October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. It is vital to know there isn’t just one specific way that people should prevent substance abuse. In fact, there are so many great ways that you can participate in helping to reduce substance abuse and prevent more people from developing an addiction.
If you already know someone who is abusing any harmful substances, please don’t hesitate to have them or yourself reach out to us here at Through the Archway. Our team is ready and willing to help anyone prevent addiction or stop substance abuse in its tracks.
Learn About the Family History During National Substance Abuse Prevention Month
If you are concerned with substance abuse, one of the first things you can do during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month is to learn about family history of addiction and substance abuse. Studies have found that around ½ of all addictions stemmed from a family history of mental health and/or addiction.
There isn’t just one gene that automatically means someone is going to develop a substance use disorder. However, there are biological and genetic factors that can and do predispose people to have an addiction. If you have a family history of mental health and/or addiction issues, know that this can cause you or others in the family to be predisposed to having an addiction, as well.
By knowing the family history, you can also work to prevent substance abuse in the younger generations. The earlier you start teaching them about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs, the better chances there will be that they won’t abuse these substances.
Learning About Self
It is important that everyone improves their self-awareness as much as possible. This includes the older and younger generations. While National Substance Abuse Prevention Month is primarily to help prevent addiction in younger generations, anyone can improve their self-awareness and reduce their risk of addiction.
There are numerous things that you might want to learn about yourself or teach the younger generations to learn about themselves to help prevent substance abuse such as:
- What makes you tick?
- What makes you happy?
- What are your stress triggers?
- What causes you anxiety?
- Are you in a good mental state?
- What coping skills do you have when you are dealing with tough times?
- How do you handle positive, exciting times in life?
These things are just a start in learning about yourself. By identifying these things, it will be much easier to lower the risk of addiction for yourself and/or your family members.
Watchful Eyes on Life Transitions
It has been found that many youth develop substance use disorders during transitions in life. For example, some of the transitions in which your teenager or child may start abusing alcohol and/or drugs include:
- Divorce of parents or other relatives
- Elementary school to middle school
- Middle school to high school
- Hanging out with a new group of friends
- Death of a loved one
- Friend moving away
- Working their first job
- Sports seasons
- Moving homes and/or schools
- New school year
It is important to teach our youth how to not only cope during life transitions, but how to reach out for help when they need it, as well. The more we can do this, the more we can help to prevent substance abuse in our younger generations. Even as adults, it is good to know how to cope with transitions in life to lower our risk of addiction, too.
Recognizing Mental Health Issues
There is a common connection between mental health disorders and addiction. In fact, studies show that most of those who have mental health issues also struggle with substance abuse. Unfortunately, mental health issues are becoming very prevalent in today’s youth. It is crucial that, we as adults, keep an eye out for mental health symptoms in our youth. The sooner we can recognize they need help with their mental health, the sooner we can prevent them from abusing alcohol and/or drugs to cope with their problems.
Unfortunately, low self-esteem has also been linked to substance abuse. When children don’t feel good about themselves, they may not know where to turn for help or what they should do. When they find that alcohol and drugs dissolve these feelings, they may become addicted to the substances quickly.
Self-esteem is just as important as self-awareness. There are far too many teens and younger children who feel bad about who they are, where they come from or how they identify themselves. Unfortunately, a lack of self-esteem is one of the leading factors why our younger generations are abusing alcohol and drugs.
If you have children in your life, take a look at their self-esteem. Ask them regularly how they are feeling about themselves. If needed, find programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, that can help them to build up their self-esteem.
It is important that our children and even us as adults take a look at our lives and how we are feeling regularly. These regular self-evaluations are key to preventing substance abuse. If you haven’t done so already, during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, take a look at your own life and do a self-inventory. You should have your children do this, where necessary in their life, too. Some of the things that you should be looking at include:
- How are you feeling about your work-life balance?
- Do you have issues in your relationships, especially unresolved issues?
- How are you coping with the good and bad things in life?
- Do you reach out for help when you need it?
- Are you currently using alcohol and/or drugs (if so, responsibly?)
- Do you need help in any other areas of your life (friendships, finding a job, obtaining resources for your family, etc.)?
By doing regular self-evaluations, you can find out whether you have areas of your life in which you struggle and need help? Teenagers can do the same thing. It is important to reach them where and how to reach out for help when they need it, so they don’t turn to alcohol and drugs for the answers.
Lower the Risk of Addiction Today
Now that you have a range of ways that you can lower the risk of addiction, especially during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, you can start helping to prevent substance abuse in yourself and our younger generations.
If you or someone in your life already struggles with substance abuse, contact us today here at Through the Archway, to get addiction treatment immediately.