What Leads to Substance Abuse?

A list of reasons that explain why an individual may resort to substance abuse.

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What makes someone decide to take the plunge into the world of chemicals? Is it desperation, anger, loneliness or plain and simple ignorance?
“But why did you do it in the first place?”, A question that pops into your mind every time you see your loved ones struggling with their addiction at a substance abuse treatment facility. It is perfectly alright to ask this question; After all, how would you be able to help end the addiction if you do not know what started it? Most people take drugs because they want to change something about themselves or their lives, alcohol and drugs seem like a solution to them but eventually, the solution becomes the problem. 

A lot of researchers have tried to figure out the reason behind the inception of this deadly habit and after talking to several people who have been through the ups and downs of substance abuse, an anti-drug organization foundation for a Drug-Free World has come Up with a list of probable reasons behind one chooses to walk down the dark road.

• To fit in: “Everyone is doing it”, more often than we realize this kind of statement is the minority hint of peer pressure. Many young people lack the social skill of making friends or fitting in a group and they would just about do anything to feel accepted and have a cool group of their own. Unfortunately, if they come across a group which is already involved in drug/substance abuse, it is more likely that they would also give in rather than taking a stand all to fit in.

• To escape or relax: Everybody has gotten troubles of their own that they deal with on a daily basis, but sometimes it becomes too much for them. While some of us try to look for a break by going for a vacation or taking a few days off; Others choose the high of alcohol, drugs or other substances to take their mind off the problem. It starts slowly maybe once a month but slowly and steadily the person starts getting dependent on the high. Every time he feels pressurized, he turns toward the high looking for an escape and before he realizes it, that temporary high becomes a permanent need. 

• To relieve boredom: One of the major factors in drug abuse in teens and young adults is boredom. Most of the time when they have extra free time at hand or no hobbies and interests to keep us employed, they start looking for exciting things to do and drinking/smoking up or drugs look like a good idea. They think that they have strong will power and may quit any time they want to but the sad reality is once you get hooked up you can not ‘just stop’ without professional help; In fact trying to go ‘cold turkey’ may even prove to be fatal.

• To seem to grow up: When teenagers and young adults see their friends or family getting involved with alcohol or drugs, even if it is something as casual as social drinking; They start to think they even can handle it. It becomes easier for them to rationalize it by thinking stuff like ‘Everybody drinks during the Sunday family get-together so, why I can not?’ Even the modern music and entertainment looks to be filled with references to drugs making the youngsters believe that “it’s okay” to try it sometimes. This ‘sometimes’ pushes them slowly and steadily towards addiction.

• To rebel: Most parents warn their kids and ask them to stay away from drinking, smoking and other substance abuse but more often than not, these warnings have just the opposite effect. Kids start feeling pressurized and try to look for ways to lash out or rebel against their parents. Smoking or drinking starts seeming like excellent ideas to them and they underestimate that this may severely backfire on them and they might end up becoming addicted. 

• To experiment: We have often heard that ‘drugs boost creativity’, this, is a lie. In fact, alcohol/substance abuse causes just the opposite. It alters one’s thinking capacity and brain functions in such a way that they are unable to focus on anything other the need to get their high. As time passes, their tolerance increases and they start looking for new ways trying to get the euphoric feeling of being high. Most of the time this pulls a person into the darkness of addiction. All this sucks a person dry of their logical thinking and also drains them of their creativity. Their experiment to get more creative backfires on them.

It is very easy for teenagers and young adults to get into the habit of alcohol/substance abuse without thinking about the long-term consequences. What we need to understand is that alcohol or drug dependency hampers one’s normal brain functions and they are unable to see and understand logic the way we do. Here, it is imperative that we look out for the slightest signs and make sure that we always stay by their side whenever they need support. Fortunately, it is possible to get help at the right rehab and help your loved ones get their life back on track; All you need to do is be alert to the signs.

Source by Kristi Hines