Self-Medication in Depression and Drug Abuse

Many people with depression turn to specific drugs to elevate their moods and relieve depressive-like symptoms. According to the research “Drug Abuse for Self-Medication: An Empirical study”, many patients use drugs as self-medication to relieve depressive symptoms, does drug rehab work!

Roger D. Weissa, Margaret L. Griffinb, and Steven M. Mirinb carried out a study in which they examined drug effects and the motivations behind drug use among 494 people who were admitted to hospital for drug abuse. The researchers believed more women than men are prone to using drugs as a way to combat depression.

One study titled “The SelfMedication Hypothesis: Substance Use Disorders, A Reconsideration and New Applications” stated “Individuals find that specific actions or affects of each class or drugs can relieve or change painful feelings.”

According to the abstract for this study, “Self medication factors are present in an environment of self regulation vulnerabilities. These include difficulties in controlling affects, self esteem, relationships, or self-care. The feelings of people with substance-use disorders can be extreme. They may feel overwhelmed or not even notice their own emotions. Substance abuse can help these individuals relieve pain or to feel or control their emotions, when those feelings are not present or confusing. The diagnostic studies support and reject the idea that addictive disorders are self-medicated.

It is a review and criticism of the controversy surrounding psychopathology in relation to substance abuse/use. The clinical observations and the empirical studies which focus on suffering, pain, and other subjective feelings of distress, suggest more that they are psychological determinants of addiction, dependency, and relapse. In this study, the authors examine how subjective distress and pain can be a factor in self-medicating through substances. They also consider schizophrenia and posttraumatic-stress disorder that co-occur with substance abuse disorders.