Self-Medication And Stress: A Common Yet Dangerous Path

business casual woman meditating

Consider the last time you experienced a lot of stress. What did you do to help relieve the symptoms you were experiencing? Perhaps a lot of tension in your body caused you to book an appointment with a massage therapist. If you had lots of headaches, maybe you took some Tylenol. There are many actions we take in our daily lives to help relieve stress because, let’s face it – it’s inescapable at times. Pressures or tension at home, work, in our relationships, school and more can have us reaching for anything that will help us feel better – for many people, it may even be a bottle of alcohol or an illegal substance.

A 2016 study conducted by a researcher from the State University of New York collected data from 2,808 United States workers. The researcher sought to explore if work stressors were connected with subsequent drinking; results from the study showed that it was heavily linked between both men and women. The study also indicated that heavily alcohol use would occur among men both during and after work in order to assist with work-related fatigue. Of course, these findings suggest major work-safety concerns – but they also show how common self-medication is among Americans today.

If you’re self-medicating, you likely began by only using substances when you experienced distressing emotions such as anger, depression, anxiety, sadness, irritability and more. At first, these substances may have tampered down some of what you were feeling. Over time, however, this can become an addiction as your brain becomes used to the drug’s ability to release dopamine – the brain’s “feel good” chemical. Before you know it, you need more and more of the substance to feel happy and relaxed – you may even start taking substances as work because you may feel that it “boosts” your performance or helps you “relax” more.

The World-Self Medication Industry notes that 59% of Americans report that they are more likely to try and treat themselves than seek help from a doctor of therapist; if you’ve tried to self-medicate and are now struggling with addiction, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today. Recovery is possible, and it’s never too late.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.