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6 Common Causes of Substance Abuse



Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is another name for drug addiction which is a chronic disease. It is a complex mental disorder that can change the neural connections in the brain. The formation of new neural connections rewires the brain, impacting the person’s behavior. Negative behavioral patterns, like aggression, are commonly observed in people who abuse drugs. For most people, drug use starts as a recreational or social activity and leads them to addiction even before they know it. The most commonly abused drugs in the US include marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, methamphetamine, and more.

The risk of addiction and how quickly you become an addict depends on the substance you abuse. Some drugs, like prescription drugs, cause addiction more rapidly than other substances. Moreover, addiction also varies from person to person depending on biological and social factors. Some people may use a substance multiple times without getting addicted, while others may find themselves dependent on a substance after the first few uses. Either way, it is risky, and anyone can go down the dark hole of addiction.

Some symptoms to identify drug addiction include developing tolerance to the drug, prioritizing drug consumption over everything, ensuring a consistent supply of drugs, experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop using a substance, neglecting crucial responsibilities, and more.

Luckily, no matter what substance you are addicted to or what level of addiction you face, rehabilitation centers and facilities are present nationwide, with numerous treatment options available. Moreover, various online platforms also offer a thorough Addiction Guide for people seeking help with substance abuse. These websites educate readers on the causes of addiction and help you find the best possible treatment options for substance abuse.

Let’s discuss the common causes of substance abuse:

1. Family History

Family history or genetics play a key role in addiction. Global research has identified various genes linked to substance abuse that can be passed on genetically from one generation to the next. Having these genes increases an individual’s risk of drug abuse.

Family history is not limited to genetics. Growing up with a family member struggling with drug abuse increases your chances of abusing drugs in the future. In addition, having an addict around during an individual’s formative years can make them choose drugs as an emotional coping mechanism. Overall, family history is one of the primary causes of drug abuse.

2. Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is a major cause of substance abuse among teenagers. Young children are at a tender age where they are willing to take risks to become a part of a specific group and experience a sense of belonging. Therefore, teenagers may start using drugs to impress or become friends with their peers, resulting in addiction.

Even adults are not immune to peer pressure, and they may also start using drugs due to peer pressure. However, peer pressure is a more common cause of substance abuse in teenagers and young adults than in older adults.

3. Poor Mental Health

People dealing with a mental illness like depression, anxiety, and a substance addiction have a co-occurring disorder which means they are more likely to abuse drugs. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), almost 53% of the people who abuse drugs also have a mental illness.

People dealing with mental illnesses like depression and anxiety use drugs to deal with the symptoms of their condition. Drugs can temporarily help manage these symptoms, but as the user continues using, the chances of an overdose or addiction increase significantly. In addition, increased drug use leads to higher drug tolerance which means users have to keep increasing the dosage to experience the same high. People dealing with manic depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are the most likely to abuse drugs.

4. Easy Access

New technologies have changed the landscape of our accessibility to products, and drugs are more readily available now than ever before. That is the reason why every year, almost 7,800 people try illegal drugs for the first time in the US.

Drug cartels have become more active and now use social media and online platforms to target users and maintain a supply chain that is hard to track.

Read Also: How to Pick Drug Rehab Centers: Everything You Need to Know

5. Poverty

Poverty doesn’t directly cause substance abuse. However, various factors associated with poverty can lead to addiction. For example, worrying about how to afford basic necessities like food and shelter can cause tremendous amounts of stress, a major cause of substance abuse.

Today’s Global culture values material possessions, and not being able to afford things can feel like a failure resulting in low self-esteem and drug abuse. Moreover, feelings of hopelessness and decreased social support can prompt citizens from lower economic backgrounds to use drugs.

6. Mass Media Representation

The media portrayal of drug abuse in appealing settings is another primary cause of drug addiction in young adults and teenagers. TV shows and movies glamorize drugs but only show the glamour associated with drug use. In addition, the media doesn’t depict the struggle of a person dealing with addiction or how this chronic disease cripples their entire life.

Social media is the most popular media source used by people of all ages. Teenagers can easily get a glimpse of the lifestyle of their favorite celebrities. Unfortunately, anyone can post anything on social media, and many influential people openly post about using drugs which can negatively influence young minds. The glamorized portrayal of drugs on mass media platforms has become a leading cause of substance abuse in the US.

The Bottom Line

Substance abuse is a grave problem in the US. People of all ages and all backgrounds can abuse drugs. Drug abuse can alter brain function and negatively impact a person’s entire life. People who abuse drugs cannot quit or lead normal lives without treatment. Various organizations and facilities use innovative treatment to treat drug addiction.

It is beneficial to know the causes of substance abuse to avoid them. Some primary causes of substance abuse include genetics/family history, peer pressure, mental illnesses, accessibility, and glamorized media representation. Moreover, poverty can also cause substance abuse but not directly. The stress, low self-esteem, feelings of hopelessness, and more resulting from poverty can lead to substance abuse. Hopefully, this article will help you understand the common causes of substance abuse and help a loved one in need.

James Smith is the writer for Munchkin Press. He is a young American writer from California and is currently traveling around the world. He has a passion for helping people and motivates others.

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