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To some degree, we’re all more than likely guilty of self-medicating. No one goes to the doctor for every sniffle and scraped knee. We go to the store and pick up our favorite over-the-counter (OTC) remedies to medicate what troubles us.
But that is typically not what we have in mind when we speak of self-medication. Doctors don’t even want to see us for each and every one of life’s little problems. They want us to see them for the things that only they are uniquely qualified to help us with.
It is when we start encroaching upon that territory that self-medication comes into play. No one would attempt to perform their own surgery. They wouldn’t even stitch up their own wounds. And when it comes to medication, there is OTC which we are free to use, and there is prescription strength, which requires a doctor. Dabbling in that level of pharmaceutical without a doctor’s guidance is what we call self-medication.
Why You Need to Stop Self-Medicating Now
There are exceptions. But generally, self-medication is a really bad idea. There are a number of reasons why this is. Here are three of the big ones:
There are many people who have become addicted to drugs while under a doctor’s care and in compliance with the doctor’s orders. If happens. For some people, routinely taking certain drugs even at a low dose will lead to addiction. There is no getting around it.
But most people can take even the strongest of drugs under a doctor’s care without any longterm effects. With some drugs, the only way to get off of them is to step down in dosage gradually. It takes a doctor to know what those drugs are, and exactly how to step you down based on your body chemistry, history, and any number of other factors.
Self-medication mishaps often begin in just this way. A person might acquire just the right drug and take it in just the right dose, only to require the services of the best detox centers to step down from the drug.
In addition to treating the chemical, there will also be a need to treat the person for addiction. It is not just a matter of detox in most cases. A good program recognizes the difference between males and females. They often get addicted to drugs and alcohol for different reasons, and it effects them in different ways.
Self-medication seems like a good idea until it results in addiction. At that point, one has to be treated for the addiction, as well as the underlying problem that led to self-medication in the first place.
When we are depressed, or in pain, overworked, or just plain sleep deprived, we are not at our best. In fact, by definition, we are at our worst. At such times, we do not have the clarity of thought to properly diagnose ourselves and prescribe medications. That is why even doctors need doctors.
When you have the blues, it is perfectly okay to self-medicate with laughter: often called the best medicine. A good book and the company of people you love is always a good idea. But the blues are a normal human condition. Clinical depression and anxiety require a professional diagnosis and prescription drugs. Low mental clarity makes for medication disasters.
Street pharmacists, otherwise known as drug dealers, are not in business for your greater good. It should go without saying that the quality of drugs you get from that source may well be more dangerous than the problem from which you are suffering.
Often, we do not exhaust the entire bottle of prescription drugs, having some left over for a rainy day. And while this is not always dangerous, some drugs will lose a lot of their potency, while others can actually become toxic while sitting on the shelf. Drugs like antibiotics should never be randomly stopped and restarted. Properly disposing of old drugs is the safest course of action.
For the sake of addiction, clarity, and safety, self-meditating is a really bad idea for almost everyone, including doctors. Let a smile be your umbrella on a rainy, rainy day. But leave the Xanax Rx to the MD.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
That we have to all appreciate the little things and to not take anything for granted.
2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate within yourself and/or life?
I’m blessed to have loving family and friends in my life.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? And what makes YOU most proud? Any goals and dreams that you still have?
Graduating from Arizona State University in 2013
4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
Nobody’s perfect and it’s been hard to accept it. I’ve learned to embrace my curly hair, my curves and my quirky personality.
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my unwavering intensity. Everything I do is 100 percent.