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.


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.


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.


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.


Featured photo credit: Pixabay via

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George Olufemi O

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.


3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.


Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:


Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.


8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via

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