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Why do People use Drugs or Alcohol?


Substance use is a complex issue. There are many people who use drugs or alcohol and never develop a problem. They are able to go out and have a few drinks with friends or experiment with the occasional drug and never become addicted. Others do not have the same results and find that they end up struggling with addiction.

There is no clear cut way to determine who will develop an addiction and who will not. There are many contributing factors that put a person at risk, including a combination of genetics and environment. Some of these same elements can also work as protective factors. What is clear is that addiction does not discriminate. It affects men, women, young, old, business executives, stay-at-home parents, wealthy, poor, and people of every race and ethnicity. No one is immune. But what are some reasons that people turn to drugs or alcohol in the first place?

Stress: This is a big factor as stress can come from many different places. People are living busier lives than ever and striving to achieve more. They feel pressure at work to be the best and get more work done. There are tight deadlines, rigid specifications, and continual evaluation. At home they want to provide for their family, be a wonderful parent and spouse, and live a fulfilling live. They also have friends and other activities vying for their attention. All of this can build up and make a person feel stressed out.

In an attempt to alleviate or cope with some of the stress they feel, people may start drinking or using drugs. It may seem like a good option at the time, but it is only a temporary fix to an ongoing problem. Better options would be to make changes to reduce stressful factors and deal with them in healthier ways such as exercising, talking, writing, or engaging in enjoyable activities.

Peer Pressure: Adolescents and young adults are especially vulnerable to peer pressure, but it can affect people of all ages. If their friends are drinking, they don’t want to be left out or made fun of. They may drink too as a way to try to fit in and gain more friends. It can seem like the cool thing to do because it’s what other people are doing. In reality, there are many people who are not doing these things. Building friendships and relationships with others who are involved in healthier activities and spend their time in more productive ways can reduce some peer pressure for substance use.

Forget Problems: Whether they’re struggling in their relationships, career, finances, health, or other areas, some people start using drugs or alcohol as way to cope and forget. When they’re under the influence, it takes their mind off of these issues, at least for a while. They may try to deny that they even exist or hope that they’ll pass on their own. However, this rarely happens. Instead, these issues can become worse as a result of substance use. Not addressing a problem doesn’t make it go away. It is better to confront things and find ways to resolve them. This may take time, effort, and strategic planning, but no matter the problem, there is usually a way to remedy it.

Environment: If people grow up in a home where substance use is prevalent, they may be at greater risk of using themselves. They become accustomed to this way of life and drinking seems like a normal way of dealing with stress. Children and teenagers can pick up the habits of the adults around them. They may not realize the dangers or know any differently.

Pain Management: Prescription drug misuse is a serious problem. Many people think that because the medication is prescribed, it is safe. It typically is safe when used as directed, but taking too much can lead to addiction. It can also lead to experimenting with other drugs. Some people may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to try to control their pain on their own.

Mental Health: Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can put people at greater risk for substance use. These conditions can impact their self-esteem, relationships, and ability to function. They may feel better when they use drugs or alcohol or not know where else to turn. When dealing with addiction, it is essential to address coinciding mental health issues as well.

These are some of the main reasons why many people begin using drugs or alcohol. What started out as infrequent use can develop into something more serious and ongoing. The more they use and more frequently, it creates changes in their brain which can lead to addiction. Once dependency or addiction has developed, it is essential to seek professional treatment. Doctors, therapists, and other professionals trained in treating addiction can provide clients with comprehensive care in drug and alcohol rehab.

Regardless of what led to addiction, there is help available to overcome it and get on the path to recovery. Chapters Capistrano offers a wide range of comprehensive services including onsite detox, dual diagnosis programs, therapy and counseling, holistic care, family programs, and access to support groups and other activities. Don’t let addiction stand in your way of a brighter future. Contact Chapters Capistrano today at 949-371-4198 to make the most of your recovery.

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