The term self-medication refers to any attempt to treat depression, pain (physical or emotional), or intense emotions using drugs (prescription or otherwise), alcohol, and other substances, and without the help of a qualified doctor. . You don’t have to be diagnosed with a medical condition first to self-medicate.
It is true that the human body witnesses several dilemmas and complications due to various infections, conditions and syndromes that arise from time to time due to various reasons including exorbitant stress, psychological trauma, work-life pressure, frequent use of unhygienic foods and hereditary disorders. . In order to get rid of these diseases, medication is a must and it leaves everyone with the choice of becoming a habitual slave to self-medication or consulting a general practitioner about the treatment process instead of medical prescription.
Self-medication is not a new phenomenon in society. It exists in all localities of the world, especially among Asian and African countries. Individuals have been so addicted to self-medication that they find nothing odd in choosing the drug of their choice without knowing the exact consequences and implications. Over time, drug selection becomes easier as people become more confident along the way.
What matters to these people is their inner satisfaction, quick access to pain relief, and an escape from doctor’s fees or the cost of health care, considered by many to be extravagant. Self-medication brings tremendous relief from the burden of providing medical services, for example, reduces prescription drug costs associated with publicly funded health programs and eases pressure when health care services are unavailable. , insufficient or even in the case of basic equipment where the human capital is inadequate. The practice also increases health care and medication awareness for residents living in remote areas who are mostly uneducated and uninformed.
A study by Moses Ocan and Freddie Bwanga on patterns and predictors of self-medication in northern Uganda found that a high proportion (75.7%) of respondents practiced antimicrobial self-medication with fever , headaches, lack of appetite and bodily weakness being the disease. the symptoms most treated by self-medication (30.3%). Drug use among respondents was mainly initiated by self-prescribing (46.5%) and drug sellers (57.6%). These results alone from northern Uganda in 2014 suggest an even greater spread of the vice among people across the country over the years.
It is an indisputable fact that we have all feasted on the process of self-medication at least once in our life without being aware of its serious concerns and repercussions which vary from disease to disease, an aspect of information better understood by the doctor. The frequently used drug administration route is the oral route because it is the most convenient and economical. Solid dosage forms such as tablets and capsules are used.
Potential risks of self-medication practices include; Incorrect self-diagnosis, delays in seeking medical advice when needed, infrequent but serious adverse drug reactions, dangerous drug interactions, incorrect route of administration, incorrect dosage, incorrect choice of treatment, masking of serious illness and risk of further disease occurrence. Self-medication is not recommended as it can trigger other medical issues such as drug abuse and tolerance. You can assume that self-medication is good enough for you and that you can avoid the doctor but recover fairly quickly while worsening the condition you are trying to self-treat. Incompatible medications chosen by the patient can lead to treatment failures while complicating the disease. Self-medicating patients are brought to the hospital when the disease has reached a terrible or incurable mode. Due to self-medication, the incongruous occurrence of underdose and overdose leads to life-threatening contradictory conditions, unbearable health care costs due to prolonged recovery, microbial drug resistance, not to mention the countless side effects from varying drug dosages and imbalances. into the internal hormonal structure of the human body with fatal end results for the individual and/or the community.
In today’s world, people are very used to using drugs on their own initiative. People must be encouraged to cultivate better health-seeking behavior while we advocate for affordable consultation fees. The government should take bold steps to restrict the sale of drugs to the public without a duly authorized prescription. On the other hand, it is a shared responsibility which also depends on the family members to abstain from the drugs of their choice as it is quite costly in the long term in terms of finance and health.
Care should therefore be taken to use only a drug prescribed by a qualified doctor or at worst to make the necessary consultations before using a given drug because the practice of self-medication is addictive and its first results are actually corrupting.
Written by Kenneth Talemwa, Medical and Surgical Researcher