The negative effects of self-medication

One of the consequences of the current pace of life and the high demands to which we are constantly exposed is the increase in chronic stress, as well as episodes of depression and anxiety in populations of all ages.

Associated with these social variables, we also have others of a personal nature that exacerbate these states, such as a low tolerance for frustration or negative emotions, or a poor approach to personal experiences or complex feelings that affect us on a daily basis. In today’s society, Self-medication with psychotropic drugs is one of the most common resources for dealing with psychological distress in the face of many of these pressures., Being able to achieve an abuse of the same and become an additional problem.

But: are psychotropic drugs necessary?

Many times they are. Psychiatric medications can be very helpful in channeling a psychological or behavioral problem at a specific and opportune point in a person’s life. Remember that the main function of these substances is to regulate the action of certain neurotransmitters, improving some of the symptoms experienced by the affected person.

Moreover, in severe mental disorders in which there is a strong mismatch, we know that the medication is strictly necessary and that it has a crucial function for the adaptation of the patient, even if the psychological intervention cannot be left. next to. .

The psychological effects of self-medication with psychotropic drugs

However, in many other cases,
drug use is overused and poorly channeled as a solution to psychological distress that occurs in the face of everyday problems or symptoms that do not warrant its use. Prescription of psychotropic drugs must be guided by a physician and be accompanied by additional psychological treatment if long-term improvements are to be maintained. We know a lot about the physiological side effects of using these drugs, but it is important to also point out the psychological side effects that remain on the person in terms of self-efficacy or perceived problem solving.

Most of the problems that create distress in patients seeking help are psychosocial in origin, not biochemical.
if the real cause and the origin of the problem are not found, a solution will hardly be reachedThe drug also cannot be withdrawn (the goal is transient stabilization of the symptom, not chronic medication as a sustained solution).

Consuming drugs without professional control: a real Russian roulette

The real problem with self-medication is the use of drugs on one’s own initiative, Without prescription, control or professional diagnosis associated with this medication. This is a practice that we have very standardized as a way to cover symptoms with some immediacy, how many of us have taken a pill for a headache, backache, or for sleeping at some point in our lives? In cases where we are treating a cold, one-time discomfort, we would speak of responsible and time-limited self-medication.

Problems begin when self-medication is prolonged in excess or established as a resource to control a symptom. boring, but without worrying about the origin of it. It is common in such a case that the person thinks that he needs such drugs in order to develop in his daily life or to cope with his problems. More precisely, and in particular, we refer to psychotropic drugs, antidepressants, anxiolytics and hypnotics. Consumption normalizes in the medium and long term when the drug’s own indications have temporary limits of use.

Effects (physical and psychological) of the bad habit of self-medication

In addition to the typical physical effects when consuming a chemical, we will highlight the tolerance, abstinence and dependence that results from taking some of these drugs out of control for long periods of time.

However, the most important effect that we want to highlight is at the psychological level, due to the lack of control or responsibility for improvement. The use of drugs for psychological problem solving facilitates the development of what is called the locus of external control by diverting the improvement to an external and independent resource of the person. A patient with symptoms of depression or anxiety may learn that they need medication to get better and work on their condition, not learn that they are able to act on their condition to get better. sometimes this effect can hinder the progress of the patient by not having the own resources necessary to resolve a certain situation on his own..

Examples and possible solutions

Take an example, a person with a certain degree of social anxiety who experiences great discomfort in certain situations ends up developing a work for the audience in which a lot of anxiety arises, affecting their performance. Solution paths require quitting employment (which is not an option as you need financial support), actively seeking another job, resorting to anxiety medication, which you will need to continue to take as long as you keep that job or learn to manage. if not, with a treatment plan that includes work on anxiety, social skills and self-esteem, among other things.

In cases like this, we try to reflect
running away or taking drugs are ways to avoid the real problem, Which will in no way contribute to personal growth or experiential learning. Medicines yes, but always under surveillance and for cases that require it.

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