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10 Practical Reasons You Should Avoid Self-Medication with OTC or Prescription Drugs

10 Practical Reasons You Should Avoid Self-Medication with OTC or Prescription Drugs

Over the centuries, many people have died because they did not realize that self-medication is dangerous and can be lethal. I have seen first-hand several cases of self-medication that went bad, with effects ranging from severe speech impairment to complete blindness. Still, awareness that self-medication is hazardous is still low among members of the public.

Self-medication refers to instances in which individuals with shallow knowledge about drugs and medications decide to dose themselves without the assistance of a doctor. This situation often causes adverse reactions to drugs in sensitive people. Someone who self-medicates does not always know the proper dosage of the drug, its strength, its composition, how it needs to be taken, and its side effects or interactions, if any.

Therefore, I will briefly outline some dangers of self-medication.

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1. Drugs Can Trigger Other Ailments

Drugs do not only act based on their active ingredients, but also based on the particular characteristics of the person who takes them. For example, in someone who has had a recent operation, a simple aspirin can cause hemorrhage due to its anticoagulant properties. If taken daily, aspirin can cause an ulcer in some people. In teenagers and children, the same drug can cause a potentially serious neurological disorder called Reye’s syndrome.

2. Drugs Have Side Effects

Although they are intended to treat or cure the disease for which they are given, some drugs have expected side effects, such as dry mouth or insomnia. Physicians usually inform their patients about these side effects before prescribing a drug. Therefore, individuals should avoid self-administering drugs if they do not have adequate information. Otherwise they may experience unexpected and harsh side effects.

Regardless of the dose, and although they do not occur in all people, many drugs can have adverse or unwanted effects. For example, some researchers believe corticosteroids can cause secondary peptic ulcer. Estrogens can cause nausea, headache and dizziness, and erythromycin can cause stomach pain and diarrhea. Antibiotics such as amoxicillin can cause rashes and even anaphylactic shock, which endangers the life of the patient, and dipyrone used as an analgesic can cause problems in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of blood cells. A doctor should be consulted so they can decide whether the benefits of a drug are greater than its potential risks.

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3. Some Drugs May Cause Addiction

Some prescription and over-the-counter drugs may cause addiction. Benzodiazepines, which inhibit the central nervous system, and codeine-based antitussives can cause addiction problems, even if the patient is not aware of their addiction initially. Use of these drugs should be strictly monitored by a doctor.

4. Inaccurate Diagnosis

When they relieve your symptoms, some medicines can make diagnosis difficult, such as antipyretics (fever reducers), antiemetics (which prevent vomiting) and antispasmodics (which relieve abdominal pain). If you use these drugs and then seek help from a doctor, it may make it difficult for your doctor to diagnose your illness by masking symptoms. By decreasing intestinal motility, antispasmodics can also block the elimination of pathogens. It is best to ask a physician before administering these medications.

5. Resistance and Poisoning

Some drugs can cause poisoning if you overdose; for example, benzodiazepines can cause drowsiness and respiratory problems if taken inappropriately or in excess. Antidepressants cause severe poisoning, including a disturbed heart rate and seizures, while anti-inflammatories can cause gastric discomfort and kidney failure in cases of overdose or inappropriate use.

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Antibiotics can cause resistance to arise in populations of bacteria if administered incorrectly or without consulting the doctor. This can even have the effect of strengthening infectious agents rather than weakening them. Such antibiotics should be taken only when prescribed. Strictly follow the instructions of the specialist. Do not skip doses, and complete the treatment even if you feel better.

In some instances, self-medication, even for minor ailments, can lead to severe medical complications. A large number of potent drugs such as pain relievers, anti-allergies, laxatives, antibiotics, and vitamins are often self-prescribed improperly. Self-medication with over-the-counter medicines could cause allergic reactions, side effects, or addiction.

Finally, it is essential to know that some drugs interact with each other, causing negative effects. For example, the widely known aspirin can interact negatively with some diabetes medications, such as insulin. Thus, self medication should be highly discouraged, except under a physician’s instruction.

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Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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George Olufemi O

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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