4 Things to Consider When Self Medicating

pile of sparkling drug capsules scattered on pink surface

by Troop Atomic Mommy

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Self medicating is a common practice in the United States. Millions of people use over-the-counter and prescription drugs to treat conditions ranging from depression and anxiety, to pain and sleep disorders. But what are some things that you should consider before self medicating? In this article we will look at some of those considerations.

Methods of Self Medication such as pills and injections.
Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay 

Consult Widely

Consult widely with people who have similar symptomatology. If you are feeling depressed, talk to someone who experiences symptoms of depression or with a mental health professional, if possible. This is also true for any other symptoms that you may be self-medicating for.

Try to consult with someone who has experience in the drugs you are considering taking. They may be able to provide insight into how they work or any potential complications that might arise from using them long-term. 

Avoid Taking OTC drugs for Lengthy Periods

Long-term use of OTC (over-the-counter) drugs like ibuprofen can be dangerous. You must speak with your doctor about whether OTC medications are right for you. By doing so, you will add beneficial value towards maintaining your health and well-being.

When self-medicating, it is recommended that you take OTC drugs only when necessary. If your symptoms do not go away within a few days or get worse after taking the drugs, see your doctor for advice immediately.

Get the Right Medications

Self-medicating, when it comes to sensitive parts of your body, should be done with care and not before speaking with a specialist.

Let’s dive into eye care as an example. Our eyes mean everything to us. We see and experience a great deal of the world through our eyes. When they grow unhealthy and need extra care, it is best to consult with an ophthalmologist.

The key to any medical issue is early detection. The sooner something is detected the easier it will be to come up with a treatment plan. There are many eye diseases and disorders that can affect us, so each case requires a thorough examination.

One eye disease that can be treated and detected early is called chronic uveitis; it is an inflammatory disease that destroys eye tissue. While it can cause vision loss if not treated promptly and with the right medicines, it can be diagnosed early via blood tests, eye exams, a medical history review, or a central nervous system test. If the doctor does detect this specific disease, chronic uveitis treatments include a prescription from your doctor. A prescribed medication from your doctor may possibly be better than taking OTC medications.

Know When to Call it in

If the condition is serious or life-threatening or if you self-medicate and feel like your symptoms have changed, don’t hesitate to contact a doctor immediately. Be sure to have a list of your current conditions and medications with you at all times.

Another instance where calling it in is necessary would be if you’ve had any reactions while taking certain medication. If say after taking some antibiotics for an infection you notice hives forming within minutes of swallowing them, then don’t hesitate to contact a doctor right away. Such a reaction could potentially cause anaphylactic shock which may be deadly if not addressed immediately.

Be Mindful of Addiction

Addiction is a real risk when self medicating. If you find yourself frequently taking higher doses of a self-prescribed medication or reaching for the bottle more often, it could be a sign that your body is becoming addicted to the drug. There could be behavioral symptoms as well. Look for signs of “losing prescriptions”, “borrowing prescriptions from others”, and “doctor shopping”. These could indicate that a person has also become addicted to prescription drugs.

The Takeaway

It’s always better to be safe than sorry! Even though self medicating can help you save time and money, sometimes it is necessary to call the doctor or even go into emergency care for your condition. This way they can get you on the right track as soon as possible so that you can recover faster with minimal side effects!

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