Why do people take drugs?
This is a question that addiction victims’ friends and relatives frequently ask.
It’s tough to understand the progression of drug addiction over time. To many, it appears to be a never-ending quest for pleasure.
On the other hand, the pleasure gained from opioids such as heroin or stimulants such as cocaine diminishes with repeated use. Furthermore, some addictive medications, such as nicotine, do not create any euphoria in long-term users.
So, what accounts for addiction’s persistence?
For the past 15 years, as an addiction researcher, I’ve been trying to understand how people like you and me make poor decisions. If you want to know more about drug addiction education, click here to continue.
There are two widely accepted reasons for addiction (desires and pleasure), neither proven.
First, taking drugs compulsively is a harmful habit that addiction victims must break. But, if you think people can’t break the addictive habits because they lack enough willpower, you are absolutely wrong.
However, to the brain, a habit is nothing more than our ability to perform repetitive tasks more and more efficiently, such as tying our shoelaces or brushing our teeth. As a result, people rarely become engrossed in a never-ending and compulsive loop of tying shoelaces.
Another idea states that for many users, overcoming withdrawal is too tricky. Sweats, chills, anxiety, and heart palpitations are all symptoms of withdrawal, which occurs when the drug departs your body.
Withdrawal from certain drugs, such as alcohol, carries a risk of death if not carefully treated.
The severe withdrawal symptoms are usually mentioned because addiction appears to be unavoidable. However, even for heroin, withdrawal symptoms typically fade after approximately two weeks.
Furthermore, many addictive medicines cause various withdrawal symptoms, some of which last for months.
This isn’t to imply that addiction doesn’t contain pleasure, behaviors, or withdrawal. However, we must consider if they are required components of addiction or whether addiction would continue even if they were not there.
In the 1980s, scientists made an unexpected finding. Food, sex, and drugs all appeared to stimulate dopamine to be released in the nucleus accumbens, a part of the brain.
Many scientists assumed that these areas were the brain’s pleasure centers and that dopamine was our own intrinsic pleasure neurotransmitter due to this. This theory, however, has since been discredited.
Pleasure centers definitely exist in the brain, but dopamine controls them.
It turns out that liking something and wanting something are two different psychological experiences in the brain. Liking refers to the joy that comes from devouring a chocolate chip cookie on the spur of the moment.
When we see the dish of cookies in the middle of the table during a meeting, we want it more than we like it.
Dopamine is in charge of “wanting,” not “liking.” In one study, researchers discovered rats, who could not manufacture dopamine in their brains. When food was placed in their mouths, these rats lost their desire to eat but still reacted happily.
All addictive drugs cause a surge of dopamine in the brain, resulting in a rise of “wanting.” This makes us want to take even more medications. Tolerance is a phenomenon in which our “wanting” for a substance peaks while our “liking” for the drug appears to stagnate or even decrease with repeated use.
If we don’t know what factors influence the likelihood of developing an addiction, it may happen to anyone. You can feed your kid all the nutrients you want, but if you don’t understand the real reason behind addiction, no amount of effort will suffice.
Hence, the real reason people get addicted to drugs and alcohol is that their bodies want it.
The recent opioid pandemic has resulted in a new breed of addicts known as “involuntary” addicts. Opioids, such as oxycodone, Percocet, Vicodin, and fentanyl, are highly effective at treating otherwise intractable pain. They do, however, cause dopamine release to spike.
Most people start taking prescription opioids because they need to manage their pain, and they commonly do so on a doctor’s recommendation. Any pleasure they may feel stems from the fact that they are no longer in pain.
On the other hand, users tend to build a tolerance over time. As a result, they need increasing doses of the medicine to control pain as the treatment becomes less effective. People are exposed to enormous amounts of dopamine in the brain due to this.
As the agony fades, people become oddly addicted to the drug and feel motivated to take more.
A hyperreactive “wanting” system results from this repeated ingestion of excessive doses of medication. When in the presence of the drug or exposed to drug cues, a heightened “wanting” system generates acute bouts of yearning.
Drug paraphernalia, negative feelings such as tension, or even specific persons and places might serve as clues. One of the most challenging things for an addict to overcome is drug cues.
These mental changes can be long-term, if not permanent. Moreover, some people appear to be more prone to these changes than others.
According to research, genetic factors may predispose some people to addiction, which explains why having a family history puts you at a higher risk. In addition, stressors in early life, such as childhood trauma or physical abuse, appear to put people at greater risk of becoming involuntary addicts.
Many of us abuse drugs like alcohol or nicotine regularly. We may even overindulge on occasion. However, in most situations, this does not constitute addiction.
This is partly because we can reclaim our equilibrium and choose alternate rewards such as spending time with family or engaging in fun drug-free pastimes.
In many circumstances, the person addicted to drugs does not lack the willpower to stop using drugs. That is why, rather than the skepticism and alienation that our culture so frequently delivers, those struggling with addiction deserve our help and compassion.
So, if you want to know more about these, let us know in the comment section. We will get back to you with an answer in no time.