Many of us have been directly affected by substance abuse in one form or another. Whether it be a close family member, ourselves, a neighbor, colleague, or friend, most often we usually have come across someone suffering from substance abuse issues. While addiction was largely stigmatized at one point in time, it is now being more widely recognized as a health condition and disease.
With new, innovative ideas being created in regards to treatment and prevention, one may wonder what they could do at home to prevent addiction, or what early risk factors may pre-determine an individual for substance abuse. Although nothing is ever concrete in causing addiction, there are several risk factors for substance abuse that may be contributors. Here are a few considerations that may influence the potential of addiction and substance abuse.
Family History Of Substance Abuse
Many conversations have arose concerning alcoholism and drug abuse in the family. Is it passed down from generation to generation? Many studies have been conducted in regards to this very issue. One study has shown that heredity and genetics are said to make up roughly 50% of the risk for alcoholism and drug dependence. While several other factors play a role in the possibility of addiction, having a family member, especially immediate, only increases the chances. Having a sibling, grandparent, or parent that suffers from addiction does not necessarily mean you will too become addicted yourself, nonetheless, being mindful is crucial. Watching your intake of alcohol or choosing not to engage in the recreational use of drugs, should be strongly considered in your daily life to avoid the possibility of becoming addicted yourself.
Poor Coping Skills & Chronic Stress
Everyone deals with stress throughout their lives. The way that one person copes with it may be entirely different than the next. Some may use exercise as a stress reliever and another may choose to unwind by relaxing and reading a book. While stress can be an average occurrence, some individuals may have chronic stress, poor coping skills, or both. When someone suffers from both, the likelihood of addiction increases.
One study specifically links chronic stress or stressful situations to the vulnerability of addiction; both the development of addiction and the risk of relapse. In many instances, stressors were said to be highly emotional and/or adverse life events, such as trauma, abuse, loss of a parent, and infidelity of a significant other. If you have experienced one or more of these situations, or face stress on a daily basis, it is important to remember these points and receive help in coping with them. More often than not, you will hear an addict or alcoholic say that the substance helped them to cope with life or deal with whatever they were going through and feeling. Stopping drinking or drugging is only but the first step in the recovery process; sobriety is learning to handle life on life’s terms without having to use or drink.
Mental Health Diagnosis
Previous studies suggest that individuals diagnosed with mood and anxiety disorders are twice as likely to develop a substance abuse disorder. Furthermore, nearly 8.4 million Americans have been identified as having both a mental health and substance use disorder. One may wonder why the correlation between the two is so prevalent.
As previously stated, drug and alcohol users typically have a difficult time coping with stress, emotional distress, and common life situations. This also includes mental health issues and diagnoses. An individual diagnosed with a mental health disorder will sometimes use drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication. Furthermore, some medications can be addictive and are often abused by patients, such as Xanax and Adderall.
Effect or Response
Are you drinking for a reason? When you smoke that joint, do you respond differently than your peers? If you are merely drinking for the effect, longing to find the answers to your problems at the bottom of a bottle, you may want to reconsider your choice of coping mechanism.
Have you noticed that you react differently to drugs and alcohol, compared to your peers? Do you plan to only drink on the weekends and then find yourself not being able to stop come Monday morning? This is a clear indicator or risk factor for substance abuse. If you find yourself continuously promising to “only have one” or “I’ll quit tomorrow,” yet you can never hold true to that, there may be a possibility that you respond differently to drugs and alcohol compared to others. Keep in mind the unhealthy nature of this scenario and consider not drinking or using drugs entirely. This will be your best line of defense in deterring substance abuse and/or dependence in the future.
What To Keep In Mind
There is no one specific thing that causes substance abuse. Many factors play a role; environment, family history and genetics, past trauma, poor coping skills, mental health issues, and so on. If you have identified one or more of these points in yourself or another, it is important to keep the issue of substance abuse fresh in your mind. If a loved one presents with one or more of these factors, having open dialect with that individual regarding substance abuse is where change begins. For a very long time, drug addiction and alcoholism has been whispered about, no one ever really acknowledging that it can exist in their world; until it does. Don’t wait until after the fact. Get informed and talk to your loved ones about it. Substance abuse is very real, especially today with the opioid crisis at its highest peak. Nevertheless, it is nothing to be ashamed of. Help is available.
Contact Clearbrook For Substance Abuse Treatment
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, please allow us to help. With over 4 decades of experience, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been able to help those suffering from the disease of addiction restore their lives through recovery. By providing effective drug and alcohol treatment, we can assist you in doing the same. Contact our Admissions Specialists today for further information.