The self-medication hypothesis
The idea that substance abuse can be a form of self-medication is formally known as the self-medication hypothesis and was introduced in 1985.
The hypothesis claims that people use substances as a response to mental illness. It states that alcohol and drug abuse is often a coping mechanism for people with a variety of mental health conditions, including depression.
It also suggests that people gravitate toward the substance that alleviates their symptoms most effectively.
However, some say using substances to self-medicate can lead to symptoms of mental illness. For example, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that alcohol and other substances can worsen anxiety symptoms.
Self-medication can have a negative impact on mental health and does very little to treat the underlying condition. Recognizing forms of self-medication can help you understand how substance abuse may be related to depression and other mental health conditions.
Enjoy! xoxo Lynn