Drug addiction, or substance abuse disorder, has plagued a significant percentage of the population. Lack of coordination lowered ability to perform daily life tasks, and constant irritability impact drug abusers in more ways than what comes to the surface.
According to UNODC, 450,000 people have died from drug abuse in the US alone since 1999, and these numbers are alarmingly increasing.
But what instigates drug addiction, and how does it affect a person’s life? While there are no textbook answers to these questions, numerous studies have revealed certain set patterns in drug abusers – and that’s what we’ll explore.
Keep reading to learn how drug addiction starts and the horrific impact it brings along!
Causes of Drug Addiction
According to Westlake Village Drug Rehab, substance use disorder affects nearly 3 million California people every year and significantly changes their lives. And how do these many people fall prey to the vicious cycle of drug addiction? Here’s a look at its main causes:
1. Social Surroundings
Peer pressure often introduces youngsters to experimentational drugging, which progresses to become a habit, and then an addiction. High school students in the US (and all countries, for that matter) have access to marijuana, alcohol, vaping, and injectable drugs. When paired with social surroundings and tough life circumstances, impressionable minds become victims of substance abuse. And if left unchecked or untreated, the peer pressure can push one to the limit where they give up on all life aspects to satisfy their addiction.
2. A Feeling of Disconnectivity
‘Feeling like a misfit’ is a term we generally come across in today’s world, thanks to the increasing societal demands and cut-throat standards. In such a situation, a person who doesn’t have a sense of belonging looks for escapes – and most drugs are promoted in such a way that they can end all worries. The result? You start taking small doses, then stronger ones, and eventually end up with an addiction that needs medical help.
3. Suppressed Emotional Needs
Our emotional needs impact our outlook on life, and when they are not met, we feel a hollow in our personality. Rehab experts agree that their patients start taking drugs to drown out their suppressed, overloaded emotions and then feel trapped. Unless an expert intervenes and helps them tackle their feelings, mitigating this situation is complicated.
4. Traumatic Life Events
PTSD can change the course of a person’s life – whether it’s a near-death experience, losing a dear one, or a financial loss, not every brain is strong enough to bear these losses. And slowly, they drift towards short-term escapes like drugs. Therefore, therapy, counseling, and seeking assistance from a mental health expert are crucial to dealing with traumatic life events. But since these facilities are not always available and there is limited awareness regarding these aspects, we see people under stress relying on drugs.
5. History of Neglect and Abuse
Abuse (physical, emotional, and sexual) and parental neglect are the biggest causes of substance abuse. People who are abused as children see alcohol and drugs as their coping mechanisms, which eventually makes them addicted. Likewise, living a life where you have to constantly face emotional or physical abuses on and off can impact your willpower, ultimately pushing you towards drugs.
Symptoms of Drug Addiction
The symptoms of drug abuse also vary depending upon a person’s physical health, emotional strength, and life circumstances. Here is a brief summary of the signs of substance abuse that can help you identify if someone is doing drugs or not:
1. Lack of Coordination
When your brain is in a euphoric state, you cannot focus on the task in front of you. That’s the reason drug addicts often seem lost in their thoughts or oversleep to avoid everything. Although there’s no rule when drug abuse starts deteriorating someone’s mental capabilities, it sure is a primary symptom of drug abuse. Also, the lack of coordination isn’t limited to the thought patterns or emotions; it also extends to the tasks you perform and how focused you feel when having a conversation.
2. Bloodshot Eyes
Depending on the drug, the user may constantly have red-glazed eyes, as if they don’t get enough sleep. The main drugs that cause bloodshot eyes are alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine, and one can almost always tell if the user is under the influence from their eyes. However, be noted that this isn’t a standard symptom of drug addiction as some people naturally have reddish eyes, and some don’t get that influenced by the substance.
3. Unusual Smells on Their Clothing
One thing that easily gives away if someone uses drugs is the way their clothes or hands smell unless they are highly conscious about it. Marijuana has a distinct smell that becomes almost a part of the user’s personality and lets others identify that they are using drugs.
4. Major Changes in Weight and Energy Levels
Drugs leave one high and lost in their imagination, which means they don’t have enough energy to be present in other life fronts. If someone suddenly starts overdoing drugs, their physical health will take a hit, and they’ll lose a drastic amount of weight along with their energy levels. Besides weight loss, their skin may appear pale and their eyes lifeless, as if they are always in a trance.
5. Neglecting Career/Studies/Family Life
An addict often forgets the cruciality of major life factors like studies, work, and family. They may start missing classes or stop showing up at work, owing to their constant energy-less state. While this can also be a sign of declining mental health (if they appear fine), we can’t drop the possibility that drugs can be the driving factor here. Drug addiction makes people stop deriving pleasure from their goals, relationships, and achievements – they prefer isolating themselves.