Patient Awareness

Self-Medication: dangers and side-effects

self medication
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India, the largest democracy in the world has the second largest populous country in the world, and it is said that for every 1700 Indian citizens, there is only one doctor! No wonder, the cases of self-medication are on the rise.

But with mothers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles and of course, pados-wali aunty, who needs doctors? Yes, we are regularly advised to have random tablet/capsule/syrup for any ailment, and sadly, we end up doing so. In fact, such is the case that people prescribe doses of antibiotics and other powerful drugs by themselves, never bothering to consult the doctor. Unfortunately, self-medication has increased many health issues.

What are the threats of self-medication?

Self-medication is okay to many of us. Its just a crocin or some ‘safe’ antibiotic we believe we are ingesting as going to the doctor can be time consuming and expensive. But there are side-effects to this and very harmful ones at that.

The idea of self-medication even for small health issues can lead to complications. People tend to pop pills as they are popping candies. Medicines such as pain relief drugs, cough syrups, laxatives, antibiotics, anti-allergy medicines, vitamins and even antacids. And because these are OTC drugs, i.e., over the counter meds, these are easier to acquire. But what we do not realize is that opting for self-medication makes us prone to allergies, drug-dependence, and even addiction.

Unfortunately, there is very little or almost no awareness about the disadvantages of self-medication. Sadly, we still go ahead and take doses randomly and don’t even check the composition of the medicine and are clueless about the side-effects of these on our body.

Side effects of self-medication

Popping pills may get us instant relief but what we don’t realize is that it is not free of side-effects. At times, a patient may be under prescribed medication for different health issues, and self-medicating may lead to adverse reactions. This is because one drug may react differently when consumed with another drug. This can even lead to death. Hence, consulting a doctor is a must.

Drug Dosage

A massive problem with self-medication is that we do not know about its dosage. This means we often underestimate its strength and the less said, the better about its composition. We have a clue as to how the drug should be taken, its side-effects and even reactions. Ignorance is not bliss in this case.

People take to 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 increases two-fold. Self-medication as a habit can damage one’s health irrevocably, causing disabilities and even premature death.

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