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5 Ways to Prevent Substance Abuse

The Nystrom & Associates providers consulted for this article are Amanda LemireOutpatient Therapist, and Mark BervenSUD Program Manager.  

There's no one way to stop someone from using drugs or alcohol, but there are things that everyone can implement to prevent substance abuse. Here are five ways to prevent substance abuse: 

tips for substance abuse

Identify Triggers 

One of the first ways to avoid substance abuse is to identify your triggers. Do social, emotional, or environmental factors set off your motivation to use? Discover what drives your use so it doesn't sidetrack your goal to avoid substances.

Have a Plan 

Going into events without a gameplan can make it easy for a slip-up to occur. Instead, go in with a plan.  

Mark BervenSUD Program Manager at Nystrom & Associates, shares a few tips on how to avoid substance abuse in social situations. Stay away from events or places where alcohol or substances will be used. Carry a bottle of water or a soda so you have something in your hand. Above all, Remember you are never obligated to use substances.  

Related: Being Lonely and Being Alone: What’s the Difference?  

Schedule Activities  

If you know your triggers, plan your time wisely. Keep yourself busy so you can hold yourself accountable for your goals. Amanda LemireOutpatient Therapist, explains further:

Two protective factors against substance use are how we spend our time and who we spend our time with. When we set goals around the things that we hold valuable, such as our physical health, education, or family, we are much less likely to make choices that interfere with those goals. For example, if you signed up for a 5k race at 8 am or know you volunteered for Sunday morning church service, you’re much less likely to stay out late drinking. 

Be Selective 

The people we spend time with have a major impact on our actions. Lemire highlights this, "While we tend to think of “peer pressure” as an adolescent issue, research has shown that even in adulthood who we interact with plays a large role in our own behavior choices. Choose to spend time with people who share your values and avoid spending time with people who use."

Related: Why Mental Health in the Workplace is Important 

Seek Help

Out of the many ways to avoid substance use, taking care of your mental health plays a pivotal role. Substance use and mental health often go hand in hand. Those dealing with mental health difficulties may gravitate toward substance abuse to ease emotional pain.

Berven knows the influence mental health plays in substance use. "People use substances for a variety of reasons, including to mask or process emotions, to decrease pain, or because of addiction. If you are concerned about how to avoid substance use, consider making an appointment with your mental health professional or for a substance use assessment."

A Word From Nystrom & Associates

Valuing and protecting your mental health can come in many forms, but seeking out a support system is crucial. Nystrom & Associates offers Substance Use Treatment for adults and adolescents. Browse through our Substance Use Treatment providers here. For more information on substance use disorder, click here 

Related: How Gratitude Can Change Your Life 

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