People use drugs for all different reasons. More often than not, they’re trying to fix an issue in their lives, and the drugs provide an escape for them. For example, a person who has suffered trauma may use prescription opioids to numb their pain. Someone with social anxiety may drink alcohol to open up around friends. And others use drugs to ease the symptoms of chronic pain or mental health problems.
Let’s explore in more detail five reasons why people use drugs or alcohol.
Many young people experiment with drugs or alcohol out of peer pressure or curiosity. While most of them won’t go on to be addicts, it can start the cycle of addiction in some. Researchers aren’t sure why some people become addicted and others don’t, but it’s likely due to several factors such as their genetics, the environment they live in and how well they handle stress.
2. Family History
If addiction runs in the family, you have a greater chance of developing an addiction yourself. Scientists estimate that genetic factors account for 40-60 percent of a person’s vulnerability to addiction.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is currently supporting research to identify the genes that make some people more vulnerable to drug addiction. These genes may be the reason why some people progress into addiction and others do not.
3. Mental Health Disorders
About half of people who have a mental health problem will also experience a substance use disorder. There are several reasons for this connection. First, people who suffer from symptoms of anxiety or depression are more likely to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.
Second, mental health disorders and substance use disorders share some of the same risk factors, such as stress, trauma and genetics. Lastly, repeated drug use can cause changes in the brain that make a person more likely to develop a mental health problem.
4. Prescription Drugs
Acute and chronic pain are sometimes managed through opioid medications, which run the risk for abuse and addiction. Once a person is hooked on prescription opioids, they may progress to heroin or fentanyl. These drugs are cheaper and easier to obtain, making them attractive to drug users. Unfortunately, prescription opioids are a driving factor of the opioid epidemic.
5. Unresolved Trauma
When trauma goes unresolved, it ‘lives’ in the body and brain and ends up causing problems like depression, anxiety, chronic pain and panic attacks. People often don’t realize the pain they’re carrying around, and they end up relying on drugs or alcohol to ease this discomfort and escape from reality, even if just for a moment.
These are some of the most common reasons why people use drugs or alcohol. By understanding these motivations, people can recognize their triggers and work through unresolved trauma, mental health problems and other issues. To start treatment at an Arizona treatment center, contact Wolf Creek Recovery today.