Self-medication helps you skip Doctor’s visit? You are thinking wrong!

self medication

With the number of painkillers and antibiotics readily available at our local pharmacies, it is almost impossible for us not to turn to self-medication and treat common health problems, isn’t it?

Reasons why self-medication is an easy go-to

Most of us have done it at some point in our lives! We tend to become our own doctors at times.

  • The internet makes it super easy to self-diagnose (which is often wrong) and self-medicate without ever seeing a doctor.
  • Self-medication can be convenient.
  • It saves a hospital’s visit and a costly bill. But did you know that it comes at the expense of your health and can cost your life too?
  • Many times, we rely on pharmacists to find medical solutions. We treat the man in the medical store as a doctor. Of course, a cheaper version of the doctor. The medicines/drugs they offer you might look relatively safe, but it’s not! Inappropriate use of such over-the-counter (OTC) drugs could have severe implications for your health. Pharmacists are not trained health care professionals, and they are here to profit from selling medicines, so do not blindly go by their words!
  • For generations, people have been self-medicating to quick-fix health problems and cope with life, often turning to drugs available over-the-counter.
  • Whether it is a crocin (for fever) or aspirin (for a headache), we believe they are ‘safe’ medicines and can be used by anyone.
  • People also prescribe potent drugs to themselves due to ignorance, misbeliefs, advertisements, and never bothering to consult the doctor.

Popping pills to mask your health conditions may get you instant relief, but we don’t realise that it is not free of side effects. It will make matters worse!

12 Reasons why self-medication of over-the-counter drugs is dangerous.

  1. Firstly, you might end up making the wrong self-diagnosis followed by improper self-medication.
  2. Wrong medication can lead to adverse reactions and worsen your health conditions.
  3. Some drugs lead to addiction, and this could cost you your life.
  4. Pain killers and antibiotics cannot be taken in random doses. Often, we underestimate its strength and consume them in excess. Now, this is a real threat.
  5. You simply do not know what a particular drug/medicine is made up of. It may or may not suit your body type.
  6. We do not know whether one medication can be combined with other medicines or not. The truth is, we are ignorant, and ignorance is not always bliss. So self-medication is not a good option.
  7. Some drugs might be disastrous for someone prone to allergies. It can also create drug dependence.
  8. We are also clueless about the side effects of medicines on our bodies. This leads to health complications.
  9. Some drugs may have long-term consequences to your liver or kidney leading to organ failure.
  10. Basically, there are high chances of the wrong administration of medicines and dosages.
  11. Due to the overuse of some drugs, our body starts developing a resistance to antibodies. Later, even when the right medicine is given, it may turn out to be ineffective.
  12. We are totally unaware of how the drug should be taken, its side effects and even reactions. Hence, consulting a doctor is a must!

The silver lining

Self-medication seems easy enough and instant, and of course, there is no extra expenditure on a doctor. But eventually, this can lead to severe health issues, and your medical expense can increase two-fold. Your desire to self-medicate to avoid a hospital may ultimately send you to the hospital and double your hospital bill. So don’t do that to yourself.


1. Can self-medication kill me?

If you take a medicine that is fatal to you or harmful in combination with other medication, it can prove to be a danger to your health. There is also a possibility of long term effects that can eventually lead to poor health and death.

2. Is it okay to take medication that does not require a prescription?

In India, you can buy antibiotics and other strong medications easily without a prescription from a doctor leading to a lot of self-medication. In most other countries, you cannot do this without a doctor’s prescription. Just because it is available does not mean it is safe to consume without proper diagnosis and recommendation from a medical professional.

3. When should I visit a doctor?

 If you are in any kind of distress or have pre-existing conditions, always visit a doctor. Even for the flu or cold symptoms, talk to a doctor and get the proper treatment for yourself.

4. Why is it better to visit a doctor?

Consulting with a doctor can save you from harmful health issues. While it might be more expensive, it is the safest way to approach any health-related worries, concerns and problems instead of self-medication.



Picture of Dr Jisha Gomez

Dr Jisha Gomez

She is a highly skilled dermatology physician with strong expertise in improving skin & hair health through the development of corrective treatment combinations. She completed her Post-graduate Diploma in Dermatology from Cardiff, UK & Fellowship in Aesthetic Medicine (FAM) from the Institute of Laser and Aesthetic Medicine, Delhi with over 5+ years experience treating skin patients. She has worked in Government hospitals in Trivandrum and Bangalore. She is actively involved in creating awareness for healthy skin, breaking the social stigma based on skin colour & stopping steroid abuse in our country.