For many people, it boggles the mind that anyone could turn to hard, addictive drugs. This can lead to a severely unempathetic approach when dealing with someone who has a problem with drug addiction. It’s tempting for many of these people to dismiss the idea that drug addicts are going through a debilitating problem. There’s a popular idea that drug addicts are always having fun. That they chose to go down this path simply because they were ignorant, or young, or naive.

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There are some obvious alternative reasons that will probably have sprung to the mind of many a reader. Yes, some people do get into drugs as a result of being young and naive. But those things are rarely the only contributing factors. There is peer pressure, of course. And what about the other reasons that we talk about less?

Everyone wants to try something new

It’s a desire that’s in all of us. We all want to experience new things: we want to see new places, meet new people, have fresh experiences. (Okay, some people may just want to stay at home and watch television. But let’s ignore them for a moment!) This attitude, for many, extends to their psychological experience. To things that will change their views or mindset, even if only temporarily.

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If you think about it, it’s an understandable curiosity. It’s certainly why many people try the things that are classified as “soft” drugs, such as marijuana or psilocybin. Many people don’t want to depart from this life without having given something a try if they were curious about it. While such feelings may not have extended to drugs for you, you can surely empathise such a general mindset.

Stress, low self-esteem and depression are all contributing factors

A lot of people who are using drugs are using them as an escape from psychological or physical pain. Many will assume that such pains are being caused by the drug addiction itself. And, in many ways, a severe drug addiction will definitely increase the weight of all of those things. But it’s not always the case that addicts were shiny, happy people before they turned to drugs.

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When people are in their late-teens and early-twenties, they’re going through an emotional rollercoaster. High stress and low self-esteem are commonplace. This may even lead to or be exacerbated by depression. In such states, drugs seem like the best and most convenient escape route. And, contrary to what many adults seem to believe, kids have easy access to drugs. Of course, you shouldn’t infer from this passage that these things are more likely to affect kids than adults. As you undoubtedly know already, adults have their fair share of trouble with stress and self-esteem.

Imagining a life without drugs becomes extremely difficult

Strange as it may seem, people with addictions often feel as though they have a “spiritual” connection to the drug. Taking the drug can feel like what receiving love or approval from a friend or family member feels like to you. It can feel like the drug is what is keeping them sane, or grounded. Even when we know that it’s the opposite – even when they know, on some level, it’s the opposite – it’s a hard feeling to shake.

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Tying into what was said earlier about mood disorders, many will believe that stopping drug use will only make all of their problems worse. And it’s not like they’re wrong, at least in the short-term. The process of kicking a drug addiction is an extremely scary one. Problems that the addict had been experiencing before could come back tenfold. This is why it’s so important to get assistance in these matters, especially with the most debilitating drugs. Assistance with heroin addiction treatment, for example, is essential for people who want to kick the habit. They may not make it on their own.

Social condemnation makes it harder to tackle

When society in general or the people around them are judgmental, the addict feels that they cannot talk about their problem. You’ve no doubt noticed that much of the media condemns, even vilifies people who use drugs. This is, of course, understandable, to an extent. But shouldn’t the anger be directed towards dealers? Or the drugs themselves? Or the various socioeconomic ills that can lead people down this path?

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The people who use drugs did make a choice to do so. But no-one goes in expecting things to get so bad. With this in mind, we should try to see these folks as victims. If people are actually worried about drug use, then being condemning or judgemental puts them in a self-defeating circle. Such attitudes prevent people from wanting to speak openly about their problems – which is one of the steps to sobriety.


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