Drug addiction is an acquired disease and yes there is little focus on prevention. Addiction requires the repetition of episodes of drug intake, with each repetition the disease and condition worsens.
Risk factors for addiction are:
- Gender: more addicts are male than female
- Mental illness
- Family behavior
- Age when body used the substance
Studies on The Prevention of Addiction
Studies show that 40-60% of the addictions are a result of genetics. Depending on your biological genes and receptors a patient may be more likely to acquire an addiction vs others with a different chemical composition.
Links between alcohol dependencies and genes for GABA type a receptors have proven to be indicators of addiction. Also, someone with a D2-receptor polymorphisms have been linked to a greater vulnerability of drug addiction.
Not all drug addictions can be linked to a person’s genes, there are other factors that can correspond to reason’s for a person’s addictions or why they turn to drugs.
The first reason that people become involved in drugs is their surroundings. People are influenced by their community, school culture, environment and other factors that may cause them to resort to drugs. Environment factors like socioeconomic class have links with high rates of addiction. In lower income neighbourhoods people have a higher exposure to drug use leading to its acceptance.
Family Influence on Prevention
A person’s family and support system is another major factor in the addiction process. Children with unstable upbringings gain a higher susceptibility to addiction.
Unstable upbringings result in children turning to drugs and alcohol as a way to escape their everyday lives and start in the addiction process. 90% of adult addicts started drug and alcohol abuse before the age of 18.
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How to Prevent a Friend or Loved One from Addiction
Emotional attachment is one of the keys to drug prevention. People often turn to drugs in order to get emotional highs or escape from reality. Becoming emotionally invested with someone can help alleviate the urges to turn to drugs in difficult times. Be patient and try to understand the struggle that that they are facing.
Parents should take on a larger role with their children to talk to them and understand their frustrations and emotional distresses they are experiencing. The key is to have communication become their choice to vent and talk through their social anxieties as opposed to substances.
Be Aware of Social Influences
- Social circles
- Where they spend free time
- Extra curricular activities
- Pop culture
- Gateway drugs
Be Aware of the social circles of potential drug abusers: It is no secret that people are influenced by the behaviors of people closest to them. Especially in the lives of young adults it is important to be aware of their social circles.
Take the time to meet the closest friends of your children and even go as far as to meet their parents. Drug addicts usually hang around with other drug addicts, it is imperative you know the social circle a potential drug user is associating with in order to prevent them from falling down the proverbial rabbit role of gateway drugs.
Understand where they spend their free time. Bars are a common ground for drug addicts, be aware that alcohol is a very popular gateway drug for individuals as when they have drink with friends it will illicit happy endorphins that lead a person to implicitly associate a drug with pleasure.
If you know someone that may be a of risk to drug abuse try to help them steer clear of places where other heavy drug users congregate. For parents, be aware of your child’s after school activities, are they keeping active in social clubs and sports that help them steer clear of alcohol and other drugs.
Substance Abuse Conversation
Conversation is the cornerstone to drug prevention: Talk to people about the dangers of drugs and its impact. be open and host with the person struggling with addiction. Note to them their change in spirit, their change in behavior and how it is negatively impacting your everyday interactions with that person.
Often times there is only so much a friend or loved one can do. Addiction is a powerful disease that clouds judgement and leads to severe denial. Often times an intervention needs to be staged in order to set up the platform for entrance into a rehab facility.