In the UK National Health Service, self-medication refers to specific programmes of supporting patience with administering their own medication. It is a closely documented and risk assessed procedure.
Self-medicating is a term used somewhat informally, in drug and alcohol treatment, sober communities, and among psychological therapists. So, what is self-medicating? It is using or depending on drugs and/ or alcohol as a coping mechanism for depression, anxiety, stress, PTSD, panic attacks or other common mental health problems.
It is learned human behaviour. Dealing with discomfort or pain whether physical or emotional is far from very often processed or dealt with in a holistic way. Body, mind and soul as equal and important parts of the whole person is not how we have typically entered into getting over challenging life events. The behaviour that has become the norm and how we have been socialised is more akin to taking over the counter or prescribed medication. It about how normal it is for someone to reward themselves with a glass of wine or couple of beers in the evening after a stressful or hard day at work or at home with the children. This isn't uncommon. It's learned behaviour.