Category: Information

Binge-Drinking

Binge Drinking – It’s Not What You Think!

You’re just going out and having a good time, right? Everyone parties on the weekends, right? Sure, you don’t feel great in the morning, but that happens to everyone, right? Wrong.

Binge Drinking: What it Really Looks Like

Binge drinking is not limited to what you might be picturing in your head. Blacking out, vomiting, being hungover in the morning, or generally making a fool of yourself at that party are not the only examples of what binge drinking really is.

Binge-DrinkingThe National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as:

  • “A pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men—in about 2 hours.”

Meanwhile, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines binge drinking as:

  • “Drinking 5 or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days.

For many people, that critera seems all too easy to meet at just one birthday party of backyard bonfire.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have gathered some statistics on bing drinking:

  • One in six U.S. adults binge drinks about four times and month and consumes about eight drinks per binge
  • Approximately 92% of U.S. adults who drink excessively report binge drinking in the past thirty days
  • Although binge drinking is commonly thought of as a problem only among college students, 70% if binge drinking episodes involve adults age 26 years and older
  • Binge drinking is twice as prevalent among men than it is among women
  • Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to report alcohol-impaired driving than non-binge drinkers
  • It is estimated that about 90% of the alcohol consumed by minors under the age of 21 in the United States is in the form of bing drinking
  • More than half the alcohol consumed by adults in the United States is in the form of binge drinking

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, binge drinking is contributes to a multitude of health problems, such as:

  • Unintentional injuries (e.g., car crashes, falls, burns, drowning)
  • Intentional injuries (e.g., firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence)
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Unintended pregnancy
  • High blood pressure, stroke, other cardiovascular diseases
  • Liver disease
  • Brain damage

Although it may be scary to take that step, if you suspect you may have a drinking problem, there are many benefits to seeking the help of an inpatient program. Among other perks, you would benefit from:

  • 24 hour supervised care
  • No outside distractions from the recovery process
  • Being surrounded by like-minded people with similar goals
  • An understanding, supportive environment

Binge drinking is not just a party on the weekend with a hangover the next morning. It is a serious affliction that many suffer through alone. That suffering is needless, and there is help available.

Binge Drinking in Today's Youth

Keeping Our Kids Sober – Causes and Effects of Binge Drinking in Today’s Youth

Parents of high school and college-aged children have long struggled to keep their kids away from the pressures and temptations of their hard-partying peers. As adults, the decisions that we make are based on our life experiences, a sort of cause-and-effect method of thinking that helps us to base our choices on previous outcomes. It is this kind of thought process that separates the wisdom of adulthood from the inexperience of youth. One of the biggest problems of our country is binge drinking in today’s youth. Without our guidance, our kids have no way of knowing the harmful effects of binge drinking.

We Must Guide Our Children Towards the Right Decisions in Life

Our young people, however, often don’t have that basis to judge the possible consequences of their decisions, opting for the choice that will give them the greatest pleasure and satisfaction at that very moment, with little or no regard for the possible negative effects that those choices might hold in store. Part of growing up is learning how to give up that instant gratification for more long-term satisfaction. In many cases, our kids have to learn from their own mistakes, and no amount of pleading from us will change that.

However, we can take certain steps to help guide our children towards the healthier path by keeping them informed of the dangers and possible negative outcomes of some of the choices that they will be faced with as they go through life. Making our kids aware that the decisions they make will have consequences, some positive and others negative, will help to shape their decision-making abilities and give them confidence, strength and a sense of personal empowerment and responsibility. They will be able to resist the peer pressures that they will be faced with and learn to be leaders of the pack rather than followers. They can learn to recognize the outcomes of their decisions and make the choices that will benefit them more in the long run.

The Effects of Binge Drinking in Today’s Youth

According to a fact sheet released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol abuse is prevalent among our nation’s young people.

“Alcohol use by persons under age 21 years is a major public health problem. Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States, more than tobacco and illicit drugs, and is responsible for more than 4,300 annual deaths among underage youth. Although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States. More than 90% of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinks. On average, underage drinkers consume more drinks per drinking occasion than adult drinkers. In 2010, there were approximately 189,000 emergency rooms visits by persons under age 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol.”CDC Alcohol & Public Health Fact Sheet – Underage Drinking

Among high school students, the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey determined that 21% engaged in binge drinking, 10% got behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking and 22% rode with someone who was drinking. These risky behaviors are just a few examples of the choices that our children are making that could have dire consequences.

But there are also other consequences of underage drinking that aren’t always evident right away. Physical illness, problems in school or social life, legal issues, physical or sexual assault, not to mention being 500% more likely to develop alcohol dependency later in life, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. We have also been long aware that alcohol affects the brain in its developmental stages much differently than in adulthood. A recent study has demonstrated even stronger evidence of exactly the type and severity of this altered brain development.

Published on April 27th, 2015, in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, the study concluded that subjecting the brain to repeated alcohol exposure during the formative adolescent years results in structural and functional abnormalities in the hippocampus, the area of the brain related to learning and memory. In their research, they found connections between neurons that were misshapen in the brain that had resulted from exposure to alcohol at a young age. When stimulated, these neurons over-reacted in a manner much like that of a younger individual. This indicated that binge drinking in youthful years will cause brain cells to be trapped in a Peter Pan syndrome, where those brain cells never “grow up” to be fully functioning adult brain cells.

“In the eyes of the law, once people reach the age of 18, they are considered adult, but the brain continues to mature and refine all the way into the mid-20s,” said lead author Mary-Louise Risher, a post-doctoral researcher in the Duke Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. “It’s important for young people to know that when they drink heavily during this period of development, there could be changes occurring that have a lasting impact on memory and other cognitive functions. It’s quite possible that alcohol disrupts the maturation process, which can affect these cognitive function later on.”

With all of this evidence showing the dangers of binge drinking in today’s youth, it is crucial that we must do everything that we can to help our young people see that their choices in life can have far-reaching long-term effects that they might not have realized.

Making the Right Choice: Giving Guidance through Support and Communication

In our efforts to show our children that drinking is not a good idea, no matter what their friends might say, it is not enough to teach them the negative aspects of alcohol abuse. We must also offer them positive alternatives, solutions to overcoming peer pressure and, above all, keep open and honest lines of communication available to them at all times. Scare tactics just won’t cut it. In order for our kids to trust us as parents and positive role models in life, they must know that we are here to help in any way that we can, by giving them options and teaching them skills that will help them avoid uncomfortable situations and temptations that might lead them down the wrong path.

Some Alternatives to Drinking

As we inform our children of the negative consequences of binge drinking in today’s youth, we should also give them choices that will be more beneficial to them later in life, and to show them the long-term positive effects that these alternatives will have for them. Some examples might include:

  • Music Lessons – Does your child have a favorite band, singer, DJ or performer? Engage them in conversation about it, and try to get them enrolled to learn how to play a musical instrument or use production software that will excite them. Allow them to express their creativity and develop their own style.
  • Sports or Athletics – Is your son or daughter’s room covered in pictures of a favorite professional sports team or athlete? Chances are that they most likely already involved in that sport, possibly in school or a recreational league. If this is a passion that they have, it is important that they are encouraged. Go to as many of their games as you can possibly make it to. Practice at home with them, shooting hoops or throwing a ball around. Use it to bond with your child and they will come to trust you and be more open with you.
  • Visit a Museum or Art Exhibit – If your child is constantly doodling, painting, drawing or otherwise being artistic, consider a weekly excursion to a local museum or art show. Talk with them about their passion and try to find out more about their artistic influences. If comic book or graphic novel art is more their thing, try to find a local ComiCon to take them to. Showing encouragement for them in their art is certain to help strengthen your relationship.
  • Make Room for Them in Your Own Life and Passions – How about you? Are there any hobbies or recreational activities that you could include them in? Fishing, woodwork, cross stitch, hiking, camping, auto work, anything that will allow you to spend time with your children will help to strengthen your bond and show them that there is plenty to do without drinking alcohol.

Overcoming Peer Pressure and Temptation

Another part of providing effective guidance to our children in avoiding alcohol abuse is teaching them different ways to push back against peer pressure. In social settings, such as high school and college parties, your child will inevitably be exposed to some of their friends drinking alcohol. Those friends will usually try to get your son or daughter to join in. It is important to teach them ways to say “no” without ostracizing themselves. Role-playing with your child can help them get used to using tactics to overcome pressure from others. Here are just a few ways that you can help them to make the right choice:

  • Simply saying, “No, thanks.”– It really could be just as easy as that! However, if the pressure persists, your child may have to back up their “No, thanks” with other tactics.
  • Repeat as Necessary – Your son or daughter can keep saying “no” as many times as they need to. This can help by making the other person stop pushing or allowing your child to stall until they can think of something else to say.
  • Give Them a Reason – “That’s bad for you”, “You could die from that”, or simply “I don’t want to” are all valid responses to any pressure that your child might feel to use alcohol. The important thing is that your child learns to state their reason for not joining in with confidence. Arguing isn’t necessary when they can speak their mind with conviction.
  • Assertiveness – This is truly the most important part of any tactic to avoiding peer pressure. If your child can stick up for his or herself, they are learning an important life skill. Assertively stating a position is a valued trait in adults. Learning to do this at a young age is excellent preparation for later in life.
  • Be a Leader, Not a Follower – Suggesting something else, such as “Let’s do ____________ instead”, gives your child the opportunity to not only refuse a friend’s offer of alcohol, but also allows them the opportunity to keep another friend from doing it as well.
  • Walk Away – Sometimes, the person just won’t relent, putting more and more pressure on in hopes of having control over your son or daughter. In this case, walking away from the situation is the best option. However, this won’t always work. Sometimes, your child will find themselves in a situation where walking away isn’t possible.

Communicating Openly and Honestly

Your children may find themselves in situations where they can’t get away from the person who is pressuring them to use. They might be at a friend’s house for a sleepover, or at a party that is too far away from home to walk. It is crucial that they feel like they are able to call you or another trusted adult to come and get them without judgment. If your child feels like they are going to be punished or scolded for calling you for help, they probably aren’t going to do it. They need to know that, by making the right choice to get away from that uncomfortable situation, they will be praised and commended for their responsibility and assertiveness.

There certainly is a lot involved in parenting, and teaching our values to our children is an important aspect of that. By practicing these strategies in our everyday lives, we can help shape our teens and young adults little by little into the strong, confident and responsible leaders that we will need tomorrow.

Chronic Heavy Drinking

What Are the Health Risks of Chronic Heavy Drinking?

Drinking frequently and in large doses can be a sign of alcohol abuse, and chronic heavy drinking can lead to a significant number of serious health risks. In general, this should not come as a shock to anyone. Many people are still unaware of the exact risks they take when they choose to overindulge in a few alcoholic beverages, and there are many. The risks you take do not only include liver disease or the possibility of a car crash. Let’s go over ten of the significant health hazards that are caused by consuming large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis.

Health Risks of Chronic Heavy Drinking

Most alcoholics or frequent drinkers never think about the health risks of their behavior.  If the drinking continues, the following issues might arise:

  • Cancer

Alcohol in large quantities is simply not good for any parts of the body because it breaks down tissues and is abrasive. Excess drinking or binge drinking has been clinically linked to breast, esophagus, colorectal, pharynx, mouth and liver cancers. Much of this also has to do with the fact that alcohol converts to acetaldehyde once it enters the body, and this is a major carcinogen.

  • Anemia

Anemia is categorized as an abnormally small number of red blood cells, and this can be caused by heavy drinking. Anemia causes shortness of breath and fatigue.

  • Dementia

No one is exactly sure how or why dementia occurs in some individuals, but several clinical tests have shown that heavy drinking can lead to the exacerbation of dementia. Also, even in patients who do not currently have the illness, chronic binge drinking can shrink the same areas of the brain that dementia does, and it also causes memory loss just as dementia does.

  • Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis, and it is measured by the amount of uric acid in the body. The more uric acid crystals that build up in your joints, the worse your gout is and the more pain you will experience. Alcohol may not always be the cause of gout conditions, but it has been known to exacerbate it.

  • Cardiovascular Disease

A recent study found that chronic heavy drinking leads to double the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The reason for this is because binge drinking causes blood platelets to create blood clots in the heart, brain or blood stream by clumping altogether. Heart rhythm disorders are also linked to alcoholism.

  • High Blood Pressure

When a person goes on a drinking binge, their blood pressure may be raised momentarily. This high blood pressure could last just a few hours. But when binges become weekly or daily affairs, the high blood pressure could become a chronic issue. Blood vessels dilate and constrict in reaction to large amounts of alcohol.

  • Cirrhosis

The liver is responsible for filtering all the things that you eat and drink. When someone consumes a significant amount of alcohol, their liver has to deal with it, but the liver wasn’t made to do this job over and over. With time, binge drinking causes you to get a fatty liver. A fatty liver will later turn into cirrhosis, and without a transplant, this is a fatal disease.

  • Depression

Often, heavy drinkers binge drink because they are depressed. Alcohol itself is a depressant, so drinking because of depression begets more depression. It turns into a big cycle of self-medication that just does not work. The only way to get out of it is to stop drinking by going to an inpatient rehab center.

  • Pancreatitis

One of the most harmful things about excessive alcohol consumption is that it irritates the lining of the stomach, but it can also irritate the lining of the pancreas. Pancreatitis is the effect, and it can cause serious diarrhea as well as recurring stomach aches.

  • Nerve Damage

Alcoholic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that is caused by alcoholism. Someone with this kind of neuropathy will experience numbness in the feet, legs, hands, and arms as well as painful pin prick feelings in those same areas. Also, this nerve damage can exacerbate erectile dysfunction, constipation, and incontinence.

Chronic heavy drinking can affect the entire body. If you have a problem with chronic heavy drinking, please enroll in a treatment program. Inpatient rehab treatment centers offer more supervision than outpatient treatment programs. Inpatient treatment takes you out of the environment in which you can obtain alcohol at any time. Therefore, it is much easier to focus on your recovery and to form habits which do not include drinking alcohol. Don’t let chronic heavy drinking ruin your health and your life.

 

Communication Skills

Communication Skills: Essential to Rehab and to Life

The list of losses an addict suffers is long: jobs, money, prestige, marriage or relationship, car, driving privileges, friends. It can be a long road from beginning substance or alcohol abuse to rock bottom, and facing up and entering treatment is a huge step. Often the biggest issues in the losses are not the high dollar ones; they involve facing loved ones and owning up to some pretty big indecencies.

Communication Skills in Rehab

The road to recovery most often means learning to talk about the most difficult things you have ever had to face. This may be the first time you’ve ever talked about anything like this. Some might even tell you that avoiding emotional pain is the reason they used in the first place. Communication skills have long since gone by the wayside or never existed at all.

It’s no wonder that people with alcohol and substance abuse problems rarely make it on their own. It’s not a matter of just saying no – it requires skills that take real learning, practice, and support, skills that can often best be learned through a treatment center. A 2012 study found that 65.4% of surveyed mental health and addiction practitioners found communication skills training to be a necessary facet of treatment when seeking placement.

Difficulties Faced in Recovery

The same study found that newly recovering drug addicts and alcoholics report similar problems in communication:

• Issues related to conflict resolution
• Communication skills deficits
• Difficulty maintaining boundaries
• Poor social skills development
• Social anxiety and social isolation

Counselors likewise reported them to have problems in the following areas:

• Difficulty with problem-solving
• Inability to communicate personal needs and feelings
• Difficulty setting and following boundaries
• Difficulty getting along with others in general

This is not new information; the study simply documents what counselors and addicts alike have known for years. Good social and communication skills affect three major areas of recovery in life:

1. The ability to say no to alcohol or drugs in any setting
2. The ability to interact appropriately in social settings where drugs or alcohol will be present
3. The ability to get along socially with friends, family, and co-workers

Five Skills to Develop

Survival post-treatment depends on the development, practice, and adaptation of effective communication skills:

• Develop listening skills
• Learn to hear yourself
• Take yourself out of the center
• Learn to compromise
• Respond with honesty and integrity

Develop Listening Skills

It’s essential to stop reacting to what’s being said. Defenses have built up over the course of use and it’s been a long time since listening happened. This is about slowing the process way down until you can hear all of what’s being said, the language, the feelings and the intent before you respond. It takes time and it takes a lot of practice in a group setting to learn to truly hear again.

Learn to Hear Yourself

It’s hard to imagine how you sound to others. Through the process of video-taping and working in a group, you can learn to see how you truly appear. It can be hard to face. But with this information, you can make active decisions about whether this is truly the person you want to portray to others and make adjustments accordingly.

Take Yourself Out of the Center

For the addict or alcoholic, life has become “all about me.” That’s not how the rest of the world feels. Learning that you are not the center of the universe and readjusting your world accordingly can be very difficult work. Learning how to be one part of a whole is an important social skill to learn before you go out into the world again.

Learn to Compromise

Conflict resolution skills are important to every aspect of life. Making decisions, setting goals and working with others all require the skill of compromise. Working in groups in a rehab setting is great training to learn this valuable skill, and it will serve you in more ways than you can imagine.

Respond with Honesty and Integrity

Beginning to get in touch with these inner qualities is the beginning of re-establishing trust with others. Often the process of obtaining and securing drugs and alcohol has worn away your core values. Beginning to stand for something solid again in your life will go a long way in building relationships with your loved ones.

Recovery Life

Good communication skills will form the basis for a successful rehab experience. Then they will carry you forward into life afterward. They will provide the grounds for saying no to drugs and alcohol on an ongoing basis through the ability to assert yourself in difficult situations. You will have had occasion to experiment with who you are and want to be socially within the treatment milieu. Before you leave treatment you will have begun to establish a support network with friends and family and had the opportunity to begin expressing your honest needs and thanks for the people who are there for you. Now the real practice begins!

Holidays and Addiction: Who Suffers Most?

Holidays-and-Addiction

Holidays are often a dangerous time for substance abusers and their families. Holidays and addiction do not make a good combination, especially holidays that remind people of better times in the past and lost loved ones. The holidays can be very depressing for many individuals. For those who are in recovery, the stress of the holiday season can lead to relapse. For those who have not yet tried to stop their substance abuse, the holidays can cause them to overindulge at times, leading to overdose or death.

Substance abuse also impacts innocent lives. For example, an analysis of all official U.S. death certificates between 1979-2004 by researchers revealed a spike on New Year’s Day in the number of deaths from SIDS by alcohol-consuming mothers compared to non-alcohol consuming mothers. This may be due to a rise in caregivers’ alcohol consumption during holidays. Other studies show that 44% of women and 34% of men suffer from substance abuse issues, but help is available for both the drinker who wants to stop drinking and the family who wants out of the cycle.

Holidays and Addiction with Suicide Rates

Studies show that suicide rates do not rise significantly during the holidays due to more emotional support;  however, when holidays end, the reasons people drank or used drugs still exist. No matter where you fit in the life of an alcoholic or drug addict, what to do now is get the right help for you. Unfortunately, only about one-third of people facing mental health issues actually seek treatment. Most of them are in need of inpatient treatment that addresses co-occurring health issues that may be wearing out the body and mind.

Health problems like liver or kidney damage, diabetes, mental health issues, severe malnutrition, simultaneous, multiple substance use, or a combination coupled with toxic amounts of drugs or alcohol wage heavy tolls on a body’s ability to continue tolerating heavy consumption. Left untreated, worsening bouts of accompanying guilt, shame, and hopelessness continue bearing down already weathered roads in the body and mind leading to despair, delusion, and tragic, untimely death. After holidays is a crucial time to get help to recover permanently from addiction.The habits you’ve been in for years will take time to change, but you can do it with the right help.

Benefits of Inpatient Treatment Centers

Trained, experienced professionals at inpatient treatment centers team up to help you detox safely and recover. With other clients also receiving the help they need, you can take the next steps into your drug-free lifestyle. You will learn and practice new ways of thinking and acting on life that can help you stay in your lane on the road of recovery. You no longer have to live with addictive substances controlling your mind, body, and daily life.

If you can’t imagine putting down the drug or alcohol and feeling joy again, think about the benefits of entering an inpatient treatment center as a lifestyle investment. Maybe you’re thinking:

I might lose my job. Most health insurance plans cover inpatient treatment. Many companies offer confidential employee assistance getting help with addiction. Your employer doesn’t need to know the reason for your medical leave of absence. If you work for a small business, your employer likely is aware of your overuse of addictive substances and may be relieved that you’re willing to get help you need. New opportunities open with living sober.

I’ll miss my family and friends. Initially, you will spend some time without contact between friends and family. This gives you a refuge from the distractions and triggers of living sober. It gives them time to get the help they need too and focus on changing their own unhealthy habits of living with your addiction. You and your loved ones deserve time and space needed to begin healing and make changes.

It’ll be lonesome there. Probably you already feel lonesome in the isolation of your addiction. In recovery as they practice new tools of sober living, clients often form lasting friendships that become a safety network against temptations to “use” again that inevitably come.

It won’t work. It can work once you know what to do instead of taking that next drink. You may be unable to fathom what to do instead of drink now. Working with an expert team of professionals who specialize in your particular type of case affords you space to discover tools that work best for you and together design a plan for living sober that fits your new lifestyle. You’ll have support from people who know first-hand what you’re going through and can help you do what seems hard to do as you get the hang of it.

How do I know things will be different afterward? The beauty of completing inpatient treatment is that you will be different. Able to reason and think clearly with new perspectives, you will make and follow through with choices that keep you living the recovery lifestyle you want. Some things may remain unchanged, but you will be healthier and better able to make decisions addressing them.

Another Crucial Benefit of Inpatient Treatment to Consider

Addressing the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of addiction for you and your family, in that order, is the goal of a tailored treatment plan. Completing your program equips you and your family to live lives free from the pain and consequences of active substance abuse.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Sources

  1. http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/12/20/christmas-the-deadliest-day-of-the-year-study/
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3998158/
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3052346/
  4. http://www.texashospitalityassociation.com/2012/holiday-p-a-s-s-campaign/
drugs

9 Common Reasons People Start Using Drugs

Posted by Myra Davis to Prevention

Do you remember the first time you used drugs? What motivated you to smoke your first joint or swallow your first pill? People start using drugs for numerous reasons, but here are nine of the most common ones.

scary face with city background

1. To Fit in With Peers

Fitting in with a peer group, whether you’re in high school or a senior citizen, is important. After all, no one likes to be the odd one out. If your peer group is into drugs or asks you to try them, though, chances are high that you’ll agree. In your quest to fit in, I encourage you to remain true to your values and remember that real friends won’t pressure you to do something that’s dangerous or harmful.

2. Genetics

Drug addiction stems from a variety of causes, including genetic factors. I’m not telling you to blame your parents for your foray into drug use, but do realize that you’re more likely to develop an addiction if your close relatives have one. Making a vow to never use drugs is a wise decision if you think you could be genetically inclined to addiction.

3. To Escape Conflict at Home

All families experience occasional conflicts. Yours will, too. However, whether your parents fight each other or you, that conflict hurts everyone, and you might try drugs to rebel or escape the pain and confusion. As an alternative, I encourage you to seek a trusted friend, clergy member, or therapist. Work through conflict at home instead of turning to drugs, a harmful and temporary fix.

4. To Lose Weight

After being bombarded by images of trim, fit, and thin people, your self-image and body acceptance may plummet. Drugs that cause weight loss look attractive, and you decide to experiment. I’ve seen dozens of men and women fall into this trap, and I can tell you that the best solution isn’t a pill but the ability to love and accept your body just the way it is.

5. For Fun

Drug use on TV and at parties looks and sounds like fun, so why not try it? This line of thought will only lead to trouble. Instead of using drugs for fun, I challenge you to take up sports, an instrument, or painting. These healthy hobbies let you have fun without ruining your life.

6. To Cover Wounds From Physical or Sexual Abuse

Abuse of any kind causes deep emotional scars. I’ve known many people who used drugs to numb the pain they felt because of physical or sexual abuse. Unfortunately, covering the wound with drugs only creates more pain. Therapy is a better and healthier way to find the healing you crave.

7. To Improve School Performance

When your life goals involve getting into a good college or graduating with honors, you might turn to drugs. They can stimulate you to stay awake and study or focus on exam day. Using drugs to excel in school, though, can also take you down a slippery, addictive road that you can avoid by getting a good tutor and learning different study techniques.

8. To Gain Confidence

If you feel nervous before job interviews or social situations, you may boost your confidence with drugs. What happens, though, when the drug wears off and you’re faced with another situation that requires confidence? Improving your self-esteem and honing your people skills are safer and more productive ways to gain the confidence you need.

9. To Numb Emotions

Anxiety, depression, and anger don’t feel good. If you suffer from one of these emotions, you may decide to use drugs to help you feel better. A substance will only increase the anxiety, depression, and anger you feel, though. Therapy and a positive support network offer a better solution as you address and heal the emotions you feel.

You may wonder why it’s important to know why people start using drugs. For starters, addicts who know why they started using drugs are able to get to the root of their addiction and find the healing and recovery they need. Also, I hope this list helps at least one person avoid addiction. No matter why you may want to use drugs, there’s always a safer, healthier, and better alternative. May you choose the better way today.

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