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The Risks of Self Medicating With Drugs and Alcohol 

The Risks of Self Medicating with Drugs and Alcohol

What is Self-Medication?

When facing physical or mental health challenges, many individuals instinctively seek remedies or ways to alleviate their discomfort. While consulting a medical professional is often the standard course of action, it’s not uncommon for some individuals to resort to self-medication, especially when dealing with persistent or overwhelming pain, anxiety, or depression. Self-medication, particularly with drugs or alcohol, is an attempt to manage or suppress these symptoms without professional guidance.

The dangers of self-medication extend beyond mere inefficacy. Engaging in such behaviors often leads to more harm than relief. Consuming substances without proper guidance, or in amounts not prescribed, can have unintended side effects, exacerbate the original ailment, and even pave the way for addiction. Over time, this form of coping can evolve into a full-blown substance use disorder, as the individual becomes increasingly reliant on these substances to function or feel “normal.”

The cycle of self-medication and its escalating risks highlight the critical need for early intervention and specialized care. Drug or alcohol dependency is not a sign of weakness but a complex issue requiring specialized treatment. Facilities like drug rehab Costa Mesa provide the structured environment and professional expertise needed to address both the addiction and any underlying mental or physical health challenges. By seeking help at the right time, individuals can reclaim control over their lives and embark on a healthier path toward recovery.

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

Signs Someone is Self-Medicating

If you have concerns that your friend, loved one, or you, yourself may be struggling with the process of self-medication, there are several signs and symptoms that you should be on the lookout for. Some examples include: 

  • Problems maintaining relationships with friends or family members 
  • Difficulties when it comes to seeing to work responsibilities 
  • Anti-social behavior 
  • Defending your substance abuse 
  • Problems with money 

Keep in mind that a top-rated treatment facility will always provide you with access to the tools and resources that you need as you begin to make these important changes in your life or if you simply have questions or concerns regarding addiction recovery. 

Risks of Self-Medication With Drugs and Alcohol

There are countless risks associated with self-medication using drugs and alcohol. First and foremost, there is always the possibility that you can accidentally overdose from a deadly combination of these substances. When you abuse prescription medication or when you drink to access it, you put yourself in a particularly dangerous situation. There is always the possibility that you may lose track of how much you have drunk or how many drugs you have taken. In turn, you may continue to take more which could ultimately lead to serious health consequences such as death. 

Effects of Self Medication and Co-Occurring Disorders

There is a common misconception that self-medication will actually better help you to manage mental health issues as well as substance abuse problems that you may have. The reality is that when you try to take this approach, you may actually be hurting yourself more than helping. Over time, your body will begin to crave more of the addictive substance. For instance, if you are drinking alcohol just to cope, the small amount of alcohol that you may have drunk toward the beginning of your addictive behaviors simply won’t cover it anymore. In turn, you may turn to illegal drugs as a way to be able to numb yourself. As your drug or alcohol dependence continues to escalate, you put yourself in a position of not only developing a serious addiction but exacerbating your mental health issue concerns. You may feel more anxious and more depressed as time goes on. The only way for you to address a mental health problem or a co-occurring disorder is through partnering with an experienced addiction treatment team.  

There is also the strong possibility that the more that your addiction begins to set in, you may experience general health issues. Often, when addiction takes hold, everything else goes to the wayside. Therefore, you may not take care of yourself in ways that you should. 

Getting Help for Self-Medication

When you’re ready to address your substance abuse, there are several steps that you can take to tackle this disease. One of the first things to consider is whether or not you should first commit to a detox program. Drug or alcohol detox can help to remove the influence of these substances from your mind and your body. Once you have developed an addiction, your body will begin to crave your substance of choice within just a few hours from the time that you stop taking it. Drugs and alcohol detox ensures that you have the around-the-clock care that you need as you begin to experience withdrawal symptoms which can make it impossible for you to care for yourself and could be potentially deadly. It’s important to remember that you may experience one specific symptom or a multitude of symptoms during this stretch of time. 

Once you complete your drug or alcohol detox program, you can then focus on putting together an addiction treatment plan that will help you to address other aspects of your substance abuse. Here are some examples of treatment programs that you can work through during your time in addiction treatment: 

Partial hospitalization program 

A partial hospitalization program provides you with the around-the-clock care that you experienced during the time that you were in a drug or alcohol detox program. During partial hospitalization, you will have unlimited access to your recovery team. They will also help you to address a mental health issue that may have been undiagnosed in the past as well as your drug or alcohol addiction. One of the best features of this type of treatment program is the fact that you will have the opportunity to live on the campus of the treatment facility that you select. This allows you to remove the negative influences that may be impacting your sobriety and help you to focus on the steps that you need to take in order to tackle your addiction. 

Intensive outpatient program 

An intensive outpatient program is something that is often used as a step-down program for clients that recently completed a partial hospitalization program. It can also be used by a client that may be working or going to school part-time which can put you in a better position when it comes to your overall recovery. An intensive outpatient program is more flexible in comparison to a partial hospitalization program but still provides you with a sense of structure that you need as you begin to work through your addiction treatment program. 

General outpatient program 

A general outpatient program offers the most flexibility when it comes to an addiction treatment program. This is an ideal option for a person that may be working or going to school full time. This program will make you feel as though you do not need to choose between your time in treatment or these other important responsibilities in your life. 

Regardless of the treatment program that you select, you will also participate in different forms of therapy as a way for you to overcome the root cause of your addiction. Although therapy is something that can feel awkward or overwhelming at times, it will help you to battle back against some of the traumas that you may have experienced during your life that contributed to your addiction. Some of the examples of therapy that you  may experience during treatment include: 

  • Individual therapy 
  • Group therapy 
  • Behavioral therapy 
  • Trauma based therapy 
  • Family therapy 

When you first reach out to your treatment facility of choice, you will have the opportunity to ask any of the questions or concerns that you have regarding not only therapy but also the treatment programs, in general, to ensure that you feel 100% comfortable. 

Resurgence Drug and Alcohol Rehab

The Resurgence Behavioral Health team focuses on providing you with the tools and resources that you need to overcome your addiction to a drug or alcohol once and for all. Regardless of whether you were using self-medication as a way to combat depression or anxiety or you were trying to manage your posttraumatic stress disorder, you can take comfort in the fact that our team will always go the extra mile to ensure that we provide you with the care and support that you need as you begin to make these changes in your life. Our team spends time with you to learn more about what may have led to addiction. We believe that it’s imperative that we understand how every individual feels when they come to our treatment facility regardless of whether you opt to commit to an intensive outpatient program or a partial hospitalization program. For more information about what you can expect when you come to our facility for an alcohol and drug addiction treatment plan, please get in touch with us at (855) 458-0050.

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

Alexa Iocco

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