Self-medication is often misunderstood. I’m at a loss of how to articulate the misunderstanding well, but here goes…
Self-medication is just what it says, but there’s a deep meaning to what it literally says.
Imagine you were on crutches and they broke. You would try and find something to support yourself, even a tree branch if nothing else. A tree branch isn’t a good fit and it’s not terribly safe, but you need to move.
In the mental health case it’s similar. Alcohol is often used within the legal realm of self-medication. Is it a good idea when you’re on meds? Of course not, you’re destroying your liver when it already has to deal with the medication you’re throwing at it. But that’s not how people think. In the end, when the short term is bad enough it will take over long-term interests.
We live in the present. We cannot live in the future. There are certain things that people are just not willing to accept.
Tomorrow I’ll write something about medication and how it works out in practice, but for now I’ll just say that relative to the previous unmedicated position, medication is sometimes a godsend. But it’s not all encompassing. And it has the potential to cause its own problems. When your libido tanks, what do you do? What do you do when your mind is clouded. You get anxious, you get scared, and you don’t want to think about it or live in that understanding of the world, so you use alcohol or something else to keep moving. Of course it’s a bad idea, and anyone with a mental illness who’s read anything about the subject knows that. But that’s not the point. I can say you’ll have a 7 course meal in a week if you have nothing to eat or drink before that, but thirst and hunger are very difficult to bend to the long-term interest idea.
And that’s just one thought unthinkable. Be back tomorrow for another thought.