Substance abuse and addiction are world-wide problems. However, the distribution of these problems is not even. There are certain hotspots all over the world. One recent hotspot is taking place in the U.S. We’re talking about a pandemic within a pandemic as substance abuse rises amid the global pandemic.
This troubling trend started when widespread lockdowns were put into place. Thanks to this, as well as social distancing measures, have made it very challenging for addicts to seek and find help and treatment. Because of this, the United States is experiencing a surge in alcohol sales and relapses. It appears that substance abuse is starting to become more widespread.
Substance Abuse: 5 Potential Reasons Why It’s On The Rise
Addiction is a chronic disease. It’s different from substance abuse, though they are very similar. Substance abuse is, in many ways, addiction without roots. This is what makes people who abuse various substances, such as alcohol for example, so susceptible to developing a full-blown addiction. Nevertheless, when it comes to substance abuse, recovery is possible as well. In fact, it’s even easier because unlike addiction, it hasn’t set up roots yet.
In order to shed more light on how substance abuse comes to happen, we have prepared a short list of 5 potential reasons that can contribute to developing this issue.
1. The Coronavirus Pandemic
It’s not easy to live with such a threat. A global pandemic is scary enough on its own. However, when we’re experiencing global lockdown, social distancing, and mass hysteria things can get very challenging even for the most emotionally stable people. Some people happen to be in lockdown with abusive family members. Living 24/7 with someone toxic can wreak havoc on anyone’s mental health. Since taking a break is out of the question, many people resort to alcohol or drugs to numb the pain. It’s very easy to develop a substance abuse problem this way.
2. Unnecessary Prescription Medication
They say that to the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. However, this shouldn’t be something we accept when it comes to doctors. Just because they write prescription medication doesn’t mean they should. It so happens that doctors overprescribe certain drugs that are highly addictive. This leads to a huge number of people developing prescription drug addiction after treating the most minor of ills.
3. Marijuana As A Gateway Drug
While this is a slogan used for those who oppose legalization, there is some truth to it. Certain people are more inclined to develop an addiction. In these cases, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), more than half of illicit drug users begin with marijuana. This means using marijuana recreationally should be something people spend more time thinking about.
4. Youth Risk Behaviour
There’s a reason why teenagers and young adults should be discouraged from engaging in risky behaviors (alcohol and drug use, tobacco use, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity). Behaviour is very important. If you drink, smoke, and eat junk food as a teenager or young adult you are far more likely to develop substance abuse issues and even addiction later in life.
5. Mental Health Issues
Anxiety, depression, lack of self-esteem, self-hatred are all issues that tend to plague more and more people every year. When people cannot cope with or overcome these issues, they tend to engage in self-destructive behaviors such as drinking alcohol or doing drugs. More often than not they develop an addiction or substance abuse. It’s a vicious circle that is hard to escape. The more they drink or abuse a substance, the worse they feel about themselves, which is the reason they started abusing the substance in the first place. It’s a vicious circle that can spiral downward very fast with very serious consequences.
As you can see, substance abuse is a very serious issue. While it can have a lot of potential causes, the reason people start abusing substances is basically the same. It’s either to compensate for lacking something or to kill something they cannot fix. Whatever the exact reason, it is a form of self-destructive behavior. If you or someone you know are dealing with substance abuse issues or addiction, please reach out to someone. Help and treatment is out there and recovery is possible!