Does a difficult day at the job result in you heading out to the bar? Or maybe drama at home causes you to take a few puffs from a joint? While it may seem like a normal solution to stressful circumstances, this is not the case. The truth is that self-medicating can actually lead to serious dependency on drugs, alcohol, or prescribed medications. Dependency can ultimately lead to addiction.
Self-medicating is the act of using drugs, alcohol, or prescription drugs as a means for dealing with difficult situations. Those scenarios can be anything from relationship and financial issues to mental health issues and physical injuries.
Individuals who choose to resolve the matter by drinking, using drugs, or taking more than the prescribed dosage of medication can quickly find themselves addicted to these substances. In instances of substance abuse or addiction, seeking help from rehab recovery centers like Sandy’s Place is the most efficient solution.
Ways to Tell if You’re Self-Medicating
Now that you have a better understanding of what self-medicating is, let’s take a look at some signs that you’ve started doing this yourself:
- You Utilize Substances When You’re Stressed, Angry, or Anxious
There are occasions in which you just need to drown your troubles away. You might have a glass of wine if you’ve just had a busy day – which is completely fine. Self-medicating comes into play when you begin to do this regularly. If you’ve reached the point that you need drugs, alcohol, or medication, every time you’re faced with a situation that causes you to get upset, anxious, or stress, then Houston, you have a problem.
- Your Mood and/or Mental Health Worsens When You’re Under the Influence
Self-medicating for prolonged periods of time can result in substance abuse. Over time, substance abuse can really wreak havoc on your physical and mental well-being. Many who abuse substances find that the moods they were trying to alter are a lot harder to control. They also notice physical changes like the inability to sleep or eat which could ultimately result in more negative feelings and changes in mood.
- Your Health, Personal/Professional Life, and Finances are Out of Order
When you begin abusing substances it creates a downward spiral of negative consequences. Ongoing substance abuse can lead to increased issues with:
- Personal relationships – you begin to isolate yourself from those you love as your abuse and/or addiction worsens.
- Professional relationships – lack of focus and the inability to concentrate begins to affect your workplace performance.
- Physical Health – decreased sleep, poor eating habits, lack of focus, physical aches and pains, and a decreased immune system can often be the result of substance abuse and self-medicating.
- Deteriorating mental health – substances such as alcohol can have serious effects on your mental health. This includes confusion, lack of focus, inability to concentrate, increased stress, anxiety, or depression
- Financial Struggles – the cost of maintaining substance abuse can become overwhelming
- Doctors, Friends, and Family Members Address Concerns
Likely the strongest piece of evidence that you’ve started self-medicating and abusing substances is when others approach you on the matter. When those closest to you begin telling you they’ve noticed a change in your drinking or drug habits that’s usually a clue
that you need to get help. Since they know you better than anyone else, they are often able to give you a sincere opinion from the outside looking in. Similarly, if your doctor starts noticing changes in your health and brings up the possibility of you abusing drugs and alcohol, you need to address the matter head on.
Life does not always go as we’d like it to. In fact, it can get downright stressful at times. Be that as it may, it is important that you don’t begin to cope with some of life’s happenstances by self-medicating. While it may seem like the fastest solution in the beginning, it can quickly lead to substance abuse and addiction. If you or someone you know has been self-medicating, seek help from a counselor or recovery center right away.