Why You Should Not Self-Medicate

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Before you start playing doctor, understand the dangers of self-medication

Many people have died through centuries not because of illnesses, but because of taking medications without the supervision of a physician. It was even worse before when the information available on medicines was rather limited. As such, improper consumption was likely to happen. We tend to turn to over-the-counter drugs or misuse the prescription drugs we have access to because we think we know what condition we have or we simply don’t want to visit the doctor. Either way, self-medication is potentially dangerous. It is worse if the symptoms you’re feeling have been bothering you for a few days. Before you start taking any self-medication, be warned of the risks that you might be facing.

“We are becoming a nation of sissies and hypochondriacs, a self medicating society easily intimidated by pain and prone to panic. We understand almost nothing about the essential robustness of the human body or its ability to meet the challenge of illness.” Norman Cousins.

Improper diagnosis

You know if something is off or if you don’t feel well. If it’s the common cold or a  headache, one of the first things you may want to do is to take an aspirin or an analgesic. But even if the symptoms do not appear to be getting any better, you may opt to switch to another label of the medicine you’re taking. Usually, we do this without seeking medical attention. As a result, you might be falling into the trap of misdiagnosis. This is a common occurrence among people who refuse to see a doctor. They end up making the condition worse than it already is. The effects of medicines for fever, nausea, and abdominal discomfort usually make it difficult for a doctor to diagnose your illness. Therefore you need to ask a physician before taking these medications.

Brains are like toddlers. They are wonderful and should be treasured, but that doesn’t mean you should trust them to take care of you in an avalanche or process serotonin effectively.”Jenny Lawson

Side Effects

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All drug manufacturers are required by the federal drug administration to print the contents, composition, dosage, and side effects of the products they make. Nevertheless, if you do not fully understand how medicines work and possible side effects, you may experience adverse side effects. Antibiotics tend to cause allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock, which is life-threatening.

Analgesic medicines that contain dipyrone may affect the bone marrow and blood cells. Estrogens can trigger headaches, dizziness, and nausea. These are just some of the ways in which certain medications, if not prescribed by a physician, can cause you more health problems. A medical practitioner who prescribes a medicine will always tell you the potential reactions and sometimes make adjustments on your dosage. They may even change the medicine altogether if you report some side effects.

Risk of other ailments

When you self-medicate, you run the risk of allowing other illnesses to set in. Medicines work not just based on their ingredients, but also on the specific characteristics and underlying conditions of the person taking them. For example, aspirins have anticoagulant properties. These may lead to ulcers in some cases if taken regularly. There are also potent drugs that can harm the liver due to prolonged use. We can avoid unwanted and unfortunate consequences such as these if we consult doctors first.

As a physician, I try to heal the mind before healing the body. That’s why most of my patients get better even before they start any medication.”Debasish Mridha

Immunity and Poisoning

Different drugs can cause various harmful reactions to the body. For instance, antibiotics, if incorrectly taken, can cause your body to resist antibodies. This would weaken your immune system. In another example, anti-depressants can lead to seizure, a disturbed heart rate, and serious poisoning. Drugs with anti-inflammatory properties can result in kidney problems and gastric discomfort if used inappropriately. All these typical dangers can be avoided if you consult a doctor. The physician would perhaps run diagnostic tests and then write a prescription based on the diagnosis and your health history.

Drug interactions

Drug-InteractionsSelf-medication can seriously affect your health if you are on any current medication. When drugs interact, the body bears the brunt of the resulting unfavorable reactions. Take the case of aspirins. Diabetes maintenance medicines do not work well with the anticoagulant properties of aspirins.  Your physician would know what medication to prescribe other than aspirin if you have diabetes.

Isn’t it obvious in today’s world from people’s preoccupation with self-medication, drug and alcohol use, rationalization and avoidance distraction that the truth doesn’t just hurt, it’s extremely painful.”James Turner

Possible addicting effect

Self-MedicationYou may have heard stories of celebrities who got hooked on over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Cough medicines with antitussive properties and tranquilizers’ Benzodiazepines are just a few of the classic examples of addicting drugs. What’s dangerous is the fact that most people who are on these medications are not initially aware of their addiction. When they finally realize it, they are already abusing the substance. To prevent this from happening, you should be under the strict supervision of a physician.

Always trust the advice of your doctor rather than your own!

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