Reuters reports that a Canadian study found: “People who drink or use drugs to calm down anxious nerves are at increased risk of developing full-blown substance abuse disorder down the road.”
This was the first study to try to get to the bottom of which comes first–substance abuse or self-medication? Some people who are anxious may self-medicate to the point that they find themselves addicted. On the other hand, there are people who self-medicate with alcohol and drugs because they are already addicted.
The researchers think that while it is possible to doubt their findings, overall their findings indicate that people who are full of anxiety and use drugs or alcohol to calm down, are more likely to find themselves dealing with addiction down the road.
Studies of the habits that lead to drug and alcohol abuse are just that–studies. They are not a guarantee that at person will succumb to addiction, but if you or someone you care about exhibits the signs of falling into the temptation to engage in substance abuse, it is worth your while to pay attention.
If you, a friend or a relative frequently turns to drugs or alcohol to relieve stress, calm down or just to get through the day, then you or that person are at risk. Continuing to deal with life’s challenges by turning to drugs or alcohol means that you are not developing your own coping strategies. Soon one can start to see drugs or alcohol as the thing that keeps you doing and this kind of dependency on substances is dangerous.
“Of those who had anxiety disorder at the outset of the study and said they self-medicated with alcohol, 13 percent developed alcoholism…
After taking income, age and other factors into consideration, self-medicating people had 2.5 to 5 times the odds of becoming dependent on alcohol or drugs compared to people who stuck with their doctor’s prescription.”