Life comes with all kinds of twists and turns, and we don’t always have the tools or support that we need to work through them. Relationship issues, work problems, financial difficulties and health concerns can send us into a spiral, and in the moment, we may want to do practically anything to take the stress away. What many don’t realize is that the actions you take in response to these stressors and major life events can have a major impact on your mental health and even the rest of your life. There are two types of responses we often have to distress: treatment or self-medication. By knowing the difference, you can hopefully assess your own behaviors and determine what’s really working for you – and what isn’t.
Symptoms of mental illness, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, difficulty concentrating and more can certainly add a lot of stress to our lives if unmanaged, which is where self-medication often comes into play. Self-medication occurs when we try to take matters into our own hands, usually by finding something that only works temporarily. There are so many different examples of self-medication, including: gambling, shopping, sex, alcohol, drugs, self-harm, exercise, diet, and more. The problem with these tactics is that they can create additional problems further down the line, specifically with addictions and even the worsening of our mental illness symptoms. James Garbutt, professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, told Everyday Health, “Mental illnesses can increase the risk for alcoholism or drug abuse, sometimes because of self-medicating. On the other hand, alcoholism can lead to significant anxiety and depression that may appear indistinguishable from a mental illness. Finally, one disorder can be worse than the other.”
If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by your symptoms, the best way to work through this is to seek treatment. Yes, it may take some time and money – but if your happiness, health, and wellbeing are at stake, isn’t it worth it? The voids we try to fill in our lives can only distract us temporarily but can never heal and restore us. Take your first step towards true recovery and wellness today and seek the help you need.
Avalon Integrative Wellness offers an innovative approach to wellness and the exciting brand shift of our program emphasizes the importance of integrative wellness through experiential frameworks. Clients at Avalon Integrative Wellness learn, act, experience, grow, heal, and evolve, concurrently. If you’re ready to optimize your health and well-being, call us today at 888-266-9048