Self-medicating is a behavior that has been practiced for decades. It has actually gotten much worse with the invention of the Internet, which makes self-medicating very simple. For many people, self-medicating is as simple as doing a quick Internet search for a specific ailment. Once they have diagnosed themselves, they’ll turn to an over-the-counter remedy to help. Self-medication is defined as “the use of drugs to treat self-diagnosed disorders or symptoms, or the intermittent or continued use of a prescribed drug for chronic or recurrent disease or symptoms.
Why do People Self-Medicate?
There could be a number of reasons why self-medication is so attractive to people. These reasons include:
– Because it’s much more convenient to self-medicate than to go to a doctor.
– Because it takes less time.
– Because it can be cost-effective; especially for those without insurance.
– Because they may be afraid or even ashamed about their conditions.
– Because they believe medical care is not going to be good enough.
The Dangers of Self-Medication
Quite often, people will self-medicate to avoid going to the hospital. What they don’t realize is that this puts them at a much greater risk for needing to go to the hospital.
– The danger of experiencing a drug interaction.
– The danger of an overdose.
– The danger of wrongly diagnosing one’s self.
– The danger of masking a potentially serious disease.
– The danger of abuse, and eventually, addiction.
– The danger of legal problems resulting from using an illegal substance.
– Anyone with a chronic medical or mental health condition should avoid self-diagnosing. Self-medication is never helpful in the long-term. It may provide short-term benefits, but in the end, it generally just makes the condition much worse.
Interestingly There are, of course, many other ways of self-medicating. Self-medication doesn’t always have to include illegal or illicit drugs.
Other examples of self-medication include:
– Drinking a lot of coffee (caffeine)
– Self-medicating with food
– Sexual activity to self-medicate
– Participating in excessive gambling
– Over the counter drugs
How to avoid Self medications
1. Be certain the prescription is legible.
2. Keep medications in their original, labeled containers or use a pill box or pill reminder to avoid errors and better organize your medications.
3. Do not take medication in the dark where you can easily pick up the wrong container.
4. Read the label every time you take a dose of medication to confirm you have the correct drug and are taking it properly.
5. Never take medication which was prescribed for another person.
6. Do not store medication in direct light, heat, or humidity.
7. Do not store ointments near toothpaste where an easy mix-up could occur.
8. Learn how to dispose of your old, expired or unused medications in a safer, more environmentally-friendly way.
9. Obtain printed information about any new medication you receive from the pharmacy.