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Self-Medication and Addiction

When someone self-diagnoses an issue and implements a solution of drug or alcohol use, that’s a form of self-medication. In the case of a minor illness or injury, medical treatment from a healthcare provider isn’t necessary. However, if the condition is severe or chronic, individuals run the risk of experiencing self-medication and addiction.

What is Self-Medicating and Addiction?

Self-medication means individuals are using home remedies, over-the-counter or prescription drugs, or herbs without consulting a physician. They’re taking this initiative without receiving any professional advice first. In some cases, they may be using illegal substances. Some practice self-medication routinely as a means of maintaining their physical and mental health. For example, if you experience a minor injury, you can self medicate instead of seeing a doctor. However, that blurs the line between self-medication and addiction. The main reason is that, if you’re using medications improperly or too much, that could cause dependence and a spiral into addiction.

The Dangers of Self-Medicating

Even though it’s common to use self-medicating means to treat minor illnesses and injuries, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come without dangers. If you’re self-medicating to treat mental health issues, for example, that has many risks. Those include:

  • Adverse reactions could occur
  • Delays in seeking proper treatment or appropriate advice
  • Diagnosing yourself incorrectly
  • The condition might worsen
  • The potential for drug interactions
  • The risk of self-medication and addiction

It is fairly common to see someone self-medicating a mental health disorder with drugs or alcohol. Alcohol commonly misunderstood to help depression when, in fact, it compounds the issue. Proper intensive outpatient mental health treatment is needed for disorders like depression and anxiety.

Self-Medication and Addiction

You’ll find many types of self-medications, including using food or other substances. Individuals turn to these things as a way of self-soothing when feelings of anxiousness or stress present themselves. Here are examples of the types of self-medication you might see:

  • Alcohol: Using drugs and alcohol is a common type of self-medication, as well as the most dangerous.
  • Caffeine and cigarettes: People often use caffeine and cigarettes together to achieve the soothing effect they’re seeking. If they feel non-functional without these things, it’s time to examine intake.
  • Central nervous system depressants: Individuals who are self-medicating for ADHD turn to central nervous system depressants to help induce relaxation and drowsiness.
  • Food: It’s challenging to determine if a person is self-medicating with food because we have to eat daily. However, if someone puts on a significant amount of weight in a short period, they’re likely experiencing self-medication and addiction.
  • Marijuana: Using marijuana is a common substance for those suffering from depression or other mental health issues.
  • Stimulant drugs: Those who are self-medicating for anxiety or other mental health issues turn to amphetamines or cocaine for relief.
  • Video games: When individuals play video games so excessively that they neglect everything else in their life, that could be a form of self-medication.

How Does Self-Medicating Contribute to Addiction?

According to the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America), nearly twenty percent of Americans suffering from anxiety or mood disorders also suffer from alcoholism or drug abuse. Turning to alcohol, drugs, or other substances might be a beacon when individuals are experiencing stress or other forms of pain. Turning to these substances causes long-term issues in addition to the reason for self-medicating. These issues could include health problems, the loss of relationships, and experiencing poor coping skills. That’s where self-medication and addiction might present itself.

Finding Addiction Treatment

While not all forms of self-medication are dangerous, there are some precautions you must take. For example, if you’re treating a serious ailment or injury, you run the risk of self-medication and addiction if you misuse a substance or use it for too long. Renaissance Recovery provides addiction and mental health treatment to stop self-medication problems.

The following programs can help relieve the underlying reasons for self-medicating:

If you or someone you know is self-medicating and you have concerns, contact Renaissance Recovery by calling [Direct] for help.

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Renaissance Recovery Coronavirus Policy Update

As the national pandemic continues to make it increasingly difficult for individuals to receive quality aftercare, The District Recovery Community & Renaissance Recovery has provided a solution to all those seeking long term care. We are proud to announce that we will be offering all aspects of our treatment including intimate groups, one on one therapy, and case management to individuals in all states from the comfort and safety of your home. This is a great option for clients that are in need of continued treatment, but are returning home to be with their families during this time.

The District Recovery Community and Renaissance Recovery will remain in operation during this time and continue to serve our mission of treating those suffering from alcoholism and addiction.

We encourage you all to reach out to learn more about how we can work together to ensure that our clients remain sober, safe, and continue to get the help that they need.