The moment an individual relishes the act of taking either drugs or alcohol, then an abuse is in motion.

Now, these substances are the top abused substances in the world and they come with adverse effects which many people are not aware of.

So, how do you specifically tell when substance abuse sets in? It’s simple.

For instance, if a teenage boy is pressurized by his friends to hang out with them at a local liquor bar. After much persuasion, he gives in and joins them in drinking alcohol.

With time, he becomes used to it and craves more of it. At this phase, the boy is abusing a substance- alcohol.

If it goes on longer than this, and the boy derives great pleasure in drinking alcohol, and would give up other productive activities, then the boy is addicted to alcohol.

So, to prevent addiction, it is best to tackle substance abuse. This gives you the insight that, not everyone who takes alcohol is addicted, some of them are at the abusive phase.

Bearing this in mind, it is important to help people tackle substance abuse so that it does not take them unawares. One way to achieve this is by informing them.

Most people do not know that the addiction lifestyle can be so deadly, and that they are on the verge of it. Speaking to these people would help change their thoughts about abuse.

Of course, it is best to approach them lovingly instead of using the criticism method. As humans generally, we frown at people who do not know how to correct us.

So, even though what they are saying is correct, we pay little or no attention to them. If we had our way, we would leave them at that very point.

Substance abuse is dangerous because the health of an individual is involved.

A good number of times, you do not need to get to the addiction stage before some organs in your body start deteriorating due to the abuse of substances.


The prevention of substance abuse is not a one-off event, it is a conscious effort that occurs on a continuum. This means that the act of prevention needs to go on and on for as long as the person may live.

To some people, this might sound burdensome, but in reality, the prevention tips are easy to abide with provided you understand why.

Preventing substance abuse gives you a shot at a healthy life and this is what everyone crave. So, how do you go about it?

Regular exercise: When people hear exercise, they imagine the stress and difficulty that comes with it. Yes, we do not like being subjected to pain, but how about our bodies being in great shape, making us not vulnerable to diseases; yes we crave that.

The act of regular exercise comes with lots of benefits that we should not take for granted.

If you are someone who has a busy schedule, you can do yours like 3-5 times on a weekly basis. These activities would provide strength to your bones and muscles.

  • More water: Instead of taking drinks with high sugar contents, water is better. As humans, it is understandable that we prefer sweet things to natural products. However, what gives you a better quality of life should not be ignored, especially when the benefits are in the long term.

Water helps in digestion, detoxification amongst others.

Reduction of snacks intake: Instead of eating sugary foods too, it is better to take more fruits and vegetables. Snacks only have sugar and fat to offer and there is nothing nutritious about that.

For fruits and vegetables, they provide a truckload of nutrients for your body. And if you take them on a regular basis, your immune system is sure to receive a great boost.

  • Relax more often: No matter how busy your schedule might be, it is important to find ample time to relax. Relaxing helps to provide refreshment for your body and brain, and this reduces the chance of increasing your stress levels.


When it comes to substance abuse, there is always an overwhelming urge to take either drugs or alcohol, and staying away from them induces critical withdrawal symptoms such as depression, anxiety, sweating, vomiting and the likes.

Substance abuse has no cure, and just basically telling a person to stop cannot work. However, there are some proven ways to treat substance abuse, and these form of treatments usually take into consideration some factors such as the degree of addiction, and the presence of mental health issues.

Below are some common treatment methods for substance abuse

  • Detoxification: This is basically flushing out drugs and alcohol out of the body. This is usually done with the help of an experienced health personnel, because the withdrawal symptoms which comes with this process is quite deadly.
  • Residential treatment: This could be a long-term treatment which could last between six months to a year. During this period, they are given an intensive and organized treatment. It could also be a short-term treatment which could take between three to six weeks at a treatment centre.
  • Psychotherapy: During this form of treatment, patients learn various ways to control substance abuse issues. There are many types of psychotherapy, with the commonest being cognitive-behavioural therapy.
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET): For this form of treatment, people are motivated on how to quit addiction and chase treatment. Research has shown that it is a potent treatment for drug and alcohol abuse.
  • The Matrix model: For this model, the addicts have a therapist who also serves as a counsellor and a coach. There is also group therapy present in this model, which aids people in sharing their experiences and offering support for recovery.
  • Family therapy: This form of therapy focuses on interactions which are likely to enhance addiction, and hence, aims to stop them. Family therapy is very effective for young adults.
  • Medication: The importance of medication in the treatment of substance abuse cannot be overemphasized. However, it is advised that before medications are taken, they should be done under the supervision of a medical practitioner.
  • 12-step programmes: This is a form of professional treatment which helps people with addiction. The aim is to ensure that individuals achieve and regulate abstinence. They also have to come to terms with the fact that they have a disease, and it should be surrendered to a higher power.
  • Exercise:  Exercise helps in enhancing one’s mood and reducing stress levels. It is also quintessential when it comes to addiction treatment.

Co-Occurring Disorders

co-occurring disorderReceiving treatment for the co-occurring disorders of substance abuse and mental disorder is more complicated than simply receiving treatment for one condition. Those who enter into this kind of treatment should be prepared for their healing process to take longer than it does for those who are trying to remedy only one condition. There are treatment facilities and rehabilitation centers that focus on treating co-occurring disorders specifically, rather than only treating the substance abuse problem. The staff consists of licensed specialists who are knowledgeable in how mental disorders and substance abuse interact with one another. Recovery requires a large commitment from the afflicted individual, and cannot be accomplished without a serious amount of work, but it has been proven possible repeatedly.

This concept of treating a mental disorder and a substance abuse problem simultaneously is unique. Its aim is to educate the individual on what their disorders encompass, instruct them on how the two conditions work in tandem and inform them on how a person can manage both conditions. The individual will become familiar with the ways that alcohol and drugs affect their mental disorder and how they are personally being impacted by them. This will help the person set a strategy for sober living and engaging in healthy life skills through counselling and treatment, as well as connecting them to ongoing assistance.

The journey of recovery for people who are dually diagnosed with mental disorder and substance abuse is a difficult one, but for those willing to give it everything they have, it can be achieved. Medical and psychological health professionals are anxious to assist individuals in facing these problems to help them reclaim their quality of life. If you or a person you care about is in need of therapy for a co-occurring disorder, do not hesitate to enlist the help of a substance abuse and mental disorder specialist.

How to Recognize Substance Abuse