If your life has not been affected by addiction, consider yourself lucky. Many people waste their lives over drug addiction and substance abuse. Living a fulfilling and sober life is a much healthier option. Dealing with the consequences of substance abuse can be devastating.
About a third of hospital costs have been in the treatment of addiction and substance use, according to stats revealed by a study at Columbia University. 44% of the costs have been directed towards controlling addiction, while almost 96% of the cost dealt with consequences directly related towards addiction.
You need prevention measures in place to ensure that a relapse does not happen. It is important for society as a whole to contribute collectively to stop addiction before it starts. Here are three ways we can counter addiction effectively:
1. Prevent Trauma and Treat it Promptly
Look behind the reasons for addiction. In many cases, the individual may be suffering from a dual-diagnosis. Trauma has varied forms: neglect and abuse, constant bullying, assaults, sexual abuse and other events can be commonplace. Trauma can lead a person to abuse alcohol or other drugs. It is important to help such individuals not feel traumatized and deal with trauma effectively.
If you have a child, preventing addiction is synonymous with preventing trauma. If you can mitigate the number of traumatic events in your child’s life, this greatly decreases their risk for substance abuse. Learning how to be emotionally fair and kind to yourself and others is a great step in the right direction. School programs and therapists can also help children deal with their mental health issues.
2. Reevaluate Treatments for Chronic Pain
Over the past several decades, prescription opioids have been consistently given to patients in pain. However, many of these painkillers have been shown to be dangerously addictive. There has been a national effort to curb the amount of opiates prescribed, as prescription medication sometimes leads to opiate dependence and addiction. The reliance on opioids as painkillers also boosts the risk of dependence and withdrawal. There is a very real need to help curb America’s addiction to prescription painkillers.
Primary care physicians need to do away with opioids with proper and education. Unnecessary painkiller prescriptions are one of the causes of the national opioid epidemic. Patients need to be made aware to minimize risks.
3. Prioritize Mental Health
Those struggling with mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia may also suffer from drug abuse. This is known as dual-diagnosis. Also, some addiction treatment centers fail to identify mental illness as the source of drug and alcohol use.
One should pay adequate attention to mental health just like physical health. Many experts are keen to introduce mental health checkups in schools and offices. Not many realize that physical and mental health are intertwined. Lessons need to be taught about resilience, stress minimization and empathy. There should be proper funding and support for creative solutions that can help keep addicts out of hospitals and jails.
Reducing the stigma towards addiction can be incredibly beneficial. The people that are suffering will be much more likely to open up about their issues if they were treated with respect. Addiction is a medical issue and should be treated as such. Finding the right program or recovery plan is essential for your recovery. Reducing the impact of stigma and educating the public about the disease of addiction is a step in the right direction.