1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

What Is Self Medication?


Updated December 01, 2009

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition: Self medication is a term that explains people's use of drugs and engagement in addictive behaviors as an attempt to "medicate" an underlying condition, such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD. The drug or behavior is chosen for to the effects it will have on the user's mood and/or physiology, and the the process of addiction is seen to be an effort at self-regulation.
Pronunciation: self med-i-kay-shun
Also Known As: self medication hypothesis
John's addiction to opiates was an attempt at self-medication of the chronic pain and post-traumatic stress he experienced after his car accident.
Related Video
How to Choose Pain Medication
Relieve Breastfeeding Problems
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Addictions
  4. Addictive Behaviors
  5. Drug Dictionary
  6. Self Medication - What Is Self Medication

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.