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Posted: September 7th, 2023

Self-Treatment: Balancing the Benefits and Risks for Personal Health

Self-Treatment: Balancing the Benefits and Risks for Personal Health
Self-treatment, the practice of using medication to address ailments without medical supervision, has gained significant interest in healthcare. While it offers advantages such as convenience and cost savings, it also poses risks to one’s health. This article explores the benefits and risks of self-treatment, highlighting the causes behind its prevalence and proposing strategies to enhance safety.
Advantages of Self-Treatment:
Self-medication can be efficient in managing certain acute ailments, including headaches, indigestion, mouth ulcers, nausea, and hay fever. It also allows individuals to control chronic conditions like chronic pain, particularly in areas with limited access to medical practitioners. In rural regions with few healthcare providers, self-treatment can help manage symptoms until professional medical assistance is available.
Risks of Self-Treatment:
Despite its popularity, self-treatment can have detrimental effects on health. Misdiagnosis is a significant concern, as it can lead to the consumption of incorrect drugs, resulting in toxicity and even death. Moreover, self-medication may delay proper diagnosis and treatment for severe diseases. The practice also increases the risk of developing drug resistance, which can have serious implications for public health. Adverse reactions and harmful drug interactions are additional risks associated with self-treatment.
Complications and Wastage:
In addition to misdiagnosis and improper drug consumption, self-treatment can lead to complications due to incorrect dosages and inappropriate administration methods. This can result in the wastage of healthcare resources when individuals purchase and use the wrong drugs. Overconsumption of certain medications, such as valsartan or paracetamol, can have severe consequences, including organ failure. Prolonged use of medication and polypharmacy, especially among the elderly, can further exacerbate health risks.
Strategies to Improve Safety:
To minimize the risks associated with self-treatment, healthcare providers have proposed several strategies. These include providing comprehensive information about self-medication, promoting partnerships between patients, pharmacists, and physicians to enhance monitoring systems, and encouraging responsible self-treatment practices. By empowering individuals with knowledge and fostering collaboration among healthcare stakeholders, the safety of self-treatment can be improved.
Conclusion:
Self-treatment offers convenience and cost savings, making it an attractive option for many individuals. However, it is crucial to recognize the potential risks it poses to personal health. Misdiagnosis, improper drug consumption, complications, and wastage of healthcare resources are among the concerns associated with self-treatment. By implementing strategies to enhance safety and promoting responsible self-treatment practices, individuals can strike a balance between the benefits and risks of self-treatment. Further research and ongoing monitoring are necessary to ensure the optimal use of self-treatment as a viable healthcare option.
References:
Abay, S. M., and W. Amelo. “Assessment of Self-medication practices among medical, pharmacy, health science students in Gondar University, Ethiopia.” Journal of Young Pharmacists 2.3 (2010): 306-310.
Hughes, Carmel M., James C. McElnay, and Glenda F. Fleming. “Benefits and risks of self-medication.” Drug safety 24.14 (2001): 1027-1037. research paper writing help.
Klemenc-Ketis, Zalika, et al. “Factors associated with self-medication among community pharmacy customers in Slovenia.” PloS one 11.6 (2016): e0157048.
Ofori-Asenso, Richard, and Ama de-Graft Aikins. “Self-medication with prescription-only medicines: prevalence and factors influencing the practice among adults in Ghana.” Therapeutic advances in drug safety 11 (2020): 2042098620927495.

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