Teaching Self-Regulation within schools
Teaching Self-Regulation within schools
Substance use disorder is a very serious matter that poses many risks to the individual suffering as well as many risks to members of their immediate family and of course poses risks to communities as a whole. This issue is already being addressed through the lens of educating the public about the dangers of drugs, more can be done to support individuals struggling with the disorder as well as potentially preventing this disorder from taking hold in the first place. Research suggests death rates due to substance use disorders are on a constant rise (Wakeman, 2019) and although Health Canada and many others took a stand and encouraged a shift in language (Birak, 2018) addiction is still mainly being “approached… as a social problem or criminal justice issue rather than a medical matter” (Wakeman, 2019, para. 7). There is mounting research suggesting that addiction is an illness of individuals struggling with the ability to cope “with stressful situations” (Wakeman, 2019, para. 8).
Alvarz-Monajaras et al (2019) suggests that one of the major risk factors of becoming addicted to substance lies within early development and one’s ability to self regulate and decipher between good and bad, suggesting positive experiences and the development of a strong attachment with primary caregivers can set individual’s up for success in the future in regards to self-regulation and sound decision making. Not only is this a risk factor for individuals becoming susceptible to drug use, but the changes that take place in the brain when substances are used directly worsen one’s ability to self regulate and make decisions. With mounting evidence, research is suggesting treatment plans and prevention plans incorporate an attachment based, development model, which could be the key “to promote healthy socio-emotional and motivational growth across the lifespan” of individuals (Alvarez-Manajaras et al, 2019, p. 14). That being said The National Institute on Drug Abuse has conducted research and compiled evidence and created 16 principles to guide and support prevention programs. One of the main points that runs deeply in all 16 principles is the importance of family and relationships, which play an important role in protective factors towards this issue. Some of the risk factors the NIDA (2014) identified were aggressive behaviour, poor social skills and academic difficulties which can all be addressed through self-regulation.
Self-regulation classes could prove as preventative measures in regards to the issue of substance use disorder, Wakeman (2019) sheds light that there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to substance use disorder and that is the beauty of self-regulation as an option. Self-regulation is not a one size fits all approach; it requires an individualized recipe. With the NIDA suggesting family and relationships being an important protective factor and Alvarez Manajaras et al (2019), proposing attachment based, development model as a preventative method, the implementation of self-regulation into early learning and care centers, schools, workplaces and communities could benefit everyone. Not only does this offer a solution to substance use disorder but it offers a way to combat many if not all of the health determinants. One’s inability to combat stress often leads to a variety of health issues, if we incorporate self-regulation classes for parents, educators, children, adults and the community as a whole, substance use disorder could very well be a thing of the past.
Not only can self-regulation act as a preventative measure, it can support individuals currently struggling with substance use disorder. Our education system, from early learning and care all the way to grade 12 and beyond should be required to provide individuals with self-regulation classes. We need to ban together, sign the petition to get everyone talking about the importance and implementation of self-regulation for parents, families, communities, schools, early learning and care and individuals living with substance use disorder, support self-regulation in schools!
Alvarez-Monjaras, M., Mayes, L. C., Potenza, M. N., & Rutherford, H. J. V. (2019). A developmental model of addictions: Integrating neurobiological and psychodynamic theories through the lens of attachment. Attachment & Human Development, 21(6), 616-637. doi: http://dx.doi.org.library.sheridanc.on.ca/10.1080/14616734.2018.1498113 https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.library.sheridanc.on.ca/pmc/articles/PMC6359991/pdf/nihms-1514852.pdf
Birak, C. (2018, December 13). How the way we talk about addiction can make it harder for people to recover. CBC News. https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/addiction-language-1.4942780
National Institute on Drug Abuse. 2014, March 31. Lessons from Prevention Research DrugFacts. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/lessons-prevention-research on 2021, March 16
Wakeman, S. E. (2019). Facing addiction. Psychiatric Annals, 49(2), 47-54. doi:http://dx.doi.org.library.sheridanc.on.ca/10.3928/00485713-20190108-01