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Role Models and Addiction Prevention

Role Models and Addiction PreventionDrug and alcohol addiction most commonly begin as a socially influenced desire to try an illegal or addictive substance. People who do not try alcohol until after the legal age of 21 are typically less likely to ever develop an addictive pattern to alcohol use. Adolescents who try alcohol between the ages of fourteen and nineteen can be significantly more likely to develop an addiction. Some of the most common ways that others can influence drug and alcohol use include the following:

  • Adolescent peer pressure in a school setting can cause individuals to feel as though they have to try drugs and alcohol in order to fit in with certain groups and avoid persecution.
  • When parents abuse drugs or alcohol, adolescents may believe that the use of certain substances is permitted.
  • When certain fictional characters who children look up to use substances like alcohol or marijuana, children may be influenced to use.
  • If a person experiences a traumatic life event, the individual may be tempted to use substances that promise to relieve the pain associated with the trauma.

There are many ways that people can negatively influence others to use and abuse drugs and alcohol. There are also many negative influences to receiving and accepting proper professional addiction treatment. Some of the different ways individuals can be negatively influenced into not seeking out professional treatment for addiction include the following:

  • Family members who view addiction as an embarrassment to the family may encourage the addict to overcome the addiction privately through will power instead of entering into treatment and risking someone finding out about the addiction.
  • Some people express their view of addiction as a moral weakness rather than a medical condition or diagnosable disease.
  • The media portrays celebrities going in and out of rehab multiple times with no success.

In order to prevent loved ones from using drugs and alcohol for the first time and to help those already struggling with addiction, being a positive role model is essential. Anyone can be a positive role model although the most successful ones are often older and respected. Children are the most impressionable individuals who often mirror the actions of the people they look up to most. If a parent or older sibling has a healthy view of drug and alcohol use, it helps a younger child to avoid recreational use and future addiction.

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