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Am I Self-Medicating to Handle Anxiety?

Anxiety affects millions of people in the United States every day. In order to cope, many people will turn to substances like drugs and alcohol. This form of “self-medicating” can be highly dangerous and even make anxiety worse.

What Does “Self-Medicating” Mean?

A 2018 study in Wiley Depression and Anxiety defines self-medication as “the self‐reported use of alcohol or drugs to help cope with feelings of depression or anxiety.” The study points to the high rate of co-morbidity of mood and anxiety disorders with substance use disorders (SUDs).

Self-medication may also be common in those who have experienced trauma or struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The idea is that drugs or alcohol will curb the effects of these conditions. In actuality, self-medication can exacerbate these issues, making them even worse.

Dangers of Self-Medicating

According to Current Drug Safety, potential risks of self-medication practices can include incorrect self-diagnosis, adverse reactions, dangerous drug interactions, incorrect choice of therapy, masking a severe disease, and risk of dependence and abuse. Self-medication can also prevent you from getting actual medical advice when needed.

Instead of having a controlled prescription to handle anxiety, you may need to rely on street drugs that aren’t always easy to obtain. This can put you at risk of serious medical complications, overdose, seizure, and even death.

Signs and Symptoms of Self-Medicating

The symptoms of self-medication are similar to that of traditional substance use. If you feel like you need drugs or alcohol to feel “normal,” you may be self-medicating. Another sign is needing more and more substances to cope with anxious feelings. You may build up a tolerance, or anxiety symptoms could worsen because of self-medication.

Finding Treatment

In order to stop the dangerous practice of self-medicating, it’s important to find the right treatment and receive a professional diagnosis. Your general practitioner can help you find a doctor that specializes in anxiety. It’s also worth noting that anxiety treatment is not a “one size fits all” solution. You may need to explore different options before finding a method that works best for you.

Anxiety Treatment at The Guest House

At The Guest House, you can find comfort knowing that our highly-trained staff is well-equipped to help treat your anxiety. We offer traditional therapies like individual counseling, group sessions, and psychiatric care. Instead of playing the guessing game, our clinicians will give you a proper diagnosis.

Medication isn’t always the solution for anxiety. You may want to explore holistic healing methods at The Guest House, like meditation, yoga, and somatic therapy. Anxiety can be an extremely frightening experience. However, with the right tools and determination, you can find help to overcome your condition.

Anxiety affects millions of Americans every single day. Many people are led to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to help alleviate anxious feelings. Unfortunately, self-medication will do more harm than good. At The Guest House, our highly-trained clinicians will help you overcome your anxiety in a safe and productive way. We combine traditional therapies with holistic modalities that will allow you to find a treatment that works best for you. For more information, give us a call today at (855) 483-7800.