Are you utilizing alcohol or drugs to alter your mood, avoid facing your concerns, or cope with the harsh feelings you’re feeling? Self-medication is not the only technique to deal with problems and boost one’s mood; there are other, better options available.
What Exactly Does It Mean to Self-medicate?
In these times of extreme anxiety and misery, many of us are resorting to substances in an attempt to alter the way that we think. These attempts range from drinking alcohol to using prescription drugs. You could try to improve your mood with food or use it as a distraction from being bored. You may light up a joint to let you unwind, or you could have a couple of drinks before heading out to calm your nerves and reduce any feelings of social anxiety you could have. Or maybe you take Xanax or Valium to help you fall asleep, ADHD medicine to help you stay concentrated throughout the day, or prescription opioids to dull the feelings of loss or stress that you are currently experiencing.
It is referred to as “self-medicating” when an individual consumes alcohol or drugs in this manner to manage the symptoms of a mental illness disorder. You might be conscious that you have an issue with your mental health, but you might not be aware of any better ways to deal with it. Or, your problem might not even have been identified, and all you’re doing is turning to alcohol or drugs as a means of managing a particular symptom or circumstance. As a result of the epidemic and the subsequent economic hardships, for instance, a lot of us started participating in self-medication for symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression because our lives were drastically altered.
While it’s possible that self-medication could provide some comfort in the short term, in the long run, it will only make your problems worse. Regular self-medication can result in addiction, a deterioration of mental disorders, and increasing health issues. This is true regardless of whether the individual turns to alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription prescriptions (or even food or smokes). It may also harm the relationships you have at home, in the workplace, and at school.
However, you do not lack any power. You will be able to find methods of coping with your issues and enhancing your general mood and well-being that are not only healthier but also more effective if you have a deeper grasp of the causes of why and when you turn to self-medication.
Why do Some People Resort to Self-medication?
As a result of the challenges and failures that we face in life, all of us experience feelings of depression, anxiety, and discord from time to time. However, when feelings of sadness, despair, rage, grief or extreme stress begin to conflict with your ability to function in day-to-day life, this may be an indication that you require assistance for an illness that is more fundamental. However, rather than seeking therapy, it can be tempting to attempt to cope with one’s problems on one’s own in the most straightforward way imaginable, such as by grabbing a drink or taking a pill.
During these times of broad economic and social unrest, many of us have resorted to self-medicate our anxiety and fear as the world seemed to shift from one catastrophe to another.
Some people find that abusing substances is the best way to deal with upsetting memories or feelings brought on by events in their past, such as unsolved traumatic experiences. Others turn to substances like alcohol or narcotics to conquer their fears and keep their attention on the duties at hand throughout the day.
Self-medication can take many forms, just like the reasons people turn to substances like alcohol or drugs when they need some relief can be as diverse as the people who use them.
Methods of Treating Oneself Medically
Due to the ease with which it may be obtained, alcohol is frequently the substance of choice for self-medication, and it is also the substance that is most frequently abused. Although beer, wine, and liquor are depressants and only make symptoms worse, some people use them as a kind of self-medication for stress, sadness, and anxiety.
There is also a widespread availability of medications that require a doctor’s prescription, such as narcotic painkillers, medication for ADHD, and anti-anxiety medication. Their applications can range from reducing discomfort or promoting relaxation to enhancing concentration and vitality.
People often turn to pleasure drugs like marijuana and cannabis, as well as stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines, to cope with unpleasant feelings, experiences, and memories. Their use might lead to the consumption of drugs as well as addiction to them.
People who struggle with emotional eating may turn to food as a kind of self-medication and a means of coping with negative emotions such as stress, worry, or despair. Emotional eating may wreak havoc not only on your waistline but also on your mood because the majority of individuals have a craving for meals that are packed with sugar, cholesterol, and unhealthy fats.
Some individuals who struggle with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can improve their focus by using the nicotine that is found in tobacco products and cigarettes. however, in the long term, nicotine generally makes ADHD symptoms much worse and can make it more difficult to quit smoking.
Indications That You Are Medicating Yourself on Your Own
It is not always simple to recognize when someone is engaging in self-medication. And besides, drinking alcohol is a culturally acceptable aspect of many cultures, taking prescription pills is easy to find in most people’s medicine cabinets, and street drugs like marijuana are now legalized in a lot of locations or are very easy to purchase in those places.
It is vital to investigate the reasons behind your drinking or drug use, as well as the effects that these behaviors are having on your life, to determine whether or not you are engaging in self-medication. For instance, when you take a pain pill, are you doing so because your back hurts, or because you wish to alter how you feel after a hard day at work? Are you taking a drink to socialize with friends or to accompany a meal, or are you attempting to boost your mood or feel less worried so that you can have that drink? Some of the following are indicators that you might be engaging in self-medication:
When You’re Feeling Anxious, Agitated, or Depressed, You Turn to Substances Like Alcohol or Narcotics to Self-medicate
A significant number of us have, at some point in our lives, turned to the use of psychoactive substances as a means of overcoming temporary emotional distress brought on by events such as the termination of a relationship or the termination of a career. But there is a good likelihood that you are self-medicating if you drink or use drugs daily to manage stress, alleviate monotony, enhance how you feel, or prepare yourself for socializing, for instance.
Drugs and Alcohol Causes You to Feel Much Worse
Alcohol and drugs are typically only short-term solutions. When the impacts of the numbing medication wear off, you will probably feel considerably worse than before. Self-medication can hurt your ability to get quality sleep, decrease your levels of energy, and decrease your immune system, which can make you more vulnerable to sickness. As your mood continues to deteriorate and your substance usage continues to rise, both your state of mind and your mental well-being will deteriorate as a direct result of this downward cycle.
It Requires an Increasing Amount of Self-medication to Feel Any Sort of Relief
Now it takes three, four, or possibly even more drinks to achieve the same level of relief from worry and tension that it used to take just one or two drinks to achieve in the past. When your tolerance for alcohol or drugs is higher, you require more of the substance to achieve the same effects as before. Your resistance will keep growing as you proceed to self-medicate, as will the difficulties that are produced by the rising amount of substance use that you are engaging in. You are the only one who can interrupt the cycle by figuring out more productive ways to cope with your issues.
Your Difficulties Continue to Pile Up
You started drinking as a method of dealing with stress, for instance, but now you also have to deal with difficulties relating to your health, your relationships, and your finances. The pressure is making things so much worse. The more you turn to self-medication as a solution to your difficulties, the more issues it brings into your life.
When You Can’t Get Your Hands on Drinks or Drugs, It Gives You Cause for Concern
Are you concerned about how you’ll behave in a social setting when alcoholic beverages won’t be available to you? Do you find that you’re more prone to anxiety when you’re running low on your prescription? Do you find yourself getting antsy while you wait for payday to roll around so you can buy more alcohol or get in touch with your dealer? The more uneasy you feel at the prospect of being removed from the drug of your choice, the higher the likelihood that you are using that substance as a means of self-medicating.
Your Loved Ones Are Concerned About You Because of the Substances That You Consume
Have the individuals who are concerned about you voiced their concern to you about the fact that you appear to be drinking more than you normally do? Or perhaps they’ve picked up on the shifts in your personality, the way you behave, or the circle of people you associate with. Abuse of substances can have repercussions not just for the user but also for those around them. It is simple to disregard the worries of other people or to act as though nothing is wrong. However, it takes a lot of courage to acknowledge that your substance abuse has turned into an issue and listen to the concerns of the people who care about you.