9 Reasons Why People Use Drugs and Alcohol

The reasons why people use drugs – A quick overview

Many people have never experienced addiction of any sort. For these people it can be very hard to understand and grasp the logic behind drug abuse. But with drug use getting more and more prevalent in America, it’s now common for people to dig deeper and look for the reasons why people use drugs and alcohol. This is not meant to be a complete list, nor is is meant to be medical advise, but I feel this article can shed some light for addicts or family members of addicts dealing with this burning question…

 “Can someone please explain to me the reasons why people use drugs?”

This list has been compiled from 13 years of personal experience watching my close family member struggle with the darkest moments of addiction. Many times I asked and prodded to get answers from my sister who was addicted to drugs. She didn’t always have the answers – but she still taught me. The important thing that I learned is that drugs alter the thinking patterns in your brain which can distort logic and rationality. Therefore an addict may not fully understand what a sober person can. So most of my analysis came from observing her behaviors. So here is my list regarding the reasons why people use drugs and alcohol.

1. People suffering from anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression or other mental illnesses use drugs and alcohol to ease their suffering.
Mental illness is such a burden for some people they will try just about anything to relieve the pain. Drugs or alcohol can temporarily make that person feel ‘normal’ again, like they remember feeling in the past. Mental illness is scary for the individual experiencing it, so they are afraid to go to a doctor or family member for help and instead turn to drugs or alcohol to try and solve the problem on their own.

2. People see family members, friends, role models or entertainers using drugs and rationalize that they can too.
As teenagers and young adults, it’s very easy to think that drug and alcohol use can be handled and controlled, especially if they see others they know doing the same thing. It can become easy to rationalize like: ‘hey my friend’s been doing this for a couple years and he seems fine to me.’ Entertainment and music is full of drug references and that can add to the rationalization that drug use is ok sometimes. Individuals with a family history of drug or alcohol abuse are far more likely to develop an addiction than an individual with no family background of addiction.

3. People become bored and think drugs will help.
Boredom is a big factor in drug abuse in teens and young adults. People in this age bracket generally don’t have bills, jobs and all the stresses that go along with adulthood. So it’s easier to become bored and want to try something new and exciting. Drug use is often thought of as a way to escape the mundane world and enter an altered reality.

4. People think drugs will help relieve stress.
Our modern world is full of new strains and stresses that humans have never experienced in the past. Although many things in life are now easier than ever, the burdens are also very high. Simply having a family, maintaining a household, and holding a job are huge stress factors. Some drugs are viewed as a means of relaxation – a way to calm the storm in your mind. Although drugs can be very effective at doing that, there can be serious side effects.

5. People figure if a drug is prescribed by a doctor, it must be ok.
It is easy for an individual to rationalize using a drug because it came from a doctor. The thinking goes like this ‘it was prescribed to someone I know for the same problem I am having, so it makes sense it should work for me too.’  The dangerous part about this rationalization is that this can lead to mixing of drugs, overdose, unintended side effects and/or dependency.

6. People get physically injured and unintentionally get hooked on prescribed drugs.
The people at risk for this are physical laborers, elderly, and anyone with pre-existing injuries. Some people are born with chronic pain due to deformities – others get injured. Doctors then prescribe drugs for what they are intended for and a person can quickly build a dependency. Especially if that drug is making them feel all better, they rationalize that it must be ok to keep taking the drug, which can result in dependency.

7. People use drugs to cover painful memories in their past.
Many people go through extremely traumatic events in their life, many times as children, and turn to drugs to cover the horrible memories. Children are extremely susceptible to trauma, whether physically or emotionally, and those feelings can haunt them into their adulthood. These people could benefit from working with psychologists to help repair their damaged mind. Drugs usually only deepen the issue.

8. People think drugs will help them fit in.
When hanging out with friends, it’s easy for people to want to fit in and seem like one of the crew. If others are drinking or doing drugs, it’s very likely for someone to fall into that trap. Peer pressure can be a tremendous force causing someone to try things they would normally not try on their own.

9. People chase the high they once experienced.
Ask anyone who has tried drugs and they will tell you that it is one of the best feelings of their life. The highs from drugs are so much more extreme than regular everyday joys because most drugs overload the pleasure sensors in your brain. Once a person feels this extreme pleasure, it’s common for that person to become hooked on a drug simply chasing the initial high they once felt. As we all know, this is a viscous cycle that is extremely difficult to break. The highs are equally as powerful as the lows felt when coming off of the drugs.

By: Nate Blair (Jennifer’s brother)

This article can be found on ezinearticles.com – 9 Reasons Why People Use Drugs and Alcohol.

Comments

  1. says

    I am 99% positive that I knew your daughter at least in passing in the late ’90’s.

    Your points #8 and 6 both pertain to me..

    When I was younger I didn’t always fit in very well with the kids.. come high school (I think I was a Junior at the time) one of the “popular kids” in one of my classes had some tin foil and I noticed he was looking at it a lot. I asked him what it was and he told me it was acid.. Well.. wanting to fit in with the cool kids I automatically asked him if I could do some with him (I had never even taken a drink of alcohol at that point). After that I was hooked.. I don’t think I was ever really addicted to one particular drug.. but I was addicted to the whole party aspect of doing them.. the feeling that everyone around you accepts you for “who you are” even tho they are really accepting you because you are partying with them. After I graduated from High School I got in way deeper.. I found the Rave scene in Tampa and next thing I knew it was Ecstasy and Cocaine and whatever else.. this phase in my life lasted for about 10 years.. I partied everywhere in the country.. literally.. I got so into it that I was putting on raves in LA one summer.. then Chicago the next.. did it in Baltimore and NYC..

    Then I met my wife.. I am not quite sure what happened to me.. but the moment I met her I knew she was for me.. I got off drugs for many years once we got together.. at least no where near the amounts I had been doing before that.

    About 3 years ago I needed back surgery (I have actually had 2 back surgeries now and countless injections) In the mean time I started taking opiate pain killers in order to manage the pain.. This is the one class of drugs that I have never had a run in with.. never did the Heroin thing and prescription pills weren’t heavily abused when I was partying back in the 90’s.

    Now if I don’t take my meds (I have tried to quit cold turkey a few times) I get deathly ill.. like to the point that I honestly can’t stand it. So.. even tho it is prescribed by a doctor and I take them the way I am supposed to I am still addicted to them. My pain doctor tells me that I will be on opiate pain killers the rest of my life.. I guess that is the plan.. the drug companies are getting rich while America is stuck addicted to their poisons..

    I am very sorry about your daughter.. I saw her picture on Facebook and immediately was like “I am 99% sure I knew her”. I would have known her while she was partying of course.. but she always seemed like a pretty happy person with a wonderful life ahead of her.

    My deepest condolences..

    Ryan

  2. says

    I realize that life has it’s many challenges and also that mental illness plays a large part in people who are self medicating with illegal drugs. Seems they get worse as time goes by because the drugs they take impair their connections with others even further. I met a man who seemed to have an unusual personality but I did not think too much of it – just that he was a little eccentric. We are both grown people. Initially this person was warm and friendly. As time wore on another side emerged. He admitted his drug use and it seemed like he was trying to make a change. However that did not happen, at least during the time we were together. I tried to help as best as I could, but the relationship completely deteriorated. I think prolonged drug use has very serious consequences on interpersonal relationships. This a very painful path to go down.

  3. Barbara Ellen says

    This is a great article. Certainly, includes all the reasons I started using drugs. I got introduced to Vicodin after a number of surgeries. When I took the first one, I just felt “right.” I suffer from depression and I thought I had found the best anti- depressant in the world. Until opiates no longer worked and I had lost so many things. I’m 8 months clean now. I was one of the lucky ones. I have many friends who died from this disease. Keep up the good work.“Thank you Jennifer for all your work.”

  4. Carole Thomas says

    We lost our daughter Sara in 2013 when she was 25 yoa. She used for 11 years. In and out of rehab, and jail once. She tried all kinds of drugs. She couldn’t break the bondage. She didn’t want to use but stated she couldn’t stop. I feel like such a failure as a parent and will never forgive myself for listening to everyone’s advice about “tough love”. That’s b.s. My “tough love” caused me to side with my husband bc he wanted to be “on the same page”. He once said “I don’t care what she’s doing as long as she doesn’t bother him”. Now she’s gone and I still don’t think he gets it. Yeah he feels guilty but so what. Sorry means nothing. I will never fully understand what was really bothering her enough to self-destruct her life since age 14 with her first suicide attempt by OD of tylenol PM. I guess that is what drugs do, lead to despair and total lack of self-esteem. It is absolutely the saddest thing in the entire world to watch your daughter be lowered into ground. I hope people realize that addiction of any kind is life and death and not alot of addicts make it.

    • admin says

      Dear Carole,

      My deepest condolences to you and your family at the passing of your daughter, Sara. I too have a daughter with that same name (Sarah). Addiction is a mystery disease to those of us who do not suffer fromaddiction. We try and understand it but it is still hard to feel what they feel and know what goes on in their mind and how powerful the addiction really is. That’s why I fight for help, intervention and treatment. Please know I understand your pain because I have lived it. May God bless you with his mercy and peace.

      Sharon Blair

    • says

      thank you, for your comments on “tough love”. I too kept hearing it, and I was tough, too. And lost the relationship also. I think tough love requires a balance, a fine balance that is also tough to find, but Worth it.
      thank you to the Blair family for your strength through you difficult time of loss, to provide for others with this campaign and with this great information.
      Janet B., recovering from the relationship

  5. Lea says

    I need help i dont knw how i wil get thru life i want to be a normal person inside my soul im suffering 4 a cure.it hurts knwing and realising im a meth addict..bt everyone think im clean.

  6. Mike Miller says

    I want to get off drugs myself, because of my health problems, but I live in a small town, and help is not available.

    • says

      there is always help even in small town I live in a small town and my brother does drugs and he says he want to quit so we took him to a place 30 mins away from where we live and he was living I suggest that you talk to a preacher or pastor that lives in your town a lot of times they know of somewhere near you or around you to get help my dads a preacher. so you can asks them I wish you luck God bless great work on this site help me with my paper on drug abuse.

    • a 13 year old little girl says

      well you could help your self its just like cutting you have to force youre self not to do it try forceing oyur self not to do it

  7. carol says

    mental health is an illness .drugs are a choice .i am mentally ill and do not like being told i am likely to take drugs.i do not like being compared with those people some people are ill .drugs is a choice same as alcohol.

    • admin says

      Carol, A substance use disorder is a mental health issue. Many people suffering from SUD also suffer from a dual diagnoisis of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, bi-polar etc. The use substances because they are suffering from mental health issues and self medicate. They need professional help just like any other person who has a mental health issue.

  8. Rob says

    Never ignore learning difficulties in young people grades k-12. Just a quick explanation, my learning difficulties went on untutored through my school years… my parents just seemed to hope that one day, my skills would improve, but they didn’t. Report card time was always a difficult time for me as I always disappointed, yet I was always able got squeak by with a passing grade C-.
    Year after year, all of my helpless disappointment at home led me to become rebellious and carry serious feelings of insecurity/inferiority toward my peers… and there’s where I sought an escape route via alcohol & substance.

    Grandparents & parents, get involved with the activities of your young ones, a learned kid is typically an esteemed kid.

  9. says

    I am the manager of a halfway house/wellness centre in Somerset West, South Africa and will be staging a symposium on 19 February 2015 regarding drug addiction. Knowledge is power and I hope these 9 reasons can help creating awareness in our community because pre caution is most certainly better than after care. Thanks for the article

    • Dorota says

      hello

      my name is Dorota , my ex husband and his brother have a severe drug addiction especially to tik and dagga. they both are homeless now for the last 8 days or so. my ex husband was willing to go to rehab but thee is just no finances for that and we went to a place in somerset west behind the clinic but they wanted to see him 4 times a week as a outpatient which defnitley wont work for him as the problem is to severe. where can a person go if they have no finances? people need inpatient care but government rehabs have 8 months waiting period.

  10. Lgarcia says

    My brother has been a drug addict for 7 years. He is 19 years old. I am thinking of filing a petition to baker act him, however it is only for 72 hours that they do the evaluation and let him go. Drugs are already stopping him from thinking as a normal person and can no longer be left alone. He doesn’t want to admit he has a problem. How can I help him?

    • admin says

      I would recommend filing a Marchman Act petition which specifically addresses substance addiction issues and need for involuntary commitment. I am working on The Jennifer Act (improving Florida’s Involuntaty Commitment procedures) but for now that is what is offered in Florida for Substance addiction and those who need treatment but refuse to get help. I hope this helps you with your brother.

      Sharon Blair

  11. Deborah bastable says

    My son died in a rehab in Arlington Virginia. It is a long sad story and started in 2006 . He became addicted to pain killer after 13 days in the hospital. Six years and treatment centers for days at a time we finally were able to get three months treatment but was injured in the faucility . He died that evening in the rehab of an overdose..

  12. Nina says

    Thanks, for sharing your story, and for fighting to get additional laws put in place for others, who is fighting addiction. This is something that needs to be implementing in every state. Sorry for your loss.

  13. Syed Masroor Ali Shah says

    thank you so much and great respect to you.. your article help me a lot in doing my assignment on Alcohol.. again thanks and grateful to you for your this kindness and act.. stay bless

  14. 123 says

    im a student from benson high I wanted to understand why you guys get on to drugs . and be addicted . im doing a project in class so respond back asap . thank you for all your time .

    • admin says

      You need to get a book and read it on substance addiction. It is a disease. It requires treatment.

      Sharon

  15. Tim Wilson says

    Bless you Sharon and Jennifer was lucky to have you as a mom. Thanks for all the work you are doing.

    • admin says

      Hello Tim,

      Thank you for taking time to write to me. I loved my daughter Jennifer with all of my heart and soul and faught very hard to save her life. I miss jennifer every day and her precious son (my grandson Trey) who I have not seen since Jennifer passed away. I want to help others who are suffering from addiction. They don;t have to die. Their lives are precious and worth fighting for. Recovery is possible. Some need extra help to get there. I want to help them get there. God bless! Sharon Blair

  16. mary says

    Well, I kind of understand. My boyfriend uses drugs. But he never told me. I only knew about weed. I don’t smoke. I am a completely good girl. On new years eve he snorted cocaine infront of me. I shook my head told him not to and he just did it. I felt my heart break in many pieces. He promised that was the last time. But recently a few days ago i’ve found out he still uses cocaine, mdma, codeine etc… I cried he keeps on lying but I am not stupid… I don’t know what to do. His mom and dad never gave a shit about him. So I am the only one who cares. I can’t open up to anybody of how much this hurts. He had cancer when he was little. I have no idea what to do. I love him so much but I feel like I am giving up. His friend told me he doesn’t do it to hurt me intentionally. That if I leave him he will start using it even worse. I feel so broken and useless. What can I do..

    • admin says

      Hello Mary,

      From what you have told me, your boyfriend is not only abusing illegal drugs but is probably addicted to drugs. First, I want to tell you his drug use is his choice. If you leave him and he he uses more, that is his choice, not your choice. There is help and treatment available in every state. If you tell me your city and state, I can give you more specific places to call for help. There are many groups for support for you as well, like Al-Anon. This is support for those who are not addicted but have a family member or loved one who is addicted to drugs, alcohol, etc. You need support for you and guidance. Look on my website and find the Resources Tab. I have lots of links for help listed on the Resources Tab. Do you have a Pastor, Teacher or Friend that can help guide you and pray with you? If so, please confide in a trusted person to help you. Your boyfriend’s addiction is not something you can fix. He will have to reach for help to help himself. You can however, give the resources and help line numbers to call. If your boyfriend has medical insurance,there is most likely “behavioral health care” on his insurance card with a phone number for him to call for help.
      You are not responsible for his addiction or for his recovery. I hope this helps you, Mary.

      Sincerely,

      Sharon Blair

  17. Laura says

    I’ve recently filed the Marchman Act petition on my 30 year old son. I did this without the help of an attorney and am now wondering if that was a mistake. I’m unable to get any information about my son at all. I don’t know for sure that he’s still being held. Once I filed there was a lot of confusion as to how and who would pick him up. I know at some point he was transported to the hospital for Medical detox and that was the last I’ve heard. We are now approaching 72 hours since he was picked up. Should I try to contact the court or the judge who signed the petition? Any advise is appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Laura

    • admin says

      Hi Laura, Yes make contact with the court where you filed the Marchman Act. I would also suggest contacting the Clerk of the Court where you filed. They may know what hospital he was taken to for detox.

      Sharon

  18. Janelle says

    We have been battling a Rollie coaster of emotions with my brother in law recently. He is very addicted to drugs and he is having a hard time staying clean. This week will be his third time in rehab but I’m afraid he needs more than rehab. He has been depressed and feels jealous of everyone else’s happiness. I understand the drugs take over and he does not think as straight as he use to but he tells us he wants to be happy and that’s why he does drugs. What other services can we look into for him to get more for him. It seems the 30 day programs his insurance covers (which dictates location too) have not been beneficial to him. How do we find what he truly wants and how to know what is making him so unhappy. Or did the addiction take over to much?

    Ps all the information including comments was great to read for the situation we are going through right now. We just don’t want to have to say good bye to him.

    • admin says

      Hi Janelle,

      I am sorry to hear about your brother-in-law’s struggle with addiction. These is no one size fits all treatment for a person suffering from a chronic addiction. Often times there are mental health & substance abuse issues combined. Example: a person can be suffering from a mental disorder such as depression or anxiety along with abusing drugs or alcohol. This is called a dual-diagnosis, which would require professional help and treatment to treat both issues. I always say that a 30 program is usually not enough time to recover. I would seek a professional who can address both issues that are going on and I would recommend seeking out a good faith-based program (long term, residential). -Sharon

  19. Regina says

    My brother works every day he come home he drank until he pass out or get in a fight now he’s loss so much weight I think he doing g drugs too. He can be happy one minute the his mood would change i want to get him help but i don’t know how to approach this or what should I do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *