VitaminAbuseAccording to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, roughly 24 million Americans over the age of 12 have used drugs within the past month. Furthermore, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that 24.6 percent of Americans age 18 or older have reported binge drinking in the past 30 days. Although not everyone who uses drugs or alcohol will wind up abusing them, many people do. However, the problem is often preventable. Here are five things you can do to combat substance abuse.

Use Healthy Methods of Dealing With Stress

Stress is one of the most common reasons people begin abusing drugs or alcohol. The substance helps them relax, but it’s only temporary. After the effects of the substance have worn off, they’re left to deal with not only their original stress but also lingering negative effects of the alcohol or drugs. To avoid substance abuse, it’s essential to develop constructive methods of dealing with stress, such as meditation, yoga or deep-breathing exercises.

Seek Help

It’s normal to experience emotional highs and lows. However, these can be difficult to manage for some people, and many turn to alcohol or drugs to self-medicate. Unfortunately, using substances tends to worsen the underlying problem, creating a vicious cycle. Before you find yourself in this situation, consider seeking aid from a social worker with a degree like an online Masters of Social Work or other qualified professionals. These people are equipped to help you pinpoint the cause of your problems and help you work through them in a healthy, constructive manner.

Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

The strain of living for your job while trying to maintain other responsibilities produces an extreme strain. To cope, many people begin using drugs or alcohol. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential to avoiding the pitfall of substance abuse, and there are many professionals that can help you achieve this.

Do Things that Make You Happy

An overly busy life can prevent people from focusing on things that make them truly happy. They may feel trapped and overwhelmed, and many begin using drugs and alcohol in an effort to experience some pleasure. It’s critical to set aside time in your life to do things that make you happy and reaffirm your existence, whether it’s a long-time hobby or volunteering in the community.

Consider Family History

Studies have shown that people with relatives who abused drugs or alcohol are more likely to do so themselves. Knowing whether you have a family history of substance abuse can help empower you to take the additional steps needed to avoid it yourself.

Regardless of your situation, family history or past experiences, it’s important to be aware that avoiding substance abuse is within your power. By following these five tips, you can more easily steer clear of life’s traps that often lead to misusing drugs and alcohol.