Preventing substance abuse in the household can be a difficult proposition. Substance abuse is the result of many different factors, and it can be hard to pinpoint it with a loved one or friend. In order to prevent substance abuse – or at least decrease the odds of it occurring – you need to have solid strategies in place. The following are 10 ways to prevent substance abuse.
Learn all you can about the complexities of substance abuse. Do your research on credible websites such as SAMHSA, NIH and NCAAD. In addition to internet research, talk to your doctor, addiction counselor or substance abuse professionals in your area. These are valuable resources that will give you the knowledge you need to better understand substance abuse, its symptoms, and what help is available to you.
Once you have a better understanding of addiction and its causes, you must be proactive if and when you notice the signs and symptoms. When you see a loved one or a friend display the behaviors that point to substance abuse, you must leap into action. Be open and available to listen, practice empathy and offer to help if it’s needed.
Talk to Your Kids about Drugs
In order to prevent substance abuse, it is important to talk openly about drugs and alcohol – especially to your children. Talk openly to your children about the consequences of drug use and the difficulties that recovery brings at that age. Having an open dialogue about the dangers of substance abuse greatly minimize the chances your kids will succumb to substance use in the first place.
Cut Down on Electronics
It may seem weird to think about, but cutting down on cellphone and internet usage can help reduce or even eliminate substance abuse. Prolonged use of electronics often creates dependence and even addictive behaviors. These can spill over into other areas – including drugs and alcohol – if not kept in check.
If is often said that idle time is the devil’s playground. If you or your family members have a lot of free time on your hands, it can open the door for substance experimentation, use and eventually abuse. To reduce and eliminate that possibility, it is important to find healthy extracurricular activities. Whether it is exercise, painting, music or gardening, find something that is enjoyable and stick to it.
Seek Help for Mental Illness
Oftentimes substance abuse itself is a symptom of a mental health issue. People who have undiagnosed depression, anxiety or suffer from PTSD are at a higher risk for developing an addiction to drugs and alcohol. It is important to seek professional help when signs of mental illness are present. The earlier you can address these issues; the better off you will be in the long run.
Be Open About Your Own Substance Use
In order to prevent substance abuse – especially with children – it is important to be open about your history of substance use. If your kids or other people ask, be honest and candid. Talk about how substance use made you feel and how it impacted your life.
Get Medications Out Of The House If Possible
When you think of drugs, prescribed and over-the-counter medications may not come to mind. While these medications are legal, they often contain ingredients that are powerful and addictive. Additionally, these medications are easily found and can be easily misused. It is important to properly secure these medications and properly dispose of them when no longer being used.
Promote a Healthy Lifestyle
If you are looking to prevent substance abuse, it is important that the family believes in and promotes a healthy lifestyle. This includes a healthy diet, regular exercise and engaging in hobbies and activities that are positive.
Be an Advocate
Insist that the community play a more active role in preventing the attitudes and behaviors that lead to substance abuse. Be involved in programs in your community that raise awareness of the dangers of substance abuse. Additionally, promote programs in your area that are educational in nature.
These are a few ideas that will get you started. Always remember that any positive action you take is better than inaction. If you need further suggestion, contact us today.