Benefits And Risks Of Self-Medication

In a world where sickness and chronic illness are prevalent, many of us are concerned about our well-being. We seek information about control, prevent and treatment of some ailments. As a result of the health information we acquire, many of us tend to go on self-medication. These days health information is readily available on internet, books and magazines, and so, people rely on the information. Self-medication,  can it help you or harm you? Self-medication can have a two way effects. It can help you and also harm you.  First of all, why do people self-medicate? They have access to health information. Advertisement have greatly contributed to the act. Pharmaceutical companies advertise their health products to create awareness.  Most times when people have signs and symptoms of an illness, they remember the advertised health product. In places where healthcare facilities are unavailable or far, and the cost of transportation is high, people may choose self-medication in order to save cost. Others may feel that doctors attend to so many patients and waiting for long hours is not okay for them.

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The truth is, we cannot always see a doctor every time we are feeling sick. Everyone has a reasonable amount of health knowledge. Everyone knows that paracetamol is the common drug for headache. So with mild headache, paracetamol will relieve you of the condition. That's self-medication! In real sense self-medication cannot be totally bad.  Self-medication saves "needless trips to the doctor or hospital." If managed properly self-medication can help us feel better. In other situations it can cause serious harm. There are risks of  self-medication. The risks in most cases can outweigh the benefits. Sometimes people don't have the right diagnosis when on self-medication. Self-medication may result to prescription drug abuse.

Evidence has shown that people often result to self-medication to cope with anxiety, stress and depression. Self-medication can make one hesitates in seeking medical treatment and the end result may be serious health problems.  Richard became so weak, feeling dizzy, alongside persistent headache. He thought he will feel better after taking medicine. Few days later, Richard  still feel the same conditions. Richard was taken to a nearby clinic and he was diagnosed of low blood pressure (hypotension). Any further drop in blood pressure would have resulted to complications and maybe even death. He was fortunate! Richard is alive and healthy.

There are so many diseases with similar signs and symptoms. Self-medication may cause irritation of the stomach, liver and kidney damage if the wrong drug is taken as a result of false diagnosis. Abuse of prescription drugs can weaken the immune system. In fact self-medication has contributed to multi-drug resistance. Antibiotics that were once used to cure an infection years back can no longer do so now. Not every discomfort or uneasiness should result to medication. Sometimes all you need is rest, good diet and a noise free environment. Anne's mother used to give her paracetamol each time she complains of headache. Anne became so used to asking for it each time she has slight headache. Anne was having headache as result of school stress. She was advised to sleep for at least one hour everyday after school. Sleep was the therapy,  Anne no longer experience headache from school stress.

While self-medication may help us in certain situations, we should always seek professional medical treatments when we experience persistent and recurrence of  particular signs and symptoms of diseases and conditions.


  1. I agree with you about this. Sometimes as you said we just go for paracetamol for headache, its a common practice but in situations our treatment can create more problems. Many diseases have same symptoms and any particular treatment(self medication) can cause some stomach or any other reaction. Its always better to take health as priority and visit doctor.

  2. I agree so much, we must be so careful whenever we take anything. I also understand that risks of being self-medicated are also risks we have when we go to the doctor. Read the warning signs for almost every medicine you take, I think doctors need to be more proactive into finding out how the patient is reacting to prescribed drugs, in that way, people would not feel like they need to self-medicate and go to their doctor more

  3. Mazino, I agree with you for the reasons why people self-medicate. Self-medication has it own benefit and at the same time it disadvantages. knowing when to self-medicate and when to see the doctor is what one should be able to decide.

  4. I agree with you. Self medication should always be approached with caution. It has some benefit and and some dangers. It good to know when to self-medicate and not too, but that isn't always so easy to determine.


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