Self Medicating: The Signs and Risks

When you’re feeling low, it can be tempting to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. However, while these substances may provide temporary relief, they ultimately make your problems worse in the long run.

If you’re struggling with depression or anxiety, it’s important to seek professional help instead of trying to manage your condition on your own. Many effective treatment options can help you overcome difficulties and live happier lives.

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What Is Self Medicating?

Self-medicating is using drugs or alcohol to cope with negative emotions or to self-treat an underlying mental health condition. Many people who struggle with substance abuse disorders began using substances to cope with difficult life circumstances or trauma.

Over time, this can lead to addiction and further complicate mental health issues. Self-medicating can be extremely dangerous and is often a sign that someone needs professional help. If someone is self-medicating, it’s crucial to get professional help right away.

Why Do People Self-Medicate?

There are several reasons why people may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with inconvenient life circumstances. Some people may self-medicate to relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions.

Others may use substances to cope with trauma or complex life events. Some people may use drugs or alcohol recreationally and then find that they need to use more and more to get the same feeling. This can lead to addiction and further complicate mental health issues.

Whatever the reason someone is self-medicating, it’s important to remember that using drugs or alcohol is never a healthy way to cope with problems.

Signs Of Self Medication

Many signs may indicate someone is self-medicating. If you see any of the following signs, it’s essential to seek professional help:

  • Feeling restless or agitated.
  • Worrying when you’re not able to use your substance
  • Using substances or alcohol as a coping mechanism
  • Find yourself using more and more of your time and money, and focus on substance use
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • You feel worse after the substance’s effects wear off regarding your mood, physical comfort, and sense of well-being.
  • Increased anxiety and depression symptoms
  • Using drugs or drinking not because you enjoy it but because you feel like you have to
  • Changes in appetite or sleeping habits
  • Isolating oneself from friends and family
  • Excessive mood swings
  • Defiance of authority figures
  • Risk-taking behaviors
  • Problems at work or school

Types Of Self Medication

There are many types of self-medication, as people can use substances for different reasons. Some people may use drugs or alcohol to cope with anxiety or depression, while others may use it to numb emotional pain.

It’s important to note that there is no single cause for self-medication, as each person experiences different things in their life that may lead them or to use substances.

Some common types of self-medication include:

  • Using drugs or alcohol to cope with anxiety or depression
  • Using substances to numb emotional pain
  • Using substances to escape from reality or stressful situations
  • Using drugs or alcohol to improve focus or concentration
  • Using substances to relax or feel more comfortable in social situations.

If you are concerned about your behavior, please contact a mental health professional for help.

The Risks Of Self Medicating

The Risks Of Self Medicating

Self Medicating with Alcohol, people often do not realize the risks associated with their behavior. Self-medicating can be extremely dangerous, leading to addiction and further complicating mental health issues.

Looking for professional help if you are self-medicating is important, as this can be very dangerous and harmful to your health. There are many risks associated with self-medicating, including:


When people use drugs or alcohol to cope with negative emotions or mental health conditions, they often develop drug and alcohol abuse. This can be extremely dangerous, as addiction can lead to a variety of health problems like mental health disorder and self-medicating depression.

Further, Complicate Mental Health Issues

Self-medicating can often make mental health conditions worse. It can be difficult to treat mental illness when someone is also abusing drugs or alcohol.

Damaged Relationships

Using drugs or alcohol to cope with problems can damage relationships with friends and family members. It can be difficult for people close to someone self-medicating to understand why they are doing this and how to help them.

Dangerous Behaviors

Self-medicating people may engage in risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence or participating in unsafe sex. These behaviors can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening.

Delay Or Prevent You From Seeking Help

Self-medicating can prevent you from seeking professional help for your mental health condition. It can be challenging to address mental health issues while abusing drugs or alcohol.

Developing Alcohol Use Disorder

People who self-medicate with alcohol are at a higher risk of developing alcohol use disorder. This condition can be extremely dangerous, leading to health problems and potentially death.

How To Get Help For Self Medication

If someone is struggling with self-medication, there are many resources available to help. Here are some places to get started:

Mental health professionals

A therapist or counselor can help you address the underlying causes of your self-medicating behavior.

Support groups

Many support groups are available for people going through self-medication, substance abuse, and mental health issues.

Treatment centers

If you are struggling with addiction, many treatment centers are available to help you recover.

Self-help books and articles

Many self-help resources can help you address mental health issues and substance abuse.


Therapy can be an effective treatment for self-medication and other mental health conditions.

Friends or family members

Talking to friends or family about your struggles can be helpful. They may be able to offer support and understanding.


Self-medicating is a term used for when someone takes drugs or alcohol to try and manage their mental health issues. It can be very dangerous, complicate mental health issues, damage relationships, and lead to drug abuse or alcohol abuse.

If you are self-medicating, please seek help from a professional. It is nothing to be embarrassed about if you need assistance.