Self-medication refers to the use of alcohol and other drugs to soothe emotional pain and distress. Sometimes this involves the use and abuse of prescription pain medications as well as narcotics and alcohol. Self-medication is important to address, as it can provide valuable insight as you go through alcohol therapy in New York or Princeton.
People who self-medicate most often do so in lieu of traditional or formal treatment, whether that means mental health counseling or treatment for physical ailments. The choice of medication is often rationalized and used in dangerous proportions, as is often the case with an overabundance of alcohol or unsupervised use of prescription pain medications.
Multiple studies, including a recent study based on information collected from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, found that less than five percent of those who self-medicated due to an anxiety problem did not develop a substance abuse disorder later on. This means that more than 95 percent of those who self-medicated developed a problem with alcoholism or drug abuse.
This is a profound number, pointing to the high risk of abuse among those with self-medicating behaviors. Unfortunately, many people do not realize they are engaging in self-medication, or that their habit of doing so is problematic, until it is far too late.
Characteristics of self-medicating behavior include:
- Rationalization of thoughts, like believing that engaging in substance abuse will relieve anxiety, depression or pain.
- Beliefs that substance abuse is the only way to address a health concern.
- Desires to numb pain to hide symptoms rather than address an underlying concern.
Attempts to handle concerns like the ones above with unhealthy habits and hazardous substances can lead to increasingly dangerous side effects and complications that may affect your career, personal life or physical health.
If you are experiencing pain, depression, anxiety or any other concern that requires attention, do not attempt to soothe your pain through self-medication. Speak with a professional about your concerns. With alcohol therapy and drug addiction treatment, Dr. Washton can provide you with personal insight into the underlying causes of your substance abuse habits, and help you develop healthier strategies to cope with the issues you face.