What are the Main Causes of Drug Abuse?

The reason people use drugs is to escape how they are feeling or to experiment with how a drug will make them feel. Drug abuse most often begins with experimentation, but at the heart of the matter is still an attempt to feel different. Teenagers and young adults are most often the ones who get curious about trying a drug because of what others have said it does to them. Social setting peer pressure to fit in with the crowd at the party or event usually involves drinking alcohol. Still, as we know now, many social gatherings will include drugs as casually as drinking beer. 

Adults who use drugs have matured past the demands to fit in, but other pressures cause them to try drugs. As we age, stress and responsibilities increase, pushing a person to try a new drug. Many older adults experiment with drugs later in life because they are struggling. Regardless of the age, drug use can very easily lead to drug addiction, and once that occurs, this person needs help. Drug abuse that leads to addiction does not happen to everyone. The people that do get addicted to drugs or alcohol have something going on emotionally and mentally.  

What are the Main Causes of Drug Abuse?

The Three Brain Areas That Drug Use Affects

The research that has been completed on what causes addiction is advanced and reliable. Addiction is no longer considered a failure of self-will or a weak moral compass. Science has uncovered that neurological responses change the brain, which enforces more drug use once someone has used a drug. There is evidence now on how drugs alter the normal functioning of the brain. The National Institute on Drug Abuse lists the three brain areas that drug use affects, which make up the reward circuit and experience pleasure. 

Brain areas affected by drug use that make up the reward circuit include The basal ganglia, responsible for motivation, and experiencing pleasure from healthy activities like eating, socializing, and sex. The extended amygdala plays a role in stressful feelings like anxiety, irritability, and unease. The prefrontal cortex powers the ability to think, plan, solve problems, make decisions, and exert self-control over impulses. This is also the last part of the brain to mature, making teens most vulnerable. Shifting balance between this [3 pieces] circuit makes a person with a substance use disorder seek the drug compulsively with reduced impulse control. (NIDA

People Who Develop Addiction Are Most Often Suffering For Mental Health Disorder

Someone who abuses drugs is attempting to feel good or different. Unfortunately, after continued drug use, they are reducing their brain’s ability to make them happy. However, even though we know that drugs harm the brain and its functions, what then compels some people to desire drugs more than others? The causes of drug abuse stem from multiple influencers. People who are most likely to abuse drugs and develop addiction are most often suffering from the following: 

  • Genetic History of Drug Use and Addiction
  • Personal History of Trauma, Abuse, or Neglect
  • Environmental Influences (friends/family on drugs or within their community)
  • Diagnosed or Undiagnosed Emotional or Mental Health Disorders

What to Do About My Loved One’s Drug Abuse and Addiction?

To get help understanding how to help your family member or friend, the most crucial step is to get professional guidance from a drug and alcohol rehab center. The worst mistake is to do nothing or to think that it will go away on its own. Connecticut Addiction Resource’s experts are here to inform you on whether or not you need to provide rehab, counseling, or therapy to your loved one. 

Please, call chat, or email one of our specialists. They can form an accurate assessment and provide the next steps to begin immediately. Do not wait for things to get worse as they most often do with drug abuse. The treatment choices work and can help you or your loved one get better today. 


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