Self-medicating means using alcohol or drugs to deal with difficult life situations or emotions. It’s a self-destructive behavior that can lead to addiction and other serious problems. If you’re struggling with mental health issues, relationship problems, work stress, or anything else that seems overwhelming, it can be tempting to turn to substances to cope. But self-medicating is never the answer. It will only make your problems worse in the long run.
Many people use substances to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, or other issues. If you believe you might be self-medicating, you must reach out for help. Many resources are available to you, and treatment can make a big difference in your life. With proper support, you can overcome addiction and other challenges standing in your way. Reach out to Texas Recovery Center to get the resources you need and to learn more about our dual diagnosis treatment program. You can call us at 844.230.5931 to get the help you need.
What Is Self-Medication and Its Symptoms?
Self-medication happens when a person turns to prescription drugs, illegal drugs, or alcohol to cope with life situations that affect them mentally with hurtful, stressful, or emotional reactions. This way of dealing with life can quickly lead to addiction and other serious problems. The symptoms of self-medication include:
- Consuming alcohol or drugs in larger amounts or for a longer time than intended
- Unsuccessfully trying to quit using alcohol or drugs
- Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from the effects of alcohol or drugs
- Craving alcohol or drugs
- Not being able to meet work, family, or social obligations
- Continuing to use alcohol or drugs despite problems it causes in relationships
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be self-medicating.
The Dangers of Self-Medicating
Turning to drugs or alcohol to cope with difficult situations and feelings is often the first step toward substance use. With time, self-medication and substance use can lead to drug addiction or alcoholism. Addiction and self-medicating become a cycle, fueling guilt, shame, and other depression and anxieties. Many times, addiction begins with self-medication. It’s important to understand what self-medicating means so that you can treat underlying issues early on. The signs of self-medicating can include:
- Changes in eating habits
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- A sudden change in mood or behavior
- Engaging in risky behaviors
- Increasing alcohol or drug use
Treatment can make a big difference in your life. With the proper support, you can overcome addiction and other challenges standing in your way. Reach out to Texas Recovery Center at 844.230.5931.
Addressing the Underlying Disorders or Causes
We’ve all heard the expression, “drowning your troubles.” It usually refers to drinking a few beers, a bottle of wine, whiskey, or any type of alcohol after a hard day, a breakup, a job loss, etc. It’s safe to say that we look for a solution to feel better when something hurts us. But when “drowning your troubles” becomes drowning your daily stresses, anger, and discomfort in alcohol or drugs, it’s a sign of self-medication.
Using substances whenever you find yourself stressed about finances, sad about losing a loved one, angry with your boss, anxious about attending a social event, or even just bored is not a healthy lifestyle that can be happily maintained. Initially, people find that drinking, pill-popping, shooting, or snorting can bring some relief. These temporary, quick fixes don’t last long, and when they wear off, things tend to be even worse. Over time, drug and alcohol use for self-medication will take a toll on your physical and mental health. Using may mean you don’t sleep well, eat well, and catch more illnesses. Your mood and mental health deteriorate, too. You may find the things that angered or haunted you before using re-emerge after using.
Self-Medicating Causes Mental Health Disorders and Life Disruption
So you originally began drinking or using to escape your problems, pain, or personal stressors. However, your list of issues keeps growing. Ongoing drug and alcohol use has been known to create a lengthy list of problems, including:
- Difficulties at work or school
- Financial struggles
- Relationship problems
- Anxiety, depression, and other mental health symptoms
- Physical health problems
- Problems with the law
If you find yourself in any of these situations, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible. Substance abuse and mental health disorders are often linked. So, if you are struggling with one, chances are you are also dealing with the other.
Take Charge of Your Mental Health with Help from Texas Recovery Center
It’s vital to take steps now to get treatment because self-medicating for mental health problems is a slippery slope that may lead to drug or alcohol dependency and addiction. Healthier alternatives include a dual diagnosis treatment approach to the underlying causes of self-medication and substance use disorders and managing the symptoms of mental health issues.
Practice recovery skills that are helpful with long-term success with tools and strategies learned through its wilderness treatment program. These are practiced alongside our clinically-proven behavioral therapeutic and medication-assisted approaches. Unfortunately, the struggle with self-medication is all-to-common, and we have a strength-based approach to our methodologies.
You should not feel ashamed to get help but empowered by the improved life you will gain with some assistance. If you or someone you know is self-medicating, it’s worth a conversation with a specialist sooner rather than later. Recovery is tough, but so are you. Reach out to Texas Recovery Center at 844.230.5931.