The Dangers of Self-Medication

The dangers of self-medication seep into those cracks between struggle, anxiety, and stress. All of the negativities of life that seem to invite anger, confusion, fear, sadness, and hopelessness might cause us to do anything to feel better. It is so simple to just reach out for a drink of alcohol, take a few pills, or try some other substance that promises a moment of relief. Unfortunately, most people do not understand what coping mechanisms are available that are not negative, so they just stick to what they know.

What is Self-Medication?

When someone uses a substance to treat illness, negativity, or emotional situations without consulting a doctor, they self-medicate. The dangers of self-medication lie in the substances used to relieve negative symptoms. Taking medication without a doctor’s prescription opens the doorway to addiction. Self-medication is a negative coping mechanism.

People gravitate towards what they know, have observed, or what is accessible. For example, young adults may have seen their parents cope with life’s struggles by having some drinks. Others may have observed their parents smoking marijuana to relax. Unfortunately, friends sometimes introduce friends to their leftover drugs for helpful relief. The dangers of self-medication lie in not knowing the difference between negative and positive coping mechanisms.

What’s even more disturbing is that many people just react without thinking. It is essential to reach out for help when life becomes overwhelming. The dangers of self-medication can lead to severe adverse physical and mental deterioration. There is help for those caught up in the harmful coping mechanisms surrounding self-medication.

Methods of Self-Medication

The dangers of self-medication become apparent through the variety of available relief options. The following methods of self-medication are the most common, but many more options are available.

  • Food: emotional eating and binge eating can begin as self-medicating behaviors for those needing a feel-good escape to stress or unhappiness. Most foods involved in emotional eating are unhealthy and can increase body weight, induce physical illness, and defeat mental health by affecting self-image and esteem.
  • Smoking or Nicotine: E-cigarettes and vaping have burst into society as acceptable forms of emotional release. The dangers of self-medication with cigarettes of any kind are difficulty quitting, the hook of some forms’ booming popularity, and no stress relief. Stress may be gone for seconds, but in ten minutes, it’s back.
  • Alcohol: What begins with a glass of wine or a beer after work can escalate to a bottle or a six-pack after work in a short time. Soon the stress looms, and the bottle every other night turns into drinking every day.
  • Prescription medications: Whether a doctor prescribed them and you are adjusting the dosage by taking more or taking someone else’s pills, it’s dangerous. Borrowing a few drugs, offering to buy them from a friend, or any medication misuse can lead to addiction. The dangers of self-medication using medications are often illegal and self-defeating.
  • Recreational and illegal substances: It can happen to you. If you are uninformed about the dangers of self-medication, take a chance to feel better by trying cocaine, marijuana, heroin, or other pharmaceuticals, you are putting yourself at risk. The best option is never to try it the first time. Instead, stick to your guns and call a therapist to help you cope.

The Dangers of Self-Medication

Complications can arise from the dangers of self-medication. Self-medication can result in health risks from incorrect self-diagnosing, wrong medications, drug interactions, and incorrect dosages. Therefore, it is never a good idea to self-prescribe or self-diagnose. The following dangerous situations can arise from self-medication.

  • Misuse of substances
  • Substance dependency and addiction
  • Masking an unknown or undiagnosed medical condition
  • Complications from drug interactions
  • Medical complications from medication

Mental Illness and the Dangers of Self-Medication

Researchers have established that over seven million adults have co-occurring mental and substance abuse disorders. Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are among the most common mental health disorders people experience with a substance use disorder. The dangers of self-medication have often escalated the symptoms of the mental health disorder to an uncontrollable level.

In some instances, the lack of care for the mental illness initiated the self-medicating behavior, and the substance abuse disorder began. The reverse is also true. In either situation, there are options for the treatment of both diseases. People can learn the dangers of self-medication in therapy for substance abuse and mental illness.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can break the cycle. Treatment centers offer detox from abused substances, and therapy can teach healthy and positive coping mechanisms to replace self-medication. However, the dangers of self-medication have far-reaching effects. It takes strength and a desire to invite sobriety and personal growth into your life, but some people can help and support you.

Find Help for Self-Medicating Behaviors in California

For those living in California, there is help for dangerous self-medicating behaviors, substance use disorders, and mental illnesses with Cast Centers. Our exciting, innovative programs can initiate sobriety and plan a treatment solution to the issues you are facing. We invite you to contact us to learn more about what we offer those dealing with self-medication, substance use disorders, and other disorders. Contact us today to begin the self-healing journey through our proven programs.


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