Self medicating is the act of self consuming of medication without the advice of a physician and a prescription. The main problem of self medicating is that it can lead to major health problems and has a detrimental consequence on the person and can even lead to addiction.
Reasons People Self Medicate
There varied reasons why people choose to self-medicate. Many people are not even aware that they are self medicating. They self medicate to feel happy and elevate their mood. At times people may self medicate due to the following conditions –
- Depression, stress, loneliness, anxiety
- Chronic Pain
- Sleep Disorders
In addition to the above, self medication can also depend on many other factors such as organizational, personal, and environmental. According to a recent survey by LifeSearch, almost 45% of British People (24 million people approx.) currently use drugs, alcohol, and other medications to self medicate. In addition, about 60% of adults have done it in the past.
Substances and Behaviours People Use to Self Medicate
According to the LifeSearch study, people use the following to self medicate –
- Over the counter medication
- Illegal drugs
Often people combine two or more substances and behaviour in order to self medicate. Most of these people are too embarrassed to ask for help for their condition and decide to self medicate. Also, people may find it convenient, time efficient, and cost effective.
Disadvantages of Self Medication with Alcohol
There are three main sources of self medication –
- Legal Substances – alcohol, caffeine, nicotine
- Illegal Substances – Heroin, Marijuana, Methamphetamine
- Controlled Substances – Prescription medications
Among the above sources, alcohol is the most common self medicating substance. Before we talk about the disadvantages of using alcohol for self medication, let’s discuss a few advantages. Some people can just take a few sips of alcohol and relax after a hard day’s work. Even then, people can easily get into the habit, and it can gradually lead to addiction.
People with a history of addiction or depression can quickly get addicted to alcohol as it offers a momentarily relieved of their anxiety and stress. Also, it often hides the symptoms of serious illnesses or even causes reactions to medications. It is important to consider enrolling in a rehab so that they can get the help they need.
Signs You Might be Self Medicating with Alcohol
Here are a few signs that might be signs that you are self medicating with alcohol for depression or any other issues you might be experiencing –
- You are turning to alcohol every time you feel lonely, angry, depressed, or uncomfortable.
- You are increasing the use of alcohol due to stress in your life, such as the death of a loved one, job loss, divorce, or others.
- You start to feel anxious when you are not taking alcohol.
- You start to feel bad when you are taking alcohol.
- You start to have problems at work or home because of your drinking habits.
- You isolate yourself from people and avoid activities that you use to love before.
- You start to have withdrawal symptoms when you are not drinking.
Lookup for these signs and make sure to get help as soon as possible. Make sure to talk to a professional or look for rehab if you or any of your loved one is showing signs of self medicating with alcohol.