Most people who begin to self-medicate had good intentions and weren’t even aware they were turning to a substance to cope with negative emotions or anxiety when they first did so. For example, many stressed office workers can relate to never-ending deadlines and emails piling up and having a few drinks to unwind on Friday night. Another common example of letting loose and relaxing after a stressful week would be to light up a joint. Even relying on coffee and cigarettes for energy in the morning is a form of self-medicating. Others turn to substances like benzos for sleep, stimulants to keep them focused and alert, or prescription painkillers to cope with sadness.
While you may have started self-medicating as a way to cope with specific situations, you’ll soon learn it only offers some relief in the short term, and over time it simply makes your problems worse. Although most people have done some form of self-medicating at some point to deal with stress, worry, or grief, practicing self-medication regularly can indicate an underlying mental health disorder like depression or anxiety. Not to mention, administering routine self-medication is a slippery slope that can easily lead to addiction, exacerbated mood disorder symptoms, and increased health problems.
Signs You May Be Self-Medicating & Not Know It
You may have a self-medication problem without even being aware of it. You should examine your motives for drinking or taking drugs (including prescription drugs) and examine the impact they have had on your life.
These are some of the signs you may be self-medicating:
You turn to substances to cope with anxiety, stress, or sadness
If you drink or use drugs to cope with negative emotions, such as to relieve boredom, improve how you feel, or let loose in social situations, this is a definite sign you are self-medicating. While the temporary relief may seem worthwhile, over the course of time, drugs and alcohol used as self-medication ultimately take a toll on your overall health and wellness.
You worry when you don’t have access to your substance of choice
Do you get anxious when you know there’s a social situation on your calendar where alcohol won’t be served? Are you irritable when you don’t get to drink before a party? Do you become anxious about the refill dates on your prescription medications? Do you count the days until your next payday so you can afford to replenish your drug or alcohol supply? The more uncomfortable you feel about being separated from your preferred substance, the higher the likelihood you’re self-medicating. That’s because most people who self-medicate are obsessed with the next time they’ll be able to ease their uncomfortable feelings.
Your loved ones are concerned about your drinking or using
People have expressed worry about how much you consume or the drugs you’ve been using. While you may not take their concerns seriously, you should hear them out.
Has Self-Medication Turned into an Addiction? Contact Mount Sinai Wellness Center for Effective Rehab.
You’re not at the mercy of self-medication. You can learn healthier, more effective coping methods that improve your overall mood and wellbeing rather than relying on drugs or alcohol to change how you feel. It’s not a sustainable long-term method and will only lead to further woes and health problems. You can also take steps like going to a therapist to better understand the reasons that led you to start self-medicating and the situations that trigger you to want to drink or use substances.
If you or someone you know is self-medicating, it’s worthwhile to discuss the subject with a drug rehab specialist sooner rather than later. To contact Mount Sinai Wellness Center to learn more about our drug rehab, please call (800) 353-4673 or contact us online today.