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Why Do People Turn To Substance Abuse?

Why Do People Turn To Substance Abuse?

Programme B
Published by Programme B

Using and becoming addicted to illicit substances, such as drugs and alcohol, happens to people for many different reasons. Any person from any walk of life or ethnic background can slip into the curse of drug addiction at any point in their life. This includes those individuals who are well educated, with good careers, and from loving families – those people who seem to have a great life. 


At the heart of it, there are only ever really three different reasons as to why some people turn to use these substances. These include:

  • Psychological – feeling personally inadequate or having a feeling that the world is somehow inadequate. As a result, the individual uses an illegal substance or numerous ones to give themselves a much needed confidence boost and to try and make sense of everything that they are feeling at the time.
  • Physical – needing the physical effects of the substance(s) in order to actually feel physically better than what they usually do without the ‘high’.
  • Emotional – having a void in their life that has been caused by things such as relationship issues, trauma, stress, or something similar. The use of drugs or alcohol helps to fill the hole that they have in their life.


There are certain things or events that can act as triggers to any or all of the above triggers. For example, emotional stress can be brought about for a number of different reasons, such as the loss of a parent or loved one, the loss of a job, and/or a poor financial situation. 

Other triggers can be things like issues with medical conditions or health, as these things can cause much emotional angst. No matter what these triggers are, it is important to manage them in a way that is productive and healthy. However, many people do not and instead turn to substance abuse.

Some of the most common triggers include social and peer pressure, isolation, grieving the death of a loved one, family demands, rebellion, trauma and abuse, self-medication, mental illness, financial problems, boredom, work pressures, relaxation, quick gratification, experimentation/curiosity, school problems, to fit in with friends, to be in control.


Regardless of what the reason is for using and becoming addicted to an illicit substance(s), it is important that the individual gets help for their problem. There are a wide variety of treatment options available that can even be tailored in order to meet the needs of the individual and get to what the root cause of the problem is. One of the best techniques is EMDR therapy for addiction recovery.

It should be remembered that no one individual is too far gone into their addiction to be successfully treated for it. Even if it is all three of the above causes that are responsible for it, there is always hope to be had for a recovery in the long term. No matter what an individual is facing, there are numerous different ways in which help can be sought.

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