Why do people use drugs? A question many people have probably asked there loved ones who are in the grips of addiction. There may be no one answer to the question, “why do people use drugs,” but many people who use drugs will tell you it began with harmless experimenting.
Experimenting can quickly lead to addiction.
There comes a point in many young peoples lives that they consider experimenting with drugs and alcohol. It could be when they are fifteen or it could be when they are twenty five, whatever the case is, it is important to understand how harmless experimenting often leads to addiction. Addiction is a disease of the mind, body and spirit, it is the answer to the million dollar question: Why do people use drugs? First it is vital to understand that addiction, now referred to by professionals as substance abuse disorder, is a mental illness, and not a moral failing or lack of willpower. Substance use disorder, like many other mental illnesses, cannot be detected by medical tests such as blood work and CAT scans. Often you do not know you are going to become addicted to drugs, until you are halfway there. Does that mean the only way to know you are an alcoholic or addict is by experimenting? Not exactly.
I say not exactly because there are plenty of signs that you could have the “addiction gene” before experimenting with drugs. Some of the signs you carry the “addiction gene” are having family members that are addicted to drugs or alcohol, being diagnosed or undiagnosed with another mental illness such as depression or anxiety, lack of self-esteem and a history of trauma.
However, even without any of these, you are still susceptible to becoming addicted to drugs. Some drugs, such as prescription opioids, can cause your body intense physical withdrawal even after two times of use. Other drugs can cause you to mentally crave the drugs or fall into a depression after using them, which tricks the brain into believing that to be happy, you must use again.
When you decide to experiment with drugs and alcohol, you are gambling with your future. It can quickly turn from fun to a full blown addiction. You try it anyway. It was fun, you felt free and happy for the first time in a long time. But you don’t really think about the drugs or the alcohol again, you know it was expensive to go out with friends and don’t have much money laying around to do it all the time, plus you have class and your recreational flag football team. About a month passes and your friends want to do drugs and drink again, you say sure, why not? The next weekend comes, and your friends want to do drugs and drink again, you say sure, why not? Now getting drunk and high is part of your weekend routine. You convince yourself that its fine, it’s only a social thing. You are all just having fun, because its only on the weekends, maybe once during the week, that’s it! You are still able to go on in life and do the things you have to, like your relationship, work, homework and that recreational football team. This next step in the cycle is where you or your loved ones experimenting becomes addiction. It happens very gradually, then suddenly, and your stuck wondering, “How did it get here?” Drugs and alcohol are being used every day, at first with friends then alone. Every dollar goes straight towards the next high. Relationships are being destroyed, your friends and family.
Your lifestyle has completely changed, all you can think about, even in your dreams, is getting high and drunk.
You have no money, you got fired from your job and can’t find a new one. You are worried about how you will get money to continue using drugs and alcohol. You might try to steal from family or pawn a few things that you “didn’t like anyway.” It is no longer fun to drink or get high, you only do it because you must, or you won’t make it through the day without getting sick. This is how curiosity killed the cat, don’t let it kill you or your loved ones. Why do people use drugs or alcohol? Experimenting. Experimenting with drugs and alcohol puts you at a greater risk for developing substance use disorder. If you think you or a loved one may have a problem with drinking or drugs, stop asking yourself why and start asking for help, reach out to one of our recovery experts by phone or chat. Someone is available to answer questions 24/7.