Why Are You Self-Medicating?: Learning About The Causes Of Self-Medicating Behavior In Drug Rehab

By now, you are probably quite familiar with the phrase, "self-medicating." It is a phrase that is used to describe people who use drugs or other vices to ease their physical or emotional discomfort. For the addict, however, self-medicating is serious. His or her addiction could result in death. If you believe you have a problem with self-medicating behavior, drug rehab clinics can help you learn what the causes are and understand why you chose to self-medicate. 

Causes for Self-Medication

Many of the causes for self-medicating behavior are psychological in origin. People who experience generalized anxiety, social phobias, depression and various traumas that have not been addressed may self-medicate. People who have been abused may also self-medicate because they feel as though they cannot talk about the abuse with anyone or that no one will believe them if they did. Additionally people who are grieving or suffering from a loss will look for an escape through a self-medicating behavior.

Conditions That Cause the Behavior to Become a Habit (and Then Become an Addiction)

The first time you self-medicate, you receive a pleasant sensation. These pleasant feelings travel to your brain and help you feel less of the negative emotions you felt before you self-medicated. Since the behavior produced pleasure or a release from discomfort or pain, you are more likely to repeat the behavior (e.g., risky sexual behavior, overeating, gambling, drugs). The more you self-medicate, the faster this chosen behavior becomes an addiction. Then you will realize that you cannot get through any uncomfortable situation without your chosen "medicine."

How Drug Rehab Can Help You

All of these causes can develop into an addiction. It does not necessarily have to be drugs you turn to either; other addictions include food or hoarding things. If you are already pre-disposed to one type of self-medicating behavior, you are more likely to become addicted to alcohol and drugs, which is why you should check into drug rehab even if you are not a drug user yet

The therapists and psychiatrists in your chosen drug rehab program recognize that your behaviors are caused by something deeper, more painful and/or more negative. They will assign you to a similar group of peers with the same addiction/self-medicating behavior. That way you will have a support group to turn to while you are part of in-patient therapy and healing. Additionally, the members in your program can be contacts in moments of weakness or when your sponsor cannot be reached.