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7 usual characteristics of people who use drugs

7 usual characteristics of people who use drugs

May 10, 2021

The consumption of drugs is the order of the day in Spain, especially if we talk about cocaine and cannabis. Drug use is more common in adults 35 years and older, and beyond age, there are other traits statistically associated with a greater consumption of substances of this type.

We'll see now what are the main characteristics of people who use drugs . Knowing them helps to better manage resources for prevention and care in cases in which drug addiction compromises the health and quality of life of the population.

  • Related article: "15 consequences of drug use (in your mind and in your body)"

What characteristics do people who use drugs usually have?

First, generally men are more prone to illicit drug use and women often resort to drugs such as hypnosedatives or tranquilizers. But beyond this there are other issues to be addressed.


What type of drug has a more prevalent consumption in Spain? According to the studies, most people who detoxify often consume alcohol or cocaine .

Of course, are there other behaviors that create addiction but do not require the physical presence of drugs? Of course, addictions to new technologies, shopping, sex, games or compulsive eating are becoming more frequent. However, the brain mechanisms involved in this type of addiction are the same as with the presence of physical drugs and the personal, social, family and neuronal characteristics that influence the appearance of addiction as well.


Although none of these characteristics or traits determines the appearance of the addiction, it is possible to identify those that can make a person more susceptible when developing a drug addiction.

1. Low levels of dopamine in the brain

The brain reward system we found in the frontal lobe it generates dopamine and a comforting sensation before pleasant situations, in this case, the initial and voluntary consumption of drugs. Generally, those with a lower level of this neurotransmitter can be hooked on drugs as a way to regulate their presence in the brain unconsciously.

  • Related article: "What is the frontal lobe and how does it work?"

2. The presence of an addict relative

When there are people with addictions in the family system, it may be common to resort to drug use either because it is normalized within this system or because the person identifies with the addict relative and copies their consumption behavior or because that is your problem-coping model .


3. Low tolerance to frustration

Normally people who tolerate worse suffering or failure (due to lack of experience, due to a high level of internal demand or due to lack of coping strategies) tend to be more prone to drug use. as a form of momentary evasion of this internal malaise .

4. Groups of peers in which consumption is frequent

Belonging to family, friendly or work groups in which consumption is frequent and normalized can have a positive effect on drug use because it is associated with a normalized form of leisure, minimizing its negative effects as a consequence of the appearance of the psychological phenomenon of the "mass" and availability of the drug is very high.

In addition, the group that consumes frequently is not aware of their addiction, does not consider why they resort to the drug or why is it increasingly necessary for your fun , and it is resorted to an automated consumption and a high economic cost to obtain it.

5. Openness to experience

People who are curious and have this personality factor marked (need to try new experiences, feel adrenaline, be a daring person) influences to try drugs initially seeking an alteration of the state of consciousness or a state of pleasant intoxication but can influence addiction because there is a tendency to minimize the risk of adverse consequences and to associate the consumption to moments in which it is initially done voluntarily to provoke more fun.

6. Feeling of emptiness, depression and loneliness

The consumption not only of illegal drugs but of drugs is closely related to feelings of irascibility, sleep disturbances, depression, low mood, loneliness and emptiness . In this case, the person tries to anesthetize their pain with the presence of drugs or drugs with sedative and mitigating effect.

The presence of work stress, the experience of a duel or being in a period of adaptation can also influence people to be attracted to drugs.

7Low self-esteem

People with low self-esteem may feel that their emotional well-being does not depend on themselves and they seek momentary external relief instead of activating their social support network, initiating psychotherapy, or developing another healthy activity that provokes well-being and covers these deficiencies. Adolescents with low self-esteem are prone to consumption due to social pressure and to feel recognized as members of a group that uses drugs that they admire or wish to belong to.


Addiction (May 2021).


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