Drugs and alcohol often serve as coping mechanisms for people who have trouble dealing with stress. They’re looking for a way out of their current reality, including issues stemming from past trauma or underlying mental health disorders. Using substances masks the core problems at the root of issues, which means they continue going untreated. At Bayview Recovery Center, we help patients understand how dangerous self-medicating can be. We also emphasize the importance of receiving treatment for the problems that may exacerbate their addiction. To learn about the treatment options available at Bayview Recovery, contact us today at 855.478.3650.
What is Self-Medication?
Self-medicating is the term used to describe the actions of people who use substances as a way of getting past mental or emotional problems. People, places, or events occurring in a person’s environment are called “triggering events.” They could be reminded of a loved one’s death when they see a family eating together. Conversely, they may become reminded of an accident they were in when reading about one in the news.
Turning to drugs or alcohol for self-medication can become a typical response to fighting the anxiety and stress that builds up. It’s in response to additional chemicals produced in the brain that create a fight-or-flight reaction. Some symptoms people experience during that period include:
- Sped-up heart rate
- Heightened blood pressure
- Faster breathing
- Irritableness and restlessness
The temporary relief the substances offer often turns into long-term substance abuse. Childhood trauma and other stressful experiences from the past affect the brain while it is developing, which increases the odds of someone developing an addiction. PTSD from witnessing or experiencing something distressing is also a reason people turn to self-medication.
Self-Medication and Mood Disorders
When people receive treatment for substance abuse, they often discover that they suffer from a mental health disorder. Factors like imbalanced brain chemistry, family genetics, and the environment a person grew up in can lead to problems mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression.
Self-medicating with alcohol and certain drugs helps depress the central nervous system. As a result, the person temporarily receives relief from the symptoms of their disorder.
The Problem With Self-Medication
Substance abuse is only a quick fix when it comes to resolving a person’s problems. In fact, they aren’t much of a fix at all. People often turn to drugs and alcohol more frequently when they fail to address their underlying issues. Individuals fall into a pattern of abuse in their attempts to continue avoiding the emotional fallout caused by their problems.
Constant substance abuse eventually alters your brain chemistry. The centers responsible for regulating emotions, pleasure, motivation, and reward-processing become imbalanced as you form a dependency. Your body craves more of the substances, leading to withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it.
Self-medicating with various substances can cause complications if you’re taking prescription medication or receiving other treatments. You could exacerbate mental health symptoms and become less stable over time.
Getting Proper Treatment for Your Problems
If self-medicating has you in a spiral of substance abuse, Bayview Recovery center may be what you need. Our dedicated staff and medical professionals have years of experience helping people who need help for addiction issues and underlying mental health disorders. You can choose a stay that corresponds to your lifestyle needs.
- Extended care program
- Intensive outpatient program
- Partial hospitalization program
- Aftercare program
- Medication-assisted treatment program
- Dual diagnosis treatment program
Bayview Recovery Center creates a program unique to each client. Our goal is to make sure you receive the kind of treatments and therapies that help you achieve the best recovery outcome. Call Bayview Recovery Center at 855.478.3650 if you need help to break the cycle of self-medication for your issues.