Why do successful, intelligent people start self-medicating?

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2023 | Drug Charges |

There’s a lot of social stigma related to substance abuse. People tend to imagine low-functioning people when they think about drug addiction in particular. However, the reality substance abuse is that it affects people from all backgrounds for a variety of different reasons.

Many people who end up facing criminal charges related to drugs may have started using those substances in an attempt to self-medicate. All too often, successful professionals convince themselves that they can use alcohol or other drugs in this way without putting themselves at risk. Their habit of self-medicating may eventually spiral out of control, leading to worsening habits and eventually criminal charges. The following are some of the main reasons that people begin self-medicating.

Stress or other mental health challenges

Self-medicating often starts as a way to escape from the stress of work or relationship problems. People down a bottle of beer or pop a few pills to help them unwind after a difficult day or an argument with a loved one. They then develop a sense of dependence on their substance of choice. Over time, their behaviors may intensify. They may consume more of their chosen drug or alcohol and do so over minor provocations. Anyone using substances for stress relief or emotional challenges is at risk of losing control of the situation.

Physical pain

Maybe somebody hurt their knee while jogging, and they don’t think they need to see a doctor. Instead, they pick up their leftover medication from when they had surgery a few years before and start treating their pain levels with those drugs. Not only does self-medicating for physical symptoms possibly lead to addiction, but it also deprives people of proper diagnosis and treatment. Their condition may continue to worsen, meaning that they will need to continue self-medicating and possibly increasing the frequency and dose over time. Eventually, they may even turn to the unregulated market to resupply themselves.

Although self-medicating may seem like a simple solution to a personal challenge, it may eventually backfire, leading to someone’s arrest and criminal prosecution. Determining what has pushed someone into unsafe behaviors might help them better plan a response to pending criminal charges, such as pursuing drug court in response to drug charges related to habitual self-medication.


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