Addiction Prevention: Ways to Avoid Heartbreak and Find Hope
There are a number of people who theorize that some of us are basically predisposed with a personality fault that makes us more vulnerable to addiction and that there is nothing that can be done about it.
As the saying goes about truth getting in the way of a good story, whilst some people could certainly be considered as having addictive personality traits, there are definitely ways to combat them in order to avoid the heartbreak and pain that accompanies an addiction problem.
There are some excellent support networks and facilities to help those that have fallen into addiction such as the ARC Detox Centre and others like it, but there are also plenty of initiatives that can help some people to avoid falling prey to addiction the first place.
When talking about addiction prevention strategies, an important starting point is to address the issues and pressures that children, teens and adolescents face during their formative years.
Peer pressure can be overwhelming at times and it is vital to reduce the prospect of a young person falling into an addiction during the early part of their life, so that they do not set themselves on the wrong path.
A combination of schools, community-based programs and of course parents, can help younger people develop a greater awareness of the dangers of substance use and excessive alcohol.
Providing them with this education and guidance will instil them with a higher level of self-awareness and encourage them to resist any social pressures they may experience to engage in substance use.
Encouraging young people in particular and others who might feel tempted or pressurized to try drugs, takes a combined effort that involves many different issues and initiatives.
In addition to the community-based networks working hard to get the message across, there is pressure on governments to restrict availability of tobacco and alcohol products to the young in particular, with suggestions such as increasing taxes to make them cost-prohibitive and restricting any marketing of addictive substances in a way that appeals to young people.
Coping with stress
Stress is a potential trigger for substance use and a key strategy in preventing someone falling into addiction in the first place is to promote some healthy ways to cope with any stress that they might be experiencing.
It is generally accepted that many people start to experiment with drugs as a way of dealing with any stress or emotional distress that they are experiencing. They do this in search of a solution to their problems but the reality is that drugs can only ever provide them with a temporary fix, and a dangerous temporary one at that.
The sad and ironic point about taking substances as a way of coping with stress is that once the person comes down from their drugs, they often experience more intense feelings of anxiety than they had before.
Mental health issues
According to research carried out by the Mental Health Foundation, about 10% of children experience some sort of mental health disorder, and rate increases as they approach adolescence.
It is certainly not uncommon for many of us to experience feelings of depression at certain points in our life and it needs to be emphasized that drug use does not work as a method of self-medicating in order to address psychological issues.
Drugs will never actually treat a mental health issue itself and the misconception is arrived at by the fact that a substance is being used to try and treat the symptoms, which is entirely different to address the root cause of any mental health disorder.
In order to address any mental health problems and avoid the prospect of falling into addiction as a result of trying to find a short term solution, it is far better to seek therapy or receive some counselling to help you through your problems by talking about them.
Research appears to confirm that there is a genetic link that could make you more vulnerable to suffering from an addiction.
If someone in your close family has suffered from an addiction, this can make you statistically more vulnerable to falling prey to an addiction, but that is not to say that you can’t do anything about it.
Being genetically predisposed towards a more addictive personality merely means that you have to have a greater awareness of your vulnerability and should encourage you to take greater precautions to ensure you don’t suffer a similar fate.
If you remember that is far easier to avoid substances completely than to try and recover from an addiction, this should give you the encouragement needed to resist any temptation and pressures.
Guest Author :
Alvin Brookes works in public health support services. He has a sound understanding of addiction issues as a result of working on the frontline. Alvin writes regularly for a variety of relevant websites.