combat stress, such as meditation or exercise.

6) Thrill Seeking

There is a mindset that rules exist to break. Except for nicotine and alcohol, most drugs are illegal without a prescription. Only a handful of states have legalized recreational marijuana. And using legal substances still comes with a list of rules to follow. However, some people break the law for the thrill of it. For them, using drugs provides a powerful dopamine rush. These thrill-seekers feel invincible and euphoric until the high fades.

Substance abuse isn’t the only way to increase dopamine levels. Eating fatty or sugary foods boosts the production of this “feel good” hormone. A romantic encounter or a few laughs with friends may also recreate this feeling. Unfortunately, drug users will do anything to increase their dopamine levels, even if it does land them in jail.

7) Boredom

Boredom is a leading reason people turn to drugs, and it’s also why so many recovering addicts relapse. But it’s hard to believe people feel bored in a world full of streaming content, social media, and smartphones. That’s why it’s crucial to redefine the word. Boredom doesn’t only occur when you have nothing to do. It also sneaks up when you feel isolated or trapped.

Unfortunately, when people feel bored, they’ll do almost anything to escape. They may try drugs as a way to break up the monotony. At first, drugs and alcohol may seem glamorous and exciting. But experimenting soon becomes a habit, and before long, it turns into an addiction. Breaking the cycle of addiction is never an easy process. When boredom strikes, it’s better to find a new hobby or mingle with friends to avoid the consequences of using drugs.

Seeking Help for Substance Abuse

When people experiment with drugs for the first time, addiction is the last thing on their minds. Instead, they turn to these dangerous substances to fill a void. But a one-time event may turn into a life-long cycle. Luckily, there is help available if you struggle with a drug or alcohol addiction.

New Life 360° uses holistic and traditional methods to treat substance abuse. Our treatment program will provide you with the tools needed to overcome addiction and heal your mind. Instead of putting a bandage on the problem, we strive to treat the whole person. Using a variety of therapeutic modalities, we’ll help you reach your treatment goals.

Still curious about why people start doing drugs? Schedule a free consultation to pinpoint and treat the cause of your addiction.