Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar?
Scenario #1: Kim gets really nervous in social situations. Because of her anxiety, she often stays home on the weekends, rather than interacting with people. If she does go out (or is forced to attend a get-together), she has a few drinks to put her at ease. She uses this spirit-laden method more and more often, until she reaches the point of relying on alcohol to cope with life. Over time, her “drink to relax” has become full-blown alcoholism.
Scenario #2: Seth can barely make it through each day. To be honest, he would rather not go on living. To numb his pain, Seth uses marijuana. His THC escape has become more frequent and now he's high more than he is sober.
Scenario #3: Holly finds it hard to focus on her studies. She is easily distracted, gets tired quickly and can never seem to get it all done. To provide an extra boost, Holly uses meth when she can get it, or Adderall if it’s easier to come by. Today, Holly needs some form of stimulant to keep her going each day. She is completely shackled to meth.
The Self-Medicating Trap
Each of the scenarios above plays out hundreds of times a day across the nation. We face a mental health issue, don’t know how to cope with it in a healthy way and turn to drugs for an insta-cure. Instead of getting the help we actually need, we get addiction. And in an attempt to self-medicate our problems, we pile on more unwanted stress and drama.
Mental Health and Addiction
Believe it or not, a high percentage of mental health patients are also addicted to substances.
For example, in the U.S., 38 percent of all alcohol consumption and 44 percent of all cocaine use can be attributed to people struggling with mental health disorders.
The patterns of self-medication and addiction can mask the root issues we fail to face. For example, instead of getting help with depression, an alcoholic's focus, intervention or treatment will rest solely on “stop drinking.” While this is certainly important, discovering the reason we started self-medicating in the first place is just as important for recovery.
If you or a loved one face an issue that is driving you down the self-medicating road to addiction, you’re not alone. Treatment is available for both mental health struggles and substance abuse. You can get the help you need to deal with the problem - before it escalates further.
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