How Teens Self-Medicate
Self-medication is when an individual treats their own ailment without consulting their physician or medical professional. An example of this would be an individual who suffers from generalized anxiety disorder and uses cannabis or alcohol to help cope with high levels of anxiety. It can also veer into a more a dangerous road when those who self-medicate try to treat their illnesses with medications that were prescribed for other people, or other maladies. The thought behind this is simple: “this makes me feel better when I’m anxious, so I’ll continue to use it when my anxiety reaches these levels again”.
Teens Self-Medicating with Alcohol
Teens with severe anxiety and depression have been turning to alcohol more frequently than ever before. Alcohol has the tendency to remove one’s inhibitions, allowing a teen that suffers from anxiety or depression to feel as though they fit in like they never have been able to before. When alcohol takes hold of a teen, it can be difficult for it to loosen its grasp and will eventually generate even bigger problems later on during adulthood.
Teens Self-Medicating with Cannabis
In today’s world cannabis usage is growing more and more acceptable in the United States, with some states even legalizing it for recreational use. While its recommended use is for temporary relief from glaucoma, HIV or cancer; teens are turning to cannabis for help with anxiety issues. Cannabis usage in an underdeveloped brain can stunt the growth of a teenager’s development, resulting in a dangerous outcome. Aside from the obvious legal ramifications in most states, it’s been shown that those who smoke cannabis in their teens have lower IQ’s all the way through to adult-hood.
Teens Self-Medicating using other Prescription Drugs
Prescription drug use and abuse is on the rise all over the United States. While recreational use of these drugs is on the rise, so are attempts from teenagers trying to take care of their medical issues without having to see a doctor; this also includes abuse of over the counter drugs.
There are several issues with taking prescription drugs that are not prescribed for you or a specific condition. There can be extreme complications when combining different prescription drugs that can induce hazardous side effects. Along with the threat of those complications, many prescription drugs are highly addictive and can lead to hardship down the road.
While self-medicating may seem like it is helping your issue at hand, in the long run, it can actually complicate symptoms in the future. While the side effects of using the correct medications may have a slight impact on your life, self-medicating may lead to addiction, overdose or even death. Before beginning any treatment it’s imperative that you consult a medical professional and follow their specific instructions.
PTSD, Depression, Anxiety and Self-medicating
In the US, one of ten, 12-years old or older have abused non-prescribed drugs according to a report from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Stressors and triggers often encourage teens to self-medicate as it provides temporary relief of what they are feeling.
In a world where our teens are active on social media and find themselves often being bullied or are responsible for bullying other teens, there has been a significant increase in self-medication. Most children have access to prescriptions at home and often parents are not aware that their children are self-medicating.
In studies of teens who were treated for substance abuse and related issues, three in four reported experiencing childhood trauma. PTSD, depression, and anxiety disorders are often associated with alcohol and drug use.
If you suspect your teenager is self-medicating, we can help. Give us a call or complete the contact form and a counselor will get back to you shortly.