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The dangers of self-medicating with illegal substances

Mental illness has no easy solution. There is no one answer that works for everyone. Some people who suffer mental health problems need therapy, medication or a combination of both to feel better. Unfortunately, many people suffer undiagnosed mental health disorders or do not have the appropriate resources to address their symptoms. Teens and young adults who do not get help may self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.

The link between mental illness and substance abuse

It is common for people with mental health disorders to use substances such as marijuana and alcohol to numb pain and anxiety. If these options are not effective, they may resort to using illegal substances. Someone who experiences panic attacks may use Valium or Xanax to calm their nerves. People suffering depression may use Adderall or cocaine to increase their drive.

Parents whose children suffer mental health issues worry about the slippery slope of using drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. Using substances not prescribed by a doctor, or using illegal drugs, can further damage a person's mental health. Chronic drug use can result in paranoia, depression and delusions. Once drugs wear off, symptoms of sadness can worsen.

Bad decisions and breaking the law

If your teen or adult child takes illegal substances, they are already breaking the law. They may be charged with drug possession. However, chronic use of substances can lead to poor decision-making. People who use drugs and alcohol may break the law to find money to fuel their addiction. Alcohol and other substances can make people violent, resulting in fights and assault charges.

If your teen or adult child self-medicates with drugs or alcohol, then it is important to get them help. A treatment program that addresses both mental health issues and addiction can be especially beneficial. Untreated mental illness can cause someone to relapse after becoming sober. Likewise, untreated addiction can cause a person's symptoms of mental illness to worsen.

If your loved one has committed a crime while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then it may be helpful to speak to an attorney who understands the relationship between addiction and breaking the law. With appropriate treatment and support, they can get better.

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