People around the world use alcohol and other substances in a controlled way for different purposes. However, using alcohol and other drugs in excess, for purposes other than occasional indulgence or medication, or in ways that they start affecting your mental, physical, and social health, can lead to drug abuse.
Drug abuse is a grave problem that can cause several issues like impaired control, physical disabilities, ill mental health, failure to fulfill responsibilities, and other social problems. It can also cloud your judgment, lower your reaction time, and change your perception, and all of these can increase your chances of getting injured. Moreover, drug abusers also regularly miss school or work, which lowers their productivity.
The prominent signs of drug abuse include; a craving for the addictive substance, having no control over the frequency or quantity of the substance used, and feeling the compulsion to use the substance repeatedly despite its harmful consequences.
Drug abuse is a rising problem in different countries around the world. It can cost millions of dollars to countries in healthcare, lost productivity, and criminal justice. For example, substance abuse cost Canada a whopping $38.4 billion in 2014. Canada’s most commonly abused drugs include cannabis, alcohol, nicotine, and other illegal prescription drugs.
The addiction statistics for Canada prove that drug abuse is an epidemic that is dangerous for the public and the country’s economy. Therefore, strict measures need to be taken to curb this problem. In this article, we will discuss some tips to prevent drug abuse.
- Understand and manage the risk factors
A crucial step to prevent drug abuse is understanding the risk factors that can increase your chances of abusing a drug. Understanding those factors can help you avoid or manage them. The risk factors for drug abuse vary from person to person and can include;
Various environmental factors like low socio-economic status, poor quality of life, high levels of stress, and more can drastically increase your chances of drug abuse. Moreover, growing up around a drug addict also increases your chances of drug abuse later.
Understanding your environment and consciously avoiding drug use, even for recreational purposes, can help you prevent drug abuse.
Physical violence, sexual abuse, and other traumatic events are linked with drug abuse, especially women. It has been reported that around 80% of women who abuse drugs have experienced a prior traumatic event.
Seeking professional treatment to deal with PTSD and other emotional issues resulting from a traumatic experience can help prevent drug abuse.
A family history of drug abuse also plays a role in your addiction. Having a parent with an addiction puts you at a much higher risk of abusing a drug than others. If you have a family history of drug abuse, consciously avoiding drugs is encouraged because you are far more likely to become an addict.
- Seek professional help for mental illnesses
Mental health disorders are strongly correlated with drug abuse. People dealing with anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses often use drugs to cope with these problems, leading to drug dependence and abuse. It is encouraged to seek professional help for mental illnesses to prevent unchecked drugs.
Mental health professionals provide you with a safe space to talk and help you navigate through difficult times. In addition, they educate you about healthy coping mechanisms so that you don’t turn to drugs when life gets complicated.
- Maintain a balanced life
Maintaining a balanced life means eating healthy, nutritious meals, regular exercise, staying in healthy social relationships, and spending quality time with loved ones. You will be mentally and physically in a better place by living a healthy life and won’t feel the urge to use alcohol and other substances.
Living a stressful and unbalanced life can increase your chances of drug abuse. People who are more at risk of drug abuse should take more care and lead a healthy lifestyle to prevent drug abuse.
- Engage in healthy coping mechanisms
Most people often use drugs to cope with daily stresses that can be financial, mental, and emotional. Practicing healthy coping mechanisms instead of depending on drugs can help prevent drug abuse. Some healthy coping mechanisms are;
Practicing meditation helps shut off and ground your thoughts. It can help you get through emotional and difficult times in your life. It encourages you to take a step back and reflect for a while in stressful times instead of turning to drugs.
Hobbies like gardening, painting, and hiking are a great way to distract yourself from negative thoughts. Even if they don’t solve your problems, hobbies help gain clarity of mind and help to focus on and solve the real issues.
As discussed before, exercise is a healthy way to deal with stress and prevent drug abuse. Exercise releases endorphins, which help cope with stress just like a drug.
- Communicate with friends and family
Bottling up emotions leads to an emotional build-up inside you, resulting in destructive behaviors later on. Talking to a trusted friend or a wise elder can help you work through your emotions before they build up and explode.
It is recommended to develop strong bonds with friends and family so that you can have someone to talk to or rely on in tough times. In addition, they can provide you with valuable insights as they know you personally and consistent support to deal with any issues and prevent drug abuse.
- Don’t give in to peer pressure
Many people start using drugs because of peer pressure at a young age. Young adults want to be accepted and fit into a specific group, so they easily give in to peer pressure. However, surrounding yourself with positive influences can help prevent drug abuse.
Doing drugs to feel included in a peer group is not worth it. Sometimes it’s better to back off than to give in to peer pressure and engage in unhealthy activities that can potentially ruin your whole life.
The Bottom Line
Drug abuse is a grave issue in many countries. It is a severe problem that impacts mental, physical, and social life. Moreover, drug abuse costs a lot in health care, criminal justice, and low productivity, affecting the entire economy. Therefore, it is necessary to prevent drug abuse. Some ways to avoid drug abuse include understanding and managing risk factors, maintaining a balanced life, seeking help for mental problems, engaging in healthy coping mechanisms, communicating with loved ones, and not giving in to peer pressure. Hopefully, this article will help you understand how to prevent drug abuse and help yourself and others lead a happier, healthier life.
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