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Why Do Some People Start Using Drugs and Alcohol?

Why Do Some People Start Using Drugs and Alcohol?

Some people who turn to alcohol or drugs to numb out turn away from the causes of their initial problems. Understanding why some use drugs and alcohol is a complex issue but one that is worth exploring as it can lead to answers of how people become addicted and how to best support their journey to recovery.

No One Answer

When searching for reasons why people become addicted to drugs, alcohol, or anything else, it is difficult to pinpoint how one one person does it and another does not. Family dynamics can play a huge role in how people fall into addiction, but so does genetics and other factors. For people who grow up around substance use, it can become ‘normalized’ and feel like that is the way it has always been. When parents abuse alcohol and drugs yet seem to live otherwise ordinary lives, the kids think that is the best and only way to function as a family. Peer pressure in school can be too much for some kids, even those from homes without substance use.

Environmental Factors

People come from all different backgrounds and interpret their experiences differently. While peer pressure is among the most significant factors, others include physical and sexual abuse, socioeconomic status, and the overall quality of life. Environmental factors are among the main aspects taken into account when someone first enters treatment. Individualized programs focus on these factors as a way to support someone in recovery.


Genetics definitely can play a role in how someone exhibits addiction behaviors. Evidence exists that here is a genetic predisposition to drug and alcohol use, although it is not a guaranteed connection. Children are not automatically assumed to have these traits simply because of their parents but it certainly impacts the brain and body chemistry which can be predisposed to become addicted if introduced to certain things whether it is pornography, overworking, gambling, and drugs or alcohol.

Self Medicating

Some people self medicate as a way to feel more normal. It is their way of getting away from all those negative feelings but mental health issues and problems will persist even in light of using substances to hide them. In fact, they may actually make them worse in some cases.  Treatment for people with addiction can be individualized to support their needs so that each person can focus on their own recovery, yet understand how others have struggled and share a common story but still do their own work to heal.

Recovery is a challenging experience for people who are trying to process so much at one time. It is like feeling flooded by new feelings and emotions for the first time. We are here to help you navigate the journey forward. Let us help you recover from addiction and seek the resources you need to keep you clean and sober. Call us 24/7 at our toll-free number: 866-294-9401