Are you or a loved one using drugs or alcohol for self-medication? Self-medication is the act of abusing drugs or alcohol to feel better, usually to relieve the pain or distress brought on by a medical condition. Many people use drugs or alcohol to cope with their deleterious health status rather than getting professional help or counsel. 

For instance, many people dealing with mental health problems like depression or anxiety can turn to drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication to try and reduce or even get rid of their symptoms.

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What is Self-medication?

Self-medication is a strategy that some people use to manage physical discomfort, such as that brought on by an injury. Have you ever been so depressed that you wanted to drink to forget your troubles? Or perhaps your pain was so severe that you took any available medicines from the medical cabinet. Perhaps you’ve taken medicine to calm your nerves when you were feeling really concerned about something. All of those activities are referred to as self-medication. 

Merriam-Webster emphasizes that self-medication is typically done without a clinician’s guidance or assistance.

Dangers Of Self-Medication 

In times of stress, drinking or using drugs is often permitted in our culture. After a difficult day at work, some go out for cocktails or use marijuana to clear their head. This makes self-medication frequently go unnoticed or appear to be a harmless activity. The issue is that it can result in specific side effects such as: 

  1. Instances of self-medicating a mental health issue can result in increased symptoms. For instance, bipolar disorder has been linked to the worsening course of cocaine usage.
  1. The emergence of new mental health conditions: Over time, drug and alcohol intake can alter the structure and operation of the brain. The underlying propensity to develop a mental illness or severe mental health condition, such as psychosis, and impulse-control disorders, can be triggered by these changes. 
  1. The possibility of developing a substance use disorder is perhaps the most visible effect of self-medication. It can lead to a dependency on drugs or alcohol. This is why substance addiction is a prevalent problem among those who have mental health issues. They abuse alcohol and drugs frequently, and eventually, they become dependent on them to feel good and function. Particularly when it comes to a person’s mental and physical health, substance use disorders come with a host of unpleasant symptoms and risks.
  1. Delays in seeking assistance: Substances can conceal the signs of a physical or mental health condition. This may lead to delays in getting the right help which can be deadly if serious problems or diseases are noticed. 
  1. False self-diagnosis: Since self-medication entails using drugs and alcohol personally, the problem cannot be clinically diagnosed. This indicates that many people self-diagnose rather than visit a qualified doctor. 
  1. Dangerous drug interactions or reactions: Many people do not always research the side effects or reactions pills may cause before using them at home. Some people combine different substances, such as alcohol and painkillers, to get the desired result. This can result in serious problems and also lead to severe health challenges.

By Manali