Why Are People Drawn to Abuse Drugs?

The environment in which a person spends most of his time can influence substance abuse

Why people drawn to drug abuse is a question that has been asked and studied in the medical community for many years. A complete and final answer has yet to be discovered, but research has shown that there are some similarities in those who struggle with the disease. Family history, environment and genetic disposition all appear to play a role. Although there is no one exact cause applicable to every person drawn to abuse drugs like Ambien, understanding the characteristics of those who struggle can help improve diagnosis and treatment.

The Nature of Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a complex disease of the brain resulting in compulsive and uncontrollable drug-seeking behavior, despite negative consequences. Drug abuse is driven by the powerful reward system in the brain, and the increase in dopamine levels produced by the substance of choice. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that stimulates feelings of pleasure and motivates behavior. When a substance is introduced to this complex system, the brain begins to rely on the drug rather than the neurotransmitter for the feelings of euphoria it produces. Over time, the brain and body become dependent on the drug and can no longer feel or function “normally” without it. Drug cravings can be overwhelming and nearly impossible to resist as the person sinks further and further into a life motivated only by getting and using the drug.

Why Some and Not Others?

Those who struggle with substance abuse tend to share a similar history. A family history of addiction increases the likelihood that a person will become addicted to drugs or alcohol. A personal history of drug abuse also increases the risk of developing an addiction. The age at which a person is first introduced to substance abuse also plays a role in whether he or she will develop an addiction. Those who began using drugs during adolescence are nearly twice as likely to become addicted as those who started as adults. The environment in which a person spends most of his time can also influence substance abuse, as well as any personal or family history of mental illness. Those who struggle with some sort of mental illness are far more likely to abuse drugs than those who don’t. There is also scientific evidence that genetics plays a role in whether or not a person becomes addicted to drugs. But there are also those with no family or personal history of drug addiction who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. For these people, there is no link to any predisposition or genetic issues. They may simply experiment with drugs and become addicted. Knowing your own addictive tendencies can help you guard yourself against experimenting with drugs or alcohol.

Finding Help for Addiction

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to a drug like Ambien, we are here for you. Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options.