It is common to take a pain killer when you have a headache or back pain. People trying to find a cure or cope with sickness have been a common practice for many years. Of course, if used correctly, medicine can bring relief. However, medical practitioners often warn against self-medication. Everyone needs to know about the dangers and benefits of self-medication.
What is Self Medication
Self-medication is simply defined as the taking of drugs without diagnosis or treatment from a Doctor. In simple terms, taking medications without a doctor’s prescription. In many societies, these drugs are easily gotten, thereby increasing the number of people who self-medicate. Pharmacies, supermarkets, and other outlets like gas stations are good examples of over-the-counter drug purchases.
Generally, people have been majorly influenced by environmental, personal, and organizational factors to self-medicate. Also, adverts by pharmaceutical manufacturers, money, and access facilities have played a part. Some adverts will show a wonder drug—suggesting a simple capsule can give good health. In this article, we will compare the dangers and benefits of self-medication.
Why Do People Turn To Self-Medication
- Shortages in healthcare systems, especially in low-income countries.
- Patients do not have trust in healthcare providers.
- Health care services might come at a high cost, which many may not be able to manage.
- Getting medical attention from a Physician might require more time compared to self-medicating.
- People engage more in self-medicating where there is access to a large number of medicines without a prescription.
- Some have the idea that minor diseases do not need a physician’s consultation.
- In areas where there is a lack of healthcare professionals. As a result, the residents have no other choice but to self-medicate.
- The idea of looking for a quick fix has led many to self-medication.
- Some are scared to be diagnosed with certain sicknesses. Instead, they get some drugs to “fix” themselves. They try to hide their condition because of shame or fear.
- People in high numbers tend to self-medicate in countries that have relaxed rules about drug distribution.
- Many people resort to self-medication when they feel they will not get inadequate care necessary.
- The internet provides a lot of advice on drugs
- Being ignorant of the dangers. In order words, those who self-medicate don’t know the risk and dangers involved.
Benefits Of Self-Medication
Self-medication can be practical for some situations and places. Many have argued that self-medication grants them more freedom in making decisions about the management of minor illnesses. Moreover, this has reduced the load on many households for the high cost of medical services.
In communities where health facilities have been overworked, self-medication has helped to maintain health. So, this reduces the workload of doctors and nurses, where there are not many. Government-sponsored health programs can also get relief. More attention can be given to more severe cases.
Dangers Of Self-Medications
1. Wrong self-diagnosis
Some sicknesses have similar symptoms. Therefore, persons without enough medical training can easily misunderstand an illness. As a result, the self-prescribed drug may not be the right drug for the disease—for example, symptoms of Malaria parasite are similar to some worm infections. Taking the wrong drug may cause catastrophic damage.
2. Dangerous drug interactions
Drugs usually have exchanged with a second drug when taken at the same time. This interchange can either improve or hinder any or both of the medicines. Sometimes the effect can be severe. Furthermore, some drugs have side effects. While others do not mix with certain medications as they can harm or cause injury. Some examples of drug interactions with adverse harmful effects are:
Doctors consider drug interactions harm as a preventable error. Meanwhile, it is essential to recognize the interaction between herbal products and conventional drugs. The danger lies in reactions that can reduce the power of a medicine that may be essential to the patient’s health.
For untrained persons to know the right amount of drug or dosage can be very difficult. Therefore, self-medicating exposes you to either taking too much or taking too little. Not taking the correct dosage will not stop the illness, and may even cause you more harm.
4. Delays in seeking medical advice when needed
Self-medicating might provide only temporary relief. Thereby leaving the underlying cause of sickness unattended. In severe sickness cases, this can prove fatal or dangerous as valuable time would have been wasted.
5. Risk of Abuse And Addiction
Some drugs have been known to have properties if not taken with caution can be addictive. Doctors have the necessary knowledge and will only prescribe the amount of dosage that can be properly managed.
Many people don’t know how to make use of drugs because of limited information. Likewise, many medications can cause a feel-good feeling and may lead to addiction. In severe conditions of addiction or dependence, there is a need for rehabilitation to get back to normality.
6. Masking Of Severe Diseases
Without enough knowledge of the illness, self-medication might only tackle some visible symptoms. For instance, taking pain killers for headaches brings temporary relief. But the main problem might be the individual is under stress. So without taking care of what is the cause of the stress, the headache might return.
7. Development of resistance
Microbes have a steady ability to adapt to different situations. Therefore, when drugs like antibiotics are not used properly, it might lead to the development of resistance.
How Can I Make Safe Self-Diagnosis
There are more dangers than benefits when it comes to self-medication. However, you can make self-medication in circumstances where doctors or health facility is not available. But how can you do this safely?
Firstly, the correct diagnosis of the sickness is necessary. In some places, it might be easier to get access to Testing Facilities. The appropriate test can give a proper diagnosis.
Furthermore, you can also consult an adequate medical reference book that might help you make an accurate diagnosis. Secondly, get the right drugs and the amount needed for proper treatment after getting the correct diagnosis.
In summary, it is important to seek professional advice before administering treatment. Likewise, having enough information can help you discern the dangers and benefits of self-medication.