It is quite normal for individuals to try drugs at some point in their life. For many, it is just an experimental phase and does not lead to any problems or misuse. Although, for a small percentage of individuals, drugs change their life and they continue to use, eventually experiencing difficulties and/or developing an addiction. Oftentimes, people would like to know why people use drugs, as it is especially difficult for non-drug users to understand these reasons.
All in all, individuals use drugs for different reasons. Some people may use for more than one reason, while others may begin using for a particular reason (curiosity, pleasure, medical) and then continue using for another (relief, tension, escape).
Below, in no particular order, are some of the main reasons why people use drugs:
Reason 1: Curiosity
Drugs are a frequent topic of conversation and most people have friends or acquaintances that use them. As curiosity is part of human nature, many people, especially young people, are curious about drugs and how they make a person feel.
Reason 2: Celebration
The use of drugs, including alcohol, may be a part of a cultural or religious celebration or practice; such as, a party or gatherings. In these situations, drugs like alcohol, are more acceptable, but can still cause problems.
Reason 3: Media
It seems as though the media almost glorifies people using. Drugs and alcohol are found throughout advertisements, magazines, events, films, etc. This affects how people view the issue, even if it is subconsciously. The media may promote drugs as being a great social activity, a way to achieve success, or a way to lose weight.
Reason 4: Pleasure
An individual may use drugs because they enjoy the pleasurable feelings; this results in the user feeling that they have a positive effect. This pleasure can be associated with the ‘high’, the relaxation, the loss of inhibitions, the euphoria, the relief from pain, the ability to sleep or stay awake, and the increased energy.
Reason 5: Emotional Problems
One of the most common reasons why people use is to relieve various emotional problems. These may include anger, stress, anxiety, tension, boredom, and depression. When people are using drugs for these reasons, it is common for them to continue using, eventually becoming addicted. People also may take drugs because they have low self esteem; these substances may make them feel good about their self. Young people especially, may use as a way of rebelling away from mainstream society. If a person has experienced a traumatic event, they may turn to drugs to help them cope with their feelings.
Reason 6: Social Pressure
The social pressures to use drugs can be extremely powerful. Some may feel like they have to drink alcohol when they go out for fun or when they attend a party or gathering. Younger people that have grown up in a household with drug abusers sometimes use that excuse to justify their own involvement with these dangerous substances.
There are certain social groups, which make drugs seem fashionable or trendy. In these groups, using is the key to belonging; anyone who abstains will be excluded. Because some people are desperate to find a place to fit in, they go along with it.
Reason 7: Previous Use
Trying any drug for the first time is typically a life changing experience. A onetime experiment does not mean that a person will become an addict, but it could remove some barriers against trying again.
People who regularly use drugs are more likely to try or use other substances as well. Also people who smoke tobacco or drink alcohol in their early teenage years are more likely to use drugs and develop problems when they become an adult.
Reason 8: Dependence
Some people use because they are physically, psychologically dependent on them – or both. All drugs are addicting, some more than others. With frequent use, a tolerance will build and an addiction will develop. In most situations, a person with a dependence will need to get treatment. Through treatment an addict can be helped and regain a sober life.