8 Reasons Why People Use Drugs And Alcohol

Understanding why people start using drugs is the best way to prevent substance abuse and develop empathy for those struggling. Unfortunately, first-time drug users usually turn towards drugs to fill a void, escape an unpleasant feeling, perform better, or just fit in. Addiction is the last thing on their mind, but most people who experiment with drugs fall into a lifelong vicious cycle of drug or alcohol addiction. 

Drugs activate the parts of the brain that temporarily make you feel good. However, the body gets so used to it that it needs more drugs to get the same feeling with continuous use. In addition, the body might build a strong tolerance to the substance that may require the drug to feel normal. In the absence of the drug, you will get withdrawal symptoms and feel sick and irritable. This is when you know the body has become addicted to the drug. Often, people who are addicted will even steal or hurt others to keep taking the drug. This can cause problems with friends and family and make the addict feel more isolated. In the long run, drug use can affect you in many ways. Marijuana, for example, slows reflexes, while cocaine can make you more aggressive.

If you are struggling with drug addiction, treatment facilities offer recovery options. Delphi Health Group is one such rehab center that aims to provide care to those willing to recover. Their highly qualified team of counselors and clinicians design an individualized treatment plan based on the level of addiction.

The first step to preventing drug addiction is to realize that drugs can affect people of all genders, ages, races, and socioeconomic statuses. Medical Authorities should clear up the misconception that only the uneducated and the poor are susceptible to this chronic disease.

Here is a list of the reasons for drug or alcohol abuse:

Genetic Factors

Drug use alters brain chemistry which means that someone with a family history of drug abuse may be more inclined towards drugs. As a result, the child can be exposed to the drug, especially if a mother is addicted to a drug during pregnancy. In addition, addicts are usually impulsive and want instant gratification. Their impulsivity can be passed on genetically, making the child more vulnerable to addiction.

Someone with a history of drug abuse is not necessarily more likely to get addicted. However, the chances can be pretty high when coupled with other factors.

Environmental Factors

The environment where you spend most of your time and the people you surround yourself with can greatly influence you and your decisions. For example, if your family openly uses drugs around you, you are also more likely to use them.

Peer pressure is also an environmental factor. For example, many teens might start using drugs to fit in and look cool. This could be explicit pressure from their friends or the crowd they hang out with. Alternatively, it can also be an implicit pressure they have absorbed from someone they look up to or popular media.


Many times people turn towards drugs in an attempt to escape from reality. They may be socially isolated or feel unsupported. A lack of caring friends and family may cause people to neglect themselves and indulge in drugs.

Studies illustrate a high rate of drug abuse in communities where educational and professional opportunities are unfair or limited. This shows that drug use is not an isolated event, but one’s social or economic conditions influence drug use.

Mental Health

Some people turn towards drugs to deal with their emotions and mental health problems. Drugs help them suppress unwanted feelings and thoughts. Often people also self-medicate. This becomes a vicious cycle in which the person is dependent on the drug to cope emotionally.

Similarly, people who have experienced sexual or physical abuse, domestic violence, neglect, family dysfunction, or any other sort of trauma in their childhood often lack the emotional tools to process it. This leads them towards drugs as a means to manage their emotions. It may help them deal with depression, anxiety, or anger caused by their trauma. It could also help them escape their reality or past wounds, making them feel better and more in control of their lives.


The most common reason probably is that people try drugs out of curiosity. This is more common among teenagers. It appears to be harmless at first; however, it can lead to compulsive use. According to the professionals at NCADD, adolescent brain parts that deal with judgment, decision making, and self-control in the developing phase are more vulnerable to risky behaviors such as trying out drugs. Younger users may also be less informed to understand when drug use has become problematic. In case of a lack of a support network, they may not even seek help until it is too late.


Prescriptive drugs, such as oxycontin can also be addictive. Even though medical professionals prescribe these medicines with a detailed brief on using them, the patient can become dependent on them. This is because the doctors cannot make the patient follow the instructions. However, even if the patients strictly follow the guidelines, they may still become addicted to prescription drugs due to their potency.


Many athletes, drivers, and students use drugs to improve their performance. Narcotics, for example, are used by students who wish to stay awake for long periods due to pending work and may get addicted to it. Vehicle drivers use drugs to improve concentration while driving for long stretches of time. A study found out that several women used drugs to lose weight. However, even when the drug is used to achieve a particular result, people are vulnerable to drug addiction or overdose.


Many people report using drugs to relax, become intoxicated, alleviate boredom or enhance their mood. This overlaps with environmental factors. Someone who socializes in groups where drug use is common will also be influenced to use drugs.


Anyone who has fallen into drug addiction will require emotional and professional support to recover. The variety of reasons a person may use drugs shows the importance of a holistically healthy society that would ideally prevent drug abuse. However, the environment we live in is, the next best option is to develop a person-centric treatment plan that goes to the root of the issue. Only after the underlying causes are dealt with can we ensure successful rehabilitation. It will build a strong foundation for a lasting recovery.

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