Feelings of sadness and experiencing grief are normal human emotions. Every person has those kinds of dark moments throughout the course of their life, but usually, those feelings dissipate relatively quickly. On the other hand, major depression, or a depressive disorder, is something more severe and potentially debilitating. Depression is a diagnosable condition classified as a mood disorder. With it can come long-term symptoms, including overwhelming sadness, extremely low energy, loss of appetite, and a complete loss of interest in the activities and hobbies that you once found joyful. Sadly, alcohol abuse can be common as depressed individuals try self-medicating to get through each day. If you or someone you love is showing signs of self-medicating, reach out to Greater Boston Addiction Centers to learn about our depression treatment program. Contact us online or call 877.920.6583 today to get the professional help you need and deserve.
What Does Self-Medicating Look Like?
Self-medicating is the name given to the act of using medications or substances like drugs and alcohol to treat symptoms or conditions that you have self-diagnosed without the skilled assistance of a trained healthcare professional. Those who self-medicate for depression may experience alcohol abuse or addiction. A professional depression treatment program can help. A good Boston alcoholism treatment program will offer the following programs:
- Partial hospitalization treatment
- Intensive outpatient treatment
- Treatment for co-occurring disorders
Self-medicating by drinking alcohol is extremely common, thanks in large part to being readily available and a generally accepted practice making it easy to blend in with the crowd. While alcohol might temporarily reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, drinking to excess as your body becomes tolerant of certain consumption levels could lead to alcohol abuse, dependency, and alcoholism. Drinking alcohol to alleviate clinical depression is not an effective treatment.
The United Nations has identified marijuana as the most widely used substance among people suffering from depression. While research is showing mixed results on the effectiveness and potential benefits of using the drug to lessen the symptoms of depression, self-medicating with pot without the consultation of a medical professional may make your depression worse in the long run.
Many depressed people turn to what’s in the freezer, refrigerator, and pantry to cope with their condition. While “eating your feelings” might get laughs on social media, using food as a way of self-medicating for depression has potentially negative effects. Regularly eating and over-eating to cope with the sadness and grief may ultimately lead to a drop in self-esteem, losing self-control, and may harm your physical health in addition to the mental health spiral excessive weight gain can cause.
Unfortunately, people living with depression can easily turn to self-medication as an alternative to seeking professional help, and the risks could be life-threatening.
What Are The Risks of Self-Medicating?
When people are self-medicating with harmful and addictive substances for mental health conditions that have yet to be diagnosed, it can be challenging to determine which disorder was present first, the depression or the addiction. This is because a person’s depression can often be exacerbated by drugs and alcohol, making it an extremely dangerous practice.
Failing to treat depression properly is risky as it affects the way a person acts in their everyday relationships with family, friends, and co-workers, and improper depression treatment may increase the chance for self-harm or causing harm to others depending on the mental health condition you are suffering from. Some of the risks of self-medicating for depression include:
- Incorrect self-diagnosis
- Delaying proper treatment
- Harmful reactions to the substances
- Worsening the depression
- Dangerous drug interactions
- Masking other diseases
- Risk of developing a dependency
- Risk of substance abuse
Learn More at Greater Boston Addiction Centers
Understanding why you or someone you love might be self-medicating can be the first step to ensuring they get the medical help they need to properly overcome and recover from the mental health disorder. Learn how depression treatment at Greater Boston Addiction Centers can be the starting point for reshaping the rest of a person’s life. Contact us using our secure online form or call us confidentially at 877.920.6583 today.