Self-medication is when someone uses a substance to apply treatment for an illness, ailment or emotional state without consulting a doctor. This is practised a lot in Nigeria. People use drugs to escape depression, to ease anxiety, improve mood or alleviate pain. Once we have a headache we go over the counter and buy drugs. If we feel symptoms of malaria we go to a
pharmacy and get medication. This isn’t safe. Let’s see some reasons why, according to Gateway Foundation, specialists in Addiction Medicine. (https://www.gatewayfoundation.org/addiction-blog/dangers-of-self-medication/)
When we self-medicate, we do not know how the drug should be taken, its side effects or its reactions. People do self-medication because it is instant and of course, there is no expense of the doctor. But when eventually, they suffer from severe health issues, their medical expense doubles. Self-medication as a habit can damage one’s health irrevocably, causing disabilities and even premature death. Consult a doctor for the correct diagnosis of your symptoms or illness.
It Can Lead to an Increase In Drug Resistance
Bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics and stop responding to treatment. This can lead to delayed diagnosis and delay in seeking appropriate treatment can lead to major complications. Hence, consulting a doctor is a must.
When you take multiple medications or combine medication with alcohol or substance use, you increase your risk of a negative drug interaction. When doctors prescribe medication, they can ensure that this medication will react safely with any other medications you take regularly.
If you take a substance for a prolonged period, your body may become dependent and need this substance to continue functioning correctly.
Masking a Medical Condition
While you may think taking medication to alleviate symptoms is beneficial, it can often mask symptoms of an underlying medical condition. If you do not seek proper medical guidance, an underlying medical condition may worsen and become dangerous over time.
All medications have an expiration date that signals when people should use them for maximum effectiveness and safety. In some cases of self-medication, a person may take an expired substance without realizing it.