Some individuals are at a higher risk for substance abuse than others. This risk may be based on a combination of factors such as past trauma, personality traits, family history of addiction and psychological makeup. Co-occurring disorders also put people at a greater risk of developing substance abuse.
High-risk individuals have to work harder to prevent addiction, and there are ways to do this. Below we explore some of the best addiction prevention strategies to follow. These strategies are helpful for higher risk individuals but apply to everyone.
Address Past Trauma
Having dealt with past hurts and trauma affects your mental health. It can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. As a result, people are more likely to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Pushing away pain is never the answer. Some of the best ways to deal with past hurt is to attend support groups, read self-help books and see a therapist.
Working with a therapist in individual therapy helps in many ways such as addressing negative self-talk and working through negative behavior traits like impulsivity and poor self-control. Usually, therapy begins with exploration where you look deeper into the issues that are bothering you. Over multiple sessions, you should gain a deeper understanding of yourself and the changes you wish to make.
Build a Strong Support Network
Choose your friends wisely. If you hang around with people who use drugs and alcohol, you’ll be more likely to use them, too. Spending time with sober friends is important, but also look for individuals who are happy and upbeat. If you hang around with people who are angry or resentful, they may turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to escape.
Learn about the Consequences
Experimenting with drugs and alcohol is most common in the teenage years when the consequences for doing so aren’t as strong. But, if you are at risk for addiction, the problem can linger well into your adult years. This means that you could lose your job, your home, your family and your health. To avoid a long, painful life of consequences, stay educated on addiction and the true risks of the disease.
Develop Strong Bonds
Get active in your community or find an activity that you love. It can be a church, a non-profit organization, a volunteer opportunity or any other related activity. The purpose is to fill your time with meaningful, constructive activities and develop bonds with others in the community. This protects you from developing a substance abuse problem.
Being at risk for addiction is not the same as being an addict. There are many ways to protect yourself, and it all starts by recognizing your vulnerabilities. Following the steps above will help you form a safe, supportive lifestyle that leaves no room for drugs or alcohol.