Self-medication: Risks, Exceptions and Prevention

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According to a recent study in Chennai, 70% of people prefer taking self-medication in the state and this is due to the fact that most believe that self-medication is a less expensive and convenient way of treating common cold, fever and body pain. Well, if your one among 70% of people who prefers self-medication, then you need to watch out for future side-effects.

Some people prefer taking self-medication due to the fact that they are sceptical of the functioning of modern medicines. This stereotypical thinking must be substituted with a more rational thought that doctors are there to save your lives and to confirm this is by asking your doctor about everything pertaining to your illness.

Self-medications

 

Another major reason why people prefer taking self-medication is that they feel confident in this process and that they believe that fever, cold and body pain are simple illnesses that can be treated by telling a pharmacist. But, you need to keep in mind that the types of fever that come nowadays are not the normal ones unlike earlier.

Our air is filled with harmful toxins, so we are actually breathing bad air and there is dreadful sickness prevailing in the air we breathe. Before we get into the side-effects caused due to self-medication, let’s understand what does self-medication mean.

What is Self-medication?

Self-medication is referred to treating an illness or any other common health problems without consulting a doctor or medical supervision. This is often called nonprescription services or over the counter (OTC) that enable people to purchase medicines without consulting a doctor.

This can be very harmful at times as the medicines prescribed by a pharmacist can have long-term problems on your health condition. In the light of getting fast relief and cost-efficient medicines, people opt for self-medication as a way to self-cure illnesses they are suffering with. According to the World Health Organisation, self-medication can be described as the selection and potential use of medicines by an individual in order to treat a particular sickness.

This includes patients providing old prescriptions, consulting friends and reading about it over the internet. Researching over the type of medication to be taken for an illness is good, but consuming medication without clarifying it with your doctor is worst.

Disadvantages of Self-medication:

If you’re of the assumption that self-medication is good enough without a doctors prescription, then you may be wrong. Self-medication has a number of flaws that can be devastating in the long run.

Basically, when medicines enter your body they get absorbed very quickly and can cause reactions, maybe sometimes relief, or later side-effects. Self-medication can be used for a good cause and sometimes be misused.

Some drugs bought can be very addictive and dangerous. For example, Benedral syrup is a very famous syrup used to cure bad cold sore throat. When consumed, most patients feel drowsy, but many people began to use this as a drug for a good feel. Currently, this syrup is sold only on doctors prescription.

However, in contrast to this, there are many other antibiotics that are sold with a doctor’s prescription. Antibiotics must be bought on a prescription basis and it must be treated as a crime to sell them to patients without a prescription. Sometimes, people purchase painkillers with or without doctor’s consultation.

When painkillers are purchased with a doctor’s consultation, it can mean that the prescription may be old and that the tablets taken may have adapted to your body and cause future pain. So always consult a doctor before you opt for taking any medicine.

Dangers Associated With Self-medication:

Self-medication can be dangerous because your confidence can make you consume an overdose of medicine that may result in death. Here is a list of potential dangers that self-medication can strike you with.

  • Resistance to microorganisms in your body that cause sickness.
  • Drug addiction and abuse.
  • instant relief with a lot of long-term side effects.
  • Can lead to death if not prescribed by a doctor.
  • Taking a drug that’s not advised may relapse on your body condition.

Prevention of Self-medication:

Since this is becoming a huge prevalent problem in India, it can be prevented for now. There are many ways in which you can prevent this and it all begins with you putting a stop towards buying any medicine without a prescription. With medicine becoming a commercial aspect of everyday life, most people do not know the consequences they are going to be surrounded by. However, here are some small tricks which can put an end to this practice.

Ways to Stop Self-medication:

There are a number of ways that you can stop self-medication and the first step lies in your hand. You need to stop buying medicines without a prescription and caution people about the cause. However, here are some simple ways you can stop self-medication.

  • Stop buying nonprescribed medicines.
  • Create awareness on social media about the cause.
  • Drug authorities must make it a rule for people to avail medicines only on the basis of prescription.
  • Read about the advantages and disadvantages of self-medication and caution your surroundings.
  • The topic of self-medication must be added to students curriculum.
  • Pharmacists must be educated on the consequences of selling unprescribed medicines consumer protection laws and human rights.

Self-medication and Public Health:

A well cautioned and educated citizen of a country contributes to the nation as a whole and to his/her surroundings. With healthcare not being affordable to many, most people prefer self-medication. This is an act of self-relying on oneself that enables one to purchase medicines without any prescription in order to treat a condition of illness.

People who prefer self-medication will eventually treat it as an option to get relief without consulting a doctor, but what they would fail to understand is that self-medication makes you pop pills so easily without being concerned of the dosage intake.

This may even cause a drug overdose and may lead to death. If you believe that self-medication is good for you, then it is a foolish thought to justify yourself. You don’t fall sick every day and thus sickness is seasonal. So do make it a point to visit your doctor everytime you fall sick.

Most often a patient may be under prescribed medication pertaining to different health issues, but in such cases, if you opt to show an old prescription to treat a particular sickness then be sure that it may lead to adverse and deadly reactions.

This is because of the fact that one drug can react differently when you consume another drug. Your foolish act may lead you to the grave so always consult a doctor and be safe. One of the most striking after effects of taking self-medication can make your body resistant to certain types of antibiotics and withdrawal symptoms.

Note: Most often, there are many drugs and antibiotics that are banned in the market and pharmacists still sell them for a living. This is an emergence of commercial medicine and most people do not know what antibiotics they are consuming and when. Even the dosage of medicines they consume is considered even more dangerous than just buying them.

Also Read:  6 Ways to Keep Your Blood Pressure in Check at Home without Medications

Self-medication and Drug Abuse:

Self-medication can lead to drug abuse in many possible ways. In India, there are many children found begging on the streets and in traffic signal posts. Of course, there is child trafficking behind the cause, but these children often get drugged and drug themselves in order to beg. These children tend to get addicted to the social surrounding and the environment they come from. Self-medication allows these children to avail from a pharmacy and this becomes a habit.

Usually, people who quit alcohol, nicotine or any substance substitute this with other drugs that are easily available at a pharmacy. This is a condition that most addicts face. It can be termed as reliance over some other substance. Sometimes people prefer taking antibiotics in order to cure a sickness, but this may lead to a drug addiction, further causing drug abuse.

Usually, people suffering son psychiatric problems are prescribed drugs that block their receptors and enable them to do nothing. This eventually leads to drug addiction. People undergoing a detox in a hospital may be given psychiatric pills that do not allow them to think of their addiction. This in return gets them addicted to the psychiatric pill.

Self-medication Can be Exceptional:

If you’re reading this to comfort yourself that there are advantages of self-medication, then you may be wrong. The benefits concerning self-medication can only happen in particular situations and these situations must be a fair reason to opt for self-medication. Here are some of the exceptions of self-medication that can work in times of an emergency.

Exceptions of Self-medication:

Even though self-medication has numerous problems, there are few benefits that can be justified based on reasonable causes. Here are some of the exceptions of self-medication that can come in handy only in times of emergency.

  • Legalising non-prescription can reduce the illegal sale of illegal medicines.
  • In case there is a medical emergency, self-medication can be got instantly from any pharmacy.
  • Painkillers can be bought immediately in order to treat pain.

There are very little exceptions that can be noted for the practice of self-medication. This is because this trend has dominated one’s mind that he/she can be cured of common cold, fever and body pain by self-medication. The consequences involved are long-lasting and can affect you in the near future.

By legalising self-medication, there will be reduced use of illegal prescriptions. For example, this is legal in Mexico where self-medication is legal and this has reduced illegal medicines by 20% from 1989 to 1999.

FAQs:

Some people use self-medication on a good cause i.e. to get well soon if he/she is suffering from a sickness. But, there are few individuals you abuse this freedom. Drug addiction is a disease and people seeking for drugs can easily access any sort of drug using this freedom. Now that you’ve understood the problems pertaining to the use of self-medication let’s take a peek into certain frequently asked questions about self-medication.

1. What are the different types of self-medication?

Self-medication has many types such as self-medication using caffeine, self-medication using alcohol, and self-medicating with food. Self-medication does not necessarily mean purchasing nonprescribed medicines, but it also refers to self-medicating oneself over food or any other substance.

People may tend to get on a diet in order to lose weight and this is one way in which a person can self-medicate himself or herself. Similarly, a person suffering from depression may tend to assume that he may feel better after consuming alcohol. This is also an act of self-medication. In spite of seeking medical advice to treat his alcoholism, he would substitute this thinking by consuming the drink itself.

2. What causes self-medication?

Some people have different thoughts about getting a consultation done with a doctor and thus they may prefer self-medication. There are many who believe that they are saving time and money by opting for self-medication, but they fail to understand that the effects of self-medication can be life-threatening or may also cause loss of life.

3. Why is self-medication bad?

Self-medication is not advisable because it can trigger other medical problems such as drug abuse, further medical complications and poisoning. You may assume that self-medication is good enough for you, and that, you can avoid the doctor and cure well pretty fast. You may be right, but for long until the medication relapses based on your body condition.

Sickness happens rarely and similarly, you need to visit your doctor when you’re sick. A healthcare professional will prescribe medicines with the right dosage that you need to consume. This will keep you healthy and you don’t have to worry about any further diseases.

Self-medication is an alarming concept in the present world and this has given birth to an array of medical complications including lack of trust in doctors. In a developing country like India, healthcare is becoming a mainstream commercial way of life, wherein a person needs to have enough money to get well treated by a good hospital. In such scenarios, most people tend to go through an easier and cost effective way of purchasing medicines.

This enables them to buy medicines with prescriptions avoiding the fact that they would have to consult a doctor. Self-medication is not advisable as it can definitely lead to a lot of complications in the near future.

The best way to stop this practice is by not buying medicines that are not prescribed. Another method of stopping this practice is by educating people on it including pharmacists. More importantly, pharmacists must be educated in order to stop the sale of unprescribed medicines.

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