There are millions of people who use prescription and illicit drugs or alcohol in order to self medicate. Many individuals do not realize how dangerous it is, while others simply continue the behavior in spite of the risks. It is extremely important to understand what happens when you self medicate and the risks of continuing to do it. There are alternatives. Addiction treatment and other therapeutic services are available in order to help you properly deal with the issues that you are self medicating for.
What Is Self-Medication?
Self-Medication happens when a person decides to abuse drugs or alcohol in response to problems they are facing in their lives. People may be self medicating in order to handle a variety of difficult situations. These could include abusive homes, issues at work, toxic relationships, and other highly stressful situations.
For instance, someone may drink alcohol following a fight with their partner in order to calm down. They may use drugs when they are depressed or anxious. Another common scenario is for people to use drugs or alcohol in order to cope with social anxiety before an event.
No matter what the reason is, it’s important to understand the implications and consequences for self medicating.
What Are The Forms Of Self Medicating?
There are a multitude of ways an individual can self medicate. A highly common substance for self medicating is alcohol. Marijuana is also popularly used to calm stress and anxiety. Opiates are also statistically more likely to be abused as well.
People don’t just self medicate with drugs and alcohol. Some may turn to food, sex, or gambling. Technically, anything can be used as a form of self-medication, but some forms are much more dangerous than others.
What Happens When You Self-Medicate?
Self medicating with alcohol and drugs can lead to physical dependence. In the beginning, the substance may provide relief and positive results. Individuals often feel like they have control over the frequency and amount of intake of the drug. However, it is important to understand that drugs and alcohol can take control over your life very quickly. As tolerance builds, you will need a higher amount of drugs or alcohol in order to get the feeling that you are seeking.
If you decide to continue to use drugs and alcohol, you may begin to lose control over your use. Consequently, this will begin to cause problems and the drugs will fail to provide relief. An early sign of addiction is if you begin to take more drugs or alcohol due to tolerance levels building. Long term drugs and alcohol usually worsen the stress or difficulties in your life instead of helping them. For example, someone may drink to feel happier, but end up struggling with depression instead.
What Are The Dangers Of Using Alcohol And Drugs To Cope?
A lot of people don’t see any harm with self medicating with alcohol and drugs. They may rationalize it and say they are trying to relax or come up with other excuses. Unfortunately, many people fail to understand the dangers of self medicating. The number one danger is becoming dependent on drugs and alcohol. People eventually can no longer function without the substance they are using for self medicating.
Once a person becomes physically or mentally dependent on a substance, they will reach for it whenever a problem comes up in their lives. Dependency can easily lead to an addiction.
Signs Of Self-Medicating
The negative consequences of self medicating normally do not begin right away. Usually the harm happens overtime, but there are signs to look for:
- A person reaches for substances anytime they feel negative emotions
- They obsess over if they will have access to their substance of choice
- They make sure to plan to have enough of their substance of choice
- Self medicating begins to interfere with their ability to participate in commitments and responsibilities
- Friends and family begin to notices changes in behavior and express concern
Another indicator of self medicating is if the person is already struggling with a prior mental health diagnosis. Dual diagnosis is a term that is used in order to diagnose individuals who struggle with both addiction and mental health disorders. Often, those struggling with their mental health use substances in order to cope with the symptoms of their diagnosis.
This particular situation is extremely challenging. Self medicating can actually lead to an exacerbation of the mental illness symptoms. It also increases the risk of an addiction developing. Furthermore, the symptoms will overlap causing a diagnosis to be more difficult to ascertain.
Treatment For Self Medication
If you or your loved one have been self medicating with drugs or alcohol, then it is important to understand that treatment is available. There are healthier options for handling the difficulties that you are trying to cope with by turning to drugs or alcohol.
You are able to get the treatment that you need at The Healing Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Our treatment program gives you the tools you need in order to deal with life stressors and anxiety. If your self medicating has turned into an addiction, then we will provide you with the proper treatment to address the addiction as well.
If necessary, we can connect you to a detox program and then enroll you into one of our treatment programs. We offer medication assisted treatment, western therapeutic modalities, and holistic treatment options. We take the time to tailor each of our clients’ treatment plans to their own personal needs. For example, if you are struggling with both an addiction and mental health disorder we normally encourage our clients to focus heavily on therapy in order to address and learn to cope with their diagnosis.
The Healing Center offers multiple levels of care. We have a partial hospitalization program, intensive outpatient program, and outpatient program in order to suit your needs the best. Our program includes group therapy, case management, psychiatry, and individual counseling. The goal of our program is to give you the tools that you need in order to cope with life without self medicating.
How To Find Help In Fort Lauderdale, FL
It is possible to find new ways of coping without drugs and alcohol. You do not need to continue to self medicate in an unhealthy way. Contact our admissions team today in order to take the next steps towards healing. Our team is here to answer all of your questions and walk you through the start of your recovery journey.