Self-medication is a term used when someone attempts to cope with a problem or suppress symptoms of a mental illness through use of substances. An example of this would be a person with social anxiety disorder (SAD) abusing alcohol in order to become more relaxed around others. Self-medication is quite common among people with mental illnesses, especially when those people haven’t yet been diagnosed with a mental illness. Using drugs and/or alcohol may seem to provide some short-term relief, but the reality is that this method can only cause problems in the long-run. If you’ve been using substances to deal with your mental illness, you need to speak with someone from a reputable treatment center today.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Mental Health involved in-depth interviews with 10 participants who had recently been referred to a Community Mental Health Center. The interviews involved questions related to recovery and what those individuals do to help themselves. Several participants mentioned the use of alcohol, cannabis, or other illegal drugs to self-medicate, but listed this option as only providing temporary relief. One participant stated,
“The bottle simply helps me…but it is only a temporary relief and after a while things get worse anyway.”
What steps should you take then, if self-medication isn’t the best option? Participants from the study described several ways to cope with their mental illness while undergoing treatment:
- Re-discovering personal strengths and finding hope
- Empowerment – view oneself as a change agent capable of choosing, initiating, doing, and accomplishing things in the world
- Building one’s resiliency by practicing engagement with others, self-efficacy, and finding a sense of meaning
- Engaging in activities that serve purpose and fulfillment, such as physical exercise, listening to music, being with animals, etc.)
Having a structured program is essential to recovery because it guides you on the path you need to get your life back. From the start, you have complete control over your recovery path and can utilize the tools you’ve learned to help you succeed. Life only gets better when you take the proper steps towards making it so.
Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.