Self-medication or treatment is what people do to deal with stress, anxiety, and difficulties in life in general, especially when these vices tend to overwhelm them. It refers to the use of drugs (rightly or wrongly) to treat self-diagnosed disorders or symptoms. Even though there are good aspects of self-treatment, there are more bad aspects. Appropriate or good self-medication can save scarce resources on huge expenses for minor ailments and solve some emergency situations, but can be dangerous and fatal when it becomes a culture and an addiction. They are normally done to resolve mild symptoms and facilitate access to non-prescribed medications.
Some people have become addicted to alcohol, drugs, snuff, cigarettes, etc. to deal with worsening mood disorders because these products momentarily or temporarily decompress anxiety and stress and give deceptive feelings of satisfaction, but have gradually accumulated life-threatening side effects because ‘they build resistance to microorganisms in the body.
People should stop buying non-prescription over-the-counter medications, except in emergencies in which strict adherence to label instructions should be followed. Read labels carefully.
The alarming rate at which people are collapsing and dying these days is very worrying and disturbing. People of all ages face different types of diseases and health problems without knowing it yet, prefer to assume the conditions. Instead of knowing the facts of their situation before competent medication and treatment, they predict their situation. These self-treatments led to several other health problems.
Most of the time when people die without any previous disease or ailment the cause is attributed to witches and wizards while it may be high blood pressure or some other ailment but like the health condition specific is not known, speculative treatments and therapies are given, which is getting worse. cases and mutilates or creates permanent disabilities.
Although I am not a medical expert or health worker of any kind, I have remained very sensitive and aware of the health situations that are ravaging our people and communities today. Public awareness is very low and in most cases absent from our communities. Many people resort to self-help to cure themselves of various ailments while some who go to the hospital just to know the status of their condition then resort to orthodox treatments. Sometimes those who do do so due to financial constraints as they cannot afford the high medical bills in hospitals. But others believe more in these traditional medicines than in conventional health insurance.
Self-treatments are dangerous because most of the time, diagnoses are incorrect, leading to delays in seeking proper medical advice, which results in serious adverse reactions due to dangerous drug interactions. It also leads to the masking of serious illnesses that are hidden. Drugs or medicines enter the human body and are quickly absorbed into the system and circulate according to their receptivity to the body. Self-medication may seem right and appealing at first, but its long side effects could be fatal.
Due to the absence of any public health care information, people do not know or know less about what to do in case of medical distress. Governments at all levels are not doing enough to provide people with the basic health information needed, thus encouraging them to seek refuge wherever possible. The only time the government or health workers are forced or obligated to raise public awareness is during an emergency. I remember times of Lassa fever epidemic, HIV/AIDS, Ebola, wild polio virus, Corona virus, etc. Governments haven’t slept, rushing to find a solution, and in some cases that ends as soon as the problem is solved. No awareness or enlightenment as to what to do and where to run in the event of a recurrence.
Many people I know have died as a result of improper administration of therapies on themselves and sometimes by health workers and other health practitioners. Some of the health workers who occupy our medical facilities are not qualified to be trusted. This explains a number of cases and also patients who resort to traditional medicine due to trust. Indeed, many made preventable professional errors that resulted in the death or permanent disability of many others. This is a serious situation that deserves serious attention from governments and the people themselves. People should and should be discouraged from self-prescribing medications and at that point pharmacists should stop giving medications or vaccines to patients without a medical referral. Doing so, as achieved in developed medical climates, is the only way to reduce preventable deaths in our communities.
At one point my father was misdiagnosed and given the wrong drugs in the village and for two weeks he couldn’t calm down. His whole stomach has become very inflamed and he is moving around with excess weight. He was given so many drugs without a proper diagnosis and when the situation did not improve, he sought to go to a better hospital downtown. It was at this level that malaria was discovered instead of the wrongly classified typhoid fever. The drugs had to be flushed out of his system after about a week before he regained his health.
It would be great if political and democratic structures were used to create awareness against medical self-help. You have to tell people to do the right thing. People need to be made aware of the inherent dangers of taking drugs without a doctor’s prescription. This will go a long way in helping sick people get better and proper treatment.
Good self-medication includes regular exercise, good or proper diet, etc. Our physical conditions can negatively affect our emotions. We have to watch what we eat and drink. We must also watch what we hear and say, believe and do. You are what you eat, drink, say or think. Daily attachment with God (prayers, meditation and reading holy books) is also an appropriate self-treatment therapy that helps. Let us be wise to diligently protect and guard our God-given inheritance for the enjoyment of a long life in prosperity.