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Why Do Addicts Keep Using?

why do addicts keep using

It is common for those of us who have a family member or friend struggling with addiction to wonder why they keep using. Unfortunately, even when someone knows they have a substance abuse disorder, it is normal not to fully understand why they just cannot stop drinking or using drugs. 

When the addict wants to quit, it is not as simple as discontinuing their drinking or drug use. Many people might wonder, “why do addicts keep using?”. There are many reasons for the continued substance abuse, even though they may have a strong desire to stop. 

Reason #1: The withdrawal symptoms are too severe

There are withdrawal symptoms associated with drinking and drug abuse. As the substance leaves the body, it gradually returns to “normal” functioning. However, for the addict, “normal” functioning often results in a wide range of undesirable withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Profuse sweating
  • Cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Body aches

The only way to avoid these unwanted symptoms is to keep drinking or using drugs. 

Reason #2: Changes in the brain’s chemistry. 

Both drinking and drug abuse alter the brain’s chemistry and how it functions. The release of dopamine is quite common when abusing substances. The “feel-good” sensations experienced give the addict the “high” they desire. 

From continued substance abuse, the brain expects the substance to achieve the desired sensations. When the alcohol or drugs are removed, the brain senses something is missing and triggers cravings. The cravings can become so strong it leads the addict to compulsive behaviors and continued substance abuse. Understanding this can help answer the question, “why do addicts keep using?”.

Reason #3: Associating with peers that drink or use drugs.

Continuing relationships with others that drink or use drugs make it difficult to stop. When the addict sees others drinking or using drugs, it is very tempting to join in. Not to mention, if their peers are encouraging them to use, it becomes even harder to say no. 

Reason #4: The person does not desire to quit.

Some addicts have not yet reached the point where they want to admit they have a problem and need help. They may still believe that they can manage their drinking or drug use. They will make excuses that others are making a bigger deal out of their substance abuse. So, they keep using. 

Reason #5: The person has developed a dependence on the substance.

The path to addiction includes many stages. Dependence is a latter stage and is where the person needs the substance to function and avoid withdrawal symptoms from developing. They also believe that if they do not use the substance, then they will not be able to get through their daily routines. 

Reason #6: The person is self-medicating with a mental health disorder.

Some people begin their path to addiction by attempting to self-medicate and treat an associated mental health disorder, such as bipolar disorder or depression. By drinking or using drugs, they can alleviate the unwanted symptoms associated with the mental health disorder. 

As a result, it becomes harder and harder to stop using because they want to avoid the negative symptoms caused by their mental health disorder. 

Reason #7: The person experienced a traumatic event.

Another reason why it can be hard to understand, “why do addicts keep using?” is because trauma can complicate matters. Trauma can be a trigger that leads to addiction. By drinking or using drugs, the person is able to disassociate themselves from the traumatic event. To avoid reliving or having to address the traumatic experience, they would rather continue abusing substances. 

Reason #8: The person started drinking or using drugs to deal with stressful situations. 

The addiction could have started off as a way to relieve stress after a long day at work. As the brain’s chemistry changes, it comes to expect alcohol or drugs whenever faced with stressful situations. Even if the person attempts to stop, they do not know how to effectively manage their stress, so they turn to what they know works – drugs or alcohol. 

Reason #9: The person places themselves in triggering situations.

Triggers are events, people, locations, smells, objects, and other such things that the recovering addict associated with their drinking or drug abuse. If they continuously put themselves into situations that set off their triggers, they could relapse and fall back into their formal addictive habits. 

Reason #10: The addict has family and friends who enable.

Enabling behaviors can encourage the addict to keep using because they are not held accountable for their actions or have to face the consequences of their addiction. So, they have no motivation to stop and will continue drinking or using drugs. 

Reason #11: There is another addict in the household.

It becomes very challenging when the person wants to stop, yet another addict lives in the same household. As soon as they see the effects of drinking or drug use the other person is experiencing, they can feel left out and want to join in. 

Addiction Treatment for Men in Dallas

As evident, there are several reasons why addicts keep using. If you have reached the point where you want to stop, Casa Colina is here to help. We offer customized addiction treatment programs for men in Dallas that include family programs and peer support.

Our goal is to enable you with the tools needed to overcome your addiction and achieve long-term sobriety. For further information about our Dallas addiction treatment programs, please feel free to contact us today! 

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