Do you think there is a form of escape that the mentally ill try to take? An example would be becoming an alcoholic. They drink because they don’t want to listen to the voices in their head and/or to not think about their problems.

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Dombeck intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Dombeck to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Dombeck, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Dombeck and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.

Sure – This sort of thing happens all the time. It is called “self-medication”, and it occurs when a mentally ill person uses drugs or alcohol (usually) to try and tone down their symptoms. Such efforts usually fail to help the symptoms in any sort of long term way, and only result in the mentally ill person getting addicted and having a new problem to contend with. Self-medication is not recommended.

By the way – we should note that it is NOT just the mentally ill who self-medicate. Rather, such escapist behavior is found in a significant portion of the entire population. There are millions of addicts and alcoholics out there, most without significant serious mental illness. While such addicts and alcoholics may not be trying to tone down voices with their drinking and drugging, they generally are trying to escape from something (emotional problems, worries, concerns, responsibilities, maturity, etc.). Alcoholism and Drug addiction are considered mental illnesses in of themselves.


More "Ask Dr. Dombeck" View Columnists



Myndfulness App

Designed to Help You Feel Better Daily

Myndfuless App Rating

Download Now For Free

Learn More >