For the amount of time the drug is effective, the individual loses psychological control and also experiences an alleviation of stress. These results can lead to repeated use as the reward of escaping stress or psychological pain becomes more important.
If an individual becomes a frequent user, psychological influences to treat them are not important enough; cognitive abilities have been altered and a different set of priorities have been established.
There is a difference between abuse and addiction; a drug abuser can have set limits regarding frequency of use. They can understand that people who express concern for them care about them. They use drugs to help alleviate whatever is stressing them or to increase their sense of well-being (Addiction Science Network, 2000).
The drug addict will continue to use the drug despite the negative consequences, try to set limits on use but continually exceed those limits. They will engage in arguments with those who express concern for them, feeling resentful and a sense of disregard for them.
Sociologically there are several contributions to drug abuse. One is ease of access, another is peer pressure, another is exposure in media and over-discussion everywhere. A teenager will be drawn to what is forbidden and different and dangerous; before the advent of drug abuse it was fast cars, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol or sneaking into forbidden territory. Now the temptations are much less innocent and much more dangerous.
Some theorists blame lack of societal control for drug abuse, others say it is exposure to others who use drugs and are an influence. Still other theories say it is the tendency for individuals to label themselves as different from society and unable to cope with the rules and mores of their culture.
It is easy to make a theory, even easier to track the changes of society over time and the effect of societal pressures such as the media and consumerism and the sheer force of having to keep up with everyone else in grades, clothes, shoes, cars and other items that has social significance. It is easy to observe from the outside, but not easy to live within the pressures or even the boredom.
Some sociological factors include the way individuals are brought up; if parental expectations are too high or too much too soon, the pressure from within the family unit takes away the safety net for a young person coming home from school.
It has been well documented that film stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland used drugs and alcohol to escape the enormous public pressure put upon them by their own successes; drug and alcohol abuse/addiction is rampant in the film, television and video industry today with usage as a normal part of a program.
In everyday life, the pressure to "perform" can be just as damaging, with aggressive parents at the sports field or dance class, the critical parent checking grades, the bullying siblings who overtly or covertly destroy self-esteem. If the home is not a safe haven with a sense of structure and ethics, drug abuse is more likely to occur.
In looking at these factors, we must also look at how these intermix in relation to crime.
Psychologically, a drug user will have their cognitive functions altered and will commit an act while