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The Problems Caused by Self-Medicating With Opioids

Sometimes people who struggle to cope with certain feelings and emotions turn to substance use. Some situations are so scarring that our emotions become too intense to handle. Substance use allows people to numb these feelings and emotions.

We often refer to this kind of substance use as self-medicating. The reasons people turn to self-medication are endless, and the dangers of self-medicating are detrimental. Therapy can identify why someone is self-medicating and helps them find healthier ways to deal with the unpleasant effects of emotions that hurt.

Self-Medicating and Its Dangers

Some countries commonly practice self-medication. However, there are many dangers generally associated with self-medication. The Journal of Basic and Clinical Pharmacy lists the potential risks of self-medication as:

  • Incorrect self-diagnosis
  • Failure to seek appropriate medical care
  • Lack of knowledge regarding dosage, adverse drug effects, and pharmacological risks
  • Overmedication
  • Excessively prolonged use
  • Becoming dependent on a substance

None of these potential risks are all that surprising. In most cases, people turn to self-medication recklessly in hopes of numbing their pain or silencing their thoughts. The last thing people typically think about when self-medicating is how it will affect them in the future. Their main concern is feeling the effects at the moment.

Self-Medicating and Opioid Use

People commonly medicate through alcohol consumption or recreational marijuana use. However, many also turn to opioid use. According to research from the Journal of Addiction Medicine, “[T]he use of prescription opioids to self-medicate negative affective states was quite prevalent,” with 88.6% of participants reporting the use of opioids to help their anxiety, 84.2% reporting opioid use to treat depression, and 87.3% to treat anger.

The research indicates that it is common for people to self-medicate with opioids. These participants were attempting to cope with an array of negative emotions. Unfortunately, self-medication only suppresses these feelings. Over time, individuals need to use more to experience the same transitory relief. That can ultimately lead to adverse health effects and even overdose.

The biggest problem with opioid self-medication is that it does not treat the root problem. Individuals self-medicating to help their struggle with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health disorder should turn to therapy and their healthcare provider, not self-medication.

Therapeutic Modalities

Several therapeutic modalities can effectively treat mental health disorders and addiction. They may include:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Meditation and yoga
  • Conscious connected breathwork
  • Psychodrama
  • Art therapy
  • Adventure therapy

These are just a few therapeutic modalities we implement at The Guest House. It’s necessary to offer diverse therapy options because everyone’s struggle with mental health, addiction, and self-medication is unique. Therapy will help you tackle the root of the problem, not just suppress your emotions the way self-medication does.

Individuals struggling with self-medication should seek treatment immediately. There is a better way to cope with trauma, mental health disorders, and other struggles than turning to self-medication.

Many people self-medicate with opioids to cope with intense or harmful emotions and feelings. In the moment, all we want is to numb these feelings. Unfortunately, self-medication only suppresses these emotions, and long-term opioid use can cause several adverse effects and lead to overdose. To cope with trauma, mental illness, or intense emotions, we must get to the core of our struggle. That requires hard work, but seeking professional mental health treatment can help. The Guest House offers diverse therapeutic modalities because we recognize that everyone’s experience is unique. If you are struggling with opioid self-medication, call (855) 483-7800.