Addicts frequently get asked the question of “why can’t you just stop?” Most  people who abuse drugs do wish that they could stop, but it just isn’t that easy. An addict is dependent on the drugs he or she is using. Drug addiction is a chronic disease, and an addict using drugs is a compulsive behavior. This means it is difficult for them to control, despite the harmful consequences.

Why People Use  

Addicts are often questioned on why they started using in the first place, or even if their moral compass is askew, when really addiction comes down to biology, environmental factors, and even development.

Here are a few reasons why people get pulled into using hard drugs:

  • Some people try drugs for the first time because they have had living examples of drug abuse around them and it seems like the natural thing to do. When it’s something you see or experience all the time, using drugs becomes normalized.
  • Peer pressure can influence people who have low self-esteem and seek to people please to try hard drugs to fit in. Peers do not always have to be in the “wrong crowd” to do this, because higher class people may also use drugs recreationally. Drugs do not discriminate and affect all walks of life.
  • In the heat of the moment, people will try illicit drugs from poor judgement because they are stressed out and wish to escape the problems in their life.
  • Drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana have been called gateway drugs that may lower the inhibitions of people who are already under the influence, influencing them to take risks they would not normally take. Taking drugs while intoxicated can create a ruse that it is only experimental and because of this they can handle the “temporary” effects.

Unfortunately, many times these hard drugs are taken voluntarily once they will lead to the dependency of a person wanting to get the same high.

The Sneaky Nature of Addiction

Seeking a similar high as the first time is often what leads to someone using drugs over and over again. The chemical messenger, dopamine, floods the brain with good feelings of being high. This reward system in the brain encourages the person using to take the drugs again as he or she seeks to continue thriving in the pleasurable sensations from the drug.

Overstimulation causes the brain to quickly adjust to the effects of the dopamine. As it adjusts, the brain makes less dopamine, causing the high to lesson and creating the need for an individual to use more. Tolerance builds because of this circuit with drugs. Trying to take more of the drug to achieve the same result of the dopamine high is how addiction occurs. The brain chemistry is changed and the compulsion takes over. The pleasure of the drug subsides, but the need to recreate the desired effect leads to an addict following the pattern that is a vicious cycle of addiction.

New Vista Behavioral Health is committed to helping you on your road to long term recovery. We are here to partner with you today for a better and brighter tomorrow.  

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