Hesitate to self-medicate

by maximusaurus

If you’re not autistic, imagine for a sec that your brain is stuck going a gazillion miles an hour, like Roadrunner’s on a treadmill hooked up to an espresso drip up there. Imagine everything is magnified, a torrent of sensory data assaulting you constantly. This is what it can be like for those of us on the spectrum.

Needless to say, for a lot of us, there are few things as appealing as a break from this relentless bombardment. We begin to seek out ways to numb ourselves to it, which often leads to self-medication, typically with that wondrously affordable, accessible, and socially acceptable drug; alcohol.

When you’re chronically stressed, find it difficult and frightening to talk to people, and want to drown out feelings of inadequacy, alcohol can seem like a godsend; a sensory anesthetic, social lubricant, and a feel good buzz all in one. I myself quickly succumbed to its allure in my late teens.

As someone who has “been there done that”, I would strongly advise against this. Don’t get me wrong, if you wanna have a beer with your mates, go for it. I’m not advocating prohibition. But I do suggest being very wary of alcoholic self-medication.

For one thing, if you already have difficulties with social protocol, adding an extra layer of confusion tends to do more harm than good. And even if you do turn into Smooth McCool when you’re drunk, this can prevent you from learning to socialize without alcoholic assistance. You can end up socially dependent on drinking.

Another problem is that once we begin self-medicating, we tend to up our dose the worse we feel, as well as gradually over time as our alcohol tolerance increases. By the time I was 22, I was somewhere between Tyrion Lannister and Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas. The further you go, the harder it gets to dial it back.

There’s nothing wrong with having a nice drink now and then. Just be careful it doesn’t become one of your primary coping strategies.

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