self medicating

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), self-medication is defined as “the selection and use of medicines by individuals (or a member of the individuals’ family) to treat self-recognized or self-diagnosed conditions or symptoms.” There can be benefits to safe and responsible self-medication, like accessing the medication when needed and relieving pain on demand. However, the risks of self-medication can be even greater. Risks include misdiagnosis, not seeking medical help sooner, negative reactions to the drug, life-threatening reactions to mixing drugs and other medications, incorrect dosage and administration of the drug, and of course, developing a dependence on the drug that leads to substance abuse. 

Self-medication is common when dealing with a co-occurring mental health disorder. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse and/or a mental health disorder, seek treatment at a dual diagnosis program like the one we offer at Solution Based Treatment & Detox. Our treatment team can answer any questions you have to make an educated treatment decision. Contact Solution Based Treatment & Detox in Murrieta, CA, to learn more about our addiction recovery center by calling 833.999.1941.

Risks of Self-Medicating

Self-medicating can lead you down an unhealthy path. A dependence on drugs or alcohol quickly leads to substance abuse. A variety of physical and psychological conditions come along with chemical dependence. These include: 

  • Trouble concentrating 
  • Becoming distant from family and friends 
  • Avoiding social activities
  • Insomnia or changes in sleeping habits
  • Dramatic changes in weight 
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Severe depression
  • Incessant fear, worry, anxiety
  • Major mood swings 
  • Suicidal thoughts

Co-occurring Disorders

Prior to the 1990s, if you suffered from co-occurring disorders, you would have been treated separately for each disorder. Medical professionals now agree that treatment should be integrated for all the existing substance use and mental health conditions. In a dual diagnosis situation like this, any one of the disorders can come first and potentially lead to the other because of self-medication or other factors. 

There are many challenges of a dual diagnosis. No one likes to admit that they have an addiction or mental health condition and need help. This is why many people ignore their problems and turn to self-medicating instead of seeking help. Even with the challenges of a dual diagnosis, treatment is possible, and it’s effective. 

The challenges of a dual diagnosis include:

  • Denial: people don’t like to admit they have a problem.
  • High risk: the added pressures of treating multiple disorders create a higher risk of suicide.
  • Longer treatment time: more than one disorder means possibly doubling up on treatment time.
  • Getting to the root cause: doing the work to dig deep and re-experience some of your darkest times is not appealing to anyone. 

Other challenges of a dual diagnosis include:

  • Potential misdiagnosis of a substance use disorder as a mental health disorder or vice versa
  • Triggers brought on by environmental factors 
  • Serious medical conditions that arise because of the disorders’ effects on the body 
  • Emotional effects -like stress and anxiety – caused by either or both conditions
  • Risk of relapse
  • The temptation to continue to self-medicate

Contact Solution Based Treatment to Learn More About Rehab Options

Don’t feel like you are out of options when it comes to dealing with substance use or mental health disorder. Treating addiction and mental health concerns together is the best way to address a co-occurring disorder. Self-medicating is never the answer, and our caring and professional treatment team are on call to answer your questions and help you get the treatment you need.

At SBT, we offer treatment programs that focus on healing the mind, body, and soul. These programs include:

Call our team at 833.999.1941 today to learn more.

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