When we feel our lowest, it’s only natural to want to make ourselves feel better. But for those struggling with mental health, self-medicating can do more harm than good.
Northpoint Washington is a mental health and substance abuse treatment facility that understands the dangers of self-medicating and is here to help. Call us at 425.437.3298 to learn more about our alcohol rehab in Washington can make a difference for you or your loved one.
What Is Self-Medicating?
Self-medicating is using drugs, alcohol, or other substances to treat a mental or physical health problem without the supervision of a medical professional. People who self-medicate often try to cope with difficult emotions or situations they feel they cannot handle on their own.
While self-medicating can provide temporary relief from symptoms, it can also lead to serious, long-term problems. Substance abuse and addiction are major risks associated with self-medication. When people self-medicate, they are more likely to develop tolerance, meaning they need to use more and more of the substance to get the same effect.
Self-medicating can also worsen the underlying mental or physical health problem. For example, if someone is self-medicating to cope with anxiety, they may find that their anxiety worsens over time.
Self-Medicating With Alcohol
Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances in the world. It is also one of the most easily accessible, which makes it a common choice for people who self-medicate.
While drinking alcohol can lead to short-term relaxation, it is a central nervous system depressant. This means that it can make anxiety and other mental health problems worse in the long run. Additionally, alcohol abuse can lead to liver damage, heart disease, and cancer.
Self-medicating with alcohol is not only dangerous, but it can be deadly. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, please seek professional help.
Risk Factors for Self Medication
Several factors can increase a person’s risk for self-medicating. These include:
- Mental health disorders – Mental health disorders are the most common reason people self-medicate. Anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can lead people to self-medicate to relieve their symptoms.
- Stressful life events – Difficult life events such as job loss, divorce, or the death of a loved one can trigger self-medicating behaviors.
- Family history – A family history of substance abuse or mental illness can increase a person’s risk for self-medicating.
- Early exposure to drugs or alcohol– Early exposure to drugs or alcohol can make a person more likely to self-medicate later in life.
Life can be difficult, and sometimes we all need a little help to get through tough times. But it’s important to remember that self-medicating is not a safe or effective way to cope with problems. If you’re struggling, contact a mental health professional for help.
Signs and Symptoms of Self-Medicating
Several signs and symptoms may indicate that someone is self-medicating. These include:
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Isolating from friends and family
- Loss of interest in activities
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in appetite
If you are concerned that someone you know is going through this difficult time, it is important to talk to them about your concerns. Self-medicating can lead to serious, long-term problems, and professional help can ensure that the person gets the treatment they need.
How to Help Someone Who Is Self-Medicating: Northpoint Washington
If you are concerned that someone you know is self-medicating, you can do a few things to help. First, try to have a conversation with the person about your concerns. It’s important to be respectful and non-judgmental when having this conversation.
If the person is unwilling to talk to you or you’re worried about their safety, you can reach out to a professional for help. Northpoint Washington’s substance abuse and mental health treatment professionals can help you address the underlying causes of your self-medicating and develop healthy coping skills.
Reach out for help at 425.437.3298.