6 Tips for Preventing Substance Abuse
Published: April 1, 2022
Substance abuse is a major problem in the United States, affecting millions of people every year. In fact, over 53 million Americans have misused prescription and illegal drugs in the last year. Substance abuse is often the result of addiction, which is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive drug use. Preventing substance abuse is crucial for individuals and society, as substance abuse and addiction can lead to significant health problems, financial instability, relationship issues, and criminal activities.
Although substance abuse can affect anyone, there are numerous ways you can prevent substance abuse from impacting your life. Here are some important tips to help keep your life on track:
1. Understand How Substance Abuse Starts
The first step to preventing substance abuse is recognizing the signs of how substance abuse develops in individuals. Some common ways that addiction can begin include:
- Using drugs from a young age
- Relying on drugs during periods of transition or change
- Abusing prescribed medications, not for their intended purpose
- Seeking out intoxication with every use
- Using drugs to cope with stress or problems
Being aware of the signs of substance abuse and addiction can not only help you avoid substance abuse, but it can also allow you to recognize the signs in your loved ones.
2. Be Aware of Your Risk Factors
Research indicates that if you have a family history of addiction, you may be at a greater risk of developing a substance abuse disorder. The more aware you are of your individual risk factors, the more likely you will take the necessary steps to prevent substance abuse from affecting your life.
Additionally, you may be exposed to environmental risk factors, such as peer pressure from negative influences in your life. Although the desire to experiment is normal, your brain’s decision-making abilities do not entirely develop until your early or mid-20s, so it’s crucial to avoid these external pressures.
3. Establish Healthy Coping Mechanisms
One of the primary ways people develop a substance abuse disorder is when they rely on drugs to cope with feelings of sadness, loss, stress, or other emotionally-distressing experiences. If you already have established healthy coping mechanisms when upsetting events occur, you are less likely to turn to drugs or alcohol for comfort.
Some positive coping activities that can help prevent substance abuse include:
- Engaging in a hobby
- Spending time with loved ones
- Listening to music
- Doing yoga
4. Cultivate Your Relationships
Who you surround yourself with daily plays a significant role in who you are and what decisions you make. When you spend time with like-minded individuals who share similar values and lifestyles, you are much less likely to find yourself in situations where you feel uncomfortable or pressured to make decisions that you don’t want to make. Not only will you avoid negative peer pressure, but an extensive support system can also provide comfort and encouragement in difficult times.
5. Educate Yourself and Others
Having open and honest conversations about substance abuse with others around you can educate people about the risks of drugs and alcohol. As a parent or figure of authority, these early conversations may have a substantial effect on kids as they grow up and become more curious about exploring new experiences. It may also help support policies that prevent substance abuse in your community, such as youth prevention programs.
6. Seek Professional Help at Rockland Treatment Center
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, seek professional help at Rockland Treatment Center. At Rockland, we understand that getting help may not always be easy, but we are here for you. We offer numerous treatment programs for those struggling with addiction or substance abuse disorders. Call (727) 610-8570 today to get started on the road to recovery.