Do Not Self-Medicate: Alternative Therapy Can Help Reduce Stress (While Recovering From Substance Abuse)


According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a simple way of relaxation can beat all the stressors in life. Stress can bring a significant impact to an individual like increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and depression. Various relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and yoga can help an individual to fight against these stressors in life thus blood pressure and rate go back to normal.

Relaxation techniques can bring many benefits to an individual. According to Kathleen Smith, PhD, LPC, “Relaxation techniques can be an effective way to calm anxious thinking and direct your mind to a more positive place.” However, if these were not done correctly, these may worsen the problem. Experts suggest for individuals to have a consultation with a trained instructor.


Tailored Treatment Is Crucial For Continued Success

An individual who is recovering from alcohol or drug addiction will go through a very tough process. One needs a therapeutic support system, especially that for some reason, alcohol or drug addiction is also coupled with mental disorders which make the situation even more complicated. Some individuals self-medicate and rely on taking the drug which temporarily releases their stress, pain or depression. According to Mark Calarco DO, MBA, MRO, national medical director of American Addiction Centers, a leader in drug and alcohol abuse treatment, “The term self-medicating simply means using a substance or engaging in a behavior to satisfy a physical or psychological need.” At first, by doing so, an individual seems to be able to manage such symptoms. Looking at the deeper side, such action just makes things worse. Let us take the scenario below.

Take, for instance, Jane. Without consulting a trained coach and who self-medicate, always drinks drug X when experiencing stress or pain. By drinking drug X, all the pain and stress she feels are relieved. She gets enough sleep, however, waking up the next day makes her realize that the anxiety and the stressors are still there. It doesn’t go away. She now becomes more depressed with her situation and her life, in general with the constant stress and pain.

Getting a sense of false relief from drug X, she does the same thing – retake it. The same routine happens all the way. She just gets more dependent on drug X, but her mental health problem is not really treated.


Individuals who self-medicate and intake not the prescribed drugs are prone to risks such as:

Consumption of excessive amount of drugs. Drug intake is prescribed with consideration to the height and weight of the patient. Excessive use of drugs may worsen the case.

Incorrect self-diagnosis. Although two persons may show similar symptoms, it is not a guarantee that both should take the same drug or treatment procedure. One must undergo through series of assessments before finally getting a final diagnosis and proper treatment program.

Drug Dependence. Drug intake which is not prescribed by a medical practitioner may make an individual drug-dependent as this will bring temporary relief to pain and stress or other mental health illnesses.

Undiscovered health risk symptoms. Taking illegal or illicit drugs will make an individual insensitive to health symptoms which when not given proper treatment will cause adverse health effects.

Getting help from a trained expert and undergoing through proper treatment will help a patient avoid negative consequences of self-medication. An appropriate treatment is vital before an individual will be given treatment procedures. If you think you need treatment or one your loved ones needs one, do not rely on self-medication. “Talk to the doctor about your concerns before making the decision to take or refuse the medication,” says Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.