Self-Medicating, Drug abuse and Depression

Depressed people often reach for certain drugs in order to achieve a mood boost and relief from depressive symptoms. A study entitled women’s substance abuse treatment programs As Self-Medication For Depression: An Empiric Study” found that most people used drugs to treat depressive symptoms, and their mood was elevated regardless of the drug they chose.

Roger D. Weissa and Margaret L. Griffinb, along with Steven M. Mirinb conducted the study. They examined drug effects as well as motivations for drug usage in 494 drug addicts who were hospitalized. Researchers believed that men were more likely to abuse drugs in order to relieve depression.

In another study entitled “The Self-Medication hypothesis of Substance Use Disorders : A Reconsideration of Recent Applications”, it was stated that “individuals discover the specific effects or actions of each drug class to relieve or alter a variety of painful states.”

In the abstract, it is stated that “Self-medication occurs in contexts of selfregulation vulnerabilities, primarily in relation to difficulties with regulating feelings, relationships, and self care. People with substance abuse disorders are either overwhelmed by painful emotions or don’t seem to be able to experience them at all. These individuals use substances of abuse to alleviate painful effects or experience emotions or control them when they’re absent or confused. Diagnose studies have provided evidence which supports or fails to support the self-medication theory of addiction disorders.

The cause-and-effect controversy regarding psychopathology, substance abuse and addiction is examined and critiqued. Clinical observations and empirical research that focuses on subjective distress and painful affects suggest, however, that these states are more consistent in determining whether or not a person will use, become dependent on, or relapse to addictive substances. The article discusses the subjective states of suffering and distress that are involved with motives for self-medicating with drugs of abuse, including nicotine addiction and schizophrenia or posttraumatic stress disorders co-morbid to a substance-use disorder.

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