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What Is Self-Medicating?

a woman holds her hand to her chin looking off in the distance thinking about the harm in self medicating

Today, people across the country and here in New Hampshire struggle with substance abuse and addiction. Studies show that drug abuse is often connected to mental health and unprocessed trauma and is often a result of self-medicating. Understanding self-medicating and knowing how to spot the signs of drug abuse can help people know when it’s time to seek treatment.

If you or someone you love is ready for drug abuse treatment in New Hampshire, we can help. At A Better State, we believe in various kinds of substance use treatment. Our trauma-informed clinic helps patients uncover the root cause of addiction and drug abuse for long-term sobriety. Call us now at 781.412.1488 to get started today.

What Is Self-Medicating with Drugs and Alcohol?

Self-medicating is just what it sounds like: using drugs or alcohol as self-soothing. There are many ways that people self-medicate and many reasons someone may turn to drugs or alcohol for relief from physical, mental, and psychological pain. Reasons for self-medicating may include the following:

  • Chronic pain
  • Tolerance to current medication without symptom relief
  • Undiagnosed mental health disorder
  • Unprocessed trauma
  • Stress
  • Strained relationships
  • Emotional pain

These are only a few reasons someone may begin self-medicating with alcohol or drugs. If someone is self-medicating, they may:

  • Use drugs or alcohol routinely before certain obligations like social events
  • Hide drug or alcohol use from loved ones
  • The transition from social drinking or drug use to habitual use
  • Lack of mental health resources
  • Lack of medical resources to adjust medications and provide alternative pain treatments

Unfortunately, a lack of access to mental healthcare and resources for chronic physical pain leads many people to self-medicate. Both drugs and alcohol temporarily relieve mental, physical, and emotional distress. However, the pain will return and worsen when their effects wear off. This leads many people to develop addictions and become dependent on drugs and alcohol.

Is Someone You Love Self-Medicating with Drugs or Alcohol?

Self-medicating is common. Many people will self-medicate at various times in their lives, especially during life transitions like job loss, moving, switching schools, or the death of a loved one. While self-medicating is common, it is also a sign of deeper issues. Dual diagnosis treatment is the safest, most effective way to address the root cause of self-medicating and treat substance abuse or addiction.

Studies show that at least half of people dealing with addiction also have co-occurring mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and bipolar disorder. Dual diagnosis treats both substance abuse and mental health simultaneously for holistic recovery. Many people living with co-occurring conditions also live with unprocessed trauma. A trauma-informed recovery program can help uncover trauma and treat traumatic memory. This can reduce the desire to self-medicate and improve a person’s quality of life.

If you or someone you know is turning to drugs or alcohol for pain relief of any kind, it can be a sign of self-medicating. It’s important to talk to a professional and get support as soon as possible. When left unaddressed, self-soothing with drugs and alcohol can lead to addiction, health problems, and a poor quality of life.

Drug Abuse Treatment for Self-Medicating in New Hampshire at A Better State

Using illicit drugs, taking more medication than prescribed, or relying on alcohol to soothe pain are signs of self-medicating. Like any drug or alcohol use disorder, self-medicating is treatable. If you or someone you love is struggling, our team can help. At A Better State, we believe in treating the root cause of addiction, trauma, and mental health for holistic wellness. Our trauma-informed clinic provides clients various evidence-based treatments and alternative therapies for recovery.

With a range of outpatient treatment programs, our clients enjoy an accessible treatment that fits their busy lives. With drug abuse treatment, mental health programs, and alcohol recovery programs, we have the treatment plan for you. Self-medicating is always a sign of deeper issues. If you or someone you love is self-medicating, don’t quit cold turkey. Contact us today at 781.412.1488 for help.