Drug and alcohol addiction causes a variety of problems in the household, workplace and in society at large. Addiction not only affects the addicted individual, but everything and everyone that they come into contact with. In order to prevent ourselves and others from becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol and the consequences of addiction, there are steps that we can take to educate and effectively deal with substance abuse. If we take measures to prevent drug addiction, there will be less destruction within the family unit, more productivity in the workplace, and less crime and loss of life.
One of the ways to prevent drug addiction is to understand how addiction works. When someone abuses drugs or alcohol, they originally do so to experience the positive effects of these substances and don't often think of the long-term consequences. What new drug users don't often realize, is how powerful these effects can be, and that they will almost inevitably crave and seek out more of the substance to maintain or re-experience the original positive effects. These cravings are part psychological and part physical, but can very intense and trump any other worthwhile activity or choice that one would normally make or choose to do instead. So this is how the cycle of addiction works, and why so many people find themselves doing drugs and consuming alcohol obsessively despite the negative consequences.
So the best thing to do obviously is to not use drugs or excessively use alcohol in the first place, to avoid abuse and addiction altogether. However, while it may be easy for an individual to decide to not use drugs or alcohol, one can't prevent anyone else from doing so if this is their choice. But there are things we can do to make ourselves aware of the signs and symptoms or drug and alcohol addiction, and things we can do to put the cycle of addiction to a stop before it gets any worse. This is important, because the sooner one realizes there is a problem the sooner they can get help or help someone else before it is too late.
Drug addiction can become a problem for a number of reasons. "Peer pressure" is a term commonly used to denote the social pressure that is brought to bear on individuals to experiment with and use drugs and alcohol. This term is often used to describe the social pressure that teens experience to use drugs or alcohol, but is also a significant phenomenon among adults who may also be inept in dealing with the pressure to use drugs and alcohol. Adults and teens may start out using drugs and alcohol in attempt to "fit in" and feel more comfortable in social situations. After all, no one likes to be an outcast. So if a friend or group of friends is using drugs or alcohol, many individuals no matter what age may find themselves in a situation where they will be asked or pressured into using drugs or alcohol. In this type of situation, the adult or teen would be better off finding an acceptable way to decline such offerings, or find an entirely new group of friends who won't encourage this type of destructive behavior. Parents should obviously be diligent in keeping track of friends and social activities that their child is involved in to avoid any negative influences from entering into the picture.
Individuals are faced with life pressures and problems constantly, and may have a hard time dealing with these issues on their own. This can easily make them vulnerable to substance abuse and addiction, if they don't come up with ways to handle these problems on their own. To deal with the pressure, one might have a drink, or two, or six; followed by a pain pill and so on. Or, a husband who constantly fights with his wife might find that being in a heroin induced daze seems like a better option. But unfortunately, this is not dealing with the problem at all, only masking it at best and potentially making things even worse. The individual who chooses this path will only find that drugs addiction will only make things more stressful and unmanageable. To prevent oneself or others from using drugs to prevent or "handle" stress or problems, one needs to come up with effective ways to manage stress and use constructive reasoning to resolve problems. For example, research has proven that exercising affects the area of the brain that produces a sense of well-being and euphoria. The important thing is to not fall into the trap of addiction, but become involved in positive activities that will either help relieve stress or positively impact one's life.
Individuals who struggle with mental illness are very likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Unfortunately, this will inevitably exacerbate pre-existing mental instability and in no way eases depression, anxiety or stress. To prevent someone who is mentally unstable from becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol, family members and loved ones can take it upon themselves to help these individuals overcome symptoms and challenges through counseling and therapy and work with them to create a an environment that will be stable for them. This can nip things in the bud before any substance abuse turns into full blown drug addiction, and one is left with two co-occurring disorders which will need to be treated, which can be a challenge.
The best way to prevent drug addiction is to recognize the signs of drug or alcohol abuse, and stop it in its tracks before it even has a chance to turn into an addiction which could have devastating consequences. Things to look out for if you think someone may be abusing drugs or alcohol are a lack of personal hygiene or deterioration in appearance including dramatic weight loss, poor performance in school or work, dramatic shifts in groups or friends or sudden acquaintances popping up all of a sudden and even unusual sleeping habits or dramatic shift in schedule or daily routines. If you notice any of these symptoms use communication and confront the individual out of love and concern to prevent the chances of them becoming involved in drug and alcohol addiction.