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10 Ways to Prevent Drug Abuse

Proven Strategies to Stop Substance Abuse from Catalina

Substance abuse of all kinds is rampant in our society today, and you may want to know what you can do to prevent the abuse of drugs here and now. The good news is that there are plenty of proactive steps and ways to prevent drug abuse from taking hold of your life or the life of a loved one. With some of these tips under your belt, you can minimize the risk of substance abuse.

If you or a loved one are struggling or think that someone you care about may be at-risk, these ten ways to prevent drug abuse can be a good starting point.

And if treatment is needed, Catalina Behavioral Health in Arizona is a safe place to land if you are struggling with substance use disorder. From intensive outpatient to a residential treatment program, we offer every level of care needed to help you stop abusing drugs once and for all.

Keep reading to learn more about our top tactics for substance abuse prevention and learn about options for help at Catalina as well!

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1) Education on Drug Abuse Symptoms and Prevention

Drug abuse prevention starts with education on the symptoms of drug addiction. Know how to spot the warning signs that someone has gone too far with substance use and rigorously apply those signs to your own health and mindset as well. It can be easy to pinpoint the possible risk factors in others, but it takes more skill to notice them in yourself.

Once you understand the emotional, psychological, and physical risk factors, you can start talking about what treatment might look like. Knowing what you can expect from drug and alcohol treatment can put your mind at ease as you move forward with an abstinent lifestyle.

Make sure you understand not just the side effects on your physical health but also the consequences of using drugs and alcohol. It is easy to cross the line from everyday use to abuse with some of these addictive substances. Know what the health risks, legal risks, and psychological risks are to your continued use of substances.

2) Surround Yourself with the Right People

Stay Close to Family

Have you ever experienced the effects of peer pressure on your daily life? The people who are closest to you often have the biggest influence on what you do and how you live your life. Surrounding yourself with people who take no issue with drug abuse might lead you down a slippery slope toward addiction.

One research study concluded that peer pressure has a substantial impact on how you choose to partake in substances. Emerging adults ages 18 to 29 were studied, and the conclusions were astounding. Binge drinking, marijuana use, and lifetime alcohol use were all found to be increased with exposure to peer pressure over those who did not have this external source of pressure.

Fortunately, it is clear that peer pressure can have both positive and negative effects on substance abuse. If you are serious about kicking the habit for good, surround yourself with people who choose healthier coping skills and recreational activities rather than abusing drugs. Positive influences have a direct effect on how long you will stay sober.

3) Stay Close to Family or Community

In addition to surrounding yourself with positive peer influences and sober support, another means of preventing substance abuse is to stay in close touch with your immediate family. They can help support you through the trials of daily life, eliminating some of the risk factors that might put your sobriety in jeopardy. This is especially true for parents who are concerned about the welfare of their children.

Some studies have shown that family involvement in treatment and in day-to-day life can significantly improve treatment and recovery success.

This can be as simple as being a listening ear or participating in family therapy. If there is a family history of substance use disorder, there should be open conversations about how drug use impacted the individual and the family unit.

A Special Note for Parents of Teens on Ways to Prevent Drug Abuse

Parents with teen

For parents who are concerned about teen drug use, you can do a lot to prevent drug abuse in your home. Keep careful track of prescription drugs and do not allow your teen to have access to prescriptions that do not belong to them. Set up strict rules regarding alcohol and drug use, along with effective consequences for violating those rules.

This all starts with having open conversations in the home about selecting healthy friendships, raising awareness, and living a well-balanced life. Parents can have a major impact on the well-being of their children when it comes to substance use.

Even if they are at increased risk of substance use according to the risk factors, you can do a lot to provide support so that your teen can make healthy choices for himself or herself when you are no longer around to monitor them.

4) Get Help for Mental Health Disorders

Drug addiction may not always happen in a vacuum. In fact, many people turn to substance abuse because it helps them to cope with concurrent mental health disorders. These can include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and more. Emotional pain could be the driving factor that leads you or a loved one to illicit drugs again and again.

To this end, you may need to seek help for your mental health if you want to improve and prevent substance abuse. Prescription medication can make handling your mental health issues more tolerable which reduces your desire for drug use. A skilled psychiatrist can help you to find the right prescription medication that will not lead to a relapse of other drugs.

The Nature of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Along this same vein, you should seek out therapy for your mental illness. A good therapist or counselor at Catalina Behavioral Health can give you coping skills to prevent drug use in your daily life. They may employ cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, or some combination of the two.

Dual diagnosis (a mental illness and substance use disorder) is more common than you may think. Trust your care to the professionals at Catalina to help you conquer your addiction and prevent substance abuse moving forward.

5) Know the Common Risk Factors

Mental Health Disorder

You can prevent drug use by knowing what the common risk factors are for some of these risky behaviors. It could be as simple as evaluating your family members for signs of substance abuse. Other risk factors can include negative emotions, lax family rules when it comes to substances and even forms of abuse during childhood.

When you know what leads to unhealthy and healthy choices, you can more reasonably assess your risk of developing a substance use issue. Experiencing negative emotions from time to time may not be a risk factor in and of itself, but it could play a role in your predisposition to substance use.

Be Aware of Your Setting and Influences

Even environmental factors can play an important role. Being in a place where you have easy access to illicit drugs or a lack of social connection and positive friendships can be a warning sign that you are more prone to abuse substances.

Seek treatment if you notice that you have some of these risk factors and are currently using substances to feel better about any aspect of your life. Catalina Behavioral Health can help you find more effective coping mechanisms that can impact your life significantly and allow you to ditch substances for good.

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6) Take Proper Care of Yourself

Did you know that there is a connection between your overall health and your drug use? Many people who abuse drugs will struggle with their eating habits. They may have nutritional deficiencies stemming from a poor diet. Other health risks can also present themselves such as the disruption of certain hormones in the body.

One way to prevent drug abuse is to consider what it means to truly take care of your body. This might start out with healthy eating and routine exercise. However, it eventually grows to encompass a thoughtful approach to what you put into your body. Drug use becomes less appealing when you have a positive relationship with and connection to your body.

Plus, there are other major benefits to keeping up with diet and exercise. Namely, they can release more feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and other neurotransmitters that make you feel less distressed. Without an emotional trigger to make you think about abusing drugs, you will be less tempted to use.

7) Prioritize Self-Care

Prioritize Self-Care

You won’t be much help to the people around you unless you spend time taking care of yourself. This means more than taking a bubble bath or reading a good magazine though. One of the risk factors for substance abuse is feeling emotionally overwhelmed. To minimize these feelings that contribute to significant drug use, you need to prioritize self-care.

Make sure that you have an outlet for emotional pain and plan ahead for situations where you might be tempted to abuse drugs.

Good self-care should improve both physical and mental health. You will feel like the optimal version of yourself which makes you far less likely to consider drug use when tough situations arise. If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of living without illegal drugs, it may be a sign that you need more self-care in your life.

At Catalina Behavioral Health, our staff can help you to figure out what forms of self-care will minimize your risk factors and help you practice putting them into action as a part of our aftercare planning program.

8) Implement Dialectical Behavior Therapy Principles

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is one of the best ways to prevent substance abuse, even in someone who has a family history of drug use. This method of therapy emphasizes a practice known as mindfulness where you simply observe your thoughts and feelings without necessarily acting on them.

One of the best ways to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life is through meditation. Sit with the goal of having your mind cleared and simply notice the thoughts that flow through your mind. There is no need to judge each thought or to act upon it. The goal here is simply to notice what you are feeling so that you can take action, if necessary when time is up.

Start with just a few minutes each day and build up your skills to practice mindfulness meditation for longer periods.

Eventually, you will be able to harness the power and feeling of mindfulness meditation at any point during your daily life. You can practice nonjudgmental assessments of your feelings and then let thoughts go without acting on them.

9) Abstinence from Active Drug Addiction

Preventing substance abuse is harder than it sounds, and it will require serious work and effort on your part to eliminate drug abuse. If you have already started to dabble in drug use, the best thing you can do right away is walk away from substances for good. Implementing a policy of abstinence is the best way to ensure that you keep a drug addiction out of your life.

While there are some non-abstinence approaches, most of the research literature points to the idea of cutting drugs out cold turkey. Medical detox may be the proper first step so that you can be comfortable while your body rids itself with the substances that you no longer wish to use.

10) Using Medication Assisted Treatments as Needed

Medication Assisted Treatment

Catalina Behavioral Health also offers medication-assisted treatment to get drug use under control quickly. The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) warns against self-medication but recognizes Suboxone, Vivitrol, and other forms of medication-assisted therapies as evidence-based ways of getting a firm foundation that supports lasting recovery.

Keep in mind that you may still want to take prescription drugs that help you with co-occurring mental health problems that have led to drug abuse. A skilled counselor can help you navigate the divide between abstinence and receiving help for other conditions that require prescription use.

At Catalina, we help clients every day navigate these challenges successfully and stay clean and sober.

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Get Professional Help for Drug Abuse at Catalina Today

Last but not least, you need to ensure that you get the professional help you need when dealing with a drug abuse issue. Harmful substances can seriously impede your ability to live a full and healthy life. If you have already been using substances for a while, it might be time to put a drug abuse prevention plan in place for you moving forward.

Catalina Behavioral Health can help you take the first and most difficult steps toward recovery. Whether you need medication-assisted treatment, intensive outpatient, or a residential treatment program, we have the experience and team to put you on the path to healing.

Reach out to us today to learn more about how you can gain control over your drug use starting now. Rest assured, all calls are strictly confidential, so call our compassionate staff to get options now!

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