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Drug Use: Why Does It Go On and On?

Drug Use and Drug Addiction - The Bergand Group

For those on the outside looking in, it can be confusing and distressing to see loved ones continue to engage in drug use even after the situation has been brought to light. “A key characteristic of drug addiction is that the individual suffering from it continues to use despite harmful consequences.” Why, though, does it continue?

Why People Perpetuate Their Drug Use Despite Consequences

One of the biggest reasons why these patients may continue with their habits of drug use is due to genetics, or family history. Put simply, they are in more danger of addiction right off the bat, and they therefore have a more difficult time stopping these behaviors. Many of these pre-dispositions are inherited and are then made more complicated by the addictive nature of drugs and alcohol.

Something else that can cause a person to continue using is if they have been “self-medicating.” In this scenario, the substance is thought of as a kind of “fix” for something unpleasant in their lives, whether that be a failed relationship, a lost job, or other conditions. The person is unable to face the harsh emotions of his or her life, and so substance use provides an apparent safe haven. This kind of escapism is dangerous, of course, since it really doesn’t provide any kind of “fix” at all, and rather creates even more danger and negativity for the person.

As mentioned above, the substance is often viewed as a positive thing despite it being very much the opposite. To that end, many people view having a few drinks or using drugs as a reward for, say, getting through the work day. Thinking of these things as rewards makes them even more dangerous, particularly if there are few, or no, other rewards in the person’s life. “There is now extensive research showing that providing alternative rewards to those who formerly lacked them may improve addiction treatment outcomes.” If they have something else to motivate them in place of the substance, then it’s that much easier to opt for for that instead of drug use.

Many people who are struggling with an addiction have what can be called “impaired insight,” or a skewed sense of self. They may be in heavy denial over their own usage habits whether that means not admitting it aloud, or not owning up even to themselves. It’s clear to see why they might then struggle to stop the use, considering they may truly not believe there is an issue with their habits. Practicing mindfulness is a crucial tool so that the individual can exercise more control over his or her actions.

Finally, something that plagues many people who suffer from addictions is the “urge to use,” or those cravings and triggers that bring them back to the substance time and time again. They may not get any joy out of it, or even any reward, as mentioned above, but there is still a compulsion. It has been hard-wired into their brains at that point so they are “programmed” to think about it and are lured back in. It may be less than pleasurable – it may be actively unwanted – but that doesn’t eliminate the pull of the substance.

If you want to learn more about the reasons that people continue drug use, then contact The Bergand Group. We offer recovery programs for yourself or for others or are seeking education materials about addictions. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction treatment and recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including direction for those who may be denying an addiction.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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