How Does Addiction Start And Can It Be Prevented?

Drug and alcohol addictions devastate people’s lives. Addiction is an insidious disease. It can creep up on you, taking you by surprise, and can be incredibly difficult to escape from. As with much in life, prevention is much better than the cure. This article details some of the ways in which an addiction may start, how they may be prevented and outlines some of the possible  treatments available to you if you do find yourself addicted to drugs or alcohol.

How Does Addiction Start?

Addiction starts slowly. It usually begins with, what seems at the time, harmless drug or alcohol use. You might take them at a party, with friends, or alone for fun.

Drug and alcohol use rarely begins as a method of coping with one’s problems, but for some people, when unable to deal with their problems healthily, they may begin to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.

This self-medication may give way to a fiercer addiction, with use of drugs or alcohol increasing irrespective of the original reason for increased usage. People may not realise that they are addicted to a substance until it’s too late, essentially waking up one morning to find themselves unable to cope without drinking or taking drugs.

People may not even realise that they are addicted to a substance until their body begins to display symptoms of withdrawal. Some of the symptoms of withdrawals include:

How to Prevent Addiction

Can you prevent addiction before it starts? The answer is yes . There are a few ways that you can prevent addiction:


Educating yourself about the harm that drugs can do to you is a great way to prevent addiction. When you know how addiction works and what the long-term consequences of drug use can be, the chances of using drugs and alcohol are significantly reduced. People who are well educated on the subject are more likely to respond negatively to the suggestion that they take drugs.

Coping Skills

In some cases, people who are well aware of the harm that drugs can do, take them anyway. This drug use may be recreational, but It might also be because they don’t have the skill required to deal with day to day stressors. If you teach yourself coping skills, in combination with education on drugs, you may be less likely to fall into the claws of addiction. You might consider talking to a therapist, becoming more physically active, embracing your creativity, keeping a diary, or meditating to better cope with your problems.

Find Your Passion

For some people, having nothing to do - no plans, no job, no motivation - may make them more likely to succumb to the allure of drugs and alcohol. Find your passion. Discover what you are interested in and what you want to spend your time doing, other than taking drugs or drinking to excess of course. A hobby is a great way to occupy yourself and to keep yourself distanced from malign influences.

Friends and Family

Maintaining ties with good friends as well as your family is a great way to prevent addiction. If you stay close to people, your support network may recognise the signs that you may have a problem and do their best to help you. Some have said that addiction is the complete opposite of connection, and by connecting yourself to friends and family, you can help reduce the risk of addiction.


Looking after yourself and practising self-care is very simple. Eat well, exercise, and keep on top of your personal hygiene. You might also want to consider practising meditation. When you feel well and content both within and without, you are considerably less likely to give in to addiction, drugs, and alcohol.

Treatment for Addiction

If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, you can find treatment. From luxury rehab to CBT  therapy, you have options. Here are a few of them:

Rehabilitation Clinics

Rehabilitation clinics are places where people go to receive help in breaking their addiction. You can attend residential clinics, day clinics, or outpatient clinics. Experts recommend luxury residential clinics because they are more intense and are proven to be more effective. They are also much more comfortable and allow you to shut out the world. That said, if you have children or a job, residential clinics might not be manageable.

Talking Therapies

If you do not think that rehabilitation centres are a good option for you, then you might want to look into therapy. Talking therapies, such as CBT , help you to see how your thoughts and feelings ultimately impact your behaviour and influence your decisions. Working through your problems with a therapist can be very productive. It can allow you to get to the very bottom of your addiction and identify your triggers. 

Medicinal Treatment

If you are addicted to more serious drugs, such as heroin or opioids, then you may need to be prescribed medicine, such as methadone. You will typically need to pick up this medication every morning and take it under supervision. Methadone is used to help people to manage their withdrawal symptoms and can be very effective. Over time, the amount of methadone you are prescribed will be reduced. This reduction is gradual but steady, until you are completely free of the need of methadone. 

Addiction Groups

If you have managed to overcome addiction, whether through CBT, rehabilitation centres or other methods, it’s important that you still engage with services available to you in the community to help prevent relapse. There are many groups in the community that host support meetings for former users. Interacting with these groups can help you to find stability and a sense of community. Sometimes it’s good to know that other people are experiencing the same problems as you. They can be very motivational. 

In Australia, a number of treatment options are covered or subsidised under Medicare, from hospital and rehab centre inpatient treatment, through to outpatient treatments, including CBT and other mental health appointments. ANyone with a Medicare card may be eligible for these services, so long as they have a referral from their doctor indicating that substance abuse treatment is needed. 

If you or one of your loved ones has a problem with addiction, schedule an appointment to see your doctor so you can be referred to the help you need to kick the habit. The fastest and easiest way to search for and book healthcare appointments online is through MyHealth1st.

Looking for a health expert near you?