Why Do People Abuse Drugs?

Written by Chloe Nicosia

So, why do people abuse drugs? Find out here…

Why do people abuse drugs? The answer is complex and varied. People use drugs for a variety of reasons, and understanding some of the factors that may increase your risk of substance abuse can help you understand how to prevent addiction. Drug abuse is the act of using drugs or alcohol in a way that causes problems in your life. Chronic drug abuse can cause relationship issues, financial and legal issues, and health problems. Most importantly, drug abuse can lead to addiction. So, why do people abuse drugs if they cause so many problems? What are the causes of drug abuse?

There are many causes of drug abuse, including mental illness, a history of trauma, chronic stress, and family dysfunction. It’s important to understand how getting help for these issues can help you reduce your drug abuse and your risk of addiction.

Mental Illness

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a third of people who suffer from a mental illness and half of those who have a severe mental illness also have a substance abuse problem. Conversely, one-third of people who abuse alcohol and more than half of all drug users have a mental illness.

Why do people abuse drugs when they have a mental illness? In most cases, it’s because they’re self-medicating their symptoms of mental illness. Someone with anxiety may abuse alcohol in an attempt to feel less anxious, and someone with depression may use meth or cocaine to improve their mood.

Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol always make a mental illness worse due to the way they affect brain function. Drug and alcohol abuse can even cause a mental illness that didn’t exist before.

If you have a history of mental illness, such as anxiety or depression, getting professional help can make it easier to reduce your substance abuse and your risk of addiction as well as dramatically improve your quality of life.

A History of Trauma

For some people, the answer to the question of “why do people use drugs” has to do with trauma, either in childhood or adulthood. Trauma, such as being the victim of or witness to sexual or physical abuse, war, a natural disaster, or an accident can cause lasting effects that leave individuals vulnerable to substance abuse. Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, commonly occurs after a trauma and includes symptoms like nightmares, flashbacks, insomnia, anger, and fear. It’s very common for people with these symptoms to abuse drugs or alcohol in an attempt to blot out disturbing memories, bring on sleep or suppress nightmares, or reduce negative emotions.

Addressing trauma is essential for preventing or ending substance abuse and restoring your sense of happiness and wellbeing.

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is a powerful motivator for using drugs or alcohol. Chronic stress is that which is near-constant. Poverty, an abusive or unhappy relationship, financial problems, and an intense job are common causes of chronic stress, which causes serious medical and mental health problems if left unchecked. So why do people use drugs when they’re stressed?

As with mental illness and trauma, people with chronic stress often use drugs or alcohol to relax and alleviate their stress. But substance abuse reduces your body’s ability to cope effectively with stress, and it leads to more stress when the abuse begins to cause other problems in your life.

Reducing your stress and learning how to relax without drugs or alcohol will improve your physical and mental health and quality of life as well as help reduce your risk of addiction.

Who Uses Drugs?

So who uses drugs? Contrary to what popular culture leads us to believe, people of all walks of life use drugs, from blue-collar workers to professionals, high school and college students to the elderly, and people of all races, ethnicities, and nationalities. Drug use doesn’t discriminate, and everyone has the potential to become addicted.

Professional Help Restores Your Life

If you’ve developed a substance abuse problem due to one of these or another cause, treatment can help you overcome the abuse and restore function, order, and happiness to your life. Contact BAC today, and let us help you find a program that’s right for you.