October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month
Recent data shows an increase in drug and alcohol overdoses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, recognizing a problem and overcoming the addiction leads way for a healthy lifestyle.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Using alcohol, prescription medicine, and other legal substances too much or in the wrong way is substance abuse and since the pandemic, people are turning to drugs and alcohol more as ways to relieve stress.
But that extensive use could have harmful effects on your body and brain.
National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines heavy alcohol use as more than four drinks on any day for men or more than three drinks for women.
Sheryl Jackson, CNP at Community Health Center the of Black Hills, says, “All of these medications that have really dire effects seem reasonable when you have so much sadness and so much stress.”
Both legal and illegal drugs have chemicals that can change how your body and mind work and give you the impression of relief from stress, but the negative results effect every part of your life.
Jackson says more students are turning to substance abuse because they typically won’t out right ask for help deal with daily difficulties. Parents need to be vigilant of what their kids are doing, have open communication and talk about consequences.
Jackson says, “I think talking to them about their stresses, you know, they come home from school and you’ve had a stressful day and they’ve had a stressful day, and they just need for you to listen.”
Jackson mentions that teenagers are not apt to ask for help since they are not good communicators, saying, “You know having cell phones and texting, most teenagers don’t even talk to each other, you know that leaves a lot unsaid on the inside.”
To overcome substance abuse, seeking out counseling or support groups is suggested.
“You know AA has open meetings, which you don’t even have to be alcoholic necessarily, but to go there and listen. Many people tell me I couldn’t believe people would say absolutely what I have been feeling and thinking and I felt like I was finally where people understood how/what my problems are,” says Jackson.
More healthy ways to relieve stress include meditation, breathing techniques or exercise like yoga.
Jackson says the Black Hills communities have many resources for those looking for treatment options, like the Crisis Care Center.
If you have a substance abuse problem and want to quit, a medical professional can help figure out the best treatment options for you.