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Risks of Self Medicating

young man seated on couch with head in his hands struggling with the risks of self-medicating

Many people believe that they can feel better by self-medicating with marijuana or other drugs instead of working with a therapist and talking about the reasons for needing to self-medicate. While it may feel like it is helping, the reality is they are only worsening their condition and creating a co-occurring condition of addiction and depression or other disorders. While cannabis is less harmful than other drugs, there is still a risk of developing a physical dependence and addiction.

At Evoke Wellness at Coconut Creek, we are well aware of the dangers of self-medicating and work hard to aid Florida residents who develop a substance use disorder. On day one, we will run a complete health assessment to determine the severity of the addiction. We use this information to develop a comprehensive treatment plan based on your unique symptoms. Treatment programs include a mix of therapies and medical support to treat the whole person and not just the illness.

To see if our dual diagnosis treatment program at Coconut Creek is right for you, drop us an email or call 866.693.3871 today to speak with our friendly team.

Understanding Marijuana and Mental Health

Marijuana comes from the cannabis or hemp plant and contains the psychoactive ingredient delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for feelings of euphoria and happiness. Clinical trials have shown that this drug can have positive effects on individuals with the following physical ailments:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscle spasms
  • Severe and chronic pain

Marijuana is also used to treat a number of mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and bipolar disorders. Those who use medical marijuana will benefit from small doses, whereas if they take a high dose, it can worsen their anxiety or other mental health symptoms.

While cannabis is safe to treat certain physical and mental health conditions, there is a fine line between using just enough and taking too much. Those who abuse their medication will experience a strong addiction to marijuana, which may potentially cause them to try harder drugs.

Evoke Wellness at Coconut Creek supports individuals who are self-medicating and begin experiencing intense cravings that they cannot control. Our programs combine behavioral therapies along with medical support to ease withdrawals and cravings and allow for the healing process to begin.

The Risks of Self-Medicating

If you take too much of any substance, it can be a bad thing. Eat too much, and it affects your physical health. Continual abuse of drugs or alcohol, no matter how much, will lead to a strong chemical dependence and addiction and a long list of health complications.

If you are self-medicate with marijuana or other drugs, you should be familiar with some of the risks of self-medicating:

  • Hides the real problem – Using drugs to feel better is like putting a bandaid over a wound that needs stitches. You may think it’s helping, but it only hides the real problem. Attending therapy allows you to face these problems head-on and develop healthy coping skills to manage those feelings or past traumas.
  • Can cause further health complications – Long-term substance abuse comes with a host of physical and psychological problems that can decrease your quality of life and lifespan. Common medical conditions caused by long-term substance abuse include:
    • Heart disease
    • Organ failure
    • Permanent brain damage
    • Weakened immune system
    • Worsening depression and anxiety
  • Increases the chances of switching to more dangerous drugs – In some cases, people who self-medicate with marijuana may switch to harder drugs if they are no longer getting the relief they need. They may be more likely to try drugs like heroin or meth for their increased euphoria and longer-lasting effects without thinking about the potential harm.
  • Can cause a co-occurring disorder – Addiction is both a cause and a symptom of depression and anxiety. The more you abuse, the worse these conditions become. Self-medicating can cause a dual diagnosis or co-occurring condition fueled by the underlying cause and continued substance abuse.

Understanding the effects of marijuana on mental health is essential if you are using cannabis as a means of self-medicating. If you are not careful, it can lead to worsening mental health and increase the risk of using stronger drugs when marijuana is no longer enough.

Contact Evoke Wellness at Coconut Creek for Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Evoke Wellness at Coconut Creek welcomes people from all walks of life who have developed an addiction through self-medicating. During the recovery process, we teach patients about the dangers of using marijuana or other drugs to self-medicate and how it can lead to a full-blown addiction and co-occurring disorder.

If you or a loved one needs help breaking their addiction, reach out to us at 866.693.3871 or contact us online to enroll in our dual diagnosis treatment program.