Many people consume alcohol and prescription medications, and not everyone who uses them has an addiction. However, if you’re using substances to cope with stress or against a doctor’s instructions, you might be self-medicating and potentially endangering your health. Getting sober can improve your physical and emotional health and help you live a more fulfilling life.

What Does It Mean To Self-Medicate?

Self-medicating is using addictive substances to alleviate physical or emotional pain without consulting a healthcare provider. This behavior can take many forms, such as using food, alcohol, narcotics, OTC and prescription medications, or recreational drugs. You don’t know how to address a symptom of an underlying issue, such as mental illness, past trauma, or chronic pain.

Signs You May Be Self-Medicating

  • You’re preoccupied with obtaining and using drugs or alcohol.
  • Your tolerance has increased.
  • You experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms when you’re sober.
  • You use alcohol or drugs to cope with stress, anxiety, or emotional pain or feel like you simply cannot cope without these substances.
  • You’ve begun neglecting responsibilities like work or family obligations to get drunk or high.
  • You continue to use this substance despite shame, guilt, embarrassment, or negative social consequences, such as legal problems or health issues.

Self-Medicating Risks

Substance dependency can negatively affect nearly every aspect of your life, including your relationships, career, mental health, and physical health. Some addictions can kill, and even if yours doesn’t, the negative side effects of self-medicating could still stop you from living the life you want.

Don’t wait until you hit “rock bottom” to get help; this is unnecessary for recovery and has life-altering consequences.

How To Stop Self-Medicating

  • Get off the substance, either with the guidance of an outpatient treatment provider, a detox center, or other professional addiction treatment programs.
  • Seek therapy for the underlying issues that caused you to self-medicate in the first place by going to therapy, taking psychiatric prescriptions, or getting treatment for chronic pain.
  • Find a local support group like Narcotics Anonymous, Women For Sobriety, or a 12-step program.
  • Engage in self-care practices, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with sober friends and family.

Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Detox: Know Your Options

Suppose you suspect that you or someone you know may be self-medicating. In that case, you can take several different approaches to address the issue, including on your own, with an outpatient provider, or via an inpatient detox or rehab program.

However, please note that if you have a severe physical dependence on alcohol or certain drugs, withdrawal symptoms can become life-threatening without the continued presence of a medical professional, so it’s best to seek outside help.

Kickstarting Your Sober Living Journey In Utah

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, it’s essential to seek mental health services to address the underlying factors and develop self-medicating alternatives.

Remember, there’s no shame in asking for help; recovery is possible with the right support. To begin the intake process at Nexstep Medical Detox, contact us today.