The symptoms can make your life challenging if you’re living with a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety. This can make you feel like you need relief which can lead to negative coping mechanisms such as self-medicating with alcohol or drugs to take your mind off the condition or temporarily ease your symptoms.
These coping habits can negatively affect your life and those around you. So, how do you overcome these bad coping mechanisms? Here’s a guide on why using substances to self-medicate can be harmful and lead to more issues such as addiction.
What Is Self-Medicating?
Most people with mental conditions like anxiety or depression know something is wrong. However, they may not know exactly what they are experiencing and have not received a diagnosis to get help. In these cases, some people will turn to self-medicating with alcohol and drugs to relieve their symptoms.
They may not have the proper coping tools to deal with their mental health condition or the situation that they’re living through. And drugs or alcohol can be an easy way to change how they feel temporarily. So, then they will utilize these substances to self-medicate and avoid potential issues.
Why Self-Medicating a Mental Illness Is Harmful
Self-medicating a mental illness with drugs or alcohol might feel effective at first, but it can be extremely harmful and lead to addiction. Some harmful consequences of self-medicating include:
- You may begin to rely on alcohol for getting through simple tasks, social events, or relaxing.
- Drugs and alcohol can help you momentarily escape symptoms of mental illness but then don’t address the underlying causes.
- Drugs and alcohol can worsen mental illness symptoms, such as alcohol making you feel more depressed or stimulants triggering mania.
- Using drugs or alcohol to cope with a mental illness can lead to a substance abuse disorder or addiction.