There are many reasons why people struggle with addiction. Below are some of the causes of initial drug use or predisposition to addiction issues.
Misuse of prescriptions
There is a common misconception that because doctors provided prescription medications, they are “safer” than street drugs. But the truth is that prescription medications can be just as dangerous as street drugs, and are easily abused. People can misuse prescriptions without even realizing that their behavior is an abuse of medication. Any time a prescription drug is taken with the intent of getting high, it is abuse. Taking a prescription medication that is not yours, or at a time when it is not prescribed (such as saving pain pills prescribed after surgery to use for recreational purposes later), is drug abuse. Taking more than the dose recommended by the doctor is drug abuse.
Especially in teenagers and young adults, peer pressure is a common reason why people start using drugs. While they may not be receiving direct pressure from peers, being surrounded by people who use drugs can normalize the behavior and make drug abuse seem common and expected.
Other drug use
Alcohol, for one example, is a legal substance that lowers inhibitions, clouds judgment and slows reaction time. When drinking alcohol or using other drugs, people are more likely to try another drug that they would not consider if they were sober.
Research shows that nurture and nature are both responsible for addictive behavior. Addiction can be passed down genetically, but growing up in a family with drug abuse can also create a pattern of drug abuse that gets passed down to the next generation.
Boredom and rebellion
Teenagers and young adults are particularly susceptible to succumbing to drug use out of sheer boredom or rebellion against authority.
People of all ages can turn to substances, legal or illegal, to self-sooth and self-medicate. Whether suffering from a traumatic event, mental illness, or something else, many turn to drugs and alcohol to feel better when what they really need is therapy and/or prescription medication to treat the source of the problem.
Media and pop culture
Turn on any television or radio, and you will find examples of drug and alcohol abuse and experimentation being glorified in the media. Young people are especially susceptible to this kind of influence. Glamorizing drug and alcohol abuse, or a party lifestyle, in the media influences people to try it themselves.