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Self Medication and Heroin Addiction

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What Is Self-Medicating?

Self-medication is a way of describing a person's use of drugs or alcohol in order to soothe their feelings and behaviors that are associated with stress, anxiety, depression, mental illness or trauma that's taken place in their life. The individual uses a substance or substances to make themselves feel better and to cope. Many people suffer from mental illness and have never been diagnosed, mental health disorders that are common among substance users include:

  • Schizophrenia
  • ADHD
  • Panic Disorder
  • Anxiety Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Manic Depression
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder

Sometimes people also self-medicate because of unhappiness, depression, loneliness, abuse or other situations that happen in their life instead of seeking professional medical help.

Why Do Some People Self-Medicate with Heroin?

There are probably several reasons a person would choose to use heroin for self-medication. When heroin is smoked or injected it reaches the brain very fast and causes a surge of dopamine to take place. Dopamine is the chemical that's associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Not everyone that suffers from depression, mental health disorders, or emotional unhappiness would choose to use street drugs like heroin or any other substance to make themself feel better, but some do.

Some people are so unhappy, lonely, and depressed they look for ways not only to feel better, but to escape from situations in their life that they are unable to control.

Mental health disorders that are not diagnosed or left untreated can make living a normal emotionally happy life impossible and sometimes a person will choose drugs like heroin to feel better, or cope, or function.

Heroin depending on how it's administered reacts quickly and produces intense pleasure at first, some people chooses a drug that not only reacts fast but gives them a sense of immediate pleasure. The problem besides the fact that heroin is an illegal street drug is that after the intense rush is experienced the level of dopamine is reduced. The user goes from an intense rush of euphoria to eventually feeling down and low. Addiction is right around the corner with frequent use. Eventually the symptoms a person was attempting to self-medicate like depression, anxiety, panic, loneliness, sadness, or mental illness symptoms get much, much worse.

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Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) could be forwarded to SAMHSA or a verified treatment provider. Calls are routed based on availability and geographic location.

The Heroin.org helpline is free, private, and confidential. There is no obligation to enter treatment. In some cases, Heroin.org could charge a small cost per call, to a licensed treatment center, a paid advertiser, this allows Heroin.org to offer free resources and information to those in need. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses.