When Self-Medicating Is Not an Option

Quality of life hinges on whether or not there is balance. A balanced life is a regimen that allows ample time for sleep, work, and leisure. However, this is a simplified way to approach your schedule. While simplification is sometimes a good approach, you have likely lived long enough to understand that time does not always work so uniformly—or even in your favor. These generalizations about a schedule do not consider the unforeseen challenges.

Stress from certain circumstances can disrupt any chance for balance, thus creating harmful imbalances; work has taken over, or perhaps you lost a job and are searching for a way to make ends meet. Understand that stress is likely to manifest at some point in your life. Some turn to self-medication to combat what they are feeling. However, when you begin to manage stress and regulate your emotions in unhealthy ways, it becomes a serious problem.

Human Nature

By nature, humans prefer to remedy their problems on their own because not only does it save time and money on going to see a doctor, but humans tend to believe that their issues will improve with time. This is similar to comparing your emotions to enduring the pain of an overused muscle—nursing it for a few days and allowing the body to repair itself. However, problems resulting from stress don’t quite work the same way.

The habits you develop to combat stress–good or bad–will be the habits you build upon when stress rears its head again. It can sneak up on you, and before you know it, you are dealing with more problems than those that began at the onset of your stress. Still, people often turn to drugs because they are stimulants that cause irregular releases of chemicals into the body to make you feel a certain way. However, over time, they create deficiencies and cause emotional turmoil.

When Is It Good to Self-Medicate?

Self-medicating should never be seen as a good option, especially when managing stress with drugs or alcohol. Associating stress with drugs and alcohol could be the cause of developing a severe addiction. Especially if you know your health history and are aware that alcoholism runs in the family, it would not be recommended to drink or use drugs.

You are at higher risk if your drug or drink of choice is not immediately available. The loss of the option to participate in your regular outlet may cause you to make irrational decisions. When the association between addiction and stress becomes unmanageable, you might go to great lengths to fulfill any feeling offered by a drug, including medications prescribed to someone else in the household, other available medicines, and even expired prescriptions. When you have reached this point, it is time for help. Mixing or taking expired drugs and medications can result in severe consequences.

Undiagnosed or Underlying Conditions

You certainly should not be self-medicating for any underlying condition that has gone unchecked or unmanaged. Drugs, alcohol, and non-prescribed medications can further perpetuate underlying diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, or any brain disorders. When most people self-medicate, they develop problems not only related to their underlying conditions but unrelated to their condition, which in turn causes them to medicate with other or more substances.

Best Approach

Consult a doctor. Always reach out to a doctor or therapist at the onset of stress. A doctor can evaluate your health and prescribe you medication that is relevant and necessary to your condition, which will help alleviate stress—not intensify it. Using medicine under the provisions of a doctor, given your history with addiction, will help your doctor or therapist monitor your usage to prevent you from making a mistake and helping you at the onset if you do.

A doctor or therapist can also offer you healthy ways to combat your stress if it is determined that medication might not be the best option, depending on your drug addiction history. These natural and effective ways will offer a variety of resources, so you are never relying on one outlet to bring you out of your stressed and anxious mind. These include: exercise, indoor/outdoor, dietary, meditation, mindfulness, writing, doing puzzles, hot bath or shower—there are hundreds of different practices to get your mind away from feeling stressed.


Always stay connected. Talking with friends and family and sharing with them what stresses you will help you to feel not alone. And you do not need to limit it to just having a conversation about stress, you can talk about other things, like TV shows, sports, books, or food. A good conversation with a friend or family member has been shown to help alleviate the stress one is feeling. So try and stay in touch with friends and family as often as possible.

Always make help an option. There are plenty of ways to find help, even during these uncertain times. Support from a professional is a tool like no other—offering better results and remedies that no drug or drink can. If you are considering self-medicating to combat stress or already are, you are indeed headed for serious repercussions with continued practice. Stop it at the onset and seek help today.

True Recovery offers 24/7 care and is qualified to find the best possible care for you. True Recovery ventures outside of conventional and generalized treatments and will find the treatment best suited to meet your needs. Don’t wait. To learn more, call us today at (866) 399-6528.