substance abuse

Staying away from drugs is something that’s taught to most of us at a very young age. From videos showing the dangers of drugs to the possibility of legal trouble, there was no shortage of voices telling everyone to stay away. The truth is that drug use and addiction quickly become impossible to control through willpower alone.

Having a better understanding of how addiction forms and what makes drugs so prone to being the focus of an addiction is key in avoiding them in the first place. For starters, some people are naturally more prone to addictive behavior based on their genetics alone. Other contributors to an increased chance of addiction include:

  • Early exposure to substance abuse
  • Untreated trauma
  • Living around drug use
  • Underlying mental illness

If you suffer from any of these, it’s important to keep an eye out and stay away from drug use at all costs. Many cases of addiction start with an individual attempting to mask or treat symptoms of mental illness or trauma with drug abuse. Over time, their mind and body became dependent on the substance and medical detox becomes the only way to safely achieve sobriety and begin treatment.

It Truly Does Only Take One Time

No, not everyone who tries drugs recreationally will get addicted. If you’re reading this though, you’re likely more concerned about the possibility of addiction for yourself or a loved one that may be at risk of addiction. For anyone that suffers from chronic pain, mental illness or emotional trauma, there’s no way to tell if the first time you try a drug will be a one-time occurrence.

Remember, addiction isn’t something that can be controlled with brute force. The first time a drug is used, your mind could latch onto that feeling and push you to seek it out again and again. Typically this is due to it treating a symptom such as pain or anxiety. From that first time though, the effects of the drug will become less and less as your body gets accustomed to its impact.

For stimulants, the drug will produce less dopamine as your body’s natural production ceases causing you to need more of the drug. All of this can happen from one single use for certain individuals. Recreational use becomes habitual before establishing itself as part of your regular routine. The longer this goes on, the harder it is to overcome on your own.

Tackle the Sources of Addiction

Since there’s no single reason addiction occurs, it’s important to take care of yourself and find the support you need to stay away from drug use. It’s common for drug abuse to be linked to pressure from various parts of life, and learning to process the emotions that develop is key. Seek out therapy or counseling if something in your life feels like it’s constantly plaguing your mind or causing trouble for those around you.

That last part is important as addiction impacts everyone around the individual as well. Get ahead of this by building a strong connection with your loved ones, meaning your closest friends and family members. By having people to lean on, you won’t see drug use as the only option when times are stressful. Your loved ones only want what’s best for you, and preventing your exposure to drug use is something they can help with from a perspective that isn’t clouded by cravings and impulses.

Once you have your safety net in place and you’ve started treatment for any emotional or psychological needs, it’s time to snowball into creating a strong baseline for your day-to-day life.

Build a Routine and Healthy Lifestyle

Holding yourself accountable is a skill that needs to be trained over time, but will prove to be invaluable in staying away from drugs. Going with a simple daily routine is an excellent way to start. Not only do you know what to expect each day, you’ll be able to stress less knowing everything is accounted for.

Part of this routine should be dedicated to your physical or mental health, or both if you have the time and capacity. Anything from regular walks to meditation sessions can give your mind the time it takes to consider what you need in that moment to keep your head clear.

To learn more about drug addiction prevention or to seek out treatment, contact the ARC team today to speak with our specialists.