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Self-Medication

Question:

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.

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Answer:

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.

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p>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.

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