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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 May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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