The Dangers And Perils Of Self Medication
Are you in the habit of taking drugs not prescribed by your doctor? Stop It!
When you are sick and you self-medicate, you are exposing yourself to some perils that could affect your mental and physical health.
In this post, we will be enlightening you on what self-medication is and the dangers that comes with it.
What Is Self Medication?
Self-medication is the act of practicing self-diagnosis and using any available medications or substances you can find to treat symptoms you have self-diagnosed.
Generally, the practice of self-diagnosing could be applied to any ailment that you find yourself treating without the help of any healthcare personnel; this could include minor illnesses like having a cold.
Ironically, a large number of people who suffer serious ailments; conditions as delicate as mental conditions, still turn to self-medicating as an alternative to getting proper medical attention.
The risks involved in self-diagnosis could worsen whatever illness you are treating.
What Are The Reasons People Self Medicate?
There are a vast number of reasons why people may choose to self medicate. The reasons though may not be specific to the condition of individuals.
Some of these reasons are:
- Denying a condition that you may have.
- Fearing the cost of medications or hospital bills.
- Unfounded fear of the side effects.
The Dangers Of Self Medication
The use of self medication can be very dangerous as the use of undiagnosed substances can lead to disorders or addictions; especially regarding mental health issues.
Self-medication in regards to mental health is very risky for the individuals that use it. it can also affect how they relate with other people, their relatives and the people close to them. The wrong diagnosis would increase the risk for self-harming or harming others depending on how severe the mental illness is.
Some of these disorders that worsen with the risk of self-medication:
Anxiety and Stress
Anxiety and stress are terrible enough; they get worse when you do not go through the proper medical schemes and you decide to self-diagnose. While this is a very common thing for people with anxiety and stress, it will become very hard to realize that you need to seek professional help when you become addicted to the drugs you are self-diagnosing on.
Bipolar disorder is a severe psychiatric disorder that has a person having different variations of an individual’s behaviour and emotions. This disorder should originally be managed by well-trained healthcare personnel who act in the best interests of their patient. Self-diagnosing and eventually self-medicating is ironically very common in individuals with bipolar; which eventually leads them to the use of substances, especially the misusing of alcohol.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Self-medication is also a huge response to trauma and traumatic stress disorders and unfortunately, they have dangerous and hazardous outcomes. Studies have stated that “at least 20% of the people with PTSD depend on substance use in a vain attempt to relieve the systems of the mental disorder.
The disorder however requires the help of a professional and delaying it will only worsen it.
Forms Of Self Medication
There are a large number of ways people could choose to self-medicate and ways they could go through it. Some people choose to depend on drugs like marijuana; others use food as a way to distract themselves. Some others may find comfort in alcohol to numb the pain.
There is also the use of stimulants which are often used for recreational purposes. However, stimulants have a high chance of becoming an addiction.
There are other forms of self-medication but these are a few to be noted.
The Risks Of Self-Diagnosis
- There could be potential adverse reactions.
- It could mask other severe diseases.
- It would also worsen the condition of the illness the individual is trying to self-medicate for.
- There could be an incorrect diagnosis.
- It also causes delays in seeking professional advice and proper treatments.
- There’s a high risk of dependence and also abuse of the drugs.
Getting Help For Self-Medication
It is paramount to seek help when you have developed a habit of self-medicating.
However, people that have become addicted to self-diagnosis and self-medication may not find it so easy to get themselves help. Therefore, the duty to push them towards it may fall upon their family and friends.
A trained professional in healthcare would diagnose whatever existing medical illness they may have and also help them manage their habits of self-medication and maybe even help eventually get rid of it.