If you want to know how to stop kids from even experimenting with drugs and alcohol, you may be surprised to learn simple testing and subsequent intervention from a young age may be just the thing- but it’s not quite what you think. According to ProjectKnow, having a strong working memory is the key to avoiding a life riddled with addiction. In a study conducted by the Department of Counseling Psychology at the University of Oregon, researchers discovered the connection between one’s predisposition to abuse if their working memory was impaired or in anyway inhibited. The reason being?
Those with weakened working memories are more prone to engage in potentially dangerous and impulsive behavior- which can translate into saying “Yes” when offered a hit.
The researchers assert with heightened, “greater executive attention” we are less likely to be influenced by our environments which may be harmful, and rely more on our own abilities of- drumroll please- logic!
No, maybe I shouldn’t get in the shopping cart that’s tied to my friend’s car.
In our case, imposing logic would be the abnegation of experimenting with drugs, regardless if everyone else is doing it. But it’s okay, there’s hope for those who were born with a weakened working memory. In childhood, research has proven intervening early, after preliminary memory tests, may be able to increase working memory with cognitive stimulation, unending support, and a warm family environment.
Taking a more active approach, engaging children with games stimulating the development of social skills and enhancing their problem solving abilities can make a difference in terms of strengthening their working memory, and eventually dissuading children from experimenting with drugs and alcohol.
But what can you do if you’re not a child? One would imagine engaging in the same stimulation on par for whatever age group in question would produce similar, if not the same, effects. A few weeks ago we wrote about how reading and increased cognition can prevent addiction.