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Is It Wrong to Self-Medicate?

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When I started my job at a grocery store 3 months ago I would have really bad anxiety. I was generally an anxious person before but being a social environment only made it worse. I’m very bad with people and putting on that happy/cheery customer surface attitude. It got to a point at times I was choking back tears because I was so anxious. My sister did let me have some of her prescription anxiety medicine at first, which is know is wrong. I also took kava root and 5-HTP on top of that. I was more comfortable being really tired all day than being anxious. Since then, I have been self medicating with a supplement called Phenibut and on occasion 5-HTP on top of that. Phenibut is said to be effective for social anxiety and can help bring you out of your shell. I take the maximum serving size listed (which is roughly 1060mg). after I got used to it it has been very helpful. I’m not intimidated by my male coworkers anymore, I am comfortable answering the phone and I can talk to customers without fear. This is something that works for me. Obviously there is no therapy attached to self-medication, but if it is effective, does that still make it wrong?

Is It Wrong to Self-Medicate?

Answered by on -


Self-medicating can be dangerous. Phenibut has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. It has not been studied in people so its effects are not well known.

A major concern is its abuse potential. Tolerance can build quickly. The obvious danger is that you are taking a drug that has not been extensively studied. Its safety is questionable.

The FDA has “serious concerns” about drugs without required FDA approval. The FDA requires a rigorous, evidence-based system of drug approval in which both safety and effectiveness must be demonstrated. It is the standard by which drugs are deemed safe in the United States.

I would advise against taking unapproved drugs, especially when there exists the potential for abuse. You don’t know the effects of the substances that you’re putting into your body. It’s an experiment, one that has the potential to damage your mind and body.

Dietary supplements should only be taken under the supervision of your healthcare provider. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Is It Wrong to Self-Medicate?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Is It Wrong to Self-Medicate?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 19 Jul 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.