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The Dangers of Self Medication

a person struggling with self-medication sadly sits on a floor

Millions of people live with untreated mental illness, and sadly, many turn to self-medication through substance use to cope. If you or a loved one is in this situation, contact the team at Evoke Wellness for information about our dual diagnosis treatment program. Just call 866.429.2960 or contact us online to learn more about our centers in Illinois, Texas, Ohio, Florida, and Massachusetts.

Co-Occurring Mental Health Challenges

Co-occurring disorders, or cases where a mental health condition coexists with a substance use disorder, are incredibly common but complex. Moreover, determining which aspect came first can be a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg question. Some substances can trigger the onset of potential psychological illnesses. Some mental health conditions, moreover, yield such challenging symptoms that people turn to drugs or alcohol to cope.

Depression and Substance Abuse

In the case of depression, the cause-and-effect relationship can certainly run both ways. Habitual drug or alcohol use can cause severe damage to brain functions like the serotonin circuit, bringing about depressive symptoms. Similarly, a preexisting depressive disorder may cause people to seek out drugs that temporarily relieve symptoms. Sometimes, this entails taking stimulants like nicotine or amphetamines that artificially boost mood. Depressed individuals may also use drugs like alcohol, which, although temporarily relaxing, ultimately work as further depressants.

Rehab Can Help

Whatever the exact nature of the dual diagnosis of depression and substance abuse, rehab can offer many effective interventions, including:

  • Medical detoxification, where patients receive a doctor’s supervision and possible medication-assisted treatment during withdrawal, thus helping them avoid relapse and cope with cravings
  • One-on-one therapy to address the contributing mental health factors and potentially treat them with depression-specific medication like SSRIs
  • Group interventions in which patients can talk with people dealing with similar dual diagnoses and gain perspective and coping skills
  • Nutrition and exercise information and/or therapy to help patients heal their bodies and make lasting positive change

Depression is not the only common co-occurring mental health condition that is affected by self-medication, though. Trauma plays a significant role in substance misuse, too.

Untangling Trauma and Substance Abuse

Trauma-related disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are another common class of mental health conditions associated with substance abuse. PTSD impacts all areas of life and reflects a profound disruption of the nervous system. In traumatized patients, episodes like flashbacks, nightmares, and distressing repetitive thoughts are common. It’s easy to see how a disorder that compromises relationships, sleep, and more can lead to substance abuse. Many living with PTSD turn to drugs like alcohol or opioids as a way to bring down high agitation. Sadly, these are two of the most habit-forming classes of drugs available, and addiction may be just around the corner.

How Trauma-Informed Care Helps

For people who are living with dual diagnosis trauma and addiction, there are many viable options, however. At a qualified treatment center, patients can look forward to services such as:

  • Medical detox that emphasizes safety, especially in cases of severe alcohol addiction where seizures, tremors, or aggression sometimes occur during withdrawal
  • Individual therapeutic interventions geared toward addressing nervous system dysregulation, for example, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Trauma-informed group therapy in which providers take special care not to retraumatize and to acknowledge adverse life events
  • Holistic interventions like dance or yoga that regulate the nervous system by providing healthy repatterning and non-verbal processing

Evoke Wellness offers dual diagnosis treatment to help you break out of the pattern of self-medication. Our compassionate staff includes highly qualified therapists and doctors who specialize in treating co-occurring disorders.

Call Evoke Wellness for Dual Diagnosis Treatment

While self-medication can be very tempting in the face of untreated mental illness, it makes matters worse in the long term. Instead of allowing a vicious cycle to continue, seek out top-quality care for substance abuse and mental illness. Call 866.429.2960 or contact Evoke Wellness online to talk to our staff and start treatment in Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, or Florida.