If you are considering whether you or a loved one might benefit from a drug or alcohol rehab program, one of the most important things you can do is understand how the history of substance abuse began.
Many people can trace their addiction back to a behavior called self-medicating.For anyone who is struggling with drug and alcohol abuse, self-medicating can play a big role in the development of a more serious addiction. That’s why understanding it and being to identify the signs are crucial to understanding the role that substance abuse may play in your life.
Here are some of the signs that may indicate someone is self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. Although this behavior does not always indicate substance abuse or addiction, many people who self-medicate can benefit from participation in an alcohol or drug rehab program.
What Does It Mean to Self-Medicate?
The term “self-medicating” describes how people use drugs and alcohol to mask symptoms of another issue, such as mental health issues or physical pain.
There are a variety of reasons people start to use drugs and alcohol. Social pressure is one reason, curiosity another. But some people start to use drugs and alcohol in order to escape stress, ease emotional or physical discomfort or to try to suppress the symptoms of mental illness.
Self-Medicating: The Risk Factors
Some people are at a higher risk for self-medicating than others. People with the following issues often seek out drugs and alcohol as a way to cope:
- Bipolar disorder
- Childhood trauma
- Other mental illness
- Emotionally intense experiences
- Emotional or physical abuse
One potential risk factor that stands out to mental health and rehabilitation experts is stress. Stressful memories and experiences can drive someone to self-medicate, in order to help them find relief from the feelings that stress produces in them.
Signs You May Be Self-Medicating
There are several signs to be on the lookout for, to give you an idea if you or someone you know may be self-medicating. These signs include:
- Suddenly changing who you spend time with or changing hobbies
- Having problems in areas of your life such as work or school
- Being secretive about how you spend your time
- Staying away from social events with friends and family as well as other activities you previously enjoyed
- Neglecting the care of yourself, such as eating or showering
- New or unusual problems surrounding your finances due to the cost of alcohol or drugs
If you recognize these or other signs, or if you’re simply curious about whether you are using safe and effective methods to cope, talking to a knowledgeable substance abuse professional may be helpful.
Addressing the Underlying Issues of Self-Medication
When you enter a drug rehab in Pocatello or anywhere else, one of the primary goals will be to help you understand the underlying issues causing you to self-medicate and address those.
There are more productive ways to deal with stress and the problems you encounter in life that won’t lead to the same issues that abusing drugs and alcohol do. Remember, self-medicating may seem like a quick fix, but it’s not a sustainable one. It’s important to find healthy ways to deal with past issues, mental illness, and the stresses of everyday life.
Moonlight Mountain Recovery is committed to addressing the underlying causes of addiction and substance above.Our inpatient rehab centers and outpatient recovery programs are conveniently located in Boise, Nampa and Pocatello. Contact us now for help or to learn more about our programs.