Many individuals often use readily available medications to treat minor injuries or illnesses, such as the flu. But the dangers of self-medicating—especially to deal with stress and treat self-diagnosed mental health issues—far outweigh its benefits. Relying on alcohol and prescription/recreational drugs to cope with life’s challenges, manage chronic pain and treat self-recognized mental health disorders are all forms of self-medication. Instead of improving one’s quality of life, self-medication can worsen one’s condition and permanently damage the mind and body.
What Does It Mean To Self-Medicate?
Self-medication is when individuals take medication, either prescribed or over the counter, without consulting a medical professional. It is not recommended, as individuals can potentially make incorrect assumptions about their ailments and misuse medications that could be harmful to their health. Self-medication can also lead to drug abuse and dependence due to the lack of oversight from a doctor or healthcare professional. People who self-medicate often do so to avoid going to the doctor or because they do not have access to proper medical care.
Self-medication can have serious consequences. In some cases, individuals may need to take certain medications even without consulting with their doctor first; however, this should always be done with caution and only after careful consideration of potential risks and benefits.
Self-medication is never recommended for individuals who are pregnant, have a compromised immune system, or are on other medications, as it can lead to serious complications and drug interactions. It is important for individuals to always speak with their healthcare provider before deciding to self-medicate. This will ensure that they receive the best treatment possible and that they understand the full implications of their actions.
Dangers Of Self-Medicating
Dealing with stress by self-medicating is never a good idea, as it can lead to all sorts of unintended consequences. The dangers of self-medicating include the following:
1. Incorrect Self-Diagnosis
Nowadays, it is very common for people to search their symptoms, read about different conditions online, or take personality quizzes to confirm their worst suspicions. However, those articles and quizzes are not an official diagnosis and are far from reliable. An incorrect self-diagnosis may prompt an individual to buy over-the-counter pills for the wrong illness, thereby worsening one’s symptoms.
2. Adverse Drug Reactions
Before commencing treatment, a series of medical tests and psychological evaluations are performed at a rehab center. Doctors do not administer FDA-approved medications without properly evaluating the client’s case history. Otherwise, it might lead to adverse reactions and unwanted drug interactions that can even put one’s life at risk.
3. Incorrect Dosage
Some folks often misuse their prescription pills by altering the dosage or taking them more frequently than necessary. A pill may have mood-enhancing effects, and the individual may crave more and more of it. Unable to cope with the withdrawal symptoms, they may even turn to recreational drugs and develop an addiction.
4. Worsening One’s Condition
Ultimately, self-medicating doesn’t cure the person but only worsens their symptoms. It might lead to short-term benefits, with long-term negative consequences on one’s physical and mental health. With prolonged use, the initial symptoms worsen, and the individual may develop other co-occurring disorders.
5. Masking Deeper Issues
Those who self-medicate instead of reaching out to their local healthcare provider may be masking deeper issues. They may be in denial, unable to accept that they need professional help and guidance. They might even suffer from acute stress, repressing certain emotions and memories, having unresolved childhood trauma, or facing issues at the workplace or in relationships. A professional treatment program can help unmask the root causes of an illness and adequately address them.
6. Drug Dependence And Addiction
By regularly self-medicating, the person may risk drug dependence and addiction. The body may become tolerant of the substance and crave more of it to feel the same effects. Once the body is chemically dependent on the drug, it may have trouble functioning normally without it, culminating in addiction. Ultimately, self-medicating may result in delays in seeking proper treatment.
The Importance of Getting Professional Help for Self-Medication
With the rising rates of addiction and mental health issues, it is vital to seek professional help when treating self-medication. Professional treatment centers offer a comprehensive approach to recovery that includes education about addiction, helping with lifestyle changes, and providing tools for relapse prevention. It’s important to remember that professional help is not only necessary but also beneficial. Not only does it provide the opportunity to learn more about addiction, but it can also help to build positive coping skills and promote healthier habits.
Additionally, professional addiction treatment centers are often staffed with experienced professionals who are familiar with various types of substance use disorder and can provide invaluable guidance on how best to manage symptoms. For many individuals struggling with self-medication, getting the right kind of help is truly life-saving.
Reach Out To Serenity Grove Recovery For Help And Healing
At Serenity Grove, we believe that lifelong recovery and sobriety are possible for all. As a family-owned residential treatment center, we provide a homely, safe, and comfortable atmosphere for clients to heal and rebuild their lives anew. We offer end-to-end care, including detox, residential and outpatient treatment, and even continuing care services. We also ensure that our clients work with the same compassionate and non-judgmental therapists through all levels of care. It is never too late to seek help. Call us at 844.904.3485 or fill out our online contact form today and take the first step towards a happier life.