- Talking to teens about substance abuse and addiction
- The teen years – the vulnerable period and brain development
- Talking to young adults
- Steps to help prevent substance abuse among children and teens
- Resources for parents, families and teachers on preventing substance abuse
- Know the signs of a substance use disorder
- Strategies for pain management – safer options and opioid alternatives to discuss with your physician
- Where to get help
How to Stop an Addiction
Just as there are multiple factors that lead to a substance use disorder, there is no one-size-fits-all cure for this disease, either. First, it is necessary to understand who is at risk for substance abuse and addiction. Some studies have shown that certain individuals with so-called "addictive personalities" may be more prone to addiction that others. However, addiction is typically a combination of social, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. To stop an addiction to a substance from occurring, it is necessary to intervene without delay.
But how do you know which of these factors need to be addressed? How do you even address some of them? Let’s take a more in-depth look at the factors that lead to addiction and how you can make use of the various resources for substance abuse prevention to deal with the underlying issue and lower your risk.
For certain people, peer pressure, peer influence, feelings of insecurity, and the desire to fit in with the crowd can play a part in substance use and abuse. While it is easy to tell someone, especially a young person, to just say no and walk away when their friends offer them drugs, alcohol or the chance to try vaping, in reality it is much harder to stand up to peer pressure. Many adults even fall victim to this type of pressure and feel they need to consume alcohol drinks and be a "social drinker." The desire to be a part of the group or to not be made fun of for saying no to alcohol or using drugs often is uncomfortable and stressful. Even people who have successfully stood up to peer pressure in the past may find themselves tempted to just give in and have a glass of alcohol or a smoke.
To combat social pressures, work to surround yourself with people who do not take alcohol and drugs. It can be difficult to walk away from relationships with peers who are clearly into drug abuse, but it can be done. By avoiding those who may tempt you to use substances, you will avoid the pressure that comes from those situations.
Genetics can also lead a person to become hooked on alcohol or a drug after one use, while other people may not develop a dependency until multiple uses. Just because you may exhibit certain personality traits of addiction does not mean you're destined for a life of substance abuse. Remember, addiction and substance dependence are complex issues and every person's situation is unique.
Unfortunately, genetics cannot be changed. However, if you do recognize that you have addictive personalities in the family, you can actively work to avoid situations in which you may be tempted to try drugs and consume alcohol or smoke cigarettes.
The environment a child grows up in will affect every aspect of their lives. If they live in a horrible situation in which their parents are always fighting, their worldview is going to be very different from someone who lives in a happy home. This will shape a child's view of the world and themselves as they grow and deal with the trauma. People dealing with physical or emotional pain, often caused by childhood trauma, can develop depression, anxiety disorders, low self-esteem, and feelings of low self worth. Some may turn to substance abuse as an unhealthy way of coping with these issues.
It can be difficult to remove environmental factors, especially for young people who are not financially independent. All you may be able to do is make a plan to escape your negative environment as soon as you can. Seeking out other places to spend time can help negate some of the impact in the meantime.
Finally, there are some psychological factors that can contribute to drug addiction and use. These factors, which are behavioral, often develop from the other three factors. For example, someone who grows up in a negative environment is likely to start thinking that they’re worthless. They may believe that there’s no reason for them to care about themselves, so they use drugs. Others may have relapsed once and now believe that they simply can’t live a sober life. Another may find solace for their anxiety and shyness by taking drugs.
Fortunately, these behaviors and thought patterns can be unlearned, but it does take time and work. You will want to work with a licensed therapist in order to learn to recognize your destructive behaviors and correct them.
Additional Resources for Substance Abuse Prevention
Dealing with substance abuse is not easy, but it can be done. You can combat these factors and prevent falling into addiction. Learn more about addiction and who may be prone to this disease using these resources:
- The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (https://www.samhsa.gov/about-us/who-we-are/offices-centers/csap)
- Community Anti-Drug Coalitions for America (https://www.cadca.org/)
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center (http://www.sprc.org/)
- Alcoholics Anonymous (https://www.aa.org/)
- Narcotics Anonymous (https://www.na.org/)
- National Association for Children of Addiction (https://nacoa.org/)
- Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (https://drugfree.org/)
- Al-Anon Family Groups (https://al-anon.org/)