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What Is Self Medication?

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Updated December 01, 2009

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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
Examples:
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.
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