Drug abuse has always been synonymous with guitarists. It has become common practice for guitarists to use drugs before performing on stage, or during live shows and recordings. That’s why it is no longer unusual to see news headlines about musicians going to rehab due to substance abuse.
It has unfortunately become a lifestyle for countless performers across all genres. However, one question remains, “Does drug use make you a better guitarist?” This article will tell you the truth about drugs and how it affects guitarists and their music.
The Science of Drugs and How They Work in The Brain
Drugs are bound to interfere with the way the brains neurons receive, send, and process signals via neurotransmitters. Several drugs, like marijuana and heroin, activate neurons because their chemical structure resembles the natural neurotransmitters in our body. This resemblance allows the drugs to attach to and activate the neurons.
However, even though these drugs closely resemble the chemicals in our brain, they cannot activate the neurons the same way natural neurotransmitters do. This causes the brain network to receive irregular messages.
Drugs like cocaine and amphetamine can also cause the neurons to release abnormally large amounts of natural neurotransmitters. They can also stop the normal recycling of these neurotransmitters by interfering with natural transporters This then intensifies or impairs the neurons’ regular connection.
Brain Parts That Are Affected by Drug Use.
Drugs alter important brain areas necessary for life-sustaining functions and can lead to compulsive drug use that ends in addiction. Areas of the brain affected by drug use include the brain stem, the limbic system, and the cerebral cortex.
How Different Drugs Can Affect Your Ability to Play the Guitar
These drugs were originally used to treat high blood pressure and other heart problems. It can also effectively treat people with social phobia known as “performance social anxiety.” The drugs help with the fear of a specific circumstance occurring at a specific, predictable time –like the fear of playing the guitar in front of a large crowd for the first time.
This drug changes how the brain works by affecting the neurotransmitter known as dopamine. Dopamine or the happy hormone enhances reward-related memories and strengthens synapses where neurons pass messages. For a guitarist, a boost in dopamine makes him more energized while performing.
This drug causes feelings of euphoria but also causes panic and fear in some people. It affects coordination and one’s judgment, reduces short-term memory, and promotes paranoia or psychosis when consumed in high doses. Coordination and composure are key components required to play the guitar. Consuming high doses of bang will negatively affect your ability to play the guitar.
The Benefits of Drug Use for Musicians
Musicians are said to use drugs to enhance creativity. This is often reflected in the lyrics of the song and the style of the music. The rhythm and tempo would match the effects of the drug the musician has consumed.
For instance, amphetamine gives a rapid burst of energy. It is commonly referred to as “speed”, “goey”, and “whiz”- terms that can also be associated with fast and upbeat music.
The Risks Associated with Drug Use and Music Performance
- Drug use creates an addiction for more use even when unnecessary.
- It blocks out creative thoughts which could improve your music and performance.
- It will lead to addiction and health problems
- It requires you to spend a ridiculous amount of money- money which you could have used for your growth and development in the music industry.
- It could lead to failure to meet obligations and work responsibilities.
Tips For Avoiding Drug-Related Problems
Effectively deal with peer pressure.
One of the reasons a guitarist may start using drugs is because of peer pressure. Nobody wants to be left out. Hence, both young and adult guitarists may find themselves doing things they wouldn’t do in order to fit in. If you feel pressured to do things you don’t like, don’t be afraid to cut ties. If you really can’t avoid being with drug users, learn how to say “No” and be firm with it.
Find healthier ways to deal with life pressure.
Sometimes, you may feel overwhelmed by training and practice and you’ll feel like you deserve a reward. Avoid turning to drugs as a form of reward. Look for other ways to handle stress and unwind. You can go exercise, read a good book, do volunteer work, or find a new hobby like mountain climbing. Any other activity will help in taking your mind off of using drugs to relieve stress.
Examine every risk factor.
If you are conscious of the physical, biological, and environmental danger factors around, you will know how to overcome them. An example of such a risk factor is when you have a history of drug abuse in your family or live in a social setting that glorifies drug abuse. The environment in which you are in increases your risk of using and abusing substances.
Keep a well-balanced life.
Many people turn to drugs thinking that it makes life better. Drug use only gives temporary happiness and relief from all the stress people face every day. Turning to drugs will only make it worse and will eventually lead to addiction. To avoid this, maintain a well-balanced life. Know your priorities and learn how to set boundaries.
Drug use does more harm than good. Instead of making you a better guitarist, it affects your overall well-being in the worst way possible. It makes you sick both physically and mentally. The adverse effects of drug use are far greater than the benefits if there are any. While it is impossible to prevent someone from abusing drugs, there’s something you can do to prevent yourself from substance use. If you know someone who has started using drugs thinking it will help their music career or someone who’s considering using it, share this article with them. Thanks for reading!