It is widely assumed that a person suffering from a headache, body aches or mild fever, will not generally decide to pay the doctor a visit, but will be inclined instead to take some tried-and-true, readily available medication that they know by experience will soothe the pain. Most of the time, these are relatively mild pains that may not persist beyond a few days and, therefore, the person foregoes an appointment with the doctor in favor of home remedies or quick-fixes.
It is worth noting that a large proportion of people self-medicating in this way are doing so at their own risk. A qualified professional investigating these decisions to avoid doctors and prescribe treatments for themselves may well be stunned by the self-inflicted harm being done.
However loud and insistent this hypothetical investigative doctor's protests, many people who self-medicate do so while bearing the following quote in mind; it’s not necessary, I know my body, and I know what I have to take¯. If there is a grain of truth to that statement, it exists in the short term; and that momentary relief now may come at the expense of great harm to the body in the long run.
Niznik Behavioral Health has done research on self-medication behaviors in both men and women.
In conducting this survey, testimony and inquiry based research, the goal was to establish the underlying causes of self-medication, as well as its frequency and the quantities of self-prescribed remedies consumed.
To better understand the results of the research, it is important to clarify that self-medication is not limited to aspirin or simple home remedies applied to cure minor illnesses. Self-medication includes the consumption of alcohol, narcotics, and antidepressants as a means to remedy an ailment of any kind.
Any mind or sense-altering substance has the potential to facilitate abuse or addiction. The substances we prioritized in our analysis do not only not cure or treat the current affliction, but tend also to invite or exacerbate future medical problems in the longer term; problems which are potentially more dangerous and difficult to cure. Moreover, addictions resulting from self-medication may often adversely affect the friends and families of the afflicted individual.
Part of the research was based on identifying the most common substances with which people self-medicated, and differentiating the incidence of their use by gender. The study indicated that certain substances are consumed by men at a higher rate than women, and that the opposite was true for other substances.
In all, the five most consumed substances were alcohol, marijuana, CBD products, opioids and body-ache medications.
The study carried out by Niznik Behavioral Health also determined the various motivations behind self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. These motivations were categorized into four groups: physical problems, depression, social anxiety disorders, and general anxiety disorders. Across underlying causes, the study revealed that the most used substance was alcohol, and that the second was marijuana.
It is important to bear in mind that, in cases where abuse or addiction originated from substance misuse for purposes of self-medication, most of these substances can be avoided by visiting a professional who is qualified to make a valid diagnosis. Only then, on the prescription or prognosis of a medical professional, should a substance be consumed or a treatment be undertaken to combat or treat the issue; lest one issue become many, or a small problem become a significant problem.
It is clear and promising that medicine is advancing as rapidly as it is. Year after year, more medications and treatments are being developed in the war against all forms of infection, disease, and condition. The progress of change means that consulting a professional for legitimate treatment options becomes all the more necessary.
Rajhu S Goraai is a journalist on top news blog. Connect him on Linkedin