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The Risks of Self-Medicating

young woman sitting on couch with distressed expression as she ignores the risks of self medicating

Self-medication is something we often do without much thought. If someone has a headache, they may take an analgesic. If a child has indigestion, we may give them an antacid. In these cases, we are using products that have been verified as safe when taken according to strict directions for usage. However, in some instances, self-medicating can be inappropriate or even dangerous. It is essential to understand the risks of self-medicating to stay safe and avoid relying on unhealthy coping mechanisms.

If you or someone you love tends to self-medicate, consider seeking help from a professional dual diagnosis rehab in North Carolina, where licensed substance use counselors can assess the situation and offer treatment advice. Insight Recovery Center in Asheville can provide support for those self-medicating to overcome substance use or mental health symptoms. Call 828.826.1376 today for more information.

What Is Self-Medicating and Why Do People Do It?

Self-medication is the act of using a drug or medicine to treat a condition in a manner not prescribed or without the supervision of a doctor. This can refer to a physical illness or a mental health condition and can also refer to a medicine or a street drug. It is normal to try over-the-counter treatments at first, but if they are ineffective, a doctor should be consulted. Some people avoid seeing doctors for various reasons: anxiety, concerns about cost, lack of trust in the healthcare system, etc. Others simply think that they know best what is needed. Also, in the case of chronic pain or mental health conditions, the treatments they have tried may not have seemed helpful.

What Are the Risks of Self-Medicating?

There are several risks of self-medicating, ranging from minor to severe:

  • Serious illness can go mis- or undiagnosed, putting health in jeopardy
  • Mixing medications can cause dangerous drug interactions
  • Certain drugs are addictive, and misusing them can lead to dependence
  • Mental health conditions can be life-threatening if improperly treated
  • Using street drugs to treat physical or mental illness is always a bad idea
  • Self-medicating can lead to dependence on unhealthy coping mechanisms

Doctors, nurses, and other trained professional caregivers have the experience and education to treat physical and mental illnesses safely. When people decide not to consult a medical professional, they deprive themselves of the knowledge and support that help keep them safe while being treated.

How Can a Substance Abuse Treatment Center Help?

A licensed and accredited substance abuse treatment center has medical professionals as well as counseling staff who are knowledgeable and experienced in assisting clients who are dealing with underlying physical or mental illnesses. They can offer treatment plans that focus on helping the client return to a state of better health while also working together with the client to develop healthy coping skills.

The staff will help guide the client toward a new, medically supervised treatment plan that will be safer and more effective. Also, the client will be able to participate in therapeutic activities to help them heal from past trauma and develop new, healthier methods of coping with their illness. The client will also have the opportunity to attend group therapy, where they, along with others who are dealing with similar issues, will give and receive support and encouragement in their healing journey.

Contact Insight Recovery Center

If you or a loved one are self-medicating and need help, please get in touch with Insight Recovery Center in Asheville, NC. Our partial hospitalization program or intensive outpatient program can help you or a loved one gain control and break the cycle of self-medication. Call us today at 828.826.1376 or contact us online and take the first step on the road back to health.