Does Self-Medication Occur Often?
When we’re in the midst of chaos, it may feel like we’ll do nearly anything to make it go away. The stress becomes too much, or our emotions become extremely overwhelming, and we’re looking for a way out – even if we don’t realize it. For many years, self-medication has been considered a potential pathway to addiction. If someone is feeling anxious, depression, extremely stressed, or is dealing with symptoms of a mental illness, the theory posits they may turn to alcohol or other drugs to help them feel temporary relief from what is bothering them. A clear example of this may be a person who struggles with severe anxiety and develops alcoholism over time as they have found that alcohol makes them more relaxed.
It may seem as though self-medication is effective – and while it can provide some temporary measurement of comfort – experts note that it can also worsen initial symptoms over time; it can even increase a person’s risk for developing new symptoms related to mental illness or symptoms that have stemmed from addiction. As a review published in the Journal of Basic and Clinical Pharmacy notes, awareness is a key factor in self-medication, and it’s safe to say that not nearly as many people are aware that they self-medicate as the number of people who likely do.
In 2015, researchers published a study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence that assessed trauma exposure of men and women alongside tobacco use disorders and alcohol use disorders (AUDs). They found that over the course of 12 months, there were major patterns of co-occurrence regarding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), smoking, and AUDs. An unfortunate outcome of this, as the study found, was the negative effects of these occurrences on mental and physical health and overall functioning.
While self-medication may not be part of everyone’s story, there are many people who have experienced it. If you feel you may be struggling with self-medication, speak with someone from a reputable treatment center today. Now is the time to focus on your utmost healing and comfort.
The mission of The Beach House is to provide success in the recovery process and elevate the standard of comprehensive addiction treatment. Located right on the coast of Malibu, California, expert clinical care and a holistic view of the recovery process is provided to ensure Best-in-Class treatment tailored to the needs of each client. If you’re ready to start your recovery journey today, call us at 310-924-0780.
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