Why Do People Use Drugs

Green marijuana buds in clear plastic bag

Everything High

Because it helps them to escape reality. It turns your world into a 3D-enhanced virtual reality room, allowing you to play with the controls as you wish, regardless of the consequences. Users lose interest in normality and forget that they also have responsibilities that cannot be sacrificed for pleasure, especially responsibilities to themselves and others around them. Drugs swallow some up like a black hole, while others can swiftly swim in the nearby space, without any problems returning back to reality and to their responsibilities.

What is your take on drug use and is society headed towards full-blown legalization of all drugs in 50+ years?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

I Am Free Of Cigarettes

White man with gold chain on neck smoking cigarette

Positive Affirmation: Quitting Cigarettes

“I am free of cigarettes because I have experienced the joy of lighting up during many different activities and now I realize that it’s not worth also killing my lungs in the process. Cigarettes increase my chances of developing lung, bladder and pancreatic cancer and also make me cough like a mule. Cigarettes make me reek like an old chimney and make my fingers look disgusting. Cigarettes enslave me by motivating me to smoke whenever I get a break or experience an unpleasant emotion. Cigarettes are the most addicting substance known to mankind and I refuse to further engage with this evil drug. I cherish my mind, body and soul and cigarettes are no longer a part of my life. I am free of cigarettes and proud of it!”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

I Am Free Of Marijuana

Marijuana leaf symbol with chromatic colors

Positive Affirmation: Cannabis

“I am free of marijuana because I realize that it’s not necessary for me to use it in order to be happy and find joy in life. Even though marijuana may be fun, I find pleasure in socializing in a sober state of mind, enjoying my senses without having the munchies and watching movies and listening to music without experiencing an altered perception of my reality. I also enjoy to not cough up a lung or experience mini panic attacks when I am getting high. I also prefer to have a clear conscience and not feel guilty when I am high. I am free of marijuana!”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

I Am Free Of Drug Use

Man in gray hoodie covering head holding drug needle

Positive Affirmation: Staying Clear Of Drugs

“I am free of drug use because they bring nothing but pain, destruction and addictions. Drugs, whether cannabis, alcohol or anything that alters the brain affects my sanity, personality and spirit and I prefer to stay clear from these substances. Drugs distract me from my life purpose and internally destroy me, throwing me off my course for success. Therefore, I stay clear of drugs and find happiness within myself and the environment.”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Don’t Be A Slave To Technology

iMac computer on white desk in bright lit room

Hooked On Apps

With modern-day technology right at our fingertips, it can become very easy to fall trap to an addiction. Whether it’s dating apps, gaming or binge watching Netflix all day, everyone has a tendency to surf the border between a normal experience vs. a pathological one. This is because technology does a great job at targeting our reward center in the brain known as the nucleus accumbens. This is where the neurotransmitter dopamine is released, making us feel good!

It’s very difficult for us to step away from technology because it’s so prevalent in our lives. Unless you decide to go live in the great outdoors somewhere in Colorado or Montana, you’re going to be surrounded by technology whether you like it or not. Unless you decide to live without cable, internet or even a cell phone, then you’re going to be surrounded by technology. It’s scary to say but there’s almost no escaping it!

So what can we do so that we don’t feel enslaved to it? We have to harness the willpower within us to balance our lives. Consciously, we know that we need to make a change but we often lack the strength to do so. It’s easier to succumb to our habits of relying on technology because it provides instant gratification, on a conscious level and all the way down on a neurochemical level. Minute amounts of dopamine release is enough to keep us engrained in our daily technological habits.

The willpower that I am talking about involves putting aside your technological habit and replacing it with something else, whether it’s for 5 minutes or a couple of hours. The replacement obviously should be something not related to technology, such as reading, exercising, socializing, etc. Most people fail at this point because they realize that they should be doing something else, but end up just doing what is easier; in this case, technology.

It’s quite a challenge these days to get involved with activities that don’t incorporate technology, especially as it continues to rapidly evolve. Honestly speaking, it sometimes feels like a virus that surrounds us 24/7. This virus might be more deadlier than COVID-19; it might not kill you, but it certainly has the potential of psychologically harming you over many years to come. How about the young man who committed suicide after he found out that he owed $750,000 dollars on Robinhood after an unsuccessful investment? But let’s not view technology as a virus because it seems too gloomy to do so, but it is food for thought!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

I Am Stronger Than Alcohol

Person opening bottle of beer in car behind wheel

Positive Affirmation: Alcoholism Does Not Control Me

“I am stronger than alcohol because it does not control who I am, does not influence my willpower, does not shape my personality, does not influence my decision-making and certainly does not make me addicted to it!”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Drugs’ Crazy Voices

Syringe, red and white pills next to face mask on blue background

When Drugs Make You Insane

Drug abuse can happen for many years until psychiatric symptoms manifest themselves. Some people can use drugs their entire lives and never experience any psychiatric symptoms, while others use drugs for a few days and develop a psychotic episode. There is no way of determining whether you are predisposed to developing a mental illness after using drugs. Your best bet is to avoid drug experimentation in the first place and find happiness through sobriety.

Many drug users will report having used meth, cocaine, marijuana and other drugs for years without any psychiatric side effects, until that one day arrives when auditory hallucinations kick in and the patient becomes afraid for his or her life. At first, they think that it’s the drug that’s causing them to hear voices within their head, but when their body metabolizes the drugs and the voices persist, then they really become afraid for their lives.

That’s because there’s no guarantee that the psychiatric symptoms will stop when the drugs are metabolized by the body; everyone’s brain reacts differently. Some people are naturally predisposed to developing a mental illness; this is based on a bio-psycho-social model:

  • Biologically: genetics
  • Psychologically: the way you think and view the world
  • Socially: your social environment and the experiences that have and currently shape you

All of these factors can make or break you when it comes to using drugs and there’s no way of knowing it beforehand. That’s why drugs are so unpredictable and not worth trying in the first place. What if you happen to be that one person who ends up becoming psychotic? Do you really want to take a chance just so that you can experience a 60 minute high?

Some psychiatric patients will report voices telling them to “straighten your body”or believe that there are cameras implanted in their home and that someone is spying on them; this is known as paranoia. Some will experience ideas of reference, such as believing that they can use telepathy to put thoughts into others’ minds or believe that they themselves are receiving special messages through texts. As their time away from drugs increases, their symptoms may start to diminish, but keep in mind that for many, the symptoms do not diminish and they end up requiring antipsychotics.

The bottom line is that you do not know how your mind will react to drugs and that developing a mental illness after drug use is not farfetched; it’s based on reality of thousands of patients worldwide who develop a mental illness secondary to drug use. Let’s avoid that fate for you by remaining sober and finding happiness through natural activities such as exercising, socializing and mindfulness.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Drugs, Depression And Abortion

Pink round pills in plastic wrapping

Raped By Drugs

Imagine being a female drug addict and living in a shelter for the last couple of years. You wake up every day to go to work which involves consuming cocaine and alcohol. You wander the streets with no end in sight, enjoying the rollercoaster high provided by the drugs. Sometimes you wonder if you need anything more in this world besides drugs and a bed to sleep at night. Until the drugs invite an unexpected guest; someone who decides to violate your body and rape you while you’re passed out from the narcotics.

This is the life of many women who abuse drugs and suffer from a mental illness; they expose themselves to dangerous situations. Many times, the mental illness is due to the drugs themselves, also known as Substance-Induced Mood/Psychotic Disorder. When the drugs are metabolized by the body, usually during a hospitalization, the mental illness subsides. But this is when reality also kicks in, sometimes making the patient feel worse about their current situation.

But can you imagine ending up in the hospital and finding yourself to be greater than 15 weeks pregnant and asking for an abortion, all while you have been abusing drugs? What did that child do wrong to deserve this fate? Does this child not deserve a chance to live? Even though the patient feels violated and believes that this unknown man “seeded” her with his sperm, why should an unborn child suffer the consequence of termination and never see the light of day?

No one is arguing that a patient who is raped does not feel violated and perhaps even suffering from PTSD or depression, but did the patient not put themselves at risk by engaging in risky behavior such as using drugs with male strangers? What do you expect will happen when you are a young female and abusing drugs with grown men in sketchy urban areas? Do you think the men will just stand there and protect you while you nod out?

This goes to show you how dangerous drugs and mental illness are when they go hand in hand. Drugs not only impair your judgement, but they also place you in bad situations, exposing you to dangerous individuals who put your life at risk. You then find yourself waking up with your clothes off and some marks around your vaginal area; perhaps even some itching.

The next thing you know is that you are pregnant, a drug addict living in a shelter and depressed. You end up in a psychiatric unit to get stabilized, but your main focus is to have an abortion. This is the reality of many psychiatric patients all around the world. Don’t use drugs!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Why The Human Brain Loves Drugs

Asian man laying on steps outside with eyes closed listening to music

Drugs Were Created To Entertain The Human Brain

For anyone who has ever used a drug, you know very well why the pleasure is reinforcing on many levels. You don’t have to be a drug addict to appreciate the pleasure that a drug provides and you don’t have to use something as strong as heroin to understand the nature of drugs. Something as simple as drinking coffee can help you understand why substances in general are addicting.

Substances or drugs, whatever you’d like to call them are very reinforcing because the human brain lacks them endogenously; in other words, it doesn’t naturally create them. Sure, we have endorphins which are released when we experience physical pain or great physical exertion, but that doesn’t count because it’s released only when the brain wants it too; the brain is not programmed to release these chemicals as a way of kicking back and getting high.

So when the brain is introduced to an exogenous substance, it tells itself, “Hey! This is interesting . . . I kinda like it! Let’s get some more!” This reaction is most likely universal, whether it’s in relation to food, drugs, sex, coffee, chocolate or anything that is external and excites the brain. Usually, the greater the pleasure that is associated with an external substance or act, the more the brain becomes susceptible to seeking and craving it.

The brain is not as powerful as we like to believe; if it were, there wouldn’t be drug addicts, sex addicts or gamblers in society. The brain is actually quite weak when it comes to pleasure. Let’s consider an example as simple as having sex: when someone hasn’t had sex in over a year and are suddenly presented with a natural occasion of good sex, they will immediately seek it again the following day or a few days later.

This is because after not having sex for over a year, the act of having it yesterday has reawakened your part of the brain that was missing the physical sensational pleasure; in this case, sex. So your brain tells you, “Get some more of it! Do what you have to do to bring her back! Let’s go, what are you waiting for?” You see how child-like the brain is? It’s the soul within you that has to tame your brain and tell it, “Hold your horsepower! It might take some time before sex can be achieved again.”

And your brain either listens or not, causing you to make a mistake in your human interactions or playing it cool and attracting your mate for another joy ride. The human brain is not as mature as we’d like to believe it is. It goes through a lot of trial and errors in life, including drug experimentation for some. But for those who don’t tame their brain, they become victim to an addiction.

Drugs were created to entertain the human brain but they’re not a good form of entertainment for all humans. There are some people who are strong enough to control their use, while many fall victim to an addiction. It’s very multifactorial on who is prone to developing an addiction; it’s based on environmental triggers, personality, experience, perception, socioeconomic status, genes, etc.

At the end of the day, the human brain needs to be tamed but the question remains, “Are you the one in charge of your mind?”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Drugs Love Suicide

Woman smiling while holding rolled-up dollar bill near line of cocaine

Hooked On Pleasure

Ever since the coronavirus swept the world off its feet, the mention of the opioid crisis vanished. Even before that, the alcohol crisis and nicotine crisis were still at play but no one ever spoke of them except the families affected by the victims. The point is that the drug culture has not gone away and may never go away; humans are too susceptible to developing a drug addiction.

But it’s not only the drugs themselves that pose a great danger to humanity; it’s the mental illness that lives in the shadows, waiting to infect the next person in line. Since mental illness has no boundaries, everyone is at risk, but those who abuse drugs are at a greater risk of experiencing a mental illness. The problem with mental illness and drug use is that there is no guarantee that the mental illness will go away or not reoccur after one stops using drugs.

Think of a drug as a double-edged sword: one side feels amazingly good while the other penetrates your mind too deeply, inflicting potential long-term wounds. In reality, the entire sword inflicts a wound because what is interpreted by the user as “feeling good while high,” is actually a process of planting seeds for a mental illness; the only difference is that this process is quite often painless in the moment, only to become excruciating in the near future.

One thing is for sure: drugs love suicide. There is no drug that is good for you and marijuana is not an exception. Anything that alters the mind also opens it up to the possibility of encountering a mental illness on any given day; “You have finally arrived” the drug states to the mental illness. The mental illness replies back, “I knew it was a matter of time. Thanks for taking care of business. You can go now . . . or stay . . . whichever.”

But the user is the one who doesn’t want to let go of the drugs, only empowering the mental illness in the first place. You get the picture? This is why drug addicts are prone to suicide; even if they want to escape their hellish addiction, they often become too powerless in the process. If it’s not by a great psychiatrist, luck or God’s saving grace to be freed, many end up overdosing or killing themselves.

We need to continue to raise awareness for drug addiction and not look down upon our fellow humans. We can all agree that we live in a sinful world torn by wars, viruses, hatred, division, mental illness and addiction. The last thing that we should be doing is pointing the fingers at others and stating, “You worthless piece of shit. You’re good for nothing!” This is never going to help us advance the human race.

We welcome all drug addicts and people with mental illness. This is The DSM Ready community.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)