Upon seeing a friend or relative or even a stranger slip into the dire situation of becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol, you might wonder why anyone would choose to become an addict. Yet, many people become addicted and suffer dire health-related problems. They suffer on personal, professional, and financial levels. Many end up running afoul of the law and become incarcerated. All of the troubling damage addiction causes is well known. So, why does someone choose to become an alcoholic or drug addict? The answer is no one chooses to become an addict. The choice is made to use drugs. Addiction is the end result of using and abusing alcohol and drugs.
Chemical Changes in the Brain
Addiction is not merely compulsive behavior. Addiction is rooted in the brain’s chemistry. When you become addicted to a drug, you are both physically and mentally addicted to the substance. The neurotransmitters in the brain are altered and the body must have more drugs or else withdrawal starts. Withdrawal can be very dangerous as well due to the physical shock the body undergoes when denied the chemicals it relies upon while addicted.
Casual Use Expands to Addiction
There are scores of reasons why someone becomes an addict. One reason is the use of substances increases and increases. Casual drug use “now and then” becomes an every weekend thing. Then, use is daily and the quantities consumed increase. Certain substances are highly addictive and their use goes from casual to frequent very quickly. This is why casual use of drugs is very risky and dangerous.
In recent years, large numbers of people have become medically addicted and not through any choices of their own. This occurs when someone suffers a major injury and the recovery process requires taking painkillers. The intense pain from, say, a back injury, necessitates the prescribing of opiates and other pills. The patient, sadly, becomes addicted to the pills and ends up having to purchase them on the black market. Others, unable to find a source for pills, will start using heroin since this destructive drug is opiate based.
Learned Behavior and Environment
For some, being exposed to drugs and alcohol in the home or other environments dulls the notion that these substances are harmful. A person who lives in a culture where drug use is common and accepted might be far quicker to start using drugs than someone who is never around such things. People who grow up in homes in which a family member is an addict are far more likely to become addicted themselves. This is just a sad cycle of addiction that will not be broken unless someone seeks to undergo an effective recovery program.
Attempts to Overcome Mental Disorders
Self-medicating is among the most common ways people end up falling into the arms of addiction. People who suffer through moods they do not like to experience may seek substances to contribute to a desirable change. People who are overly anxious might take downers and other depressants. Someone who is depressed might choose to take drugs that are uplifting. Struggling with repressed memories or bad feelings, trying to distract the mind from life’s troubles, and merely alleviating boredom are also reasons why a person may opt to start heavily using drugs and alcohol. The sad irony here is these choices lead to a new problem, the obvious problem of addiction.
Biology and Genetics
The biology and genetics of different human beings contributes to their propensity for addiction. Anyone and everyone could become addicted to, say, cocaine. Some may become addicted to this drug sooner rather than later. As a result, one person may be able to quit very shortly after starting. Another person could become addicted almost immediately. This person, due to genetic predisposition, never had the chance to escape the onset of full-blown addiction. The recovery for this person might be a lot harder.
Not Knowing the Consequences
People do not always know their use of drugs sets the stage for addiction. Young people, for example, might never even fathom the notion of addiction. Whether or not you know the consequences of your choices, those consequences will eventually emerge. Now we know some of the reasons why people become addicted. What can a person do to solve the problem? Addicts need professional help.
Enroll in Rehab
The only way to effectively start the process of becoming free from addictions is to enroll in a legitimate rehab program. Only with treatment from qualified counselors and medical professionals can addiction issues be overcome.