self-med·​i·​cate ˌself-ˈme-di-ˌkāt How to pronounce self-medicate (audio)
self-medicated; self-medicating; self-medicates
transitive : to treat (something) by self-medication
people who attempt to self-medicate depression
intransitive : to treat oneself by self-medication
self-medicated with analgesics to control arthritic pain
These courts are a lifeline for veterans, many of whom struggle with post-traumatic stress and brain injury when they return home after serving, often using drugs and alcohol to self-medicate.Claire Handscombe

Examples of self-medicate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Many former patients self-medicated with drugs and alcohol and wound up on the street. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 12 Feb. 2024 Many have used the drug as a way to get high, as a dietary supplement or to self-medicate for depression and anxiety. Devika Rao, theweek, 26 Jan. 2024 Conventional treatments do not work for everyone, and many veterans turn to alcohol or drugs in an attempt to self-medicate. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, 5 Jan. 2024 Sobriety and mental health go hand-in-hand as new data from JAMA’s Substance Use and Addiction study reveals that stress drives women to binge drink more than men to self-medicate. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 11 Oct. 2023 But others suppressed their feelings, self-medicated with drugs or alcohol, or just left. Will Lanzoni, CNN Money, 23 Sep. 2023 Shame is a familiar sentiment to Sarah, an underachiever who self-medicates with alcohol. Celia Wren, Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2023 In one especially tender moment, Josiah, a neighbor who self-medicates for salmonella with pills meant for cows, asks Navied where his family is from. Kay Sohini, Washington Post, 15 Sep. 2023 My son did suffer from mental health issues and did self-medicate, but that’s no reason for someone to give him something with fentanyl. Dallas News, 13 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'self-medicate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1902, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-medicate was in 1902

Dictionary Entries Near self-medicate

Cite this Entry

“Self-medicate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Medical Definition


self-med·​i·​cate -ˈmed-ə-ˌkāt How to pronounce self-medicate (audio)
self-medicated; self-medicating

transitive verb

: to treat by self-medication
the patient had attempted to self-medicate depression

intransitive verb

: to treat oneself by self-medication
patients with dental pain often self-medicate with analgesics
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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