Written by: Mutshidzi Kwinda
Western medicine has become extremely popular. It is well known that such medicine is used for the slightest biological faults in efforts to restore some form of biological and physiological balance. The intake varies from headache medication to medication for chronic pain and for mental health related illnesses.
The indulgence in western medicine is prompted by the fact that people are encouraged to use such medicine to amend any biological and physiological imbalances. For instance, I suffers from chronic pain, clinical anxiety, and depression, and my brother suffers from epileptic seizures, and we are both mostly depended on western medicine to live meaningful and active lives. Evidently, this particular indulgence has become inevitable especially when polypharmacy is involved. This is the act of treating a patient with more than one type of medicine. Generally, patients are encouraged to take several and different medication, which may, become a detriment to the biological and physiological system. For instance, when a patient takes serval and different types of medication (self-medicated or prescribed), it may induce a sense of extreme dependency, and most importantly, it may lead to a ruthless addiction.
When specifically looking at the polypharmacy from a self-medication point of view, the act of polypharmacy is not only a consequence of the excessive use of over-the-counter medication but also as a consequence of the lack of readily accessible health care needs, as well as the lack of transparency in relation to medical history due to fear of stigmatization, societal pressures, lack of knowledge and even due to ignorance. In retrospect, apart from health related reasons, there are external factors (economic and social) that force patients to take several and different types of medications without consulting a doctor or a pharmacist. This is where the chaos of polypharmacy truly reveals itself, and the following are the adverse effects:
- Polypharmacy may increase the duration of your healing process;
- Polypharmacy may lead to medicinal dependency and drug addictions;
- Your body might react negatively to the combination of medication which may lead to new diseases or infections;
- At the most, you may increase your mortality rate due to drug interactions, drug-disease integration, severe adverse reactions, and other related complications.
If you can take anything from the article, take this:
Always consult with a trained and registered healthcare professional before adding other prescribed or over-the-counter medications. Furthermore, regardless of your circumstance, it is important to always be transparent regarding your medical history when acquiring medication.