Alan Leschner, former director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse and specialist in addiction, discusses two reasons why people use drugs. First being, to feel good and the second, to feel BETTER! If you're happy, drugs will take you to a state that is beyond your happy state. If you're depressed, drugs will merely take you to a regular person's happy state and your brain may instantaneously decide it likes this new state leaving you craving the drug from that second forward. Now when it comes to the growing minds of teens, they are happy one moment and depressed the next, so risk for addiction is high.
The brain functions on balance (homeostasis) and keeping the body chilled out (regulated). So, if you're sad when you take a drug, your brain might decide it's best for you to keep taking the drug and force immediate addiction to occur. I am so seriously not trying to scare you. I'm trying to educate you! You "deserve" to know the truth.
Leschner teaches us that there are two reasons to use drugs:
|1 to 3|
Average Unhappy Person
|4 to 6|
Average Happy Person
|7 to 9|
Average Very Happy Person
To Feel Good - the use of a drug can elevate the average happy person from
a 6 to an 8 or 9. (high risk factor for eventual addiction)
To Feel Better - the use of a drug can elevate the average unhappy person from
a 3 to a 5 or 6, which is normal range for the majority of people. (greater risk factor
for eventual addiction).
Another way of looking at this corresponds with the two basic motivations of all human and animal behavior:
Positive Reinforcement (Reward)
Positive reinforcement refers to our happiness level increasing due to receiving something we enjoy. (high risk factor for eventual addiction)
Negative Reinforcement (Relief)
Negative reinforcement refers to our happiness level increasing from an "average unhappy state" to an "average happy state" due to experiencing relief such if a depressed person takes drugs in hopes of feeling happy. This occurs just prior to “dependence”. (greater risk factor for eventual addiction)
So, the moral of this story is don't try drugs! Young adult's emotions, mostly teens, are all over the map. If you want to try something new or made yourself happy, run a marathon, raise money for starving kids in Africa, learn to meditate, take long walks in nature, and/or follow the tips below:
#1 - EXERCISE for a minimum of 20 minutes every single day so you can keep your brain functioning in the happy zone (talk to your doctor to confirm the right amount of exercise for you). Exercise literally alters the happy chemicals in your brain making you more able to handle stress, anxiety and low self confidence/esteem.
#2 - FEED YOUR BRAIN with lots of green, leafy vegetables plus eat a balanced healthy diet including fruit, vegetables, and nuts. Avoid energy drinks, coffee and products so processed that they no longer resemble real food. Pouring chemicals into your body (brain) does not lead to high functioning, therefore you are at risk of getting sick and experiencing depression and anxiety.
#3 - Use COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY to control your thinking and behaviors. Become fully aware of your thoughts and refuse to let negative thoughts such as worry and self judgment cloud your vision for a happy life. Happiness is a "state of mind" so put more thought into the positive aspects of your life and way less on the negative. ;)