• Robert Clarke MFT

Self-Medicating


It's not always fun or easy to do things that are good for us. It may seem easier to fall into habits of self-soothing by medicating with substances or behaviors that we don’t like. Some of these behaviors such as eating, drinking alcohol, even watching the news, might be ok in moderation. Other habits like smoking, abusing drugs, watching porn, are generally viewed as negative in any amount, and are also things that many of us turn to for a good feeling when we feel bad. When we get anxious it’s normal to find ways to self-soothe. I have often discussed things that one can to do calm oneself and reduce anxiety. Things like exercise, meditation, yoga, journaling, visualizations, etc., are common ways to address anxious feelings. All of those are ways that your human brain (the Cortex) can send messages of calm to the old brain (Limbic system). Any habit, no matter how “healthy” can turn into an addiction or obsession when you feel like you must depend on it or don’t have control over your “need”. When these habits are no longer occasional ways that you self-soothe, but rather things that start to interfere with your life, then it’s time to do something about them. In the current lock-down situation, I’m sure you’ve found yourself engaging more often than you would like in some self-soothing or self-medicating habits. Clients are most commonly telling me that they are finding themselves using food, alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana, more than they would like right now. When I work with clients who are dealing primarily with anxiety issues, my main goal is to help them change their thinking, because that’s where anxiety starts. However, while we are working on that, it can be helpful to start a regular practice of healthy calming habits. Some of the greatest hits are: Regular exercise Meditation Yoga, Tai Chi, etc. Journaling Visualizations Reading Q: What are some of the ways that you calm yourself when you’re feeling anxious?

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My posts are purely my own thoughts and opinions and are not meant to give you advice, but instead to give you insight into some of my thinking. My hope is that you will find useful information here as you navigate your life and relationships.

© 2020 by Robert Clarke MFT. CA License #91187

Couples Therapy. Marriage Counseling. Communication, Intimacy, Conflict Resolution,  EMDR.  LGBTQ Affirming, Gay Friendly, Transgender Allied.  Burbank / Toluca Lake, CA.  *Click here for Client Portal*