Self Medication – Dangers and Solutions

Use of drugs, sometimes illicit, to treat a perceived malady, often of a psychological nature is referred to as ‘self-medication’.

Are you among those who happily diagnose their own illness and buy a specific drug, as per their knowledge, to treat it? Many a times you get treated and you feel proud that you saved money by not going to a doctor! Do not do such blunders.

Your life is important. Do not play with it!

The World Self-Medication Industry (WSMI) has defined self-medication as “the treatment of common health problems with medicines especially designed and labeled for use without medical supervision and approved as safe and effective for such use.”

You might know the name of the medicine that will cure your illness but you can end up taking more or less than the recommended dose of a drug.

In the present scenario, the widespread usage of vitamins, various ‘supplements’ and herbs, without even the advice and supervision of any health professional, is increasing day by day.

Say, for instance, your neighbor became fit and fine after the intake of certain vitamins. Now, if you go and buy the same pills hoping to become healthy, you are doing a big mistake. The pills that suited your neighbor’s body might not suit you.

Drugs that you take have several side effects that are asymptomatic and might lead to some internal disorders that you are not even aware of!

It is true that the increase in the cost of health care in recent decades-doctors, hospitals, prescriptions, etc. – forces the people to try and treat their own afflictions. But, this pursuit can be risky! It can be ineffective and prove to be more expensive in a long run.

According to a theory introduced by David F. Duncan and Edward J. Khantzian, drug dependence or addiction results from self-medication for the distress caused by a pre-existing condition. This theory is popularly known as the ‘self-medication hypotheses’.

Following are some tips to minimize the dangers of self-medication.

o The lay man should be made aware of the possible dangers of indiscriminate use of drugs.

o The doctors must insist on drugs that are being supplied by the chemist only on a valid prescription.

o A proper ‘Drug Control’ must be implemented, rationally restricting the availability of drugs to the public.

These steps, if taken, would definitely minimize the incidence of drug-related mishaps and help in maintaining good health of the individual and society.