The use of street drugs, alcohol, prescription drugs and other substances is a personal choice a person makes that can lead to addiction. There are many people today who experiment with substances for the reaction they experience, the euphoria and high is what they're looking to achieve.
There is no excuse for substance abuse but many times there is underlying issues that can fuel the use of drugs or other substances. Mental health disorders, pain management and situations that take place in a person's life sometimes play a role in the use and misuse of mind altering substances.
Some Reasons Some People Turn to Alcohol or Drug Use
- Major Depression
- Anxiety Disorders (Panic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social Anxiety Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Borderline Personality Disorder BPD
- Bi-Polar Disorder
- Pain management
- Physical, emotional, sexual and psychological trauma
- Feeling pressured to fit in with peers
- To escape from unhappiness
It's important that we start off with the mental health issue depression because statistics show that depression affects 121 million people throughout the world. Many people suffer from severe depression and sadly some commit suicide due to this serious illness. Every year severe depression is responsible for eight hundred and fifty thousand deaths. According to researchers the rates of depression are lower in low or middle income countries than they are in richer nations. Depression affects all age groups which includes adolescents. It's very common for a person to find ways to feel better and unfortunately unless a person receives help for their depression symptoms some people turn to alcohol or drug use.
Many people are affected with anxiety disorders and according to statistics they affect around 40 million adults a year. A lot of people experience anxiety, panic or fearfulness occasionally but anxiety disorder symptoms usually last at minimum, 6 months but gets worse if the individual doesn't seek treatment. It's very common for a person to drink alcohol or use substances to feel better. Panic disorder OCD, PTSD, social phobia, and GAD all fall into the category anxiety disorders and they all have their own symptoms but they do share excessive feelings of fear and dread.
ADHD or Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a very common mental disorder that develops in children. Symptoms of ADHD include problems with paying attention, being still, and resisting impulsive behaviors. Unfortunately these problematic symptoms can affect school performance, performance at work, and can affect relationships with other people and family members. Studies of ADHD have been done that suggest children with ADHD have a higher risk of becoming substance abusers.
Many people who weren't diagnosed with ADHD in their childhood have entered treatment for substance abuse and after full assessments were done, were diagnosed with the disorder along with their addiction. It's unclear as to why some people may be at higher risk to abuse substances if they have ADHD, it could be the disorder itself or possibly the medications used to treat the disorder.
BPD is a very serious mental illness known as Borderline Personality Disorder. This is a mental illness that involves the instability of a person's moods meaning a disorder of emotion regulation. This mental illness disrupts a person's family life, their work life, and the individual's self-image. Many people suffering from BPD experience intense episodes of anger, depression and anxiety that last for hours and sometimes the biggest part of a day. These symptoms can be associated with episodes of impulsive aggression, self-injury and drug or alcohol abuse.
Bipolar Disorder is a brain disorder also referred to as manic depressive illness. The symptoms of this disorder are severe and start to develop when the individual is in their late teens or early adult years. Bipolar symptoms sometimes show up during childhood for some people and others later in life. Because bipolar disorder isn't very easy to recognize in a person at first, many people aren't diagnosed until later in life and unfortunately people suffer with the symptoms for a long time. The symptoms include mania and depression which are mood episodes. During a manic episode the individual can be extremely happy and excited but during a depressive episode they can feel intense sadness and hopelessness. Many people turn to alcohol, drugs, food, tobacco and other destructive behaviors, sadly this is very common.
Prescription drugs like pain medications are used to treat mild to severe pain and the misuse of painkillers and other prescription drugs is becoming an epidemic in this country. Unfortunately many people have become dependent on pain pills due to chronic pain from injuries and illness. When a person legitimately uses prescribed painkillers for pain management over a period of time, this can lead to addiction and other substance use. Sometimes other substances are used because they no longer get the relief from prescribed medications.
If emotional, sexual, physical or psychological trauma takes place in a person's life it is very common for a person to look for ways to escape, feel better, or forget for a while. This is very sad but true. The use of alcohol, drugs, food, tobacco and other destructive behaviors sometimes cover up the effects of trauma and lead to substance abuse.
There are many situations that may have taken place in a person's life that have led them to the use of drugs, alcohol or other substances and sometimes without them even realizing it. That's why treatment programs that provide full individual assessments or evaluations are so helpful and successful for people overcoming their substance use. They're able to get at the root of the problem that may be fueling the individual's substance use. When there are underlying issues that haven't been diagnosed, addressed, or treated abstinence and sobriety are not easy to maintain.