Self-Medication Hypothesis of Dual Diagnosis and Substance Abuse
Have you ever sat down to drink a glass of wine to help relax after a long, stressful day at work? Or needed to smoke a cigarette to calm your nerves after conflict with a loved one? Ever needed a sleep aid to help fall asleep during a stressful time? Most of us can identify with at least one of the above situations, and will admit to using substances as a way to cope with difficulties in our life.
The same premise is at the basis of self-medication hypothesis, which states that people will abuse substances, or turn towards other addictive behaviors such as gambling, cutting, overeating, and sex, as a way to deal with unresolved problems. Rather than using effective coping skills, people substitute addictive behaviors in an effort to treat the negative internal feelings associated with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other forms of mental illness. Often, these short-term solutions become long-lasting cycles of substance abuse and dual diagnosis.
Our staff at Balance understands that at the core of most substance abuse, or other addictive behaviors are underlying internal factors, which continue to feed and fuel the use of substances. These internal factors are most commonly the cause for repeated relapse.
We work to empower our clients to uncover these internal factors, and find new ways of managing their internal pain. We have found that while you or your loved one might be seeking treatment for substance abuse, often the use of substances has been masking underlying depression, trauma, anxiety or other mental health challenges.
We are committed to the process of self-exploration and invite you to begin your process of recovery with discovery. By partnering with us as you challenge yourself to face your inner fear, sadness, pain and loneliness, we can help you find and build a strong and healthy relationship with yourself, and with others. Together, we’ll help you to lay the foundation for lasting change.
Written by Andee Weinfurt
Staff Writer, Balance Treatment Center