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Pros and cons of self medication

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Self medication means you consume medicines which do not need prescription (they are sold as over the counter drugs in pharmaceutical stores) in order to treat a particular symptom or health condition. The most common health issues that could be addressed with self medication are headache, stomach pain, fever, body ache, constipation, infections, hives, flu, cough, etc.


Pros of self medication

Being your own doctor

If you are well informed about your condition, then you are just being your own doctor, which many people consider a feasible option. You educate yourself thoroughly about your health issues and the medicines which you are supposed to take. You also need to know about interactions, side effects and chemical composition and other attributes of the drug.

Saves from unnecessary medical fees

Medical visits are indeed expensive. When you are confident that you know the drug that can treat your medical condition then why visiting a doctor? Self medication is simple- you buy the pills, consume them as directed and save yourself from exorbitant medical fees.

Home remedies and natural therapies work wonders

One bout of sneeze and you immediately give a call to your doctor! It’s not needed now...Self medication doesn’t only entail taking OTC drugs, but you can also try natural therapies to treat your condition. For example: you can buy eucalyptus oil to get over cold.

Reduces dependence on health experts

Once you know how to practise self medication safely, your dependence on health experts for simple concerns like pain, headache, vomiting, constipation, etc. reduces. You can visit them for more complicated or persisting reasons.


Cons of self medication

Misdiagnosis- the biggest risk

One of the major risk factor of self medication is misdiagnosing your condition and then taking up wrong medication. This further leaves some underlying health complications unresolved.

Lack of knowledge

Not all self medication practitioners have proper knowledge about their medical condition and disease. Wrong treatment can bring about disastrous consequences.

Drug overdose

You keep on taking the medicines regularly without knowing the right dosage and duration. The most common instance is popping in a paracetamol every time on having pain. Overdose of drug can have serious side effects.

Lack of knowledge of drug interactions

Doctors have earned their degree after years of hard work and practise therefore you cannot practice self medication merely overnight! Most people do not have in depth understanding of drug composition and their interaction. If you take a pill that might react with something, then you are the only one to bear the consequences.

Side effects of the pills

Drug interaction, drug overdose and side effects are all interrelated. Often people commit the mistake of recognizing the side effects as major condition then consume separate pills to counter the side effects, thereby complicating treatment and health further.


What’s the bottom line?

What people should know is striking a balance between self medication and taking help from doctor. One should not display an irresponsible attitude towards practising medicine; instead a deadline could be set for the treatment period. For example – you take the pill or try the herbal remedy for 4-5 days but the symptoms do not improve, then you must consult doctor instead of extending your deadline.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: July 23, 2014

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