Self-medication is a common practice, being common doesn’t necessarily mean that is a good practice.
Some over the counter drugs are usually/easily abused due to the act of self-medication, and this could lead to more harm than good in some circumstances.
In this article we will discuss the concept of self-medication, and the dangers of self-medication.
What is Self-medication?
Self-medication is the act of prescribing and consuming drugs to treat conditions that were also likely self-diagnosed in some cases, especially when the person is not a trained or licensed health practitioner.
It is a very common practice, and could be due to;
- Inability to afford consultation; some people choose to self-medicate and even give medication to others when they cannot afford a trip to the doctors.
- Panic and emergencies; this could make one take what he/she is familiar with probably based on how similar the symptoms are to what they have experienced previously.
- No access to a proper healthcare facility; this reason is more popular in some demographic groups. When there is no nearby hospital or medical facility in an area, the need to get treatment could result to self-medication.
- Ignorance; some people don’t know how important it is to get a consultation, and diagnosis done before settling for the best treatment.
- Stubbornness; while there are those that are genuinely unaware of the harm self-medication could cause, there are those who refuse to acknowledge the importance of a proper diagnosis before medication.
Dangers of Self-medication
Well many times self-medication caused no harm and actually brought relief to the sick person; this thereby encourages those that practice it to continue.
Highlighting the risks involved is essential to bring the unpleasant likely outcomes to light.
Some likely issues with self-medication include;
- Drug reaction; this is the development of a reaction that is not normal, and a very severe reaction could lead to life threatening health complications.
- Overdose; there is a possibility of administering more than the required dose of a drug while self-medicating, there is also the possibility of taking lower than the required dose.
- Drug interaction; when certain drugs are combined there are different kind of reactions that could occur, some group of drugs reduce the acting power of another and some increase this or work better paired with another. Without prior knowledge of this; a person could be consuming a combination that is not beneficial to their current condition or health generally.
- Wrong prognosis; when your guesses as to what could be wrong with you is wrong, you are already set up for failure with whatever drugs you had planned to treat yourself with.
- Wrong administration of drug; this includes both wrong choice of treatment and possibly wrong administration route. An old story I heard once; a man administered some drug he probably thought he was sure of (because of his background as a semi-skilled nurse), to his kids and the result was fatal.
In summary since there is a possibility of any of the above listed and the consequences following are harmful, self-medication shouldn’t be an encouraged practice. Where there is no access to a medical facility, try to seek counsel from a health practitioner at least, also avoid patronizing quack chemists.