4 steps to change
- Acknowledge that you are overusing and over-reliant on the substance or activity and that you would like to change. This means telling someone about it or seeking help. People you can talk to may include a helpful friend who can support you to get the right help, a teacher, your parents, your G.P
- Give up the drug or activity you are addicted to. You can’t manage an addiction as long as you keep doing it. To learn control you have to first give up completely. You will need some help to manage this.
- Learn to Develop Bounce Factors
How to Bounce and Not Break
- Dr Krause at stem4 promotes the concept of developing a range of ‘bounce’ factors that enable an individual to deal with ‘break’ factors that can prompt the development of mental health problems.
Break factors for addiction include
- A family history of addiction.
- Being male (for substances)
- Peer pressure.
- Low social confidence.
- Having another psychological problem such as anxiety, depression, ADHD .
- Difficult or traumatic experiences including abuse.
- The younger you are when you first start.
- The drug itself, some drugs are highly addictive for example nicotine, heroin, cocaine.
- The method by which you take the drug; smoking or injecting increases its addictive potential.
Bounce factors include
- Early identification.
- Getting early help.
- Building social confidence by not isolating yourself.
- Making sure you make links with friends and family.
- Relying on supportive friends and being honest with them about the addiction .
- Talking about things that bother you .
- Challenging negative thoughts – there is always an alternative view.
- Recognising triggers to your addiction (keep a diary – is it a certain mood that makes you want to do something in excess? Is it a situation or a group of friends, for example?) See if you can change your response or avoid these triggers until you can break the addiction.
- Being persistent – giving up an addiction takes time and patience.
- Some people may relapse, don’t despair it’s normal. This is when you stop your good eating habits for a period of time and for whatever reasons go back to old addiction. Try and stay strong and avoid this, but if it happens:
- Don’t give up – changing behaviour isn’t easy, and it may help you to learn from your mistakes.
- Get back on track – you will gradually feel stronger.
- Seek help – not everyone can fight addictions on their own, and that is nothing to be ashamed of.