What Leads to Drug Abuse?

Understanding What Leads to Drug Abuse

News reports are inundated with stories associated with drug abuse and drug addiction. Information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that drug abuse and drug addiction have reached epidemic proportions, and there is no relief in sight. A substantial percentage of the population that is abusing drugs are young adults and youth, making it necessary for parents, guardians and those in positions of authority, such as coaches and school teachers, should gain a lucid perspicacity of what leads to drug abuse. The are many catalysts that drive drug abuse in this country. At Better Addiction Care, we provide resources that help people understand drug abuse and drug addiction, as well as help them find the right type of treatment in order to improve their chances of experiencing a full recovery.

What Leads to Drug Abuse in General?

Not that long ago, drug abuse and drug addiction were viewed as a behavioral or moral issue, but science has finally made significant gains in closing the gap between the reality of drug abuse and our understanding of it. In general, there are several common triggers that can lead to the abuse of both, prescription and illicit drugs.

  1. The presence of an existing mental disorder, such as bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety can trigger the use of psychotropic drugs for the purpose of self-medicating in an attempt to mask what the person is feeling. The attempt to mask the symptoms by using a mind-altering chemical actually ends up causing more harm than good, because the negative effects of drug abuse only exacerbate the existing issue and create what is known as a dual-diagnosis — the presence of an addiction and mental disorder simultaneously.
  2. The fallible rationale that other people are doing it means that I can do it too is another common cause of drug abuse. The effects of drug abuse vary from person to person, so while excessive use may have a lesser effect on one person, it may have an exaggerated effect on the next.
  3. Believe it or not, what leads to drug abuse with some people is simple boredom. This is especially true with young adults and teens (more on this in the next section). It appears that those who have fewer responsibilities are likely to fall victim to the lure of drug abuse.

The Cause of Drug Abuse Among Youths

While there are some common factors and influences associated with the causes of drug abuse, it must be understood that youth are not psychologically mature, which makes them vulnerable to certain influences that adults are less susceptible to, with the primary influence being peer pressure. Peer pressure is a phrase that is used in such abundance that the frequency of its use robs it of its gravity. The truth is that peer pressure is one of the most powerful variables when considering the cause of drug abuse among youths.

Youth also tend to use drugs as a form of escapism, especially when they have suffered some form of trauma, such as in-home abuse or the loss of a loved one. Their psychological immaturity lacks the capacity and coping skills necessary to process the situation in a healthy manner. Exposing youth to the appropriate therapy after a tragedy is paramount to ensure that they are able to heal and move forward. The access to drugs conjoined with the pressure and feelings of helplessness associated with the traumatic experience creates the perfect storm to lead to drug abuse.

If you want to learn more about what leads to drug abuse, the effects of drug abuse, or the cause of drug abuse among youths, call 1.800.429.7690 or visit our site at


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention