7 Substances People Might Abuse to Self-Medicate for Anxiety

When someone is dealing with mental health issues like anxiety, it can be overwhelming, and people may want to do anything to stop their suffering. While there are very good things that work for anxiety, such as therapy and psychiatric medication, quite a few people "self medicate" with the following for their issues which can be quite problematic in both the short and long run. If you are dealing with mental health issues, these are some things you should be extra careful with, possibly even avoiding them entirely, to make sure you don't abuse these to feel better.

Often, those who are suffering from substance abuse start by looking for a way to self-medicate. Many suffer from mental health concerns like anxiety and look for ways to reduce their anxiety. This can turn into an addiction over time and end up having serious negative consequences.

Opiates and Opioids

Opioids and opiates are commonly prescribed to help with pain, but the effects they can have can also help with anxiety. However, taking them for an off-label purpose and trying to use them to self-medicate for anxiety can lead to an addiction, as these medications are incredibly addictive. Those who are addicted to opioids may want to look into Tricare approved drug rehab centers to get help for the addiction and to learn better ways to handle the anxiety.


Alcohol is a common choice for those who want to avoid being anxious in social situations. Unfortunately, by turning to alcohol frequently to control the negative emotions associated with anxiety, it's possible to end up drinking too frequently. This can then turn into an addiction, and it can be more challenging to quit drinking.


Marijuana is commonly seen as a safe way to self-medicate mental health concerns like anxiety, but it isn't without risks. Studies have shown that CBD can help with anxiety, leading many people to believe marijuana is a good choice. Though CBD can help, there are risks of using THC and of self-medicating with marijuana. Instead of using marijuana, it's better to look into THC-free alternatives with a professional.


Stimulants can impact those with anxiety and help reduce symptoms, so they are often used by those who want to self-medicate. Caffeine is a stimulant that's often abused because it's easily available and the impact can be quick, but it can be dangerous to consume too much caffeine at once. Turning to other stimulants like amphetamines, however, can be incredibly risky and lead to addiction.

ADHD Medications

There are numerous ADHD medications, and some of them may help with anxiety. Taking them without a prescription, though, can be dangerous. It is possible to become addicted to these medications, especially when they aren't taken under medical supervision, and there can be health complications as a result.


Nicotine is often used by individuals who suffer from anxiety. As it is a highly addictive substance, it can be challenging for someone to stop using nicotine, even if they start to see negative health impacts as a result. Many who use nicotine will find it's difficult to stop using it without professional help, even though it's not commonly thought of as a substance that can be abused.


Food is something that's required to survive, but it is possible to become addicted to overeating, especially if it's done to help with mental health concerns like anxiety. Overeating can lead to many health complications and it can be challenging to change habits to live a healthier lifestyle for someone who uses food to self-medicate.

Dealing with anxiety is possible without turning to substances, but it may require some work and speaking with professionals. Instead of turning to these or other substances, look into ways to handle the anxiety in a healthy way. If you have used substances like these to deal with your anxiety, look into the help that's available to recover from the addiction as you work on controlling your anxiety using healthier methods.

Penniless Parenting

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