Causes of Drug Abuse
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Causes of Drug Abuse

Causes of Drug AbuseWhat are the causes of drug abuse? The major causes of drug abuse are one’s genetic makeup, personality and peer pressure. When we take drugs, either for medical purposes or recreation, there is a benefit or reward that we are trying to achieve. For example pain medication is intended to bring relief to an injured or stressed area of our body. The causes of drug abuse create a craving in the user for more and more of the substance. The unintended consequences of that is their need to take more and more of the drug to get the same result.

There has been controversy over the causes of drug abuse. Historically, it was thought that drug abuse was caused by lack of willpower, by poverty, moral weakness, mental illness, genetics, family socialization, anti-social personalities, and societal problems. All drugs affect a "reward mechanism" in the brain. Each time the person uses a drug; they feel good, which makes them want to use the drug again. This common feature could explain part of why people abuse drugs.

Almost all substances associated with substance use problems affect the "reward mechanism" in the brain. The main chemical messenger involved in the brain's reward mechanism is dopamine. Each time the person uses a substance they feel good, which makes them want to use the substance again. Over time, changes in the brain occur (e.g., less dopamine is produced), which lessens the pleasurable effects of the substance and larger amounts are needed to get the same feeling.

Some studies show that people dependent on alcohol are genetically more able to tolerate alcohol than other people. Many people believe there is an "addictive personality", although there is evidence that an "addictive personality" is a result, and not a cause, of drug abuse. An "addictive personality" often is associated with poor self-esteem, trouble relating to people, a low tolerance for frustration, and a desire to escape reality.

Some believe that people with drug addictions are overly dependent on other people. Sometimes family and friends of the person dependent on drugs make excuses for their behavior or act in other ways which allow them to continue their drug abuse. These family or friends are referred to as "co-dependents" or "enablers".

Many addictions follow accidents, failures, breakups, losses of self respect, giving up on life goals, job problems…the list goes on. What is common to all these pains and problems is the ABSENCE OF a better solution and an inability to resolve the original problem. Factually, what's missing was a real accessible solution to the problem in the first place. There are certain common factors that are associated with the causes of drug abuse. They are…

  • Biological Causes of Drug Abuse:
    • Biochemical factors 
    • Family history, genetic predisposition
    • Preexisting psychiatric or personality disorder, or a medical disorder.
    • Reinforcing effects of drugs.
    • Withdrawal effects and craving.
  • Psychological Causes of Drug Abuse:
    • As a novelty.
    • As a relief from fatigue or boredom.
    • Childhood loss or trauma.
    • Curiosity.
    • Early initiation
    • Low self-esteem.
    • No interest in conventional goals.
    • Poor control.
    • Poor stress management.
    • Psychological distress.
    • Sensation seeking. (Feeling high).
    • Social rebelliousness.
    • To escape reality.

Drug abuse can lead to drug dependence or addiction. Drug dependence may also follow the use of drugs for physical pain relief, though this is rare in people without a previous history of addiction. Another one of the causes of drug abuse is peer pressure. However, at least half of those who go on to addiction have depression, attention-deficit disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder or another psychological problem. Children who grow up in an environment of illicit drug use may first see their parents using drugs. This may be another of the causes of drug abuse by putting them at a higher risk for developing an addiction later in life for both environmental and genetic reasons.

Causes of Drug Abuse
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