Addiction Self-Medication New York City

Addiction and Self-Medication: What are the Underlying Causes?

Addiction Self-Medication New York City

Addictive medications

Addiction often comes hand in hand with a mental illness, particularly in certain social, racial and cultural groups. People with mental illness or certain risk factors are far more likely to become addicted to a substance. In fact, addiction can be classified as a mental illness. Some of the side effects of drug abuse reflect symptoms of mental illness and also impact similar regions of the brain. Here are a few things you should know about addiction and its relationship to mental illness.

People with Mental Illness Often Self-Medicate Addiction Self-Medication New York City

Self Medication is the act of using a substance to treat one’s ailments. These substances are typically illicit drugs, improperly used prescription drugs, and alcohol. In many cases, self-medication can temporarily relieve the symptoms of a mental illness but, in the long run, will exacerbate the symptoms.  When the symptoms grow worse, the sufferer is then much more likely to attempt self-medication again, resulting in a vicious circle and, eventually, addiction.

The best way to avoid this is to receive a proper evaluation and accurate diagnosis followed by subsequent professional treatment. Whether treatment means talk therapy or medication to rebalance the chemicals in the brain, ongoing treatment is the key to long-term recovery.
Tackle the Addiction First

If you are struggling with an underlying mental health disorder and also suffering from an addiction, it is important that you focus your energy on eradicating the dependency. Though therapy for your mental health is crucial, you can only improve your mental health to a certain extent as long as the addiction is allowed to continue. Substance abuse will amplify your symptoms, making management difficult. If addiction recovery is your focus, you will then be able to treat your mental illness with ease.

Of course, part of treating your addiction may be replacing it with proper treatment methods. Work with a counselor who is familiar with mental illness, self-medication, and addiction.
Addiction Can Also Be the Cause of Mental Illness Addiction Self-Medication New York City
For some groups such as the LGBTQA community, addiction is more likely due to social circumstances. LGBTQA people experience various social rejection, poor treatment from others, and a general feeling of being unsafe in their environment. This is not a mental illness so an addiction cannot occur from self-medicating. Instead, addiction becomes a risk because they want to escape their circumstances. Numbing the pain of being rejected by large groups of people is a common coping tactic for LGBTQA people.

Over time, these types of coping mechanisms can turn into an addiction, and substance abuse begins to trigger symptoms of mental illness. Most common are depression and anxiety. People who are at risk for these behaviors should seek preventative counseling.

Addiction is found in the DSM 5 classified 'DSM' as a mental illness.

Addiction and mental illness are closely related problems experienced by many people each day. Whether someone self-medicated for a mental disorder and becomes addicted or the other way around, the most important thing to do is seek treatment. People suffering from mental illness need proper treatment to avoid or halt the adverse effects of self-medication. Those who become mentally ill as a result of addiction must undergo rehab to reverse the effects. In the end, the best thing for either circumstance is an experienced counselor.
Adam Cook has a strong understanding of the devastation that can be caused by addiction. He recently lost a close friend to an addiction-related suicide. To better educate himself and to help others, he created, a site that provides addiction and mental health resources. When he isn’t working or adding to his website, he’s prepping for his first triathlon.
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Why African American Children Face Increased Risk

According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population. Common disorders among African Americans include major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicidal behaviors (especially in men). So why the greater risk?
There are many contributing factors. While the Affordable Care Act has helped increase health insurance coverage for this population — the number dropped from 20% uninsured to 11% uninsured from 2010 to 2014 — there are still a considerable amount of individuals with none. Further, African Americans have historically been negatively affected by prejudice and discrimination in the healthcare system. Misdiagnosis, inadequate treatment, and a lack of cultural competence by health professionals have led to a general distrust of the system within the community. Because of these misgivings, many African Americans either avoid staying in treatment or avoid seeking it altogether.
African Americans are also largely represented within communities more susceptible to mental health issues. The homeless population, for example, has an increased tendency for mental health conditions and is comprised of 40% African Americans. Poverty is another major contributor, with African Americans making up 38% of the child poverty population. Studies have also shown the population faces an increased exposure to violent crime, which can lead to PTSD and other mental health issues.
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