Why you can't self-medicate

The most valuable thing a person has is health and life. And most often when we have health problems, we turn to doctors. A professional and competent approach to the treatment of diseases ensures the success of a favorable outcome in most cases. But, unfortunately, it is not always possible to get this very professional approach, since in recent years there have been significant problems in the field of healthcare and medicine, not only in our country, but also in a number of others. This problem was discovered and emphasized very sharply by the new coronavirus infection COVID-19. It has become obvious that there is a shortage of doctors, moreover, in all levels of medical care for the population: both outpatient and inpatient. There is a shortage of hospital beds, there are significant problems in equipping medical institutions. But the most significant problem was the lack of a competent approach to the treatment of patients that meets modern views on medicine. Most doctors, unfortunately, do not go through the proper process of self-training, do not improve and update their knowledge - all this leads to the fact that the treatment used in many areas of medicine is inadequate and often fatal.

The above problems lead to the fact that in the event of health complications, an ordinary person begins to wonder how justified going to the doctor will be, especially since doctors of many specialties, and even to the local therapist, it became not so easy to get into the system of free medical care. And in private medical centers, the prices for an appointment and examination with a doctor are sometimes not affordable for everyone and also do not guarantee success. And in such a situation, many begin to self-medicate. How acceptable and acceptable is such an approach to your health?!

Despite all the above problems with medical care, such a choice as self-medication is extremely dangerous. An ordinary person may have elementary knowledge about the anatomy and physiology of the human body, but not in sufficient volume, not to mention such deep things as the etiology (cause) and pathogenesis (flow mechanism) of diseases. There is no understanding of pathological physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, without knowledge of which it is impossible to correctly diagnose and prescribe treatment. Sometimes, even an experienced doctor has to carry out a rather difficult differential diagnosis before the pathology is correctly identified, and therefore a reasonable treatment is prescribed.

The lack of such knowledge in an ordinary person leads to the most negative consequences in the case of self-treatment, the use of certain drugs, methods and any other effects on the body.

Why can't you take medication without a doctor's prescription?

I'll start with the most frequent and, unfortunately, the usual - the use of medications on their own, without a prescription and doctor's prescription. The widespread use of, for example, antibiotics has led to the resistance of many microorganisms to most modern antibiotics and bacterial resistance (insensitivity) when antibiotics are really needed. This is due to the fact that people do not realize that most of the so-called respiratory diseases, called SARS or acute respiratory infections, and in common colds, are caused by viruses that antibiotics have no effect on. But they have an effect on the friendly bacteria of the intestinal microflora, which provides a huge front of immune protection to the human body. This causes both damage to the body itself and the appearance and growth of bacteria that are insensitive (resistant) to this antibiotic. And this has become a global problem in recent years. The use of medicines without prescriptions applies not only to antibiotics: self-prescription of drugs is often resorted to at temperature and pain of various localization.

This is categorically impossible to do, since most often an increase in temperature ensures the "switching on" of the body's immune defense mechanism, and pain relief can lubricate very serious problems and lead to fatal consequences.

For example, the use of pain medication for abdominal pain can blur the picture of "acute abdomen" and exacerbate acute appendicitis, ectopic pregnancy, and other problems that require surgery. Having "anesthetized" himself in such a situation, a person makes it difficult to correctly diagnose, and hence hope for a favorable outcome.

An excellent example where self-medication can endanger the patient's life is the use of so-called cardiac drugs such as Valocordin and Corvalol. People may not recognize a heart attack as a serious problem such as a myocardial infarction and delay the appointment of adequate and life-saving therapy, which worsens the prognosis for recovery.

Often, ordinary people, when some banal problem appears in their opinion, such as, for example, cough, do not consider it necessary to go to the doctor and be examined, they independently assume that they have an obvious, in their opinion, cause of cough in ill health of the throat, bronchi or lungs and self-medicate in the form of taking cough tablets or expectorants. Whereas such a symptom as cough may indicate completely different problems in the body, for example:

  • from the cardiovascular system - chronic heart failure, arrhythmia, a side effect of taking certain medications, in particular, ACE inhibitors (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors) in the treatment of hypertension;
  • on the part of the gastrointestinal tract (gastrointestinal tract) - GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), HH (hiatal hernia);
  • cough may be neurogenic, etc.

It is clear that with all these causes of such a seemingly simple symptom as coughing, the use of expectorant drugs and blocking it is absolutely ineffective, and sometimes even harmful.

What is the danger of diets without the involvement of a specialist?

A fairly common problem is the idea of ​​losing weight without the involvement of a specialized doctor - a nutritionist or endocrinologist. The problems of overweight and obesity are now relevant all over the world and are only gaining momentum. This is due to many factors. Traditionally, the food industry is the most blamed, which, along with agriculture, has indeed undergone significant changes since the middle of the last century. The way food is grown, stored, processed and made has changed. People began to eat out more often, use convenience foods more, fast food became popular. The composition of products, the method of cooking have changed significantly, portions have grown, and the content of fat and sugar in products has increased. The main reason for the appearance of excess weight is called a positive energy imbalance, when the energy consumed exceeds the expenditure and it is accumulated in the form of fat deposits, which, in turn, leads to weight gain. This was significantly influenced by a change in the lifestyle of a modern person, due to physical inactivity, a decrease in physical activity. Weight gain is also caused by such reasons as lifestyle, stress, poor sleep and fatigue, psycho-emotional problems, genetic predisposition and endocrinological problems. Knowledge of all these aspects and factors in the problem of overweight and obesity allows weight loss to be safe and long-term when this process is controlled by a dietitian or endocrinologist with the parallel support of a psychologist and fitness instructor.

At the same time, the use of various diets, increased physical activity, the rejection of certain foods and any other restrictive methods that are independently implemented by people who want to lose weight lead to short-term results at best, and most often to the inevitable subsequent rollbacks to the previous weight, and sometimes with a "gain"; in the worst case, they lead to the acquisition of such psychological disorders as eating disorders, which require more serious and long-term treatment.

Some diets can even be dangerous if you do not know the normal and pathological physiology of the human body. For example, keto diets are strictly contraindicated in people with kidney and liver disease, and self-administering them can lead to the most serious consequences, including acute kidney failure and death.

To find out in more detail what a diet can threaten without the supervision of a specialist, I suggest in the article “ Why you can’t go on a diet on your own “.


When can physical exercise and massage be a health hazard?

In the same way, it cannot be said that various physical activities that involve a more serious effect on the body than traditional general strengthening exercises are harmless and safe. Some diseases have significant restrictions on certain types of physical activity, and the lack of such knowledge in an ordinary person can lead to disability. For example, in the presence of intervertebral hernias that can injure the spinal cord, loading with weights in the gym is contraindicated. And people with such problems need specialized physical exercises aimed at eliminating the causes and reducing the consequences of these problems. Therefore, in the presence of health problems, even such a seemingly harmless effect as physical activity should be selected together with a professional - exercise therapy doctor. Such influences include massage, physiotherapy, and the use of medical devices that have a therapeutic effect. All these interventions have both indications and contraindications. It is impossible for the average person to foresee all the nuances, therefore, one should not resort to therapeutic interventions without professional advice and support. For example, the same massage for certain problems of the spine can cause not only improvements, but, on the contrary, lead to paralysis.

How to treat health information on the Internet?

We live in an interesting time when we can get information not only from TV and newspapers, as we did a few decades ago, but also from many sources on the Internet. On the one hand, it's wonderful and very informative. On the other hand, it can give a person unjustified anxieties or doubts, and sometimes, on the contrary, unnecessary hopes. Now everyone can Google their symptom and get a comprehensive answer about their problem for millions of gigabytes. But it is very difficult and almost impossible for a person without a medical education to find out from this huge mass of information that which is true, and also takes into account his individual characteristics.

A few words about the problems in the healthcare system

Taking into account all the modern problems in the healthcare system, it is very important to be a conscious and responsible patient, to take care of your health independently, without waiting for the problems to start to remind of themselves. It is important to have regular checkups. After all, for example, each car owner annually subjects his car to a technical inspection, and his attitude to his own health is sometimes much less reverent. In the event that you still have health problems, you do not need to panic, but you also do not need to close your eyes and bury your head in the sand, hiding from the problem. And even more so to deal with health issues on their own.

The fact that it is now quite difficult to find a professional in a particular field of medicine once again emphasizes that a conscious person in the role of a patient must have critical thinking. This does not mean that he should distrust and doubt the recommendations and advice of a doctor. But if you still have questions about the diagnosis, methods and treatment options, the use of certain medications, you should definitely ask your doctor. If the doctor is reluctant to answer such questions or even brushes you off like an annoying fly, adhering to the principle “I am a doctor, I know everything, and listen to me,” this is an occasion to listen to a second, and maybe even a third opinion. Sometimes this will help preserve health, avoid unnecessary, and sometimes harmful, interventions, or even save lives. Of course, a doctor cannot, within the framework of a regular consultation, give you the information that he received during at least eight years of his classical medical education, but if he is confident in his professional data, if his vision of the problem corresponds to modern global views on this problem, he will not it will be difficult to direct you to the necessary information resources, so that if you wish (and you should have such a desire), you will receive comprehensive general educational information about your disease and modern approaches to its treatment.

In any case, it is not worth self-medicating or resorting to alternative or alternative medicine methods instead of finding worthy medical professionals in the field that your health requires. This can cost lives or wasted time.


In conclusion, I will say that medical science does not stand still, new studies are constantly appearing, new data on long-known diseases, sometimes the view of the causes changes dramatically, the mechanism of the course and the treatment of some problem, as was the case, for example, with peptic ulcer of the stomach and duodenum. When the theory that the cause of ulcers is an aggressive diet and excess production of hydrochloric acid was replaced by a scientifically based idea that the cause is an infection, namely Helicobacter pylori. Accordingly, both the treatment and the approach to the patient's nutrition have changed.

In the context of the above, the conclusion suggests itself: when is folk, non-traditional, alternative medicine acceptable and safe. If it is a common cold with weakness, sore throat, dry cough, temperature not more than 5 days, no aggravated history, then it is quite acceptable to use self-medication, which, in principle, should be recommended by a good doctor: plentiful warm vitamin drink, antipyretics (paracetamol or ibuprofen) at a temperature above 38.5 degrees, but not more than 4 g per day, airing the room and humidifying the air. If your “cold” goes beyond the typical course: the cough is paroxysmal, green sputum appears, the temperature is more than 5 days, purulent discharge from the nose appears, then you should definitely seek help from a specialist - therapist or family doctor. In the event that children get sick, it is better not to self-medicate, even when the situation seems quite typical and not dangerous. It is better, all the same, to call a doctor and play it safe.

Alternative methods of treatment in the form of folk recipes, as well as methods of complementary medicine, such as massage for stress, meditation and yoga, etc., are permissible only as additional to the main, full-fledged treatment based on the principles of evidence-based efficacy and safety.