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Dangers of Self-Medicating with Alcohol

man considers the dangers of self medicating with alcohol

There are many reasons that one might self-medicate with alcohol. Generally speaking, if a person is using alcohol to combat discomfort caused by an underlying issue, they are self-medicating. Risks associated with this type of behavior have to do with the dangers of developing an alcohol use disorder and not addressing the symptoms of the underlying cause of discomfort. If you or a loved one has developed an alcohol addiction as a result of self-medicating with alcohol, treatment in the form of rehab may be an advantageous next step. If you are looking for alcohol rehab in Royal Oak, Michigan, look no further than Skywood Outpatient.

An Overview of Self-Medicating with Alcohol

Oftentimes a person might self-medicate with alcohol to calm the systems of the brain that produce unpleasant feelings like depression or anxiety. If a condition that leads to those feelings goes undiagnosed, alcohol can serve as a substitute for proper treatment. Common conditions that are diffused with alcohol are depression, ADHD, anxiety disorders, childhood trauma, and bipolar disorder. One thing that these have in common is stress and the body’s overreaction to it. Feelings of stress can drive the desire to self-medicate and find relief.

Some signs of self-medicating with alcohol are:

  • Isolating from family, friends, and social activities
  • Lying and secrecy
  • Difficulties at work or at school
  • Financial problems related to alcohol
  • Sudden outbursts of anger or irritability

While self-medicating with alcohol might offer temporary relief, the solution is just that; temporary. The effects of alcohol do not prove sustainable to treating the underlying causes of negative feelings. Over time, a tolerance is built up, and more alcohol is needed to provide the necessary relief that the individual is seeking, and this tends to create problems with relationships, finances, and self-esteem. Once an addiction is developed, attempting to quit can cause withdrawal symptoms which only worsen the problem.

Depression and Alcohol Abuse

Depression is one of the most common afflictions that people self-medicate for. Symptoms of depression often include feelings of sadness, hopelessness or worthlessness, irritability, difficulty sleeping or paying attention, physical pain, and thoughts of suicide. Depression is a widespread condition that affects many Americans each year and can be improved with a variety of treatments. While alcohol can serve to lessen the intensity of these symptoms, it does not provide a long-term solution to the treatment of the illness.

Dangers of Self-Medicating with Alcohol

Dependence on alcohol causes a number of mental, emotional, and physical problems. Consuming alcohol can serve as a temporary reprieve and create positive feelings. However, heavy alcohol use begins to affect the brain’s neurotransmitters. Too much alcohol can disrupt serotonin and dopamine levels, actually making the symptoms of some mental illnesses worse.

Individuals who self-medicate with alcohol face physical dangers as well. Impaired decision-making can lead to risky behaviors like drinking while driving or drinking while working. High blood pressure, impaired cognitive function, liver disease, digestive problems, and risks to pregnancy are all also related to prolonged alcohol abuse.

Perhaps the most insidious risk of self-medicating with alcohol is improper self-diagnosis. If a person believes that they are solving their problems with alcohol, chances are they could delay seeking help for the disease they are actually suffering from. This could lead to a worsening of said illness or the masking of a severe disease that needs treatment.

Find Relief from Depression and Alcohol Abuse at Skywood Outpatient

It is so important for people who need help with a mental illness to receive the help that they need. It is understandable that one might self-medicate with alcohol, as it does provide temporary relief and is so prevalent in our society. But continued self-medication can prevent someone from getting the help that they deserve and create more severe problems in the long run. If you think you or a loved one might be self-medicating with alcohol, contact us at 248.617.6237 to begin your healing journey today.