Self-medication refers to the process of taking substances to treat perceived conditions or symptoms without consulting a healthcare provider. It is a self-care initiative of handling conditions and ailments without professional understanding and diagnosis. Unfortunately, individuals with underlying drug addiction issues often opt for self-medication instead of seeking appropriate medical attention in a rehab facility such as Georgia Addiction Treatment Center.
Risks of Self-Medicating
Self-medicating increases the potential risks of underlying chronic conditions in several ways.
Since you may not have sufficient knowledge of determining if the medication or substance you are using will treat the condition, self-medicating can easily lead to an incorrect diagnosis. It is worth noting that different conditions and diseases share symptoms, increasing the chances of administering a wrong drug for a given set of symptoms during self-medication.
Self-Medication Delays Appropriate Medical Attention
When you take specific drugs or substances to treat your symptoms, the chances are that the medication will not work. But the fact that you took the drugs makes you believe that you will recover. As a result, you will end up avoiding seeking appropriate medical attention, which exposes you to further risks.
For example, some individuals believe that taking opioids to relieve pain will solve their problems. However, this mistake is among the major causes of increasing cases of substance abuse in America.
Increased Risk of Health Problems
Some medications meant to treat given conditions can be harmful to the body when ingested incorrectly. Such drugs can react with the body’s system, resulting in adverse medical effects, including allergic reactions, heart attacks, and death. Fatal consequences can occur when you are already on different prescription medications.
Masking Chronic Conditions
Some people use self-medication to treat various symptoms they experience. For example, an individual may use meth to mask physical pain. Individuals experiencing conditions such as hypertension, anxiety, and depression may experience chest pains. Taking drugs that calm the chest pains does not mean the condition has been treated. The drug has only masked it by reducing the pain, but it will worsen over time.
What Are Common Self-Medicating Practices?
You may select particular medications, supplements, and substances you think will offer a quick remedy during self-medication. While some self-medication practices may appear less harmful and alleviate specific symptoms in the short-term, the long-term consequences are severe.
The most common substances people in the US use to self-medicate include:
- Alcohol – Widely available and culturally acceptable, many individuals turn to alcohol to relieve stress or anxiety
- Opiates – These drugs are highly addictive, but many Americans take them for pain relief
- Marijuana – Studies reveal that marijuana is the second most widely abused substance after alcohol
- Stimulants – Most people accustomed to taking caffeine believe that using it reduces headaches
- Food – This occurs as binge-eating when you use food to relieve stress
It is not easy to overcome self-medication because most individuals do not accept that their condition needs professional help. If you have a problem with self-medicating, it is advisable to enroll in a substance abuse treatment center for counseling and medical treatment.
Help for Substance Abuse
Instead of self-medication, contact a rehab center for professional treatment programs, including:
- Heroin addiction treatment
- Prescription drug addiction treatment
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
- Painkiller addiction treatment
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
- Alumni program
Reach out to Georgia Addiction Treatment Center today to learn more.
Overcome Self-Medicating Issues at Georgia Addiction Treatment Center
A repetitive self-medicating practice leads to addiction to the substance. Seeking help at a rehab center will help you break the addiction and dependence cycle. Contact Georgia Addiction Treatment Center at 833.641.0661 for mental health and substance use disorder treatment.