Considering the heartache, time and cost that goes into addiction recovery, some have asked what can be done to prevent it from occurring in the first place?impulsive youth

A new anti-drug program Called Preventure, has established four personality traits in children that link to addiction later in life. This program has been developed by Patricia Conrod, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Montreal. It has been tested in Europe, Australia and Canada and is showing promising results.

The four traits that have been identified as indicating a risk of addiction are:

  • anxiety
  • impulsivity
  • sensation-seeking
  • sensitivity

Anxiety: Feeling anxious and overwhelmed can cause someone to build a dependence on alcohol and drugs for it’s opiate affects. The use of the substance relieves tension. Repeated use builds a tolerance which requires the use of more to get the same relief.

Impulsivity: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (A.D.H.D.), increases drug addiction risk by a factor of three. The reason being that those with A.D.H.D. struggle with slowing down their thought process in order to think through the risks and repercussions of their behaviors. This puts them at a greater risk for unsafe, repeated drug use.

Sensation-seeking: Those who use drugs and alcohol are also more likely to report feeling isolated or depressed. They seek sensation experiences in order to jolt them out of their current state. Also making them more likely to use drugs and alcohol.

Sensitivity: Kids who are sensitive are more likely to be the victims of bullying and peer pressure. This greatly impacts their use of alcohol and drugs as well.

If you notice any of the above traits in your child or yourself, it is not a bad idea to make an appointment to visit a therapists. Explore what might be triggering the anxiety, how to manage the impulsivity and sooth the sensation seeking and sensitivity.  Above all, communication with your young one about what they are experiencing will be helpful in making them feel understood.