Reasons Why People Abuse Drugs

May 12th, 2021

The reason why someone begins to use drugs obviously varies for many people. More often than not, a person is trying to fix an issue within their life and they see drugs as the solution. Maybe someone was peer pressured into trying drugs at a high school party and continued use from there. Maybe someone was forced to take drugs by a parent or ex significant other. Often times, addiction develops from these beginning points as continued use occurs and the individual continues to seek stronger highs - causing them to try harder drugs and spiraling into addiction.

When a loved one is struggling with drug abuse and addiction, it is perfectly normal to question what got them here and wonder why they continue to use. In today’s blog, we’re going to outline some of the top 10 reasons why people abuse drugs, in no particular order.


If you have a family history of drug addiction, you may have a genetic predisposition to develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol. It is stated that about 30% – 70% of a person’s risk for addiction is linked to the genes they are born with along with other social factors. There have also been studies of twins and adopted children suggest that about half of a person’s vulnerability to alcohol problems is inherited


Self-medicating is the top reason people abuse drugs and alcohol. People often self-medicate with mind-altering substances to cope with what they are feeling or what they do not want to feel. This can include stress, anxiety, depression, mental health disorders, pain and more. Alcohol or other substances can alleviate symptoms and seem like a short-term solution. However, people should look for manageable, long-term solutions under medical supervision to combat these issues.

Peer Pressure

This is most common reason for drug use amongst young adults and teenagers. They typically start to use drugs because they want to fit in. Being rebellious as a teenager or young adult is very common. In a lot of cases, young adults and teenagers don’t fully understand the severity of drug use and addiction. The pressure of being around others who are abusing drugs or alcohol can push someone to follow suit.


It is not uncommon for addiction to stem from a person being curious and experimenting with drugs or alcohol. It is a scenario that often starts with a young person using alcohol or marijuana out of curiosity. Mind-altering substances, like cocaine and alcohol, promise to heighten experiences and many people feel this experience is worth exploring. Unfortunately, there are drugs like Heroin, Ecstasy, and Meth that are so addictive that the person will begin a pattern of abuse sometimes even after a single use, which can eventually lead to an addiction. While use of the more “minor” drugs seems harmless, adolescents that experiment with drugs and alcohol are more likely to develop substance use disorder according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse

Mental Illness

Somewhat along the same lines as self-medicating, depression, anxiety, and PTSD can put individuals at higher risk of developing an addiction. Using substances to cope with difficult feelings may seem like an easier path for some. It might surprise you to learn that mental health issues and substance abuse often occur together. When this happens, these are called co-occurring disorders. Occasionally, substance abuse can lead to a mental health problem. However, this is usually a more rare situation. More often than not the mental health condition appears first. When it comes to treating a mental health disorder, non-narcotic medications are often available for most. It’s worth researching with a doctor to see if there is an alternative to addictive medications.

Ultimately, there are many reasons why someone would begin to use drugs and eventually develop an addition. However, at the end of the day, the addict needs help and help is available. At Windmill Wellness Ranch, we’re here to help any drug addict find the path to recovery - even those with co-occurring disorders. If you or a loved one are ready to seek help, reach out to our admissions team today.