The Top 5 Reasons Why People Become Addicted To Drugs

Although there isn’t one specific factor that predicts the development of addiction, some of the top reasons include taking prescription drugs for pain, using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate, and having a family history of substance abuse.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there is no single factor predicting if a person will suffer from addiction. However, a person’s risk of addiction is a combination of environmental, genetic, and developmental factors.

When drugs are taken, surges of dopamine neurotransmitters communicate messages to nerve cells in the brain’s “reward circuit” or “reward system,” causing feelings of euphoria. Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the repeated use of drugs can damage the essential decision-making center at the front of the brain.

Despite the consequences, some continue drug use for several reasons. Here are the 5 top reasons why people become addicted to drugs.

1. Family History Of Addiction

A risk factor of becoming addicted to drugs is a family history of addiction. If you have a parent or sibling with a drug or alcohol addiction, you have a greater risk of struggling with addiction yourself as stated by NIDA.

This is due to genetics and how a person may be predisposed to developing addiction when they abuse drugs.

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2. Taking Prescription Drugs For Pain

Some become addicted to drugs inadvertently after receiving knee, shoulder, or another type of surgery. A doctor may prescribe strong painkillers such as opioids for the pain.

Opioids are highly addictive drugs which can be abused easily, potentially leading to life-threatening problems such as respiratory depression. Other prescription drugs may be prescribed to you as well.

A person may try to achieve a high by taking stimulants such as methamphetamine or turning to illicit drugs to satisfy cravings. If you are prescribed medication from your doctor, monitor your intake to avoid an overdose.

3. Self-Medication

People may become addicted to drugs through self-medication. A person may be struggling financially or mentally, experiencing problems at work or home, or suffering from a health condition.

If so, they may self-medicate in order to distract themselves from family or work problems. Self-medication may lead to addiction.

4. Living With Mental Illness

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), those with mental health disorders share underlying causes with those who have substance use disorders due to similar changes in brain composition. 

Unfortunately, this means those who suffer from mental health issues may experience an increased risk of addiction.

Those suffering from mental illness may suffer from low self-esteem, feelings of guilt and shame, and anxiety. Examples of mental health disorders consist of:

5. Succumbing To Peer Pressure

Young people and adolescents may experience peer pressure while attending school or out with friends. A person may smoke cannabis or cigarettes, take a pill, or drink alcohol at the request and pressure from friends.

Unfortunately, this act may cause a person to seek out stronger, more addictive substances. Those who live in a household filled with drugs or surround themselves with friends who partake in drug abuse may succumb to environmental factors, turning to drugs or alcohol.

If you struggle with drug or alcohol abuse, substance use disorder treatment can help. Drug addiction treatment options include:

To learn how our treatment plans can help both you and your family members, please contact us today.

  1. National Institutes of Health
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: January 12, 2024

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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