There is truth in the old adage that a person who treats himself has a fool for a physician.

Self-medication may entail:

(1) using drugs and alcohol in a patient trying to cope with a mood disorder

(2) use of herbal medicines or alternative therapies

(3) use of over-the-counter medications

(4) use of a prescription drug


Reasons for self-medication:

(1) cost of orthodox care

(2) distrust of clinicians

(3) lack of access to clinicians

(4) dislike being a patient

(5) denial of a life-threatening disorder


Hazards of self-medication:

(1) wrong diagnosis

(2) ineffective therapy (inappropriate, inadequate dosing, etc)

(3) adverse side effects of therapy

(4) making decisions on insufficient information (due to lack of laboratory test results and imaging studies)

(5) delay in receiving care if there is a problem and/or need for emergency care

(6) inadequate records

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