Why do people take drugs 1
This blog entry is an excerpt from the book "High Sein - Ein Aufklärungsbuch" by Jörg Böckem and Henrik Jungaberle. "Being high" is a book that does not want to patronize, but rather to inform.
Some people cope with everyday life completely without drugs, some only manage to digest their everyday work with an after-work beer. Some need psychoactive substances to party on the weekend, others only take them sporadically and on special occasions. What is the difference between these different types of people? A central concept of the life skills and addiction prevention program Rebound are the different risk and motive types. How do people deal with risks and why do they use psychoactive substances?
There are many reasons for using drugs, good and bad. Some drink alcohol because it's fun. Or because it tastes good. The others because then they are more relaxed or it is easier for them to address girls. Some because they want to belong. One or the other needs alcohol or cannabis to cope with their life and not collapse under their problems. Or because life without drugs seems boring and dreary. Still others do not drink or smoke weed at all because they feel good without being intoxicated and want to keep a clear head in order to realize their ideas and projects. “What drives us?” Is a central question when dealing with drugs. Why all this? What makes some people drink, others smoke weed, and why do others keep away from drugs? The answer is not that easy. Whether dealing with drugs brings out the best or the worst depends on numerous factors: on motives, ie the "why", on the social environment and the ideas by which a person is influenced. Genetic predisposition also plays a role. And it depends on how a person's brain has developed over the course of their life history and controls their behavior. Not every consumption decision is a conscious decision; we are often influenced by habits or impulses. Most people drink coffee in the morning without realizing the motives for it. Sure, everything else would be exhausting and unnecessary given the low risk that coffee is exposed to. Morning coffee is a ritual that most people can live with excellently. With other rituals, such as the after-work beer or the relaxation joint, it can be advisable to question your reasons from time to time.
Different motives for the use of psychoactive substances
In a long-term research project at Heidelberg University, interviews with 318 young people were used to identify various motives for dealing with psychoactive substances - the search for group membership and identity, rebellion, hedonism, curiosity or problem solving are some examples. Nobody is committed to a single motive. Everyone has a part of each of the motifs described here. What is important is which ones prevail over time and determine our decisions and our actions. In addition, motives for drug use often differ and change when someone is drinking or smoking pot for the first time, or when they are already experienced.
The types of motifs describe a spectrum in which we move. Until we have found our own way and our own personality is consolidated. For example, someone who was extremely curious at the age of 14 and wanted to try everything can, over time, become someone who sets limits for himself and others - because his own experience has taught him exactly that.
In addition, the motives can change if the circumstances change, a move, a change of school, a separation, a new partner or new friends can also change the way people look at and deal with drugs. A motive can also lead to different reactions: Those who orientate themselves towards older people or role models or want to adapt to a social group, depending on these role models or groups, take the same drugs as these or none, if they do not take any. Belonging to a certain scene also plays a major role.
Of course, some of these motives are riskier than others. If you can only have fun when you are drunk, a wide road is paved right in the direction of addiction. It is just as unfavorable to permanently smoke away problems such as loneliness, relationship stress or excessive demands at school or to combat them with other substances. Admittedly, there is a wonderful feeling of relaxation in the short term, you feel like you are wrapped in cotton wool, the stress is pleasantly dimmed. In the long term, however, the flight into drug intoxication does not solve any problems; in the long run it tends to make them worse or create new ones.
But here, too, frequency and dose play a major role: occasionally smoking a joint to relax after a hard day at school or combating the pain of separation with alcohol or other drugs for a night or two does not necessarily lead to problems, on the contrary, it can even be helpful and relieving. At least if it is not the only solution strategy and does not have to be repeated over and over again. Basically, it is important that users observe themselves critically and make sure that, in addition to substance consumption, they have as many other strategies as possible at their disposal to enjoy their free time and cope with problems.
Different types of risk
The risk types are closely linked to the motive types: A good risk assessment is the prerequisite for long-term positive consumption - and sometimes even the prerequisite for surviving drug use. But risk assessment is difficult and complex. Risk is not a clear, objective parameter, how high or low a risk appears to someone is strongly influenced by their experiences, but also by their own convictions and those of other people. This subjective side of dealing with risk is called risk perception. It is influenced not only by social norms and prejudices, but also by our biology. Some people showed stronger responses to stimuli during brain scans in certain brain regions associated with arousal and behavior enhancement. These people, who are looking for the thrill and excitement, are called sensation seekers or, colloquially, adrenaline junkies. They tend to take greater risks than others. You are looking for stimulation, i.e. extreme experiences that are new or particularly intense. In addition to sexual experiences and extreme sports, this also includes gambling and drugs. The question of one's own risk type is another component of successful drug use. As with the types of motive, the assignment is not always very clear, many of us combine different parts, whereby it is important to assess which part is defining and determines our actions. Risk behavior can also change.
What type of risk am I?
TheRisk seeker is curious and sometimes impulsive, he seeks the thrill.
TheRisk avoiders is careful and avoids danger.
TheRisk controller weighs up, deals with the dangers before making a decision.
TheCauser of risk above all puts others at risk.
What do I use drugs for?
Hedonism versus problem solving -The fun guy and the self-treater: Having fun and wanting to make your free time more exciting is the most frequently cited motive for consuming alcohol or other drugs. But drinking or smoking weed to cope with or suppress problems is also widespread.
Set boundaries versus cross boundaries -The controller and the cross-border commuter: For some it is important to know your limits and to stay in control. The other consciously goes beyond their limits in order to gain new and intense experiences.
Wanting to belong versus looking for your freedom -The scene type and the independent: Some people drink or smoke weed in order to belong and to be like the older, cooler or other role models. The other is looking for individuality and independence, which can be done both by renouncing drugs and by consuming them.
Caution versus curiosity -The abstainer and the tasting type: One person rejects drug experiences in order to protect himself, the other is curious and would like to have these experiences before deciding whether or not to use it.
Rebellion versus adaptation -The rebel and the fellow traveler: What is forbidden is particularly appealing - some take drugs to specifically question and subvert rules and laws, regulations and expectations. The others adapt to the norms and consumption habits of the majority.
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