Those who have never had issues with drugs or alcohol often find themselves wondering, why do people use drugs? People who struggle with a substance use disorder can be at a loss about what to do. The Ranch PA can help you find answers. We can also help you get the treatment you need to overcome drug or alcohol abuse. There is no single answer to why people use drugs. Instead, there are a variety of reasons. Understanding how to help your struggling friends and loved ones starts with learning more about these reasons.
Why Do People Use Drugs? Three Simple Reasons.
- Curiosity: We see drug and alcohol use portrayed in movies and on TV. We hear it glorified in songs. We are warned away from it by parents and school DARE programs. Put it all together, and it adds up to the sense that drugs and alcohol must really be something extraordinary. The temptation to try them, just to see what they’re like, can be extreme, especially to the young, who are wired to take risks and seek out new experiences. The problem is, drugs can indeed be just as amazing as advertised. But continued use damages the brain’s ability to feel pleasure from the substance or from other things that once gave joy. The person can end up chasing a high that can never be recaptured and using drugs not to feel good but to keep from feeling bad.
- Peer pressure: If your social circle accepts drug or alcohol use as the norm, there’s little doubt you will too. It’s why parents worry so much about who their kids are hanging out with. They know the pressure to fit it can be extreme, even when it’s not overt. Simply the feeling of sticking out can be enough to make a person do things they’d never try on their own.
- Acceptance: In some cases, people turn to drugs or alcohol because they feel it will make them more accepted. For teens especially, the need to fit in can be overwhelming. If you’re feeling like an outsider, using drugs or drinking may seem like a way to join the in-crowd. It’s also not uncommon for people to use drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with feeling like an outsider. If you’re different in some way—perhaps you’re LGBTQ, have a disability, or are dealing with mental health issues—you may turn to substances as a way of self-medicating the pain of rejection. There’s a sense of belonging that comes with drug use, even if it’s an illusion. And for people who feel like they don’t belong anywhere else, that can be appealing.
Why Do People Use Drugs? Three Complex Reasons.
- Prescriptions: Prescriptions, especially opioid painkillers, are given after an injury or surgery. Often, individuals discover through extended use they are dependent. The trouble here is multifold: Painkillers can paradoxically increase pain sensitivity with continued use, an effect called hyperalgesia. Highly addictive, when prescription drugs run out, individuals turn to illicit sources. Sometimes individuals even turn to another opioid like heroin to fill the void. Our national opioid addiction epidemic stands as proof. Also, users may believe they are still hurting from the original injury. They convince themselves they need to continue taking medication when what they are really experiencing is the pain of withdrawal.
- Self-medicating: For some, drug use is an attempt to self-medicate away the distress that can come from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Rather than seeking a high, they are seeking a sense of normalcy. Substance use, however, inevitably ends up making mental health issues worse, and treating one successfully requires addressing the other as well.
- To Escape: Those with trauma in their past — experiences such as childhood neglect, sexual assault, wartime experiences, betrayal from a loved one, loss — may turn to drugs or alcohol to quiet painful memories. Substances are also used to cope with more everyday emotions, such as stress and frustration. The problem with this solution, of course, is that the relief is temporary, and more and more of the substance will be needed to get the same effect. In time, the person may end up simply adding one more problem to their life — addiction.
From Addiction to Treatment at The Ranch PA
No matter what leads a person to alcohol or drug abuse, what is clear is that some people, for reasons believed to stem from genetics and environmental factors, are much more likely to have problems with substances than others. If you or someone you know is one of them, don’t delay in reaching out for professional help and support. The sooner you address problems, the sooner you overcome them. If you or a loved one is ready to confront substance use disorder, The Ranch PA can help. Our compassionate, experienced team of experts are able to treat a variety of drug abuses such as:
Contact The Ranch PA today at 717.969.9126 to get started on your recovery. We have the resources you or your loved one needs to get healthy.