Are you guilty of this? Do you self-medicate and easily decide on popping a pill in case you know you’re under the weather? Do you buy drugs over the counter/use prescriptions without seeking professional help? Well, you should stop the habit as it can do more harm than good, worsening your health condition. If you think you often self-medicate and are now ready to kick the habit, here are things you should never miss:
Why People Self-Medicate?
Self-medication refers to the practice of using prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs without discussing your symptoms with a medical doctor. This is practically where the individual acts as his or her own physician in an effort to handle the symptoms of a physical or mental health concern.
The reasons that individuals may decide to self-medicate can depend on their personal situation. For one, individuals may attempt to hide their current condition in plain sight or may be using a substance to mask their condition from others. And it may also be an attempt to resolve the issue without the cost of seeing a medical doctor or as a direct result of personal fears associated with a medical diagnosis.
Oftentimes, it is easier to avoid the cost and hassle of visiting a doctor and use over-the-counter or prescription medication to alleviate the symptoms of an illness or physical discomfort. Unfortunately, there are consequences associated with self-medicating that are just not worth the risks.
Though it is always best to discuss your symptoms and physical ailments with a trained medical professional and getting a proper diagnosis and a treatment plan remains the best way avoid any complications or health risks, self-medication has been a huge challenge for several years.
Dangers of Self-Medication
Misdiagnosing the illness: A minor health issue which could be resolved easily with the doctor’s advice may become a major problem over time. Symptoms may subside temporarily with self-medication, but it would become difficult for a doctor to correctly diagnose and treat later.
Habituation: You could become dependent to prescription drugs such as antacids, cough syrups and pain relievers.
Risk of stroke: The most commonly misused medicines are painkillers. Analgesics can induce gastritis and can also increase risk of stroke by four times in patients with high BP.
Drug interactions: Some herbal drugs and medicines may cause drug-to-drug interactions and adversely affect the body.
Insufficient dosage: Incorrect dosage of medicines will not cure and will prolong recovery. On the other hand, over-dosage may damage liver, kidneys, and other organs.
Indiscriminate use of antibiotics: These could, over a long time, lead to antimicrobial resistance. Consequently, the antibiotic may become ineffective when taken in the future.
Allergic reactions: Some antibiotics such as penicillin or sulpha drugs can cause severe reactions in the body for some people. Beware as these could be really fatal.
Self-medication by pregnant women: This could adversely affect the unborn child causing congenital anomalies and birth defects. Unlike other facets of self-care, self-medication involves the intake of drugs, which have the potential to be beneficial or harmful. Their improper use can have serious health implications, especially among children, the aged, and in people with special physiological conditions such as pregnancy and lactation. The government and health authorities must ensure that only safe drugs are made available over-the-counter. Consumers should be given adequate information about their use.
Other Risks That Are Associated with Self-medication Include:
- Using inappropriate medications that cause side effects
- Masking the symptoms of a serious condition
- Delaying medical advice
- Inaccurate dosage that leads to accidental overdose
- Mixing medications that are not safe to mix, which may result in legal costs or health concerns
- Risk of abuse
- Risk of developing an addiction or several addictions
Be known that in its worst-case scenario, self-medicating can lead to severe health conditions or even death. Remember that self-medicating is dangerous. It can cause serious problems, so it is important to set up an appointment with a doctor when any symptoms of an illness or mental health condition occur. If you or a loved one is experiencing pain, discomfort, or is ill for an extended period of time, then it is time to visit a trained medical doctor.
So the next time you feel sick and think need some medication, go and seek professional help by seeing your family doctor to get the right diagnosis and medication. Stay healthy!