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  • Self-Medicating: When to Seek Anxiety Therapy

    You may be self-medicating if you find yourself turning to alcohol or drugs, food, or other substances in order to cope with anxiety. The relief and pleasure these substances bring help for short periods but can come with a range of negative consequences.

    You know your anxiety is a serious enough problem that you’re using substances to cope. But, you’re not quite sure if it’s time to seek anxiety therapy.  First, let’s look at what self-medicating is.

    What is Self-Medicating?

    Self-medicating is when a person uses substances such as drugs, alcohol, or food, to help them cope with emotional feelings, such as anxiety or depression. These substances can provide a temporary feeling of relief, but they often come with negative consequences in the long run. These consequences can include physical and mental health problems, financial troubles, relationship issues, and legal trouble.

    Self Medicating for Anxiety

    Anxiety can be overwhelming and difficult to cope with. People may turn to substances such as alcohol, drugs, or food to temporarily relieve the symptoms of anxiety. While these substances can provide a sense of relief, they often come with serious side effects and can lead to even more severe anxiety issues. For instance, when you try to stop self-medicating, you may experience increased anxiety symptoms, such as withdrawal.

    Recognizing the Signs of Self-Medicating

    The most important part of understanding when it’s time to seek therapy for anxiety is recognizing the signs of self-medicating. When you recognize the signs you will be better equipped to decide to seek help.  Here are some common behaviors associated with self-medicating for anxiety:

    • Increased use of drugs, alcohol, or other substances to cope with anxiety
    • Isolating yourself from friends and family
    • Risky behaviors such as gambling or spending money impulsively
    • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
    • Neglecting responsibilities at work, home, or school

    These are just some of the behaviors that are associated with self-medicating. Every individual can exhibit different signs and it’s important to be aware of how your anxiety is affecting your behavior. If you find yourself engaging in any of the behaviors listed above it may be time to seek professional help.

    Photo of a man sitting down with his head in his hands by some alcohol. This photo represents how hard managing your anxiety may be without the use of self medicating. Learn how anxiety therapy in Boca Raton, FL can help you overcome your struggles.

    Making the Decision to Seek Anxiety Therapy

    When it comes to trying to decide when you should seek therapy for your anxiety, you have to trust your instincts. If you find yourself self-medicating and the anxiety symptoms are persisting or worsening, it may be time to seek help. Therapy can provide you with the tools to address your anxiety in a safe and healthy manner, without having to rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms. Other reasons you may consider seeking therapy include:

    You’re Aware There is a Problem

    If you’re aware that your anxiety is affecting your life or leading you to self-medicate, this is a sign that you should seek help. Being aware of the problem is the first step in finding the right kind of treatment and support for your anxiety. You’ve already taken the initiative to address your anxiety by looking into therapy, so give yourself credit for recognizing the problem and taking action.

    Photo of a woman sitting on a couch speaking with an anxiety therapist representing how anxiety therapy in Boca Raton, FL can help you overcome your anxiety symptoms without self-medicating.

    Talk to Someone About Your Concerns

    Talking to someone you trust like a parent, a friend, or a therapist can be very beneficial in helping you make the decision to seek professional help. Talking to a parent can be beneficial as they can help you find the right resources and provide you with emotional support. Whereas a friend can provide a nonjudgmental listening ear and understanding.

    However, a therapist can be the one to help you figure out the root of your anxiety and what triggers it.  Therapy can provide a safe space to discuss your concerns and figure out the best plan of action for managing your anxiety. This way you will have skills and resources to use when you face anxiety in the future.

    Realizing You are Not Alone and Help is Available

    Anxiety can make you feel overwhelmed and isolated. However, you are not alone in this struggle and help is available. Talking to a therapist can give you the support and guidance you need to better manage your anxiety. Therapy is also a place where you can learn the skills needed to cope with anxiety in a safe and healthy manner.

    Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues people face today. Therapy is a powerful tool that can help you better understand and manage your anxiety. That way self-medicating and unhealthy behaviors can be avoided.

    Interested in Anxiety Therapy in Boca Raton, FL?

    You don’t have to rely on self-medicating or unhealthy behaviors to manage your anxiety. You can find relief and support through professional therapy. An anxiety therapist in Boca Raton, FL will work with you to provide the skills and resources needed to help you cope with anxiety. If you are interested in anxiety treatment:

    Photo of a woman riding her bike during sunset and looking out at the ocean. This photo represents how you can free your desires to self medicate to control your anxiety when working with an anxiety therapist in Boca Raton, FL.

    Other Mental Health Services Offered by Judith Thurswell, PsyD, LP

    As a therapist, I know anxiety is overwhelming and can be difficult to manage on your own. However, it may not be the only mental health issue you face. This is why I provide a variety of mental health services to address any of your concerns. This is because I am passionate about helping you reach your goals and live a life that feels fulfilling. In addition to online anxiety therapy, I offer the following services: Divorce Counseling or Counseling for Blended Families and Coparenting, Depression Treatment, and Evaluations for Substance Abuse. Regardless of what services you are interested in, I am here to provide you with the support, guidance, and understanding that you deserve.