Is Self-Medication Effective When It Comes to Substance Abuse?

The term self-medication is often associated with over-the-counter drugs or similar products. But when used in substance abuse treatment and its related fields, the term can take on a different meaning. If you are currently self-medicating, there are ways around it to ensure you can overcome your substance abuse and find healthy ways to cope with life’s challenges.

In this article, we’ll discuss self-medication and its role in substance use disorders. We’ll also talk about the most common causes of self-medication, and what treatments work to combat it. This way, you can achieve peace of mind knowing that you’re on the road to recovery.

What Is the Context of Self-Medication in Substance Use?

When you self-medicate, you may be using substances to provide temporary relief from something. It’s often linked to mental health-related issues, but there can be other factors. For example, you might use substances to numb physical or emotional pain, or to forget unpleasant experiences. Self-medicating repeatedly to avoid a situation or feeling leads to substance use disorders.

Common Causes of Self-Medication

Addiction treatment centers have identified some of the most common causes of self-medication:

• Depression and Anxiety

Studies have found that substance use and depressive disorders often occur at the same time, concluding that around 25% of patients with depression use drugs to manage feelings of hopelessness and fatigue. Depression can also be linked to increased consumption of alcohol, coffee, or other mood-altering substances. If you are self-medicating due to depression or anxiety, it’s important to seek professional guidance to identify any patterns and find healthy alternatives to ease your feelings. This way, you can avoid sustaining a toxic cycle with regard to your mental health.

• Stress and Chronic Pain

Coping with physical pain from an injury day-in and day-out can be exhausting. Daily heavy stress can also cause physical discomfort and sensations. For example, you may have tightness in your chest, pain in your stomach, or you may suffer from migraines. People experiencing stress or chronic pain often gravitate towards painkillers as a form of relief. As such, it’s important to follow the recommendations of substance use disorder specialists for treatment to address this.

Addressing the Underlying Urges

When you are looking for a substance abuse clinic to begin your recovery, know that one that offers medicated-assisted treatment can help curb the urges of addiction and self-medication. A study on medication-assisted treatment (MAT) states that these specialized medications are effective in regulating brain activity as patients undergo counseling and other psychotherapy treatments. As a result, healthcare providers can develop a relapse prevention plan to ensure your self-medication and substance abuse are under control.

Seek Substance Abuse Treatment at Havertown, PA

Administering medications for yourself to treat various health conditions can lead to relapse and your health getting worse. Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening if you consult with the right medical professionals who are knowledgeable about which medicines can help you address substance abuse while using other methods to complement it. American Treatment Network can offer you relapse prevention plans and other related solutions that can help you control your triggers to maintain your wellbeing. We use evidence-based practices and adhere to the CDC guidelines, enabling our team of medical professionals to care for you effectively. Get the help you need today.


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