It is far easier to prevent drug and alcohol addiction than it is to recover from it. Parents who wish to prevent drug abuse in their children can watch for a number of telltale signs, particularly in the case of alcohol, which can be a gateway drug. It could be the difference between a life of success, or a lifetime battle with drug addiction.
A number of studies show that alcoholics often have four personality traits in common before turning to abuse. These are:
• Anxiety, which can lead to drug use as the user tries to numb his feelings when he doesn’t know what to do about the problem. This can include stresses at home, social nervousness, anxiety about exams, and academic difficulties. A number of studies show that students who have trouble in school are far more likely to turn to drug abuse. With children all over America swimming in confusion and googling topics like “School makes me depressed” or “School makes me suicidal”, it’s no wonder that drug abuse among teens is at an all-time high.
• Impulsivity, meaning swayed or compelled by emotional or involuntary impulses. A number of studies show the relationship between impulsivity and drug addiction, as users often lack the discipline or logical thinking required to quit. Teens who are more emotion-driven may turn to drugs more easily than those who don’t.
• Negative thinking can be a factor in drug abuse and addiction, as drugs seem to present an easy way out. Drugs and alcohol provide temporary escape from depression, suicidal thoughts, and other emotional troubles.
• Sensation seeking, which can lead teens and young adults to reach for the rush of a drug or alcohol high, and to experiment with other substances like synthetic drugs or hallucinogens.
Researchers are hoping to incorporate their findings into anti-drug marketing. A number of addicts claim that the prevalent school campaigns like “Say No to Drugs” often came across as a joke. No one tried to get to the root of the problem, to find out what made kids turn to drugs in the first place.
Education And Prevention Efforts
Many drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs offer educational materials and seminars to arm teens against peer pressure and the influence of drugs and alcohol in their environment. Statistics show that kids who are fully educated in the effects of drugs and alcohol on their bodies and their lives are far less likely to experiment with them, even in spite of the above factors.
Parents can do a lot for their children by making time for them, allowing open communication and encouraging discussions about drugs. Parents who make a point of sitting down to dinner with their children, are home at night, and teach their children about drugs and alcohol are far less likely to end up with their kids on drugs. It can even be as simple as asking how school is going and helping with any of the above problems that can predispose children to drug and alcohol abuse.