Self-medication is the practice of an individual using available medications or substances to treat self-diagnosed symptoms or conditions. In general, the practice of self-medication applies to any ailment or condition that a person may treat without the help of a healthcare professional. This includes minor injuries or illnesses such as the common cold.
The traditional definition of self-medication is “the taking of drugs, herbs or home remedies on one’s own initiative, or on the advice of another person, without consulting a doctor.” Self-medication is a regular practice as it is a form of self-care of our health. Self-medication of minor injuries and minor illnesses helps reduce the overall burden on the healthcare system and is a common practice in many parts of the world.
Dangers and risks arise with self-medication when people turn to self-medication when trying to treat more serious health conditions, such as mental health conditions, that require appropriate intervention from a medical professional. Rather than consulting a doctor to receive a proper diagnosis and medical treatment, many people use supplements and other substances, sometimes drugs and alcohol, to try to cope with the symptoms they are experiencing. This practice can result in improper treatment of symptoms and conditions as well as potentially cause new conditions, such as substance use disorders or addiction.
Below are some negative effects that self-medication is likely to bring.
- It Worsenings the condition the individual is trying to self-treat. Most tends to cure many critical diseases which must be given a professional hand. Through this, most of them worsenings the problem because they may end administering the wrong medicine which may rather improve the disease than curing it.
- It also brings dangerous drug interaction. Since the patient does not diagnose the disease and find out how his or her system interacts with medicines, some medicine may be harmful to the body systems of him or her.
- Masking of severe diseases. Many people use drugs that are not prescribed by a qualified health officer. Some that people medicines that do actually cure the disease but rather silence them for a while and come back when the efficiency of the medicine has gone down.
- It also leads to drug addiction. Since some painkillers only mask the diseases, it is obvious that someone who takes them might have continued using them. If this happens the person will continue using. When the person did not see the medicine he or she can not feel well.
- Self-medication also brings about premature death. Some medicine taken by individuals without the assistance of health worker can be dangerous if not administered well. Dosages and conditions must take into consideration before taken in medicine. Overdosage of some medicines can cause damage to our body organs which can lead to the untimely death of someone
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