Welcome to this online post that we would be discussing extensively the dangers of self-medication, which is one of the recognized public health problems.
This can be in the form of taking medications not prescribed by a physician, taking medications previously prescribed for another or similar illness, or using prescribed medication in a manner not prescribed. This is very much common and has devastating effects on one’s mental and physical wellbeing.
It is a global health problem, with significantly high but undocumented prevalence in Subsaharan Africa where poverty and ignorance are the major propelling factors. Worse is that majority of those who involve in this are not aware of the associated dangers, hence the need for this awareness to improve health-seeking behaviour among the population.
Examples of harmful substances used to self-medicate include; alcohol, opiates, marijuana, etc.
List of Dangers of Self Medication
1. Wrong self-diagnosis; because the individual is not knowledgeable enough to make such a diagnosis.
2. Might deprive someone of seeking timely and proper medical advice and treatment.
3. Adverse drug reactions, which could be due to drug-drug interactions or individual idiosyncrasy.
4. It can worsen the condition which one wants to treat. For instance, using pain medications without treating the cause of the pain. This would mask the symptoms.
5. This can also cause abuse with associated dependence.
Positive Health Seeking Behaviours
As part of health promotion, sharing knowledge about the consequences of self-medication would go a long way to changing peoples’ behaviour towards seeking good health. This is exactly why we write this.
It is important to always seek the services of qualified health professionals in cases of illness. We understand that low socio-economic factors could be a hindrance, in which case we recommend seeking services in public health institutions which most of the time are very much cheaper than private establishments.
For those dealing with addiction, we recommend seeking the services of clinical psychiatrists and psychologists for appropriate psychotherapy and behavioural therapy.
Self-medication is very common and often not recognized as a problem. This makes people forget their main problems and prefer to use drugs to manage their symptoms.
However, this has a recognizable consequence. It is recommended to be aware of the dangers of self-medication because this would help one to think positively about seeking the right healthcare.