We often pop in a painkiller/ antibiotic for symptoms like cold, fever or headache confidently without consulting a doctor. The maximum precaution we take is to crosscheck our symptoms in Google or with the pharmacist to confirm whether we are consuming the right medicines.Self-medication has become an immediate sought-to-solution for several medical problems from family/friends nowadays. Moreover, with the internet just a split second away, the cases of self-medication is even greater.
But,do you think it is the right thing to do?
Studies confirm that, Self-medication is not only risky, but can also prove to be life-threatening in some cases. You never know the sniffles that you have ignored might have been a severe case of bronchitis or a lead to some other disease.
According to a recent study on self-medication, people have different reasons to self-medicate. Some may take it to experience the euphoria that comes along with illicit drug use and the risks of engaging in rebellion; while some other may take it just to get relieved of the symptoms and feel better.
So, how does the self-medicating behaviour start?
Iatrophobia is the fear of doctors. Though children are mostly known to suffer from it, there are quite a number of adults too suffering from it. Patients suffering from Iatrophobia tend to put off visiting the doctor, no matter how much they are suffering from a medical condition.
Latrophobia is the fear to visit a hospital/doctor due to prior treatment experience, which might have not been pleasant for the patient. If the phobia isn’t taken take care of, it could put them under more pressure when they are compelled to visit a doctor.
Get immediate relief
Sometimes, people self-medicate to avoid the painfully long queues at the doctor and get immediate relief from the pain they are suffering. This arguably becomes a valid reason why people take the step. However, you need to check with your doctor at least the next day of self-medicating to know if you are on the right track.
Save time and money
The demands of the doctors/clinical services has been increasing at par with the cost of living, so much that, some middle and lower class people aren’t able to afford the services. In these scenarios, self-medication becomes a reasonable solution for them.
Avoid multiple visits to doctors
Most often, people working in full-time jobs don’t have time to visit their doctors. In such cases, they opt to look at their previous prescription and continue the medicines they have been taking when they encounter with similar health problems.
What may be the dangers of Self Medication?
Sometimes, self-medication may lead to more side effects rather than the intended good effect. A drug and the dosage in which it is prescribed by the is based on the individual’s need for medication, the age,intensity of the disease etc. Hence what is optimum for one may not be the case with another, resulting in taking of a wrong drug in wrong proportions.
Health experts weigh criterion of intensity of disease, age etc when give a dosage, which may be neglected in case of self-medication.
Delays the diagnosis of a serious health condition and complicates it
As mentioned above, your casual sniffles could be a severe case of bronchitis or a lead to some other health condition. Your splitting headache could be a case of migraine, while you have been putting it off as just another effect of stress. Self-medication delays the diagnosis of a serious health condition and put you in unforeseen circumstances.
Intake of banned medicines without knowing it
Medical practitioners are updated with time-to-time health trends as they are required to treat patients with the right drugs. They keep track of information which the pharmacist or even the internet may not have been updated with. Consulting a doctor saves you from the intake of banned medicines without your knowledge.
Burns your pocket
Yes. Sometimes, the effects of self-medication leads to a vicious cycle of complications that makes it mandatory to visit a doctor repeatedly. It thus burns your pocket because of multiple tests to be done adding to the costs associated with leave from work.
Develops resistance to the disease
At times, people misinterpret the symptom of a health condition and pop in a wrong pill. In such cases, our body develops a resistance to the disease and it might not work later. For example, taking an antibiotic for common cold, which in most cases, is a viral infection, causes development of resistance to the medicine. So beware, the next time you pop the pill, it might not work.
How to curb the menace
Prevention is better than cure
Prevention is better than cure
You have been probably hearing this 5-word phrase since your school days and ignored it back then. But following this in all walks of life can do a lot of good. Start by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Owing to the hectic lifestyle, you might be compelled to ignore your wellbeing at many situations, but always put your health first and never ignore the signs your body shows you.
Don’t avoid going to the doctor
However the trivial the illness may be, never avoid going to the doctor. You may pop in the pill for a time or two, but if it is redundant, you need to consult a doctor right away.
Counselling of patients by the doctor
In case of patients suffering from Iatrophobia or Latrophobia, it’s much needed that you work on bringing them out of the phobia gradually because every person is required to meet a doctor in life. It’s unavoidable and important.
Health education and creating awareness among the general public
Most people are unaware of the hidden risks associated with self-medication. Spread the word and help them avoid the unnecessary complications that comes with it.
We at Klinikals took the matter in our own hands and developed ‘Teleconsult a Doctor’ feature that could help you save time in commuting to the clinic, waiting at the long queues as well as getting an immediate help. Book a doctor’s appointment now for an enriched and secure teleconsultation experience.