Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Self Abuse" Redefined

Consider "child abuse": Who gets hurt? The child.

Now consider "Drug abuse." Who gets hurt? The drug? Hardly.

One who "abuses drugs" hurts oneself.

"Self abuse."

I propose we abandon the old use of the term. Who uses it that way anymore anyway? The light bulb flashed on in my head as I became embroiled in yet another dispute over the notion of "self medication," once more misapplied to an individual using drugs and alcohol in the context of another separate (presumed) psychiatric disorder.

As in most such cases the drugs and alcohol more likely hurt rather than help the patient, as I argued in my earlier post: A Working Definition for Self Medication

So when you hear or see the term self medication in the future think self abuse and see if it doesn't lead to more accurate conceptualization of the case.


  1. Excellent point: "Drug abuse." Who gets hurt? The drug? Hardly.

    "Self abuse" is far more descriptive, however, it may force a person to be accountable for his or her actions: heaven forbid.

  2. Here's how to abuse drugs. Hold the drugs in your hand and yell: "You worthless pile of dung! You call that a buzz?? You suck!!"