Addictions

Drugs and Alcohol Only Cover Up The Problem

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We tend to use drugs and alcohol when we’re feeling really good as well as when we’re feeling really bad. To deny that they are capable of making you feel better would be to deny direct experience. People who drink at weddings also drink at funerals, and their motivations in each case are obviously quite different.

If you are self-medicating, which means using drugs and alcohol primarily to try to feel better emotionally, psychologically, or physically, the fact is that obviously it’s working or you wouldn’t be using them, and anyone who tries to tell you differently probably sounds like an idiot. The problem is not that they don’t work, especially in the short-term they work all too well, probably better than any other route you have tried. The problem is that drugs and alcohol only cover up the problem, they do absolutely nothing to address it at its source, which makes them a bad solution for the long-term.

They are kind of like using bandages to soak up the blood from a gaping wound. It’s a short-term fix and you know you’ve got to get to the hospital as soon as humanly possible to get the real help you need. If only emotional and psychological wounds felt as pressing. But your body doesn’t expire when you’re feeling bad, you can keep going indefinitely, and for whatever reason your emotional or psychological pain is threatening enough that facing it squarely doesn’t seem like a viable option. This leaves self-medication, whose relief is only temporary and goes away once the high goes away.

Until you address and overcome that underlying issue you’re never going to feel better. Drugs or alcohol can only cover up that fact for a little while. Effective in the short-term? You know the answer to that from your own experience and don’t need me to tell you. Effective in the long-term? All the clinical data out and all of the amassed psychological and philosophical wisdom across the ages say no.

Greetings I'm Michael, the owner of Evolution Counseling and the author of all the articles on this site. I got my master's degree from Seattle University in community mental heath counseling and have committed myself to advancing my knowledge of psychology and my own theoretical system ever since. The content here represents my personal evolution of thought. I've also become a big fan of photography and I take all the pictures you'll see at the top of articles. We don't advertise to get traffic so this site's increasing popularity is grassroots, it's based on you and people like you deciding for yourselves that these articles are a good source for psychological insight and that they're worth sharing with others.