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Why Do People Become Addicted to Drugs?

Question: There is a big drug addiction problem in our culture. What are your thoughts on that? Why do people become addicted to drugs?

 Answer: I agree that drug addiction is a big problem in our culture and around the world. Drugs are everywhere and they are very, very available. Whether it is crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana, LSD, alcohol or whatever, drugs are easy to obtain. Drugs harm society as a whole and they also harm individuals in so many ways.

Don’t get Stuck in the Box of Addiction

I’m sure you remember your high school days. Drugs have been and will probably continue to be a part of our culture. There seems to be little we can do as a society to prevent the drugs themselves from circulating and finding their way into the lives of people, including those whom we love.

This is sad. The destructive nature of substance abuse is truly horrendous. If you’ve ever witnessed someone with a drug addiction, you know far too well how they are often driven to obtain the substance and can’t seem to ‘function’ without it. Lower levels of addiction or compensating behavior may not seem as severe, but still destructive in a variety of ways

Here is a free list of drug rehab treatment centers

Here is a free list of alcohol treatment centers

Here is a free ebook on The Principles of Drug Addiction

Sometimes a person will lie, cheat, steal and do things he wouldn’t normally do or even hurt others physically to get the drug. The movie, Less than Zero comes to mind.


The cycle of drug addiction can be stopped once patient seeks the drug addiction help he so desperately needs.

How Does an Addiction Occur?

Physically, the brain uses dopamine to create a ‘good’ feeling. This is normal and natural. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that the brain uses during its normal functioning. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that allow cells to communicate with other cells.

(note: dopamine is being used as an example – other brain chemicals can also be involved in addiction)

Dopamine –> Dope – You can see the connection.

Drugs of addiction cause the brain’s cells to excrete and flood the brain with the chemical dopamine or conversely, block the chemical from being reabsorbed into the cells.

Unfortunately, there is a process called down regulation that feeds right into the state of addiction. The brain sees too much dopamine present and realizes that it must create less, because there is an overabundance. When the drug wears off, the person feels lifeless, without joy and ‘dull’, perhaps even depressed. This is because the dopamine levels have become abnormally low.

The addict finds a solution by taking the drug again. (the wrong solution) He needs the drug to feel good. Unfortunately, the problem gets worse.


As the brain down regulates further, tolerance grows. Tolerance is resistance to the drug. More of the drug is needed to create the same feeling as before. This is due to the brain adjusting and naturally producing less and less dopamine. For this reason, addicts may seek larger and larger doses to get the same feeling they had previously.

So you have the elevated good feeling on the one hand. Then you have the abnormally low feelings when the drug wears off. You can see how this leads the person on a vicious cycle of highs and lows.

This cycle leads to physical addiction. A state where the person feels driven to obtain the drug, oftentimes at any cost. There is no set number of times that it takes to provoke an addiction.

Not all professionals agree on what an addiction is or at what point a person can be said to be addicted. For our purposes, we’ll just say that an addiction is when a person causes harm to himself or others due to substance abuse. This is not limited to physical harm alone but emotional hurt, unavailability, losing one’s employment, and any other negative affect that comes from using or abusing a substance.

You’ve probably seen addicts in your local city pan handling for money to buy drugs or alcohol with. Sometimes you ask them if they want some food and they readily turn that down, they only want money. Money is needed to buy more drugs.

Beating a drug addiction is possible, yet it can be difficult. Treatment typically involves a combination approach involving multiple factors being addressed simultaneously. Here is a list of drug rehab facilities that might help with overcoming a drug addictiont. Here is another rehab center page specifically created for alcohol addiction.

Repeating treatment is often times necessary as one round of treatment may not be enough. In other words there tends to be a risk factor that the treated addict will seek the drug again. Sometimes, there is a long gap of time before the addiction occurs again.

Physical dependence can be offset by doctor prescribed medications. However, there may be psychological factors that need to be treated as well. Perhaps there are social, legal or other tough situations that make taking the drug again an attractive proposition to the user.

This is part of why addiction treatment can become so complex. A major contributor to success is the patient’s willingness to eliminate the addiction, especially then the struggle becomes tough.

It seems to me that developing the will to eliminate an addiction is one of the most crucial components to long term relief. The love and support of others can certainly be helpful, but the individual must ultimately choose for himself what he wants.


I am sympathetic. I think drug addiction is one of the worst states of being for a person. I hope that people can either get help or help themselves out of the box of addiction. Facing both physical and psychological barriers makes the struggle harder. However, it can be done and there are plenty of examples of people who have beaten their addiction and live normal, productive and hopefully loving lives.

If you would like to comment on this topic, you are encouraged to do so below, under ‘leave a reply’.

Stay out of the Box of Addiction

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