Unpacking the dangers of self-medicating.
Unfortunately, it’s fairly common to self-medicate. Self-medicating refers to taking medicine or other substances oneself, rather than as prescribed by a licensed professional. It’s possible to self-medicate with drugs, alcohol, food, or even exercise. Whenever we’re misusing a substance or behavior to make ourselves numb or less pained, it’s time to look at that practice, as it might be self-medicating behavior. Many addictions begin with a desire to self-medicate, even if we don’t realize it. We often seek out drugs and/or alcohol for their ability to relieve other mental and emotional symptoms. However, this is an unsustainable coping mechanism that leads down some dark roads and away from greater self-awareness. Let’s look at some things to look out for.
Things to Watch Out For
If you find yourself turning to drugs and/or alcohol when you’re stressed, depressed, anxious, or otherwise uncomfortable, this is a major sign that you’re in self-medication mode. It’s oftentimes socially acceptable to numb our pain with alcohol and/or prescription drugs. However, it’s just not a healthy way to cope. Seek professional help if you’re consistently relying on drugs and alcohol in times of stress. Additionally, if you find yourself panicking or nervous when you can’t drink and/or use drugs, this is a sign that you’re relying on these substances to feel “normal.”
Self-Medicating and Mood Changes
At first, substances may make you feel better about your stress or they might relieve anxiety. However, your moods are likely to change from bad to worse after continued use. When the effects of drugs and alcohol wear off, things can seem even worse than before. This is because they are quick, short-term fixes rather than sustainable self-care rituals and healthy coping skills. If you think you might be self-medicating, there are other, healthier options and ways to truly feel better. Seek professional help in the form of a trusted rehabilitation center or counselor.
Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premiere men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138