Are You Self-Medicating?

Are You Self-Medicating?

Drug use has reached into the millions for consumers of drugs and alcohol. Many millions have tried drugs and continue to use each day in spite of consequences. Some people even use it for self-medicating purposes. They might be trying to escape stress, trauma, discomfort, or symptoms of mental health issues. Different types of psychoactive substances may be used when self-medicating like cocaine, Adderall, depressants such as alcohol, sleeping pills, opioids, or marijuana. The key is to know whether or not self-medicating is taking place and how to navigate this new revelation.

Stress, Trauma, and Drugs

When a person feels encouraged to use drugs through stressors or triggers, they may be experiencing an event or situation that drives them back to using drugs. Health problems, poor relationships, or not being able to cope sober can be the reason for it but the brain is also triggered in that situation. Adrenaline and norepinephrine can spike in a fight-or-flight reaction. Stress is a major contributing factor to why people abuse alcohol or drugs and want to use substances in the first place. Trauma can be a major stress, which increases the odds of developing substance abuse later in life. Teens or young adults who start earlier in life usually start as a result of trauma. 

Mental Health Issues

Depression and anxiety are big reasons why people abuse substances. Anxiety or mood disorders can be the result of different factors, including imbalances in brain chemistry, high stress, trauma, and environmental factors. Substances that depress the central nervous system calm nerve firings and temporarily do away with symptoms, but they can still become addictive with people becoming dependent on them to feel better. 

Pain or Sleep Management

Other ways people tend to manage their own pain or sleep issues is through medication. This can lead to dependence or addiction if not monitored properly. Pain and sleep management issues can come from:

  • Chronic pain does not get better and affects the quality of life. Usually, the person resorts to drugs to ease the pain, including prescription medication, which might cause addiction
  • Sleep disorders occur when people attempt to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Sedatives and tranquilizers may be prescribed for short-term relief of insomnia. Sleep issues may get worse as a result when drugs are withdrawn (without proper tapering or support)
  • ADHD can feel difficult to control without drugs. Alcohol and marijuana are commonly used substacnes by adults suffering symptoms of ADHD and account for more than 15 percent of individuals diagnosed with the disorder


When people use drugs or alcohol, a number of things change in the brain. Some neurotransmitters enhance pleasure but the brain has many responses that are triggered. When it feels good in the brain, the body will continue to crave it. Repeated drug use can alter brain chemistry involved in things like pleasure, motivation, and emotional regulation. Seeking help starts with admitting a problem exists and finding help for these issues in rehab. Mental health issues need to be addressed also, including  psychiatric medications. The key is not to feel overwhelmed by the reality of addiction but overcome denial to seek help and start finding support for the issues that have held you captive 

Oceanfront can help you navigate recovery with our resources and trained therapists. We understand self-medicating to hide or run from the pain. That is why we design programs for you as an individual to find your way back to healing. We are located in beautiful Laguna Beach. Call us to find out how we can help you navigate addiction recovery: 888-981-4295