Alcohol, marijuana, opioid medications, and heroin are all commonly abused substances today. Cocaine, amphetamines, and many other drugs are commonly abused as well. In the United States, the legal substances (alcohol, tobacco, and opioids) are a problem that can be just as serious as the illegal drug issue. In fact, alcohol, tobacco, and prescription pain medicines are considered the three deadliest substances in the United States today.
In short, no. Self-medication is not the answer to problems. Many people who are suffering from substance abuse started out by simply looking for a solution to make the problems go away. Self-medication tends to snowball very quickly, and over time it can become deadly. An experienced, board-certified psychiatrist is able to help patients better understand and treat these underlying conditions so that they can be addressed in a healthy way that doesn't involve self-medicating with addictive substances.
A behavioral addiction is a type of addiction that involves strong compulsions to do certain behaviors or activities at the expense of other areas of individuals life (i.e. work, love and play). In many cases, these behaviors can be just as damaging to a patient's quality of life as drugs and alcohol. Behavioral addiction does not involve drugs, but instead things like sex, gambling, extreme sports, or Internet usage in excess. Much like with drug abuse, people with behavioral addictions don't have control of their actions and will continue to engage in these actions regardless of the harm that they might be causing to themselves or the people that they love.
With both substance abuse and behavioral addiction, treatment is highly customized. Each person's background and life is unique, and thus the things that led to the addiction may also be very much unique to that individual. Dr. Goldenberg works with the patient to uncover the things that prompted the issues so that those problems can be addressed at their source. Slapping a temporary bandage on an addiction won't work, but addressing the issues right at their origins can allow the patient to be healthy and whole again.
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