Self-medication as Wikipedia states “is a term used to describe the use of drugs (including alcohol) or other self-soothing forms of behavior to treat untreated and often undiagnosed mental distress, stress and anxiety.”
At the mental health facility where I work part time, clients who suffer from various mental health issues abuse their antidepressant medications. As the abuse turns to recreational use, the dosage needed to dull the emotional or physical pain exceeds the psychiatrist’s recommendation. Of course, the term self-medication applies to anyone who abuses prescription meds in order to self soothe. Seroquel, Zoloft, Cymbalta, Wellbutrin, Prozac- whatever-the euphoric high these meds can produce is worth the abuse.
Self-medication does not exclude alcohol or pain killers. The bingers, everydayers, the necessary one drink a day to the one bottle a dayers, the wine or beer consumers to the hard-core whiskey and ryers, gin and tequila without the lime on the siders-alcohol is accessible and cheaper than antidepressant meds. Of course there’s, Vicodin, Codeine, Percocet, Hydrocodone, 10mg, 50mg, 500mg or one tablet or two and taken sometimes with an alcoholic chaser and so readily prescribed when sustaining an injury or as post surgical candy.
Okay. Self-medication is bad.
What about self-soothing?
There are those who indulge in self-soothing forms of behaviour without the use of psychotropic drugs. Such as, the super athletes’ addiction to endorphins and the caffeine junky who consumes six cups of coffee a day so their internal body cruise control can fly quickly through time. In addition, let us not forget the foodie who grabs snacks of the most comforting kind during all commercial breaks while chasing it down with Coke a Cola (the carbonated sugar drink not the white powder) because a relationship fizzled (just like the Coke). Or, the female chocoholic who downs a 12 piece assorted box of Godiva’s in fifteen minutes because of PMS. Caffeine, endorphins, sugar-the acceptable kinds of comfort foods or exercise, all, legal, accessible and coveted.
There is harm in overindulgence of the self-soothing kind. Obesity, physical ailments and injuries, diabetes, high blood pressure may arise from too much self-soothing while abuse, self-loathing ,self-medication can come from too little.
Too much of a bad thing is not good and too much of a good thing is bad. The goal of self-medication and self-soothing is to numb the pain, which makes everything that will be, okay. Appearances are misleading with the pain, the stress, the anxiety, the paranoia-yes this can go on-of everyday life which at times are unbearable to handle but can exist comfortably under grey clouds of distortion infused by the vice (s) of our choice.
So, what’s your vice?