Self-medication is a common practice dating back to centuries before the era of specialized medical professionals. It is the self-prescription and use of herbs, home remedies, and medicines to treat ailments without consulting a healthcare professional.
The self-medication hypothesis dates back to the 1980s, explaining how individuals start using specific substances to overcome certain symptoms and feelings. Once they find them to help get rid of them, it slowly turns into routine practice.
Dangers of Self-medication
Self-medication is a good practice if it remains limited to treating minor injuries or illnesses as that keeps the unnecessary strain away from the healthcare system. However, self-medication in case of serious illnesses and response to worrisome symptoms can be a hazard.
Not only does that put you at risk of missing the window for timely diagnosis, but it can also lead to worsening of the condition and even addiction and dependence. The best-case scenario is that it will keep the actual condition masked for a while at best. Which then again means worsening condition and losing a timely diagnosis window.
Using alcohol and opiates to treat mental health conditions
The dangers of self-medication are unfortunately not limited to physical illnesses and conditions. Using alcohol and drugs to relieve oneself of heavy weighing emotions and conditions like anxiety, ADHD or depression can be just as harmful. While it may keep the negative feelings at bay for some time, continued use will lead to obvious addiction and dependence.
Not only will that make it worse for your mental health to get back on track, but it will also cause an additional problem of addiction. In simple words, it isn’t in your best interest to underestimate mental health conditions and try to treat them yourself using substances.
Self Medication of Antibiotics and OTCs
Using over-the-counter medicines and antibiotics carries a variety of risks as well. From inappropriate drug use to side effects, reactions, and development of microbial resistance and masking the actual condition, it can be a hazard.