Few months ago, Melting Point took on the issue of self medication or self treatment of illnesses by people who understands little or nothing about what is happening to them, and yet embarks on guess work to try to solve their health challenges. While it works for few, it compounds the health issues of many.
It may be cheaper for those doing it due to the present economic hardship, yet the long-term consequences are legion.
Self medication or treatment is what people do to cope with stress, anxiety and general life’s difficulties especially when these vices tends to overwhelm them. It refers to the use of drugs (rightly or wrongly) to treat self diagnosed disorders or symptoms. Even though there are good aspects of self treatment , the bad aspects are more. Appropriate or good self medication can save scarce resources from huge expenditure on minor ailments, and address some emergency situations, but can be dangerous and fatal when it becomes a culture and an addiction. They are normally done to solve mild symptoms and ease access to non prescribed medications.
Some persons have become addicted to alcohol, drugs, snuff, cigarettes, etc to address worsening mood disorders because these products momentarily or temporarily decompress anxiety and stress, and gives deceptive feelings of satisfaction, but gradually built up side effects that are life threatening because they built resistance to microorganisms in the body.
People should stop buying non prescribed drugs over the counter, except in an emergency under which strict adherence to label instructions must follow. Read the labels well.
The alarming rate at which people slump and die these days is very disturbing and worrisome. People of all ages face different types of sicknesses and health conditions without knowing it yet, prefer assuming the conditions. Instead of getting to know the facts of their situations before competent medication and treatment, they predict their situations. Such self treatments have led to more several more health problems.
Most times, when people die without any prior sickness or ailment ,the cause is ascribed to witches and wizards while it could be high blood pressure or another ailment, but because the specific health condition is not known, speculative treatments and therapies are administered which worsens the cases and maimed or creates permanent incapacitations.
Even though not a medical expert or health worker of any kind, I have remained very sensitive and conscious of health situations around which are ravaging our people and communities today. Public awareness is very low and in most cases, lacking in our communities. Many people resort to self help to cure themselves of various ailments while some who go to the hospitals merely to know the state of their health conditions then resort to orthodox treatments. Sometimes those who do so do it due to financial constrains as they can not pay for the high medical costs in hospitals. But others believe more in such traditional medicines than the conventional medicare.
Self treatments are dangerous because most times diagnosis are incorrect leading to delays in seeking suitable medical advice which culminates in severe adverse reactions because of dangerous drug interactions. It also leads to the masking of severe diseases that are hidden. Drugs or medicines get into the human body and are quickly absorbed into the system and goes round depending on how receptive they are to the body. Self medication might seem right at first and attractive, but its long side effects could be fatal.
Because of the absence of any public health care enlightenment, people don’t know or know less of what to do when in health distress. Governments at all levels are not doing enough to provide the basic needed health information to people, thereby making them to seek refuge anywhere possible. The only time government or health workers are forced or made to sensitise the public is when there is an emergency. I recall the periods of the outbreak of Lassa Fever, Hiv/ Aids, Ebola, Wild Polio Virus, Corona Virus and so on. Governments were sleepless, moving helter skelter to find a solution and in some cases, it ends as soon as the issue is brought down. No sensitization or enlightenment as to what to do and where to run to in case of reoccurrence.
Many people I know have died as a result of wrong administration of therapies on themselves by themselves and sometimes by health workers and other health practitioners. Some of the health workers manning our medical facilities are not qualified to be trusted. That accounts for a number of cases and also patients who resort to traditional medical practice because of trust. This is because many have committed avoidable professional errors that have led to loss of lives or permanent disabilities in many others. It is a serious situation that deserves serious attention by governments and the people themselves. People should and must be discouraged from self prescription of drugs and at the time, pharmacists should stop giving drugs or vaccines to patients without Doctors referals. Doing so , as obtained in developed medical climes, is the only way to reduce avoidable deaths in our communities.
At a point my father was wrongly diagnosed and administered wrong drugs in the village and for two weeks he could not ease himself. His whole stomach became highly inflamed and he moves around with excess weight. So much drugs were given to him without proper diagnosis and when the situation was not abating, he sought to go to a better hospital in the city centre. It was at this level that malaria was discovered instead of the typhoid fever that was erroneously classified. The drugs had to be flushed from his system after about a week before he regained his health.
It will be very nice if political and democratic structures are used in creating awareness against medical self-help. People must be told to do the right thing. People must be told the inherent dangers of taking drugs without a Doctor’s prescription. This will go along way in helping sick people get better and proper treatment.
Good self medications include regular exercises, good or appropriate food,etc. Our physical conditions can adversely affects our emotions. We must watch what we eat and drink. We must also watch what we hear and say, believe and do. You are what you eat,drink,say or think. Daily attachment with God(prayers, meditation and reading the holy books) is also an appropriate self treatment therapy that helps. Lets be wise to protect and guard diligently our God given heritage for the enjoyment of long life in prosperity.